N-1A 1 d308275dn1a.htm FORM N-1A FOR ISHARES U.S. ETF TRUST Form N-1A for iShares U.S. ETF Trust
Table of Contents

As filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on March 5, 2012

File Nos.     -        and 811-22649

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM N-1A

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

   THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933    x
   Pre-Effective Amendment No.   
   Post-Effective Amendment No.   

and/or

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

   THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940    x
   Amendment No.   

(Check appropriate box or boxes)

 

 

iShares U.S. ETF Trust

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

 

 

c/o State Street Bank and Trust Company

200 Clarendon Street

Boston, MA 02116

(Address of Principal Executive Office)(Zip Code)

Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code: (415) 670-2000

The Corporation Trust Company

1209 Orange Street

Wilmington, DE 19801

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

 

With Copies to:

 

MARGERY K. NEALE, ESQ.   BENJAMIN J. HASKIN, ESQ.   ANDREW JOSEF, ESQ.

WILLKIE FARR &

GALLAGHER LLP

 

WILLKIE FARR &

GALLAGHER LLP

 

BLACKROCK INSTITUTIONAL TRUST

COMPANY, N.A.

787 SEVENTH AVENUE   1875 K STREET, NW   400 HOWARD STREET
NEW YORK, NY 10019-6099   WASHINGTON, DC 20006-1238   SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94105

 

 

APPROXIMATE DATE OF PROPOSED PUBLIC OFFERING: AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS REGISTRATION STATEMENT.

THE REGISTRANT HEREBY AMENDS THIS REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933 ON SUCH DATE OR DATES AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO DELAY ITS EFFECTIVE DATE UNTIL THE REGISTRANT SHALL FILE A FURTHER AMENDMENT WHICH SPECIFICALLY STATES THAT THIS REGISTRATION STATEMENT SHALL THEREAFTER BECOME EFFECTIVE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8(a) OF THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933 OR UNTIL THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT SHALL BECOME EFFECTIVE ON SUCH DATE AS THE COMMISSION, ACTING PURSUANT TO SECTION 8(a), MAY DETERMINE.

 

 

 


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LOGO

            , 2012

The information in this Prospectus is not complete and may be changed. A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The securities described herein may not be sold until the registration statement becomes effective. This Prospectus is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state in which the offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.

 

 

 

     2012 Prospectus

    

    

        iShares Ultrashort Bond Fund

 

 

                                    

 

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

 

 

 

Fund Overview

     S-1      

More Information About the Fund

     1      

A Further Discussion of Principal Risks

     1      

Portfolio Holdings Information

     5      

Management

     6      

Shareholder Information

     7      

Distribution

     12      

Financial Highlights

     13      

Disclaimers

     14      

 

 

 

iShares® is a registered trademark of BlackRock Fund Advisers or its affiliates.

 

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iSHARES® ULTRASHORT BOND FUND

Ticker:           Stock Exchange:     

Investment Objective

The iShares Ultrashort Bond Fund (the “Fund”) seeks to maximize current income.

Fees and Expenses

The following table describes the fees and expenses that you will incur if you own shares of the Fund. The investment advisory agreement between iShares U.S. ETF Trust (the “Trust”) and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”) provides that BFA will pay all operating expenses of the Fund, except interest expenses, taxes, brokerage expenses, future distribution fees or expenses, and extraordinary expenses. “Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses” reflect the Fund’s pro rata share of the fees and expenses incurred by investing in other investment companies. As the Fund has not commenced operations prior to the date of this prospectus (the “Prospectus”), Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses are based on an estimate of the Fund’s allocation to the other investment companies for the current fiscal year. The impact of Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses is included in the total returns of the Fund. Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses are not used to calculate the Fund’s net asset value per share (“NAV”) and are not included in the calculation of the ratio of expenses to average net assets shown in the Financial Highlights section of the Fund’s Prospectus.

You may also incur usual and customary brokerage commissions when buying or selling shares of the Fund, which are not reflected in the example that follows:

 

Annual Fund Operating Expenses

(ongoing expenses that you pay each year as a

percentage of the value of your investments)

Management

Fees

 

Distribution and
Service (12b-1)
Fees

 

Other
Expenses

 

Acquired Fund Fees

and Expenses

 

Total Annual

Fund

Operating

Expenses

    %

  None   None       %       %

Example. This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of owning shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:

 

    

1 Year

 

3 Years

   
  $       $      

 

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Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may pay 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 and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance.

Principal Investment Strategies

The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of its net assets in a diversified portfolio of U.S. dollar-denominated investment grade fixed income securities. The Fund primarily invests in investment grade fixed income securities that are rated a minimum of BBB- or higher by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (a subsidiary of The McGraw Hill Companies) and/or Fitch Inc., or Baa3 or higher by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., or, if unrated, determined by the management team to be of equivalent quality. The Fund will invest in fixed and floating rate securities of varying maturities, such as corporate and government bonds, agency securities, instruments of non-U.S. issuers, privately-issued securities, asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities, municipal bonds, money market instruments and investment companies. The Fund may enter into to-be-announced transactions (“TBA transactions”) on a regular basis with respect to the percentage of the portfolio (if any) that consists of mortgage-pass through securities. BFA or its affiliates may advise the money market funds and investment companies in which the Fund may invest. Under normal circumstances, the effective duration of the Fund’s portfolio is expected to be one year or less, as calculated by BFA. Effective duration is a measure of the Fund’s price sensitivity to changes in yields or interest rates; however investors should be aware that effective duration is not an exact measurement and may not reliably predict a particular security’s price sensitivity to changes in yield or interest rates. The Fund will also seek to maintain a weighted average maturity that is less than three years. Weighted average maturity is a U.S. dollar-weighted average of the remaining term to maturity of the underlying securities in the Fund’s portfolio. For the purposes of determining the Fund’s weighted average maturity, a security’s final maturity date, or for amortizing securities such as asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities, its weighted average life, will be used for calculation purposes.

The Fund is an actively managed exchange-traded fund (“ETF”) that does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index.

The Fund is not a money market fund and does not seek to maintain a stable net asset value of $1.00 per share. Please see the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) for further information.

The Fund may have a higher degree of portfolio turnover than funds that seek to replicate the performance of an index.

The Fund will not invest in swap agreements, futures contracts, option contracts, convertible securities or preferred stock, but may invest in currency forwards for hedging and/or trade settlement purposes.

The Fund may lend securities representing up to one-third of the value of the Fund’s total assets (including the value of the collateral received).

 

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Summary of Principal Risks

As with any investment, you could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund’s performance could trail that of other investments. The Fund is subject to the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund’s NAV, trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. Unlike many ETFs, the Fund is not an index-based ETF.

Agency Debt Risk. The Fund will invest in uncollateralized bonds or debentures issued by government agencies, including Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”). Debentures issued by government agencies are generally backed only by the general creditworthiness and reputation of the government agency issuing the debenture and are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

Asset-Backed and Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk. Asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities (residential and commercial) represent interests in “pools” of mortgages or other assets, including consumer loans or receivables held in trust. Asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities are subject to credit, interest rate, call, extension, valuation and liquidity risk. These securities, in most cases, are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government and are subject to the risk of default on the underlying asset or mortgage , particularly during periods of economic downturn. Small movements in interest rates (both increases and decreases) may quickly and significantly reduce the value of certain asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities.

Asset Class Risk. Securities in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to the general securities markets or other asset classes.

Call Risk. During periods of falling interest rates, an issuer of a callable bond held by the Fund may “call” or repay the security before its stated maturity, and the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds at lower interest rates, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.

Credit Risk. The Fund is subject to the risk that debt issuers and other counterparties may not honor their obligations or may have their debt downgraded by ratings agencies.

Extension Risk. During periods of rising interest rates, certain obligations will be paid off substantially more slowly than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply, resulting in a decline to the Fund’s income and potentially in the value of the Fund’s investments.

Financial Sector Risk. Performance of companies in the financial sector may be adversely impacted by many factors, including government regulations, economic conditions, changes in interest rates, and decreased liquidity in credit markets. This sector has experienced significant losses in the recent past, and the impact of more stringent capital requirements, and of recent or future regulation, on any individual financial company or on the sector as a whole cannot be predicted.

Floating Rate Notes Risk. Securities with floating or variable interest rates can be less sensitive to interest rate changes than securities with fixed interest rates, but may decline in value if their coupon rates do not reset as high, or as quickly, as comparable market interest rates. Although floating rate notes are less sensitive interest rate risk than fixed rate securities, they are subject to credit and default risk, which could impair their value.

High Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of its portfolio securities. High portfolio turnover (more than 100%) may result in increased transaction costs to the Fund, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of the securities and on reinvestment in other securities. The sale of Fund portfolio securities may result in the realization and/or distribution to shareholders of higher capital gains or losses as compared to a fund with less active trading policies. These effects of higher than normal portfolio turnover may adversely affect Fund performance. In addition, participation in TBA transactions may significantly increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and may cause the Fund to pay higher capital gain distributions to shareholders (which may be taxable) than other funds that do not participate in TBA transactions.

Income Risk. The Fund’s income may decline when interest rates fall because the Fund may hold a significant portion of short duration securities and/or securities that have floating or variable interest rates. The Fund’s income may decline because the Fund invests in lower yielding bonds, and as the bonds in its portfolio mature, the Fund needs to purchase additional bonds.

Interest Rate Risk. An increase in interest rates may cause the value of fixed income securities held by the Fund to decline.

Issuer Risk. Fund performance depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. Changes to the financial condition or credit rating of an issuer of those securities may cause the value of the securities to decline.

Liquidity Risk. Liquidity risk exists when particular investments are difficult to purchase or sell. This can reduce the Fund’s returns because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices.

 

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Management Risk. The Fund is subject to management risk, which is the risk that the investment process, techniques and risk analyses applied by BFA and BlackRock Financial Management, Inc. (“BFM”), the Fund’s sub-adviser, will not produce the desired results, and that securities selected by BFA and BFM may underperform the market or any relevant benchmark. In addition, legislative, regulatory, or tax developments may affect the investment techniques available to BFA and BFM in connection with managing the Fund, and may also adversely affect the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective.

Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during market downturns.

Market Trading Risk. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares, losses from trading in secondary markets, periods of high volatility and disruption in the creation/redemption process of the Fund. Unlike some ETFs that track specific indexes, the Fund does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index. Index-based ETFs have generally traded at prices which closely correspond to NAV. Given the high level of transparency of the Fund’s holdings, BFA believes that the trading experience of the Fund should be similar to that of index-based ETFs. However, ETFs that do not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index have a limited trading history and, therefore, there can be no assurance as to whether, and/or the extent to which, the Fund’s shares will trade at premiums or discounts to NAV. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND’S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV.

Municipal Securities Risk. Municipal securities can be significantly affected by political or economic changes as well as uncertainties in the municipal market related to taxation, legislative changes or the rights of municipal security holders. Municipal securities backed by current or anticipated revenues from a specific project or specific assets can be negatively affected by the inability to collect revenues for the project or from the assets.

Non-Diversification Risk. The Fund may invest a large percentage of its assets in securities issued by or representing a small number of issuers. As a result, the Fund’s performance may depend on the performance of a small number of issuers.

Non-U.S. Issuers Risk. Non-U.S. issuers carry different risks from bonds issued by U.S. issuers. These include differences in accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, the possibility of expropriation or confiscatory taxation, adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations, political instability, regulatory and economic differences, and potential restrictions on the flow of international capital.

Not a Money Market Fund. The Fund is not a money market fund and is not subject to the strict rules that govern the quality, maturity, liquidity and other features of securities that money market funds may purchase. Under normal circumstances, the Fund’s investments may be more susceptible than a money market fund is to credit risk, interest rate risk, valuation risk and other risks relevant to the Fund’s investments. The Fund does not seek to maintain a stable net asset value of $1.00 per share.

Privately-Issued Securities Risk. The Fund will invest in privately-issued securities, including those which are normally purchased pursuant to Rule 144A or Regulation S promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). Privately-issued securities are securities that have not been registered under the 1933 Act and as a result are subject to legal restrictions on resale. Privately-issued securities are not traded on established markets and may be illiquid, difficult to value and subject to wide fluctuations in value. Delay or difficulty in selling such securities may result in a loss to the Fund.

Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the Fund’s loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of the collateral provided for loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund.

Sovereign Obligations Risk. The Fund invests in securities issued by or guaranteed by sovereign governments, which may be unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due. In times of economic uncertainty, the prices of these securities may be more volatile than those of corporate debt obligations or of other government debt obligations.

U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk. Treasury obligations may differ from other fixed income securities in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit rating of the United States may cause the value of its Treasury obligations to decline.

Valuation Risk. The sales price the Fund could receive for a security may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the security, particularly for securities that trade in low volume or volatile markets, or that are valued using a fair value methodology. In addition, the value of the securities in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s shares.

 

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Performance Information

As of the date of this Prospectus, the Fund has been in operation for less than one full calendar year and therefore does not report its performance information.

Management

Investment Adviser and Sub-Adviser. The Fund’s investment adviser is BFA. The Fund’s investment sub-adviser is BFM.

Portfolio Managers. James Mauro, Thomas Musmanno, Scott Radell and Stuart Spodek (the “Portfolio Managers”) are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager supervises a portfolio management team. Mr. Mauro, Mr. Musmanno, Mr. Radell and Mr. Spodek have been Portfolio Managers of the Fund since inception.

Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares

The Fund is an ETF. Individual Fund shares may only be purchased and sold on a national securities exchange through a broker-dealer. The price of Fund shares is based on market price, and because ETF shares trade at market prices rather than NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (a premium) or less than NAV (a discount). The Fund will only issue or redeem shares that have been aggregated into blocks of              shares or multiples thereof (“Creation Units”) to authorized participants who have entered into agreements with the Fund’s distributor. The Fund generally will issue or redeem Creation Units in return for a designated portfolio of securities (and an amount of cash) that the Fund specifies each day.

Tax Information

The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (“IRA”).

Payments to Broker-Dealers and other Financial Intermediaries

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), BFA or other related companies may pay the intermediary for marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems or other services related to the sale or promotion of the Fund. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

 

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More Information About the Fund

Additional Information on the Investment Strategies. The Fund is an actively managed ETF and, thus, does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index. Accordingly, the management team has discretion on a daily basis to manage the Fund’s portfolio in accordance with the Fund’s investment objective.

The Fund’s investment objective is a non-fundamental policy and may be changed without shareholder approval. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of its net assets in a diversified portfolio of U.S. dollar-denominated investment grade fixed income securities, rated a minimum of BBB- or higher by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (a subsidiary of The McGraw Hill Companies) and/or Fitch Inc., or Baa3 or higher by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., or, if unrated, determined by the management team to be of equivalent quality. The Fund’s 80% investment policy may be changed by the Fund’s Board of Trustees (the “Board”) upon 60 days’ notice to shareholders.

The Fund will invest primarily in fixed and floating rate securities of varying maturities, such as corporate and government bonds, agency securities, instruments of non-U.S. issuers, municipal bonds, money market instruments and investment companies. BFA or its affiliates may advise the money market funds and investment companies, in which the Fund may invest.

The Fund will invest in asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities. Asset-backed securities are fixed-income securities that are backed by a pool of assets, usually loans such as installment sale contracts or credit card receivables. Mortgage-backed securities are asset-backed securities based on a particular type of asset, a mortgage. There is a wide variety of mortgage-backed securities involving commercial or residential, fixed-rate or adjustable rate mortgages and mortgages issued by banks or government agencies. Most transactions in fixed-rate mortgage pass-through securities occur through standardized contracts for future delivery in which the exact mortgage pools to be delivered are not specified until a few days prior to settlement, known as TBA transactions. The Fund may enter into such contracts on a regular basis. The Fund, pending settlement of such contracts, will invest the relevant assets in high-quality, liquid short-term instruments, including shares of money market funds affiliated with BFA. Collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) are fixed income securities that are backed by cash flows from pools of mortgages. CMOs may have multiple classes with different payment rights and protections.

Investment Process. The management team evaluates sectors of the fixed-income market and individual securities within these sectors to invest the Fund’s assets on an ongoing basis. BlackRock’s investment approach represents a collaboration between the “Portfolio Teams,” who are responsible for setting the top-down asset allocation framework for portfolio construction and security selection, and the “Investment Teams,” who are responsible for bottom-up idea generation, including research and analysis.

The investment process is centered around formal investment strategy meetings. Following discussions with their teams, the senior members of the Investment Teams present their teams’ views during a meeting attended by all fixed income investment professionals within BlackRock. Next, the senior members of the Portfolio and Investment Teams, along with representatives from BlackRock’s Risk & Quantitative Analysis Group, hold a meeting to discuss asset allocation, portfolio risk, and investment themes. This meeting is designed to share ideas across Portfolio Teams as each determines the appropriate interest rate risk, convexity, term structure, credit quality, liquidity bias and sector allocations for individual strategies.

The Investment Teams then implement the Portfolio Teams’ relative value outlook with respect to security selection, timing and execution, and in accordance with fund investment objectives and guidelines. Investment Teams are also responsible for trading, which we believe best leverages their market knowledge and experience. While the investment themes are discussed formally on a weekly basis, the process is dynamic with ongoing discussion and modifications as needed.

In certain situations or market conditions, the Fund may temporarily depart from its normal investment process, provided that such departure is, in the opinion of the management team, consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and in the best interest of the Fund. For example, the Fund may hold a higher than normal proportion of its assets in cash in response to adverse market, economic or political conditions.

BlackRock uses an internal model for calculating duration, which may result in a different value of duration than if duration was calculated by a third party.

A Further Discussion of Principal Risks

The Fund is subject to various risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund’s NAV, trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. You could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund could underperform other investments.

Agency Debt Risk. The Fund will invest in uncollateralized bonds or debentures issued by government agencies, including the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Debentures issued by government agencies are generally backed only by the general creditworthiness and reputation of the government agency issuing the debenture and are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

Some government agencies, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, purchase and guarantee residential mortgages and form mortgage-backed securities that they issue to the market. These agencies also hold their own mortgage-backed securities as well

 

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as those of other institutions with funding from the agency debentures they issue. Recent events in the markets for mortgage-backed securities have adversely affected the value of those mortgage-backed securities held and/or issued by these agencies.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed under the conservatorship of the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) in September 2008. Under this conservatorship, the FHFA will operate and manage the agencies and the U.S. Department of the Treasury has agreed to provide capital as needed (up to $100 billion per agency) to ensure that the agencies continue to provide liquidity to the housing and mortgage markets. It is unclear what effect this conservatorship will have on the securities issued or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. As a result, these securities are subject to more credit risk than U.S. government securities that are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States (e.g., U.S. Treasury bonds).

Asset-Backed and Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk. Asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities (residential and commercial) represent interests in “pools” of mortgages or other assets, including consumer loans or receivables held in trust. Although asset-backed and commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”) generally experience less prepayment risk than residential mortgage-backed securities, mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, like traditional fixed income securities, are subject to credit, interest rate, call, extension, valuation and liquidity risk. Because of call and extension risk, asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities react differently to changes in interest rates than other bonds. Small movements in interest rates (both increases and decreases) may quickly and significantly reduce the value of certain asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities.

Asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities may not be backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government and are subject to risk of default on the underlying mortgage or asset, particularly during periods of economic downturn. CMBS issued by non-government entities may offer higher yields than those issued by government entities, but also may be subject to greater volatility than government issues. Certain CMBS are issued in several classes with different levels of yield and credit protection. The Fund’s investments in CMBS with several classes may be in the lower classes, which have greater risks than the higher classes, including greater interest rate, credit, call and extension risk.

Mortgage-backed securities may be either pass-through securities or collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”). Pass-through securities represent a right to receive principal and interest payments collected on a pool of mortgages, which are passed through to security holders. CMOs are created by dividing the principal and interest payments collected on a pool of mortgages into several revenue streams (tranches) with different priority rights to portions of the underlying mortgage payments. Certain CMO tranches may represent a right to receive interest only (“IOs”), principal only (“POs”) or an amount that remains after floating-rate tranches are paid (an inverse floater). These securities are frequently referred to as “mortgage derivatives” and may be extremely sensitive to changes in interest rates. Interest rates on inverse floaters, for example, vary inversely with a short-term floating rate (which may be reset periodically). Interest rates on inverse floaters will decrease when short-term rates increase, and will increase when short-term rates decrease. These securities have the effect of providing a degree of investment leverage. In response to changes in market interest rates or other market conditions, the value of an inverse floater may increase or decrease at a multiple of the increase or decrease in the value of the underlying securities. If the Fund invests in CMO tranches (including CMO tranches issued by government agencies) and interest rates move in a manner not anticipated by Fund management, it is possible that the Fund could lose all or substantially all of its investment.

In recent years, the mortgage market in the United States has experienced difficulties that may adversely affect the performance and market value of certain of the Fund’s mortgage-related investments. The market for asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities experienced substantially lower valuations and greatly reduced liquidity. Ongoing economic and market uncertainty suggests that asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities may continue to be more difficult to value and to dispose of than in the past.

Asset Class Risk. The securities in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform the returns of other securities or indexes that track other issuers, countries, groups of countries, regions, industries, groups of industries, markets, asset classes or sectors. Various types of securities or indexes tend to experience cycles of outperformance and underperformance in comparison to the general securities markets.

Call Risk. During periods of falling interest rates, an issuer of a callable bond held by the Fund may “call” or repay the security before its stated maturity, which may result in the Fund having to reinvest the proceeds at lower interest rates, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that an issuer or guarantor of debt instruments or the counterparty to a derivatives contract, repurchase agreement or loan of portfolio securities will be unable or unwilling to make timely interest and/or principal payments or to otherwise honor its obligations. Debt instruments are subject to varying degrees of credit risk, which may be reflected in their credit ratings. There is the chance that any of the Fund’s portfolio holdings will have their credit ratings downgraded or will default (i.e., fail to make scheduled interest or principal payments), potentially reducing the Fund’s income level or share price.

 

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Extension Risk. During periods of rising interest rates, certain obligations will be paid off substantially more slowly than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply, resulting in a decline to the Fund’s income and potentially in the value of the Fund’s investments.

Financial Sector Risk. Companies in the financial sector of an economy are often subject to extensive governmental regulation and, recently, government intervention and the potential for additional regulation, which may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and the amount of capital they must maintain. Governmental regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for companies in the financial sector, including effects not intended by such regulation. The impact of recent or future regulation in various countries on any individual financial company or on the sector as a whole cannot be predicted. Certain risks may impact the value of investments in the financial sector more severely than investments outside this sector, including the risks associated with companies that operate with substantial financial leverage. Companies in the financial sector may also be adversely affected by increases in interest rates and loan losses, decreases in the availability of money or asset valuations, credit rating downgrades and adverse conditions in other related markets. Over the past few years, the deterioration of the credit markets has impacted a broad range of mortgage, asset-backed, auction rate, sovereign debt and other markets, including U.S. and non-U.S. credit and interbank money markets, thereby affecting a wide range of financial institutions and markets. A number of large financial institutions have failed, merged with stronger institutions or have had significant government infusions of capital. This situation has created instability in the financial markets and caused certain financial companies to incur large losses. Some financial companies have experienced declines in the valuations of their assets, taken actions to raise capital (such as the issuance of debt or equity securities), or even ceased operations. Some financial companies have borrowed significant amounts of capital from governments and may face future government-imposed restrictions on their businesses or increased government intervention. These actions have caused the securities of many financial companies to decline in value. Insurance companies, in particular, may be subject to severe price competition and/or rate regulation, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability. The financial sector is particularly sensitive to fluctuations in interest rates.

Floating Rate Notes Risk. Securities with floating or variable interest rates can be less sensitive to interest rate changes than securities with fixed interest rates, but may decline in value if their interest rates do not rise as much, or as quickly, as interest rates in general. Conversely, floating rate securities will not generally increase in value if interest rates decline. The impact of interest rate changes on floating rate investments is typically mitigated by the periodic interest rate reset of the investments. Securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making them more volatile than securities with shorter durations. Benchmark interest rates, such as London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR), may not accurately track market interest rates. Although floating rate notes are less sensitive to interest rate risk than fixed rate securities, they are subject to credit and default risk, which could impair their value.

High Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of its portfolio securities. High portfolio turnover (higher than 100%) may result in increased transaction costs to the Fund, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of the securities and on reinvestment in other securities. The sale of Fund portfolio securities may result in the realization and/or distribution to shareholders of higher capital gains or losses as compared to a fund with less active trading policies. These effects of higher than normal portfolio turnover may adversely affect Fund performance. In addition, participation in TBA transactions may significantly increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and cause the Fund to pay higher capital gain distributions to shareholders (which may be taxable) than other funds that do not participate in TBA transactions.

Income Risk. The Fund’s income may decline when interest rates fall because the Fund may hold a significant portion of short duration securities and/or securities that have floating or variable interest rates. The Fund’s income may decline because the Fund invests in lower yielding bonds, and as the bonds in its portfolio mature, the Fund needs to purchase additional bonds.

Interest Rate Risk. As interest rates rise, the value of a fixed income security held by the Fund is likely to decrease. Securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making them more volatile than securities with shorter durations. To the extent the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in fixed income securities with longer-term maturities, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline significantly. Prices of bonds may fall because of a rise in interest rates.

Issuer Risk. Fund performance depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. Changes to the financial condition or credit rating of an issuer of those securities may cause the value of the securities to decline.

Liquidity Risk. Liquidity risk exists when particular investments are difficult to purchase or sell. If the Fund invests in illiquid securities or securities that become illiquid, such investments may have a negative effect on the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to sell the illiquid securities at an advantageous time or price.

Management Risk. The Fund is subject to management risk because it does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index. BFA, BFM and the portfolio managers will utilize a proprietary investment process, techniques and risk analyses in making investment decisions for the Fund, but there can be no guarantee that these decisions will produce the desired results. In addition, legislative, regulatory, or tax developments may affect the investment techniques available to BFA and BFM in connection with managing the Fund and may also adversely affect the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective.

 

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Market Risk. The Fund could lose money due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during market downturns. Securities may decline in value due to factors affecting securities markets generally or particular industries represented in the markets. The value of a security may decline due to general market conditions, economic trends or events that are not specifically related to the issuer of the security or to factors that affect a particular industry or industries. During a general downturn in the securities markets, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected. Fixed income securities with short-term maturities are generally less sensitive to such changes than fixed income securities with longer-term maturities.

Market Trading Risk

Absence of Active Market. Although shares of the Fund are listed for trading on one or more stock exchanges, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained.

Risk of Secondary Listings. The Fund’s shares may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the U.S. stock exchange where the Fund’s primary listing is maintained. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s shares will continue to trade on any such stock exchange or in any market or that the Fund’s shares will continue to meet the requirements for listing or trading on any exchange or in any market. The Fund’s shares may be less actively traded in certain markets than others, and investors are subject to the execution and settlement risks and market standards of the market where they or their broker direct their trades for execution. Certain information available to investors who trade Fund shares on a U.S. stock exchange during regular U.S. market hours may not be available to investors who trade in other markets, which may result in secondary market prices in such markets being less efficient.

Secondary Market Trading Risk. Shares of the Fund may trade in the secondary market at times when the Fund does not accept orders to purchase or redeem shares. At such times, shares may trade in the secondary market with more significant premiums or discounts than might be experienced at times when the Fund accepts purchase and redemption orders.

Secondary market trading in Fund shares may be halted by a stock exchange because of market conditions or other reasons. In addition, trading in Fund shares on a stock exchange or in any market may be subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to “circuit breaker” rules on the stock exchange or market. There can be no assurance that the requirements necessary to maintain the listing or trading of Fund shares will continue to be met or will remain unchanged.

Shares of the Fund, similar to shares of other issuers listed on a stock exchange, may be sold short and are therefore subject to the risk of increased volatility associated with short selling.

Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. Shares of the Fund trade on stock exchanges at prices at, above or below their most recent NAV. The NAV of the Fund is calculated at the end of each business day and fluctuates with changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings since the most recent calculation. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares fluctuate continuously throughout trading hours based on market supply and demand rather than NAV. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares may deviate significantly from NAV during periods of market volatility. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND’S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at NAV (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their NAVs), BFA believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of the Fund are not likely to be sustained over the long-term. While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it likely that the Fund’s shares normally will trade on stock exchanges at prices close to the Fund’s next calculated NAV, exchange prices are not expected to correlate exactly with the Fund’s NAV due to timing reasons as well as market supply and demand factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions or extreme market volatility may result in trading prices for shares of the Fund that differ significantly from its NAV.

Costs of Buying or Selling Fund Shares. Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange involves two types of costs that apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you will likely incur a brokerage commission or other charges imposed by brokers as determined by that broker. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread” – that is, the difference between what investors are willing to pay for Fund shares (the “bid” price) and the price at which they are willing to sell Fund shares (the “ask” price). Because of the costs inherent in buying or selling Fund shares, frequent trading may detract significantly from investment results and an investment in Fund shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments.

Municipal Securities Risk. Municipal securities are subject to the risk that litigation, legislation or other political events, local business or economic conditions or the bankruptcy of the issuer could have a significant effect on an issuer’s ability to make payments of principal and/or interest or otherwise affect the value of such securities. Municipal securities can be significantly affected by political changes as well as uncertainties in the municipal market related to taxation, legislative changes or the rights of municipal security holders. Because many municipal securities are issued to finance similar projects, especially those relating to education, health care, transportation and utilities, conditions in those sectors can affect the overall municipal market. In addition, changes in the financial condition of an individual municipal insurer can affect the overall municipal market.

Municipal securities backed by current or anticipated revenues from a specific project or specific assets can be negatively affected by the discontinuance of the taxation supporting the project or assets or the inability to collect revenues for the project or from the assets. Not all the municipal securities that the Fund may invest will be tax exempt municipal securities.

 

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Non-Diversification Risk. The Fund is classified as “non-diversified.” This means that the Fund may invest a large percentage of its assets in securities issued by or representing a small number of issuers. As a result, the Fund may be more susceptible to the risks associated with these particular issuers, or to a single economic, political or regulatory occurrence affecting these issuers.

Non-U.S. Issuers Risk. Bonds issued by non-U.S. issuers have different risks from bonds issued by U.S. issuers. These include differences in accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, the possibility of expropriation or confiscatory taxation, adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations, political instability which could affect U.S. investments in non-U.S. countries, and potential restrictions of the flow of international capital. Non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less governmental regulation than U.S. issuers. Moreover, individual non-U.S. economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and balance of payment positions. In addition, the value of these securities may fluctuate due to changes in the exchange rate of the issuer’s local currency against the U.S. dollar.

Not a Money Market Fund. The Fund is not a money market fund and is not subject to the strict rules that govern the quality, maturity, liquidity and other features of securities that money market funds may purchase. Under normal circumstances, the Fund’s investments may be more susceptible than a money market fund is to credit risk, interest rate risk, valuation risk and other risks relevant to the Fund’s investments. The Fund does not seek to maintain a stable net asset value of $1.00 per share.

Privately-Issued Securities Risk. The Fund will invest in privately-issued securities, including those which are normally purchased pursuant to Rule 144A or Regulation S. Privately-issued securities typically may be resold only to qualified institutional buyers, or in a privately negotiated transaction, or to a limited number of purchasers, or in limited quantities after they have been held for a specified period of time and other conditions are met for an exemption from registration. Because there may be relatively few potential purchasers for such securities, especially under adverse markets or economic conditions or in the event of adverse changes in the financial condition of the issuer, the Fund may find it more difficult to sell such securities when it may be advisable to do so or it may be able to sell such securities only at prices lower than if such securities were more widely held and traded. At times, it also may be more difficult to determine the fair value of such securities for purposes of computing the Fund’s net asset value due to the absence of an active trading market. There can be no assurance that a privately-issued security that is deemed to be liquid when purchased will continue to be liquid for as long as it is held by the Fund.

Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the Fund’s loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of the collateral provided for the loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund.

Sovereign Obligations Risk. An investment in sovereign debt obligations involves special risks not present in corporate debt obligations. Sovereign debt includes investments in securities issued by or guaranteed by a sovereign government. The issuer of the sovereign debt that controls the repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due, and the Fund may have limited recourse in the event of a default. During periods of economic uncertainty, the market prices of sovereign debt, and the Fund’s NAV, may be more volatile than prices of debt obligations. These risks may be more pronounced with respect to non-U.S. sovereign debt than with respect to U.S. government debt.

U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk. Treasury obligations may differ from other fixed-income securities in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit rating of the U.S. government may cause the value of its Treasury obligations to decline. Direct obligations of the U.S. Treasury have historically involved little risk of loss of principal if held to maturity. However, due to fluctuations in interest rates, the market value of such securities may vary during the period shareholders own shares of the Fund. Changes to the credit rating of the United States may cause the value of the U.S. Treasury obligations to decline.

Valuation Risk. The sales price the Fund could receive for a security may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the security, particularly for securities that trade in low volume or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair value methodology. Because non-U.S. stock exchanges may be open on days when the Fund does not price its shares, the value of the securities in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s shares. In addition, for purposes of calculating the Fund’s NAV, the value of assets denominated in non-U.S. currencies is converted into U.S. dollars using exchange rates deemed appropriate by BFA.

Portfolio Holdings Information

A description of the Trust’s policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is available in the Fund’s SAI. The top holdings of the Fund can be found at www.iShares.com. Fund fact sheets provide information regarding the Fund’s top holdings and may be requested by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737).

 

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Management

Investment Adviser. As investment adviser, BFA has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Trust. BFA provides an investment program for the Fund and manages the investment of the Fund’s assets. In managing the Fund, BFA may draw upon the research and expertise of its asset management affiliates with respect to certain portfolio securities. In seeking to achieve the Fund’s investment objective, BFA uses teams of portfolio managers, investment strategists and other investment specialists. This team approach brings together many disciplines and leverages BFA’s extensive resources.

Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement between BFA and the Trust (entered into on behalf of the Fund), BFA is responsible for substantially all expenses of the Fund, except interest expenses, taxes, brokerage expenses, future distribution fees or expenses and extraordinary expenses.

For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA is entitled to receive a management fee from the Fund based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at an annual rate of     %. Because the Fund has been in operation for less than one full fiscal year, this percentage reflects the rate at which BFA will be paid.

BFA has entered into a sub-advisory agreement with BFM (the “Sub-Adviser”), an affiliate of BFA, under which BFA pays the Sub-Adviser for services it provides either: (i) a fee equal to a percentage of the management fee paid to BFA under the Investment Advisory Agreement or (ii) an amount based on the cost of the services provided. The Sub-Adviser, subject to the supervision and oversight of the Board and BFA, will be primarily responsible for execution of securities transactions and may, from time to time, participate in the management of specified assets in the Fund’s portfolio. If the Sub-Adviser provides services relating to both portfolio management and trading, it is entitled to receive, from BFA, an amount equal to     % of BFA’s management fee, and if the Sub-Adviser provides services related solely to trading, then it is entitled to receive, from BFA, an amount equal to     % of the actual pre-tax costs incurred by the Sub-Adviser.

BFA is located at 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. It is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). As of             , 2012, BFA and its affiliates, including BTC and BlackRock, provided investment advisory services for assets in excess of $         trillion. BFM is an investment adviser located at 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055. The Sub-Adviser is a registered investment adviser organized in 1994. As of             , 2012, the Sub-Adviser’s total assets under management were approximately $        . BFA, BTC, the Sub-Adviser, BlackRock Execution Services, BlackRock and their affiliates deal, trade and invest for their own accounts in the types of securities in which the Fund may also invest.

A discussion regarding the basis for the Board’s approval of the Investment Advisory Agreement with BFA and the sub-advisory agreement between BFA and the Sub-Adviser will be available in the Fund’s              report for the period ended             .

Portfolio Managers. James Mauro, Thomas Musmanno, Scott Radell and Stuart Spodek are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager is responsible for various functions related to portfolio management, including, but not limited to, investing cash inflows, coordinating with members of his portfolio management team to focus on certain asset classes, implementing investment strategy, researching and reviewing investment strategy and overseeing members of his portfolio management team that have more limited responsibilities.

James Mauro has been employed by BFA and BTC as a portfolio manager since 2011. Prior to joining BTC, Mr. Mauro was a Vice President at State Street Global Advisors. Mr. Mauro has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since inception.

Thomas Musmanno has been a Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2010. Prior to that, Mr. Musmanno was Director of BlackRock, Inc. from 2006 to 2009 and Director of Merrill Lynch Investment managers, L.P. from 2004 to 2006. Mr. Musmanno has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since inception.

Scott Radell has been employed by BFA (formerly, Barclays Global Fund Advisors (“BGFA”)) and BTC (formerly, Barclays Global Investors, N.A. (“BGI”)) as a portfolio manager since 2004. Mr. Radell was a credit strategist from 2003 to 2004 and became a portfolio manager at BGFA and BGI in 2004. Mr. Radell has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since inception.

Stuart Spodek has been a Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2007. Mr. Spodek was Co-head of US Fixed Income within BlackRock’s Fixed Income Portfolio Management Group since 2007. Mr. Spodek has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since inception.

The Fund’s SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Managers’ ownership (if any) of shares in the Fund.

Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent. State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) is the administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund.

Conflicts of Interest. BFA wants you to know that there are certain entities with which BFA has relationships that may give rise to conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts of interest. These entities include the following: BFA’s affiliates (including BlackRock and The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., and each of their affiliates, directors, partners, trustees, managing members, officers and employees (collectively, the “Affiliates”)) and BlackRock’s significant shareholder, Barclays Bank PLC and its affiliates, including Barclays PLC (each, an “Entity” and together, the “Entities”).

 

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The activities of BFA, the Affiliates and the Entities in the management of, or their interest in, their own accounts and other accounts they manage, may present conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA and its Affiliates or the Entities provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow an investment program similar to that of the Fund. BFA, its Affiliates and the Entities are involved worldwide with a broad spectrum of financial services and asset management activities and may engage in the ordinary course of business in activities in which their interests or the interests of their clients may conflict with those of the Fund. BFA, one or more of the Affiliates or the Entities acts, or may act, as an investor, investment banker, research provider, investment manager, financier, underwriter, advisor, market maker, trader, prime broker, lender, agent or principal, and have other direct and indirect interests, in securities, currencies and other instruments in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. Thus, it is likely that the Fund will have multiple business relationships with and will invest in, engage in transactions with, make voting decisions with respect to, or obtain services from, entities for which BFA, an Affiliate or an Entity performs or seeks to perform investment banking or other services.

BFA or one or more Affiliates or Entities may engage in proprietary trading and advise accounts and funds that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in and compete for transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and other instruments as the Fund, including in securities issued by other open-end and closed-end investment management companies, including investment companies that are affiliated with the Fund and BFA, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The trading activities of BFA, these Affiliates and Entities are carried out without reference to positions held directly or indirectly by the Fund and may result in BFA, an Affiliate or an Entity having positions that are adverse to those of the Fund.

No Affiliate or Entity is under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Fund. As a result, an Affiliate or an Entity may compete with the Fund for appropriate investment opportunities. As a result of this and several other factors, including certain limitations on investments that may be applicable to BFA and/or the Enities due to regulatory or contractual implications, the results of the Fund’s investment activities may differ from those of an Affiliate or an Entity and of other accounts managed by an Affiliate or an Entity, and it is possible that the Fund could sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates or Entities and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible.

The Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which BFA or an Affiliate’s or an Entity’s clients have an interest adverse to the Fund. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by Affiliate-advised clients may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more Affiliate- or Entity-advised clients or BFA may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund.

An Entity may maintain securities indices as part of its product offerings. Index-based funds seek to track the performance of securities indices and may use the name of the index in the fund name. Index providers, including the Entities, may be paid licensing fees for use of their indices or index names. Entities will not be obligated to license their indices to BFA and its Affiliates, and BFA and its Affiliates will not be assured that the terms of any index licensing agreement with the Entities will be as favorable as those terms offered to other index licensees.

The Fund’s activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to one or more Affiliates or Entities, and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions. In addition, the Fund may invest in securities of companies with which an Affiliate or an Entity has or is trying to develop investment banking relationships or in which an Affiliate or an Entity has significant debt or equity investments. The Fund also may invest in securities of companies for which an Affiliate or an Entity provides or may some day provide research coverage. An Affiliate or an Entity may have business relationships with and purchase or distribute or sell services or products from or to distributors, consultants or others who recommend the Fund or who engage in transactions with or for the Fund, and may receive compensation for such services. The Fund may also invest in sovereign issuers that are advised by an Affiliate with respect to their debt offerings. The Fund may also make brokerage and other payments to Affiliates or Entities in connection with the Fund’s portfolio investment transactions.

Pursuant to a securities lending program approved by the Board, the Fund has retained an Affiliate of BFA to serve as the securities lending agent for the Fund to the extent that the Fund participates in the securities lending program. For these services, the lending agent may receive a fee from the Fund, including a fee based on the returns earned on the Fund’s investment of the cash received as collateral for any loaned securities. In addition, one or more Affiliates may be among the entities to which the Fund may lend its portfolio securities under the securities lending program.

The activities of BFA, the Affiliates or Entities may give rise to other conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA has adopted policies and procedures designed to address these potential conflicts of interest. See the Fund’s SAI for further information.

Shareholder Information

Additional shareholder information, including how to buy and sell shares of the Fund, is available free of charge by calling toll-free: 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting our website at www.iShares.com.

 

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Buying and Selling Shares. Shares of the Fund may be acquired or redeemed directly from the Fund only in Creation Units or multiples thereof, as discussed in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus. Only an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section) may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. Once created, shares of the Fund generally trade in the secondary market in amounts less than a Creation Unit.

Shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange for trading during the trading day. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like shares of other publicly traded companies. The Trust does not impose any minimum investment for shares of the Fund purchased on an exchange. The Fund’s shares trade under the trading symbol “            .”

Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange involves two types of costs that may apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you will likely incur a brokerage commission or other charges determined by your broker. The commission is frequently a fixed amount and may be a significant proportional cost for investors seeking to buy or sell small amounts of shares. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread” – that is, any difference between the bid price and the ask price. The spread varies over time for shares of the Fund based on its trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund has a lot of trading volume and market liquidity, and higher if the Fund has little trading volume and market liquidity.

The Board has adopted a policy of not monitoring for frequent purchases and redemptions of Fund shares (“frequent trading”) that appear to attempt to take advantage of a potential arbitrage opportunity presented by a lag between a change in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities after the close of the primary markets for the Fund’s portfolio securities and the reflection of that change in the Fund’s NAV (“market timing”), because the Fund generally sells and redeems its shares directly through transactions that are in-kind and/or for cash, subject to the conditions described below under Creations and Redemptions. The Board has not adopted a policy of monitoring for other frequent trading activity because shares of the Fund are listed for trading on a national securities exchange.

The national securities exchange on which the Fund’s shares are listed is open for trading Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The Fund’s primary listing exchange is             .

Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by investment companies in the securities of other investment companies. Registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in SEC rules or in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust. In order for a registered investment company to invest in shares of the Fund beyond the limitations of Section 12(d)(1) pursuant to the exemptive relief obtained by the Trust, the registered investment company must enter into an agreement with the Trust.

Book Entry. Shares of the Fund are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding shares of the Fund and is recognized as the owner of all shares for all purposes.

Investors owning shares of the Fund are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for shares of the Fund. DTC participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of stock certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other securities that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.

Share Prices. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares in the secondary market generally differ from the Fund’s daily NAV and are affected by market forces such as supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors. Information regarding the intraday value of shares of the Fund, also known as the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (“IOPV”), is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout the trading day by the national securities exchange on which the Fund’s shares are listed or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IOPV is based on the current market value of the securities and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a Creation Unit. The IOPV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities held by the Fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, the IOPV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the Fund’s NAV, which is computed only once a day. The IOPV is generally determined by using both current market quotations and/or price quotations obtained from broker-dealers that may trade in the portfolio securities held by the Fund. The quotations of certain Fund holdings may not be updated during U.S. trading hours if such holdings do not trade in the United States. The Fund is not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV and makes no representation or warranty as to its accuracy.

Determination of Net Asset Value. The NAV of the Fund normally is determined once daily Monday through Friday, generally as of the regularly scheduled close of business of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day that the NYSE is open for trading, based on prices at the time of closing provided that (a) any Fund assets or liabilities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar are translated into U.S. dollars at the prevailing market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more data service providers (as detailed below) and (b) U.S. fixed income assets may be valued as

 

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of the announced closing time for trading in fixed income instruments in a particular market or exchange. The NAV of the Fund is calculated by dividing the value of the net assets of the Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by the total number of outstanding shares of the Fund, generally rounded to the nearest cent.

The value of the securities and other assets held by the Fund, and its liabilities, are determined pursuant to valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board. The Fund’s assets and liabilities are valued primarily on the basis of market quotations.

The Fund values fixed income portfolio securities using prices provided directly from one or more broker-dealers, market makers, or independent third-party pricing services which may use matrix pricing and valuation models to derive values. Certain short-term debt securities may be valued on the basis of amortized cost.

The Fund invests in non-U.S. securities. Foreign currency exchange rates are generally determined as of 4:00 p.m., London time. Non-U.S. securities held by the Fund may trade on weekends or other days when the Fund does not price its shares. As a result, the Fund’s NAV may change on days when Authorized Participants will not be able to purchase or redeem Fund shares.

Generally, trading in non-U.S. securities, U.S. government securities, money market instruments and certain fixed-income securities is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of business on the NYSE. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of the Fund are determined as of such times.

When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BFA to be unreliable, the Fund’s investments are valued at fair value. Fair value determinations are made by BFA in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Fund’s Board. BFA may conclude that a market quotation is not readily available or is unreliable if a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source due to its lack of liquidity, if a market quotation differs significantly from recent price quotations or otherwise no longer appears to reflect fair value, where the security or other asset or liability is thinly traded, or where there is a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation. A “significant event” is an event that, in the judgment of BFA, is likely to cause a material change to the closing market price of the asset or liability held by the Fund. Non-U.S. securities whose values are affected by volatility that occurs in U.S. markets on a trading day after the close of non-U.S. securities markets may be fair valued.

Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of an asset or liability held by the Fund is the amount the Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or the cost to extinguish that liability in an arm’s-length transaction. Valuing the Fund’s investments using fair value pricing will result in prices that may differ from current market valuations and that may not be the prices at which those investments could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used.

The value of assets or liabilities denominated in non-U.S. currencies will be converted into U.S. dollars using exchange rates deemed appropriate by BFA as investment adviser.

Dividends and Distributions

General Policies. Dividends from net investment income, if any, generally are declared and paid monthly by the Fund. Distributions of net realized securities gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but the Trust may make distributions on a more frequent basis for the Fund. The Trust reserves the right to declare special distributions if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve its status as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income or realized gains.

Dividends and other distributions on shares of the Fund are distributed on a pro rata basis to beneficial owners of such shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC participants and indirect participants to beneficial owners then of record with proceeds received from the Fund.

Dividend Reinvestment Service. No dividend reinvestment service is provided by the Trust. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by beneficial owners of the Fund for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Beneficial owners should contact their broker to determine the availability and costs of the service and the details of participation therein. Brokers may require beneficial owners to adhere to specific procedures and timetables. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole shares of the Fund purchased in the secondary market.

Taxes. As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in shares of the Fund will be taxed. The tax information in this Prospectus is provided as general information. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund.

Unless your investment in Fund shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an IRA, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Fund shares.

Taxes on Distributions. Distributions from the Fund’s net investment income, including distributions of income from securities lending and distributions out of the Fund’s net short-term capital gains, if any, are taxable to you as ordinary income. The Fund’s distributions of net long-term capital gains, if any, in excess of net short-term capital losses are taxable as long-term capital gains,

 

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regardless of how long you have held the shares. Distributions from the Fund will be subject to a 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax on net investment income, beginning in 2013, for individuals with incomes exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly). Distributions from the Fund do not qualify for the lower tax rates applicable to qualified dividend income. In general, your distributions are subject to U.S. federal income tax for the year when they are paid. Certain distributions paid in January, however, may be treated as paid on December 31 of the prior year.

If the Fund’s distributions exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, all or a portion of the distributions made in the taxable year may be recharacterized as a return of capital to shareholders. A return of capital distribution generally will not be taxable but will reduce the shareholder’s cost basis and will result in a higher capital gain or lower capital loss when those shares on which the distribution was received are sold. Once a shareholder’s cost basis is reduced to zero, further distributions will be treated as capital gain, if the shareholder holds shares of the Fund as capital assets.

Interest received by the Fund with respect to non-U.S. securities may give rise to withholding and other taxes imposed by non-U.S. countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the U.S. may reduce or eliminate such taxes. If more than 50% of the total assets of the Fund at the close of a year consists of securities of non-U.S. corporations, the Fund may “pass through” to you certain non-U.S. income taxes (including withholding taxes) paid by the Fund. This means that you would be considered to have received as an additional dividend your share of such non-U.S. taxes, but you may be entitled to either a corresponding tax deduction in calculating your U.S. federal taxable income, or, subject to certain limitations, a credit in calculating your U.S. federal income tax.

If you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the United States or if you are a non-U.S. entity, the Fund’s ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gains) will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. federal withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies.

A 30% withholding tax will be imposed on dividends paid after December 31, 2013, and redemption proceeds paid after December 31, 2014, to (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. account holders and (ii) certain other foreign entities, unless they certify certain information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. owners. To avoid withholding, foreign financial institutions will need to enter into agreements with the IRS that state that they will provide the IRS information, including the name, address and taxpayer identification number of direct and indirect U.S. account holders; comply with due diligence procedures with respect to the identification of U.S. accounts; report to the IRS certain information with respect to U.S. accounts maintained; agree to withhold tax on certain payments made to non-compliant foreign financial institutions or to account holders who fail to provide the required information; and determine certain other information as to their account holders. Other foreign entities will need to provide the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner or certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership, unless certain exceptions apply.

If you are a resident or a citizen of the United States, by law, back-up withholding will apply to your distributions and proceeds if you have not provided a taxpayer identification number or social security number and made other required certifications.

Taxes When Shares are Sold. Currently, any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares is generally treated as a long-term gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than one year. Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares held for one year or less is generally treated as short-term gain or loss, except that any capital loss on the sale of shares held for six months or less is treated as long-term capital loss to the extent that capital gain dividends were paid with respect to such shares. Beginning in 2013, any such capital gains, including from sales of Fund shares or from capital gain dividends, will be included in “net investment income” for purposes of the 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax mentioned above.

If your shares are lent out pursuant to a securities lending arrangement, you may lose the ability to use the non-U.S. tax credits passed through by the Fund or to tread Fund dividends (paid while the shares are hold by the borrower) as qualified dividend income.

The foregoing discussion summarizes some of the consequences under current U.S. federal tax law of an investment in the Fund. It is not a substitute for personal tax advice. You may also be subject to state and local taxation on Fund distributions and sales of shares. Consult your personal tax adviser about the potential tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund under all applicable tax laws.

Creations and Redemptions. Prior to trading in the secondary market, shares of the Fund are “created” at NAV by market makers, large investors and institutions only in block-size Creation Units of              shares or multiples thereof. Each “creator” or “Authorized Participant” enters into an authorized participant agreement with the Fund’s distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”).

A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the transfer agent, generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits into the Fund a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) and a specified amount of cash approximating the holdings of the Fund in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units. To the extent practicable, the composition of such portfolio generally corresponds pro rata to the holdings of the Fund.

 

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Similarly, shares can be redeemed only in Creation Units, generally for a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) held by the Fund and a specified amount of cash. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares are not redeemable by the Fund.

The prices at which creations and redemptions occur are based on the next calculation of NAV after a creation or redemption order is received in a form acceptable under the authorized participant agreement.

Only an Authorized Participant may create or redeem Creation Units directly with the Fund.

The Fund intends to comply with the U.S. federal securities laws in accepting securities for deposit and satisfying redemptions with redemption securities by, among other means, assuring that any securities accepted for deposit and any securities used to satisfy redemption requests will be sold in transactions that would be exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined under Rule 144A of the 1933 Act, will not be able to receive Fund securities that are restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A.

Creations and redemptions must be made through a firm that is either a member of the Continuous Net Settlement System of the National Securities Clearing Corporation or a DTC participant and has executed an agreement with the Distributor with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Unit aggregations. Information about the procedures regarding creation and redemption of Creation Units (including the cut-off times for receipt of creation and redemption orders) is included in the Fund’s SAI.

Because new shares may be created and issued on an ongoing basis, at any point during the life of the Fund a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may be occurring. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters and subject to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. Any determination of whether one is an underwriter must take into account all the relevant facts and circumstances of each particular case.

Broker-dealers should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to ordinary secondary transactions), and thus dealing with shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(3) of the 1933 Act. For delivery of prospectuses to exchange members, the prospectus delivery mechanism of Rule 153 under the 1933 Act is available only with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange.

Costs Associated with Creations and Redemptions. Authorized Participants are charged standard creation and redemption transaction fees to offset transfer and other transaction costs associated with the issuance and redemption of Creation Units. The standard creation and redemption transaction fees are set forth in the table below. The standard creation transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant creates a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased by the Authorized Participant on the applicable business day. Similarly, the standard redemption transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant redeems a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units redeemed by the Authorized Participant on the applicable business day. Creations and redemptions for cash (when cash creations and redemptions (in whole or in part) are available or specified) are also subject to an additional charge (up to the maximum amounts shown in the table below). This charge is intended to compensate for brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, market impact and other costs and expenses related to cash transactions. Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary may pay fees for such services.

The following table shows, as of             , 2012 the approximate value of one Creation Unit, standard fees and maximum additional charges for creations and redemptions (as described above):

 

Approximate

Value of a

Creation Unit

 

Creation

Unit Size

 

Standard

Creation/

Redemption

Transaction Fee

 

Maximum Additional

Charge for

Creations*

 

Maximum Additional

Charge for

Redemptions*

$            

                 $                   %       %

 

  * As a percentage of the net asset value per Creation Unit, inclusive, in the case of redemptions, of the standard redemption transaction fee.

Householding. Householding is an option available to certain Fund investors. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Please contact your broker-dealer if you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, or if you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status.

 

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Distribution

The Distributor distributes Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in shares of the Fund. The Distributor has no role in determining the policies of the Fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by the Fund. The Distributor’s principal address is 525 Washington Boulevard, Suite 1405, Jersey City, NJ 07310.

In addition, BFA or its Affiliates make payments to broker-dealers, banks or other financial intermediaries (together, “intermediaries”) related to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, or their making shares of the Fund and certain other iShares funds available to their customers. Such payments, which may be significant to the intermediary, are not made by the Fund. Rather, such payments are made by BFA or its Affiliates from their own resources, which come directly or indirectly in part from fees paid by the iShares funds complex. Payments of this type are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments. A financial intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it recommends or makes available, or the level of services provided, to its customers based on the revenue-sharing payments it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments to an intermediary create conflicts of interest between the intermediary and its customers and may cause the intermediary to recommend the Fund or other iShares funds over another investment. More information regarding these payments is contained in the Fund’s SAI. Please contact your salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any such payments his or her firm may receive from BFA or its Affiliates.

 

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Financial Highlights

Financial highlights for the Fund are not available because, as of the effective date of this Prospectus, the Fund has not commenced operations, and therefore has no financial highlights to report.

 

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Disclaimers

Shares of the Fund are not sponsored, endorsed or promoted by             .              makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the shares of the Fund or any member of the public regarding the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective.              is not responsible for, nor has it participated in, the determination of the Fund’s investments, nor in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of shares of the Fund to be issued, nor in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the shares are redeemable.              has no obligation or liability to owners of the shares of the Fund in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the shares of the Fund. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall              have any liability for any direct, indirect, special, punitive, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits) even if notified of the possibility of such damages.

 

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LOGO

For more information visit www.iShares.com or call 1-800-474-2737

Copies of the Prospectus, SAI and other information can be found on our website at www.iShares.com. For more information about the Fund, you may request a copy of the SAI. The SAI provides detailed information about the Fund and is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. This means that the SAI, for legal purposes, is a part of this Prospectus.

If you have any questions about the Trust or shares of the Fund or you wish to obtain the SAI free of charge, please:

 

Call:   

1-800-iShares or 1-800-474-2737 (toll free)

Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Eastern time)

Email:    iSharesETFs@blackrock.com
Write:   

c/o BlackRock Investments, LLC

525 Washington Boulevard, Suite 1405, Jersey City, NJ 07310

Information about the Fund (including the SAI) can be reviewed and copied at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C., and information on the operation of the Public Reference Room may be obtained by calling the SEC at 1-202-551-8090. Reports and other information about the Fund are available on the EDGAR database on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov, and copies of this information may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov, or by writing to the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, D.C. 20549-1520.

No person is authorized to give any information or to make any representations about the Fund and its shares not contained in this Prospectus and you should not rely on any other information. Read and keep the Prospectus for future reference.

Investment Company Act File No.: 811-22649

 

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The information in this Statement of Additional Information is not complete and may be changed. A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The securities described herein may not be sold until the registration statement becomes effective. This Statement of Additional Information is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state in which the offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.

iShares® U.S. ETF Trust

Statement of Additional Information

Dated             , 2012

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the current prospectus (the “Prospectus”) for the following fund of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (the “Trust”):

 

Fund

   Ticker    Stock Exchange

iShares Ultrashort Bond Fund (the “Fund”)

                       

The Prospectus for the Fund is dated             , 2012, as amended and supplemented from time to time. Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined have the same meaning as in the Prospectus, unless otherwise noted. A copy of the Prospectus may be obtained without charge by writing to the Trust’s distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC. (the “Distributor”), at 525 Washington Boulevard, Suite 1405, Jersey City, NJ 07310, calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting www.iShares.com. The Fund’s Prospectus is incorporated by reference to this SAI.

iShares® is a registered trademark of BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. (“BTC”).

 

 

 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

General Description of the Trust and the Fund

     3   

Exchange Listing and Trading

     3   

Investment Strategies and Risks

     4   

General Considerations and Risks

     16   

Proxy Voting Policy

     22   

Portfolio Holdings Information

     22   

Investment Limitations

     23   

Continuous Offering

     25   

Management

     25   

Investment Advisory, Administrative and Distribution Services

     42   

Brokerage Transactions

     47   

Additional Information Concerning the Trust

     48   

Creation and Redemption of Creation Units

     50   

Taxes

     96   

Financial Statements

     100   

Miscellaneous Information

     100   

Appendix A

     101   

 

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General Description of the Trust and the Fund

The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on June 21, 2011 and is authorized to have multiple series or portfolios. The Trust is an open-end management investment company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The offering of the Trust’s shares is registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). The Trust currently consists of five investment series or portfolios. This SAI relates solely to the Fund.

The Fund seeks to maximize current income. The Fund is managed by BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA” or the “Investment Adviser”), an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. BlackRock Financial Management, an affiliate of BFA, serves as the sub-adviser (the “Sub-Adviser”) to the Fund. The Fund is not a money market fund and does not seek to maintain a stable net asset value of $1.00 per share.

The Fund offers and issues shares at their net asset value per share (“NAV”) only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (“Creation Unit”), generally in exchange for a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) (the “Deposit Securities”), together with the deposit of a specified cash payment (the “Cash Component”). Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on              (the “Listing Exchange”), a national securities exchange. Shares of the Fund are traded in the secondary market and elsewhere at market prices that may be at, above or below the Fund’s NAV. Shares are redeemable only in Creation Units, and, generally, in exchange for portfolio securities and a Cash Component. Creation Units typically are a specified number of shares, generally              or multiples thereof.

The Trust reserves the right to permit or require that creations and redemptions of shares are effected fully or partially in cash. Shares may be issued in advance of receipt of Deposit Securities, subject to various conditions, including a requirement to maintain with the Trust a cash deposit equal to at least 105% and up to 115%, which percentage BFA may change from time to time, of the market value of the omitted Deposit Securities. See the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI. Transaction fees and other costs associated with creations or redemptions that include a cash portion may be higher than the transaction fees and other costs associated with in-kind creations or redemptions. In all cases, conditions and fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of SEC rules and regulations applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities.

Exchange Listing and Trading

A discussion of exchange listing and trading matters associated with an investment in the Fund is contained in the Shareholder Information section of the Fund’s Prospectus. The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, that section of the Prospectus.

Shares of the Fund are listed for trading, and trade throughout the day, on the Listing Exchange and other secondary markets. Shares of the Fund may also be listed on certain non-U.S. exchanges. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Listing Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of shares of the Fund will continue to be met. The Listing Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the shares of the Fund from listing if (i) following the initial 12-month period beginning upon the commencement of trading of Fund shares, there are fewer than 50 beneficial owners of shares of the Fund for 30 or more consecutive trading days, (ii) the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (“IOPV”) of the Fund is no longer calculated or available, or (iii) any other event shall occur or condition shall exist that, in the opinion of the Listing Exchange, makes further dealings on the Listing Exchange inadvisable. The Listing Exchange will also remove shares of the Fund from listing and trading upon termination of the Fund.

As in the case of other publicly-traded securities, when you buy or sell shares through a broker you will incur a brokerage commission determined by that broker.

In order to provide additional information regarding the indicative value of shares of the Fund, the Listing Exchange or a market data vendor disseminates information every 15 seconds through the facilities of the Consolidated Tape Association, or through other widely disseminated means, an updated IOPV for the Fund as calculated by an information provider or market data vendor. The Trust is not involved in or responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IOPVs and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the IOPVs.

 

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An IOPV has a securities component and a cash component. The securities values included in an IOPV are the values of the Deposit Securities for the Fund. While the IOPV reflects the current value of the Deposit Securities required to be deposited in connection with the purchase of a Creation Unit, it does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities held by the Fund at a particular point in time because the current portfolio of the Fund may include securities that are not a part of the current Deposit Securities. Therefore, the Fund’s IOPV disseminated during the Listing Exchange trading hours should not be viewed as a real-time update of the Fund’s NAV, which is calculated only once a day.

The cash component included in an IOPV consists of estimated accrued interest, dividends and other income, less expenses. If applicable, each IOPV also reflects changes in currency exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the applicable currency.

The Trust reserves the right to adjust the share prices of the Fund in the future to maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of the Fund or an investor’s equity interest in the Fund.

Investment Strategies and Risks

The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of its net assets in investment grade fixed income securities that are rated a minimum of BBB- or higher by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (a subsidiary of The McGraw Hill Companies) (“S&P”) and/or Fitch Inc. (“Fitch”), or Baa3 or higher by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc.(“Moody’s”), or, if unrated, determined by the management team to be of equivalent quality. The Fund will invest in fixed and floating rate securities of varying maturities, such as corporate and government bonds, agency securities, instruments of non-U.S. issuers, asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities, structured securities, municipal bonds, money market instruments and investment companies. The Fund may enter into to-be-announced transactions (“TBA transactions”) on a regular basis with respect to the percentage of the portfolio (if any) that consists of mortgage-pass through securities. BFA or its affiliates may advise the money market funds and investment companies in which the Fund may hold. Under normal circumstances, the effective duration of the Fund’s portfolio is expected to be one year or less, as calculated by BFA. Effective duration is a measure of the Fund’s price sensitivity to changes in yields or interest rates; however investors should be aware that effective duration is not an exact measurement and may not reliably predict a particular security’s price sensitivity to changes in yield or interest rates. The Fund will also seek to maintain a weighted average maturity that is less than three years. Weighted average maturity is a U.S. dollar-weighted average of the remaining term to maturity of the underlying securities in the Fund’s portfolio. For the purposes of determining the Fund’s weighted average maturity, a security’s final maturity date, or for amortizing securities such as asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities, its weighted average life, will be used for calculation purposes. The Fund is an actively managed exchange-traded fund (“ETF”) that does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index. The Fund is not a money market fund and does not seek to maintain a stable net asset value of $1.00 per share.

Asset-Backed and Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities. The Fund may invest in asset-backed and commercial mortgage-backed securities. Asset-backed securities are securities backed by installment contracts, credit-card receivables or other assets. Commercial mortgage-backed securities are securities backed by commercial real estate properties. Both asset-backed and commercial mortgage-backed securities represent interests in “pools” of assets in which payments of both interest and principal on the securities are made on a regular basis. The payments are, in effect, “passed through” to the holder of the securities (net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of the securities). The average life of asset-backed and commercial mortgage-backed securities varies with the maturities of the underlying instruments and, as a result of prepayments, can often be less than the original maturity of the assets underlying the securities. For this and other reasons, an asset-backed or commercial mortgage-backed security’s stated maturity may be shortened, and the security’s total return may be difficult to predict precisely.

Beginning in the second half of 2007 through 2009, the market for asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities experienced substantially, often dramatically, lower valuations and reduced liquidity. These instruments continue to be subject to liquidity constraints, price volatility, credit downgrades and increases in default rates and, therefore, may be more difficult to value and more difficult to dispose of than previously. Because of call and extension risk, asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities react differently to changes in interest rates than other bonds. Small movements in interest rates (both increases and decreases) may quickly and significantly reduce the value of certain asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities.

 

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Bonds. A bond is an interest-bearing security issued by a U.S. or non-U.S. company or U.S. or Non-U.S. governmental unit. The issuer of a bond has a contractual obligation to pay interest at a stated rate on specific dates and to repay principal (the bond’s face value) periodically or on a specified maturity date. Bonds generally are used by corporations and governments to borrow money from investors.

An issuer may have the right to redeem or “call” a bond before maturity, in which case a fund may have to reinvest the proceeds at lower market rates. Similarly, a fund may have to reinvest interest income or payments received when bonds mature, sometimes at lower market rates. Most bonds bear interest income at a “coupon” rate that is fixed for the life of the bond. The value of a fixed-rate bond usually rises when market interest rates fall, and falls when market interest rates rise. Accordingly, a fixed-rate bond’s yield (income as a percent of the bond’s current value) may differ from its coupon rate as its value rises or falls. When an investor purchases a fixed-rate bond at a price that is greater than its face value, the investor is purchasing the bond at a premium. Conversely, when an investor purchases a fixed-rate bond at a price that is less than its face value, the investor is purchasing the bond at a discount. Fixed-rate bonds that are purchased at a discount pay less current income than securities with comparable yields that are purchased at face value, with the result that prices for such fixed-rate securities can be more volatile than prices for such securities that are purchased at face value. Other types of bonds bear interest at an interest rate that is adjusted periodically. Interest rates on “floating rate” or “variable rate” bonds may be higher or lower than current market rates for fixed-rate bonds of comparable quality with similar final maturities. Because of their adjustable interest rates, the value of “floating rate” or “variable rate” bonds fluctuates much less in response to market interest rate movements than the value of fixed-rate bonds, but the value may decline if their interest rates do not rise as much, or as quickly, as interest rates in general. The Fund may treat some of these bonds as having a shorter maturity for purposes of calculating the weighted average maturity of its investment portfolio. Generally, prices of higher quality issues tend to fluctuate less with changes in market interest rates than prices of lower quality issues and prices of longer maturity issues tend to fluctuate more than prices of shorter maturity issues. Bonds may be senior or subordinated obligations. Senior obligations generally have the first claim on a corporation’s earnings and assets and, in the event of liquidation, are paid before subordinated obligations. Bonds may be unsecured (backed only by the issuer’s general creditworthiness) or secured (backed by specified collateral).

Corporate Bonds. The Fund may invest in investment-grade corporate bonds. The investment return of corporate bonds reflects interest earned on the security and changes in the market value of the security. The market value of a corporate bond may be affected by changes in the market rate of interest, the credit rating of the corporation, the corporation’s performance and perceptions of the corporation in the market place. There is a risk that the issuers of the securities may not be able to meet their obligations on interest or principal payments at the time called for by an instrument.

Credit Linked Securities. Among the income producing securities in which the Fund may invest are credit linked securities, which are issued by a limited purpose trust or other vehicle that, in turn, invests in a derivative instrument or basket of derivative instruments, such as credit default swaps, interest rate swaps and other securities, in order to provide exposure to certain fixed income markets. For instance, the Fund may invest in credit linked securities as a cash management tool in order to gain exposure to a certain market and/or to remain fully invested when more traditional income producing securities are not available.

Like an investment in a bond, investments in these credit linked securities represent the right to receive periodic income payments (in the form of distributions) and payment of principal at the end of the term of the security. However, these payments are conditioned on the issuer’s receipt of payments from, and the issuer’s potential obligations to, the counterparties to the derivative instruments and other securities in which the issuer invests. For instance, the issuer may sell one or more credit default swaps, under which the issuer would receive a stream of payments over the term of the swap agreements provided that no event of default has occurred with respect to the referenced debt obligation upon which the swap is based. If a default occurs, the stream of payments may stop and the issuer would be obligated to pay the counterparty the par (or other agreed upon value) of the referenced debt obligation. This, in turn, would reduce the amount of income and principal that the Fund would receive. The Fund’s investments in these instruments are indirectly subject to the risks associated with derivative instruments, including, among others, credit risk, default or similar event risk, counterparty risk, interest rate risk, leverage risk and management risk. It is also expected that the securities will be exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933 Act. Accordingly, there may be no established trading market for the securities and they may constitute illiquid investments. Some transactions may give rise to a form of economic leverage. These transactions may include, among others, derivatives, and may expose the Fund to greater risk and increase its costs. Increases and decreases in the value of the Fund’s portfolio will be magnified when the Fund uses leverage.

Currency Transactions. The Fund expects to engage in currency transactions for the purpose of hedging against declines in the value of the Fund’s assets that are denominated in a non-U.S. currency. The Fund may also enter

 

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into non-U.S. currency forward contracts to facilitate local securities settlements or to protect against currency exposure in connection with its distributions to shareholders or for the purpose of hedging, but may not enter into such contracts for speculative purposes.

A forward currency contract is an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract.

The rapid fluctuations in the market prices of currency forwards generally make such investments volatile. Volatility is caused by, among other things: changes in supply and demand relationships; trade, fiscal, monetary and exchange control programs; domestic and foreign political and economic events and policies; and changes in interest rates. The Fund’s trading methods may not take into account all of these factors. In addition, governments from time to time intervene, directly and by regulation, in certain markets, often with the intent to influence prices directly. The effects of governmental intervention may be particularly significant at certain times in the currency markets, and this intervention may cause these markets to move rapidly.

Foreign exchange transactions involve a significant degree of risk and the markets in which foreign exchange transactions are effected are highly volatile, highly specialized and highly technical. Significant changes, including changes in liquidity and prices, can occur in such markets within very short periods of time, often within minutes. Foreign exchange trading risks include, but are not limited to, exchange rate risk, counterparty risk, maturity gap, interest rate risk, and potential interference by foreign governments through regulation of local exchange markets, foreign investment or particular transactions in non-U.S. currency. If BFA utilizes foreign exchange transactions at an inappropriate time or judges market conditions, trends or correlations incorrectly, foreign exchange transactions may not serve their intended purpose of improving the Fund’s performance and may lower the Fund’s return. The Fund could experience losses if the value of its currency forward positions are poorly correlated with its other investments or if it cannot close out its positions because of an illiquid market. In addition, the Fund could incur transaction costs, including trading commissions, in connection with certain non-U.S. currency transactions.

Diversification Status. The Fund is classified as “non-diversified.” A “non-diversified” fund is a fund that is not limited by the 1940 Act with regard to the percentage of its assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer. The securities of a particular issuer (or securities of issuers in particular industries) may dominate the Fund’s investment portfolio. This may adversely affect the Fund’s performance or subject the Fund’s shares to greater price volatility than that experienced by more diversified investment companies.

The Fund intends to maintain the required level of diversification and otherwise conduct its operations so as to qualify as a Regulated Investment Company (“RIC”) for purposes of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Internal Revenue Code”), and to relieve the Fund of any liability for U.S. federal income tax to the extent that its earnings are distributed to shareholders, provided that the Fund satisfies a minimum distribution requirement. Compliance with the diversification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code may limit the investment flexibility of the Fund and may make it less likely that the Fund will meet its investment objective.

Dollar Rolls. A dollar roll transaction involves a sale by the Fund of a mortgage-backed or other security concurrently with an agreement by the Fund to repurchase a similar security at a later date at an agreed-upon price. The securities that are repurchased will bear the same interest rate and a similar maturity as those sold, but pools of mortgages collateralizing those securities may have different prepayment histories than those sold. During the period between the sale and repurchase, the Fund will not be entitled to receive interest and principal payments on the securities sold. Proceeds of the sale will be invested in additional instruments for the Fund, and the income from these investments will generate income for the Fund. If such income does not exceed the income, capital appreciation and gain or loss that would have been realized on the securities sold as part of the dollar roll, the use of this technique will diminish the investment performance of the Fund compared with what the performance would have been without the use of dollar rolls. At the time the Fund enters into a dollar roll transaction, BFA will designate assets on its books and records in an amount equal to the amount of the Fund’s commitments and will subsequently monitor the account to ensure that its value is maintained.

Dollar rolls involve the risk that the market value of the securities subject to a Fund’s forward purchase commitment may decline below, or the market value of the securities subject to a Fund’s forward sale commitment may increase above, the exercise price of the forward commitment. In the event the buyer of the securities files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, the Fund’s use of the proceeds of the current sale portion of the transaction may be restricted pending a determination by the other party, or its trustee or receiver, whether to enforce the Fund’s obligation to purchase the similar securities in the forward transaction. Dollar rolls are speculative techniques that can be deemed to involve leverage. At the time the Fund sells securities and agrees to repurchase securities at a future date, the Fund will segregate liquid assets with a value equal to the repurchase price. The Fund may engage in

 

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dollar roll transactions to enhance return. Each dollar roll transaction is accounted for as a sale or purchase of a portfolio security and a subsequent purchase or sale of a substantially similar security in the forward market. Successful use of mortgage dollar rolls may depend upon BFA’s ability to correctly predict interest rates and prepayments. There is no assurance that dollar rolls can be successfully employed.

Floating and Variable Rate Securities. The Fund may invest in debt instruments that pay a variable coupon rate. Securities with floating or variable interest rates can be less sensitive to interest rate changes than securities with fixed interest rates, but may decline in value if their interest rates do not rise as much, or as quickly, as interest rates in general. Conversely, floating rate securities will not generally increase in value if interest rates decline. The impact of interest rate changes on floating rate investments is typically mitigated by the periodic interest rate reset of the investments. Benchmark interest rates used for floating and variable rate securities, such as the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR), may not accurately track market interest rates.

Illiquid Securities. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities (calculated at the time of investment). Illiquid securities include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets as determined in accordance with SEC staff guidance.

Inflation-Protected Obligations. The Fund may invest in inflation-protected public obligations of the U.S. Treasury, commonly known as “TIPS.” TIPS are a type of U.S. government obligation issued by the U.S. Treasury that are designed to provide inflation protection to investors. TIPS are income-generating instruments whose interest and principal payments are adjusted for inflation—a sustained increase in prices that erodes the purchasing power of money. The inflation adjustment, which is typically applied monthly to the principal of the bond, follows a designated inflation index, such as the consumer price index. A fixed-coupon rate is applied to the inflation-adjusted principal so that as inflation rises, both the principal value and the interest payments increase. This can provide investors with a hedge against inflation, as it helps preserve the purchasing power of an investment. Because of this inflation adjustment feature, inflation-protected bonds typically have lower yields than conventional fixed-rate bonds.

Lease Obligations. The Fund may hold participation certificates in a lease, an installment purchase contract, or a conditional sales contract (“lease obligations”). BFA will monitor the credit standing of each borrower and each entity providing credit support and/or a put option relating to lease obligations. In determining whether a lease obligation is liquid, BFA will consider, among other factors, the following: (i) whether the lease can be cancelled; (ii) the degree of assurance that assets represented by the lease could be sold; (iii) the strength of the lessee’s general credit (e.g., its debt, administrative, economic and financial characteristics); (iv) in the case of a municipal lease, the likelihood that the municipality would discontinue appropriating funding for the leased property because the property is no longer deemed essential to the operations of the municipality (e.g., the potential for an “event of non-appropriation”); (v) legal recourse in the event of failure to appropriate; (vi) whether the security is backed by a credit enhancement such as insurance; and (vii) any limitations which are imposed on the lease obligor’s ability to utilize substitute property or services other than those covered by the lease obligation.

Lending Portfolio Securities. The Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain creditworthy borrowers, including borrowers affiliated with BFA. The borrowers provide collateral that is maintained in an amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities loaned. No securities loan shall be made on behalf of the Fund if, as a result, the aggregate value of all securities loans of the Fund exceeds one-third of the value of the Fund’s total assets (including the value of the collateral received). The Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. The Fund receives the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities.

With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower will be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. The Fund is compensated by the difference between the amount earned on the reinvestment of cash collateral and the fee paid to the borrower. In the case of collateral other than cash, the Fund is compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. Any cash collateral may be reinvested in certain short-term instruments either directly on behalf of the Fund or through one or more joint accounts or money market funds, including those affiliated with BFA; such reinvestments are subject to investment risk. BFA may receive compensation for these investments.

Securities lending involves exposure to certain risks, including operational risk (i.e., the risk of losses resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process), “gap” risk (i.e., the risk of a mismatch between the return on cash collateral reinvestments and the fees the Fund has agreed to pay a borrower), and credit, legal, counterparty and market risk. If a securities lending counterparty were to default, the Fund would be subject to the risk of a possible delay in receiving collateral or in recovering the loaned securities, or to a possible loss of rights in the

 

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collateral. In the event a borrower does not return the Fund’s securities as agreed, the Fund may experience losses if the proceeds received from liquidating the collateral do not at least equal the value of the loaned security at the time the collateral is liquidated, plus the transaction costs incurred in purchasing replacement securities. This event could trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. Substitute payments for dividends received by the Fund for securities loaned out by the Fund will not be considered qualified dividend income. The Fund may take the tax effects of this difference into account in its securities lending program.

The Fund pays a portion of the interest or fees earned from securities lending to a borrower as described above and to a securities lending agent who administers the lending program in accordance with guidelines approved by the Trust’s Board of Trustees (the “Board” or the “Trustees”). To the extent that the Fund engages in securities lending, BTC acts as securities lending agent for the Fund, subject to the overall supervision of BFA. BTC receives a portion of the revenues generated by securities lending activities as compensation for its services.

Mezzanine Investments. The Fund may invest in certain securities known as mezzanine investments, which are subordinated debt securities which are generally issued in private placements in connection with an equity security (e.g., with attached warrants). Such mezzanine investments may be issued with or without registration rights. Maturities of mezzanine investments are typically seven to ten years, but the expected average life is significantly shorter at three to five years. Mezzanine investments are usually unsecured and subordinate to other obligations of the issuer.

Mortgage Pass-Through Securities. The Fund may invest in mortgage pass-through securities issued by Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), or the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA). In the basic mortgage pass-through structure, mortgages with similar issuer, term and coupon characteristics are collected and aggregated into a “pool” consisting of multiple mortgage loans. The pool is assigned a CUSIP number and undivided interests in the pool are traded and sold as pass-through securities. The holder of the security is entitled to a pro rata share of principal and interest payments (including unscheduled prepayments) from the pool of mortgage loans. The portion of the Fund’s portfolio representing the mortgage pass-through segment of the U.S. investment-grade bond market is comprised of multiple pools of fixed-rate and hybrid ARMs mortgage pass-through securities. A hybrid ARM is a mortgage in which the homeowner pays a fixed interest rate for a fixed period of time (typically 3, 5, 7, or 10 years) and a floating rate after that period, combining the features of fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage securities.

An investment in a specific pool of pass-through securities requires an analysis of the specific prepayment risk of mortgages within the covered pool (since mortgagors typically have the option to prepay their loans). The level of prepayments on a pool of mortgage securities is difficult to predict and can impact the subsequent cash flows, value and yield of the mortgage pool. In addition, when trading specific mortgage pools, precise execution, delivery and settlement arrangements must be negotiated for each transaction. These factors combine to make trading in mortgage pools somewhat cumbersome.

For these and other reasons, the Fund seeks to obtain exposure to the fixed-rate portion of the U.S. agency mortgage pass-through securities, which represent a portion of the Fund’s portfolio, primarily through the use of TBA transactions.” “TBA” refers to a commonly used mechanism for the forward settlement of U.S. agency mortgage pass-through securities, and not to a separate type of mortgage-backed security. Most transactions in fixed-rate mortgage pass-through securities occur through the use of TBA transactions. TBA transactions generally are conducted in accordance with widely-accepted guidelines which establish commonly observed terms and conditions for execution, settlement and delivery. In a TBA transaction, the buyer and seller decide on general trade parameters, such as agency, settlement date, par amount, and price. The actual pools delivered generally are determined two days prior to settlement date. The Fund intends to use TBA transactions in several ways. For example, the Fund expects that it will regularly enter into TBA agreements and “roll over” such agreements prior to the settlement date stipulated in such agreements. This type of TBA transaction is sometimes known as a “TBA roll.” In a “TBA roll,” the Fund generally will sell the obligation to purchase the pools stipulated in the TBA agreement prior to the stipulated settlement date and will enter into a new TBA agreement for future delivery of pools of mortgage pass-through securities. In addition, the Fund may enter into TBA agreements and settle such transactions on the stipulated settlement date by accepting actual receipt or delivery of the pools of mortgage pass-through securities stipulated in the TBA agreement. The Fund is not required to use TBA transactions to gain exposure to mortgage pools, and the Fund may choose to purchase those interests in any manner believed by BFA to be in the best interest of the Fund. The Fund’s use of “TBA rolls” may cause the Fund to experience higher portfolio turnover, higher transaction costs, and to pay higher capital gain distributions to shareholders (which may be taxable) than other iShares funds that do not use TBA rolls.

The Fund intends to invest cash pending settlement of any TBA transactions in money market instruments, repurchase agreements or other high-quality, liquid short-term instruments, including money market funds advised

 

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by BFA or its affiliates. The Fund will assume its pro rata share of fees and expenses of any money market fund that it may invest in, in addition to the Fund’s own fees and expenses.

Municipal Insurance. A municipal security may be covered by insurance that guarantees the bond’s scheduled payment of interest and repayment of principal. This type of insurance may be obtained by either (i) the issuer at the time the bond is issued (primary market insurance), or (ii) another party after the bond has been issued (secondary market insurance).

Both primary and secondary market insurance guarantee timely and scheduled repayment of all principal and payment of all interest on a municipal security in the event of default by the issuer, and cover a municipal security to its maturity, enhancing its credit quality and value.

Municipal security insurance does not insure against market fluctuations or fluctuations in the Fund’s share price. In addition, a municipal security insurance policy will not cover: (i) repayment of a municipal security before maturity (redemption), (ii) nonpayment of principal or interest caused by negligence or bankruptcy of the paying agent, or (iii) prepayment or payment of an acceleration premium (except for a mandatory sinking fund redemption) or any other provision of a bond indenture that advances the maturity of the bond. A mandatory sinking fund redemption may be a provision of a municipal security issue whereby part of the municipal security issue may be retired before maturity.

Because a significant portion of the municipal securities issued and outstanding is insured by a small number of insurance companies, an event involving one or more of these insurance companies could have a significant adverse effect on the value of the securities insured by that insurance company and on the municipal markets as a whole.

Certain significant providers of insurance for municipal securities have recently incurred significant losses as a result of exposure to sub-prime mortgages and other lower credit quality investments that have experienced recent defaults or otherwise suffered extreme credit deterioration. As a result, such losses have reduced the insurers’ capital and called into question their continued ability to perform their obligations under such insurance if they are called upon to do so in the future. While an insured municipal security will typically be deemed to have the rating of its insurer, if the insurer of a municipal security suffers a downgrade in its credit rating or if the market discounts the value of the insurance provided by the insurer, the value of the municipal security would be more, if not entirely, dependent on the rating of the municipal security independent of insurance.

Municipal Lease Obligations. Also included within the general category of municipal securities are certificates of participation (“COPs”) issued by government authorities or entities to finance the acquisition or construction of equipment, land and/or facilities. The COPs represent participations in a lease, an installment purchase contract or a conditional sales contract (hereinafter collectively called “lease obligations”) relating to such equipment, land or facilities. Municipal leases, like other municipal debt obligations, are subject to the risk of non-payment. Although lease obligations do not constitute general obligations of the issuer for which the issuer’s unlimited taxing power is pledged, a lease obligation is frequently backed by the issuer’s covenant to budget for, appropriate and make the payments due under the lease obligation. However, certain lease obligations contain “non-appropriation” clauses, which provide that the issuer has no obligation to make lease or installment purchase payments in future years unless money is appropriated for such purpose on a yearly basis. Although “non-appropriation” lease obligations are secured by the leased property, disposition of the property in the event of foreclosure might prove difficult. These securities represent a type of financing that has not yet developed the depth of marketability associated with more conventional securities. Certain investments in lease obligations may be illiquid. The Fund may not invest in illiquid lease obligations if such investments, together with all other illiquid investments, would exceed 15% of the Fund’s net assets. The Fund may, however, invest without regard to such limitation in lease obligations that BFA, pursuant to guidelines that have been adopted by the Trustees and subject to the supervision of the Trustees, determines to be liquid. BFA will deem lease obligations to be liquid if they are publicly offered and have received an investment grade rating of Baa or better by Moody’s, or BBB or better by S&P or Fitch. Unrated lease obligations, or those rated below investment grade, will be considered liquid if the obligations come to the market through an underwritten public offering and at least two dealers are willing to give competitive bids. In reference to the latter, BFA must, among other things, also review the creditworthiness of the entity obligated to make payment under the lease obligation and make certain specified determinations based on such factors as the existence of a rating or credit enhancement—such as insurance—the frequency of trades or quotes for the obligation and the willingness of dealers to make a market in the obligation.

The ability of issuers of municipal leases to make timely lease payments may be adversely impacted in general economic downturns and as relative governmental cost burdens are allocated and reallocated among federal, state and local governmental units. Such non-payment would result in a reduction of income to the Fund, and could result in a reduction in the value of the municipal lease experiencing non-payment and a potential decrease in the net

 

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asset value of the Fund. Issuers of municipal securities might seek protection under the bankruptcy laws. In the event of bankruptcy of such an issuer, the Fund could experience delays and limitations with respect to the collection of principal and interest on such municipal leases and the Fund may not, in all circumstances, be able to collect all principal and interest to which it is entitled. To enforce its rights in the event of a default in lease payments, the Fund might take possession of and manage the assets securing the issuer’s obligations on such securities, which may increase the Fund’s operating expenses and adversely affect the net asset value of the Fund. When the lease contains a non-appropriation clause, however, the failure to pay would not be a default and the Fund would not have the right to take possession of the assets. Any income derived from the Fund’s ownership or operation of such assets may not be tax-exempt. In addition, the Fund’s intention to qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the Internal Revenue Code, may limit the extent to which the Fund may exercise its rights by taking possession of such assets, because as a RIC the Fund is subject to certain limitations on its investments and on the nature of its income.

Municipal Securities. The Fund may invest in municipal securities, the interest payments of which are subject to U.S. federal income tax. The Fund may invest in securities issued in the U.S. market by U.S. states and territories, municipalities and other political subdivisions, agencies, authorities and instrumentalities of states and multi-state agencies or authorities. The municipal securities which the Fund may purchase include general obligation bonds and limited obligation bonds (or revenue bonds), including industrial development bonds issued pursuant to former U.S. federal tax law. General obligation bonds are obligations involving the credit of an issuer possessing taxing power and are payable from such issuer’s general revenues and not from any particular source. Limited obligation bonds are payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or, in some cases, from the proceeds of a special excise or other specific revenue source. Industrial development bonds generally are also revenue bonds and thus are not payable from the issuer’s general revenues. The credit and quality of industrial development bonds are usually related to the credit of the corporate user of the facilities. Payment of interest on and repayment of principal of such bonds is the responsibility of the corporate user (and/or any guarantor). The Fund may invest in private activity bonds, which are bonds issued by or on behalf of public authorities to obtain funds to provide privately operated housing facilities, airport, mass transit or port facilities, sewage disposal, solid waste disposal or hazardous waste treatment or disposal facilities and certain local facilities for water supply, gas or electricity. Other types of private activity bonds, the proceeds of which are used for the construction, equipment, repair or improvement of privately operated industrial or commercial facilities, may constitute municipal securities, although the current U.S. federal tax laws place substantial limitations on the size of such issues.

Municipal notes are shorter-term municipal debt obligations. They may provide interim financing in anticipation of tax collection, receipt of grants, bond sales or revenue receipts. If there is a shortfall in the anticipated proceeds, repayment on a municipal note may be delayed or the note may not be fully repaid, and the Fund may lose money.

Municipal commercial paper is generally unsecured and issued to meet short-term financing needs. The lack of security presents some risk of loss to the Fund since, in the event of an issuer’s bankruptcy, unsecured creditors are repaid only out of the assets, if any, that remain after secured creditors are repaid. Tender option bonds are synthetic floating-rate or variable-rate securities issued when long-term bonds are purchased in the primary or secondary market and then deposited into a trust. Custodial receipts are then issued to investors, such as the Fund, evidencing ownership interests in the trust. The remarketing agent for the trust sets a floating or variable rate on typically a weekly basis. The sponsor of a highly leveraged tender option bond trust generally will retain a liquidity provider to purchase the short-term floating-rate interests at their original purchase price upon the occurrence of certain specified events. However, the liquidity provider may not be required to purchase the floating-rate interests upon the occurrence of certain other events, for example, the downgrading of the municipal bonds owned by the tender option bond trust below investment grade. The general effect of these provisions is to pass to the holders of the floating rate interests the most severe credit risks associated with the municipal bonds owned by the tender option bond trust and to leave with the liquidity provider the interest rate risk (subject to a cap) and certain other risks associated with the municipal bonds. Tender option bonds may be considered derivatives, and may expose the Fund to the same risks as investments in derivatives, as well as risks associated with leverage, especially the risk of increased volatility. To the extent the Fund invests in tender option bonds, they also are exposed to credit risk associated with the liquidity provider retained by the sponsor of a tender bond option trust.

Variable rate demand obligations (“VRDOs”) are tax-exempt obligations that contain a floating or variable interest rate adjustment formula and a right of demand on the part of the holder thereof to receive payment of the unpaid principal balance plus accrued interest upon a short notice period not to exceed seven days. There is the possibility that because of default or insolvency the demand feature of VRDOs may not be honored. The interest rates are adjustable at intervals (ranging from daily to up to one year) to some prevailing market rate for similar investments, such adjustment formula being calculated to maintain the market rate of the VRDOs at approximately the par value of the VRDOs on the adjustment date. The adjustments typically are based upon the Public Securities Association Index or some other appropriate interest rate adjustment index.

 

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Because of the interest rate adjustment formula, VRDOs are not comparable to fixed-rate securities. During periods of declining interest rates, the Fund’s yield on a VRDO will decrease and its shareholders will forego the opportunity for capital appreciation. During periods of rising interest rates, however, the Fund’s yield on a VRDO will increase and its shareholders will have a reduced risk of capital depreciation.

The market for municipal bonds may be less liquid than for taxable bonds. This means that it may be harder to buy and sell municipal securities, especially on short notice, than non-municipal securities. In addition, the municipal securities market is generally characterized as a buy and hold investment strategy. As a result, the accessibility of municipal securities in the market is generally greater closer to the original date of issue of the securities and lessens as the securities move further away from such issuance date.

Some longer-term municipal securities give the investor the right to “put” or sell the security at par (face value) within a specified number of days following the investor’s request—usually one to seven days. This demand feature enhances a security’s liquidity by shortening its effective maturity and enables it to trade at a price equal to or very close to par. If a demand feature terminates prior to being exercised, the Fund would hold the longer-term security, which could experience substantially more volatility.

Municipal securities are subject to credit and market risk. Generally, prices of higher quality issues tend to fluctuate more with changes in market interest rates than prices of lower quality issues and prices of longer maturity issues tend to fluctuate more than prices of shorter maturity issues.

Prices and yields on municipal securities are dependent on a variety of factors, including general money-market conditions, the financial condition of the issuer, general conditions of the municipal security market, the size of a particular offering, the maturity of the obligation and the rating of the issue. A number of these factors, including the ratings of particular issues, are subject to change from time to time. Information about the financial condition of an issuer of municipal securities may not be as extensive as that which is made available by corporations whose securities are publicly traded. As a result, municipal securities may be more difficult to value than securities of public corporations.

Obligations of issuers of municipal securities are subject to the provisions of bankruptcy, insolvency and other law affecting the rights and remedies of creditors. The U.S. Congress or state legislatures may seek to extend the time for payment of principal or interest, or both, or to impose other constraints upon enforcement of such obligations. In addition, municipal securities are subject to the risk that their tax treatment could be changed, thereby affecting the value of outstanding municipal securities. There is also the possibility that as a result of litigation or other conditions, such as passing of a referendum, the power or ability of issuers to meet their obligations for the payment of interest and principal on their municipal securities may be materially affected or their obligations may be found to be invalid or unenforceable. Such litigation or conditions may from time to time have the effect of introducing uncertainties in the market for municipal securities or certain segments thereof, or of materially affecting the credit risk with respect to particular bonds. Adverse economic, business, legal or political developments might affect all or a substantial portion of the Fund’s municipal securities in the same manner.

In response to the recent national economic downturn, governmental cost burdens may be reallocated among federal, state and local governments. Also, as a result of the downturn, many state and local governments are experiencing significant reductions in revenues and are consequently experiencing difficulties meeting ongoing expenses. Certain of these state or local governments may have difficulty paying principal or interest on their outstanding debt and may experience ratings downgrades of their debt.

Privately-Issued Securities. The Fund may invest in privately-issued securities, including those that may be purchased only in accordance with Rule 144A or Regulation S under the 1933 Act (collectively, “Privately-Issued Securities”). Privately-Issued Securities are restricted securities that are not publicly traded. Accordingly, the liquidity of the market for such securities may vary. Delay or difficulty in selling such securities may result in a loss to the Fund.

Ratings. An investment-grade rating means the security or issuer is rated investment-grade by Moody’s, S&P, Fitch, or another credit rating agency designated as a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) by the SEC, or is unrated but considered to be of equivalent quality by BFA. Bonds rated Baa3 or above by Moody’s or BBB- or above by S&P and Fitch are considered “investment-grade” securities, bonds rated Baa are considered medium grade obligations subject to moderate credit risk and may possess certain speculative characteristics, while bonds rated BBB are regarded as having adequate capacity to meet financial commitments. Recently, the United States and certain other countries had their credit ratings downgraded; these downgrades or additional downgrades in the future may result in the deterioration of investor confidence.

 

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Subsequent to purchase by the Fund, a rated security may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below an investment-grade rating. Bonds rated lower than Baa3 by Moody’s, BBB- by S&P or BBB- by Fitch are considered below investment-grade quality and are obligations of issuers that are considered predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal according to the terms of the obligation and, therefore, carry greater investment risk, including the possibility of issuer default and bankruptcy and increased market price volatility. Such securities (“lower-rated securities”) are commonly referred to as “junk bonds” and are subject to a substantial degree of credit risk. Lower-rated securities are often issued by smaller, less creditworthy companies or by highly leveraged (indebted) firms, which are generally less able than more financially stable firms to make scheduled payments of interest and principal. The risks posed by securities issued under such circumstances are substantial. Bonds rated below investment-grade tend to be less marketable than higher-quality bonds because the market for them is less broad. The market for unrated bonds is even narrower. Please see Appendix A of this SAI for a description of each rating category of Moody’s, S&P and Fitch.

Repurchase Agreements. A repurchase agreement is an instrument under which the purchaser (i.e., the Fund) acquires a security and the seller agrees, at the time of the sale, to repurchase such security at a mutually agreed upon time and price, thereby determining the yield during the purchaser’s holding period. Repurchase agreements may be construed to be collateralized loans by the purchaser to the seller secured by the securities transferred to the purchaser. If a repurchase agreement is construed to be a collateralized loan, the underlying securities will not be considered to be owned by the Fund but only to constitute collateral for the seller’s obligation to pay the repurchase price, and, in the event of a default by the seller, the Fund may suffer time delays and incur costs or losses in connection with the disposition of the collateral.

In any repurchase transaction, the collateral for a repurchase agreement may include: (i) cash items; (ii) obligations issued by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities; or (iii) obligations that, at the time the repurchase agreement is entered into, are rated in the highest rating category generally by at least two NRSROs, or, if unrated, determined to be of comparable quality by BFA. Collateral, however, is not limited to the foregoing and may include, for example, obligations rated below the highest category by NRSROs. Collateral for a repurchase agreement may also include securities that the Fund could not hold directly without the repurchase obligation. Irrespective of the type of collateral underlying the repurchase agreement, in the case of a repurchase agreement entered into by a non-money market fund, the repurchase obligation of a seller must be of comparable credit quality to securities which are rated in one of the two highest rating categories by any NRSRO.

Repurchase agreements pose certain risks for the Fund, should it decide to utilize them. Such risks are not unique to the Fund, but are inherent in repurchase agreements. The Fund seeks to minimize such risks, but because of the inherent legal uncertainties involved in repurchase agreements, such risks cannot be eliminated. Lower quality collateral and collateral with longer maturities may be subject to greater price fluctuations than higher quality collateral and collateral with shorter maturities. If the repurchase agreement counterparty were to default, lower quality collateral may be more difficult to liquidate than higher quality collateral. Should the counterparty default and the amount of collateral not be sufficient to cover the counterparty’s repurchase obligation, the Fund would retain the status of an unsecured creditor of the counterparty (i.e., the position the Fund would normally be in if it were to hold, pursuant to its investment policies, other unsecured debt securities of the defaulting counterparty) with respect to the amount of the shortfall. As an unsecured creditor, the Fund would be at risk of losing some or all of the principal and income involved in the transaction.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the sale of securities with an agreement to repurchase the securities at an agreed-upon price, date and interest payment and have the characteristics of borrowing. Generally, the effect of such transactions is that the Fund can recover all or most of the cash invested in the portfolio securities involved during the term of the reverse repurchase agreement, while in many cases the Fund is able to keep some of the interest income associated with those securities. Such transactions are advantageous only if the Fund has an opportunity to earn a rate of interest on the cash derived from these transactions that is greater than the interest cost of obtaining the same amount of cash. Opportunities to realize earnings from the use of the proceeds equal to or greater than the interest required to be paid may not always be available and the Fund intends to use the reverse repurchase technique only when BFA believes it will be advantageous to the Fund. The use of reverse repurchase agreements may exaggerate any interim increase or decrease in the value of the Fund’s assets. The Fund’s exposure to reverse repurchase agreements will be covered by liquid assets having a value equal to or greater than such commitments.

Securities of Investment Companies. The Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies (including money market funds) to the extent allowed by law. Under the 1940 Act, the Fund’s investment in investment companies is limited to, subject to certain exceptions, (i) 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of any

 

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one investment company, (ii) 5% of the Fund’s total assets with respect to any one investment company, and (iii) 10% of the Fund’s total assets with respect to investment companies in the aggregate. To the extent allowed by law or regulation, the Fund may invest its assets in securities of investment companies that are money market funds, including those advised by BFA or otherwise affiliated with BFA, in excess of the limits discussed above. Other investment companies in which the Fund invests can be expected to incur fees and expenses for operations, such as investment advisory and administration fees, that would be in addition to those incurred by the Fund.

Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments. The Fund may invest in short-term instruments, on an ongoing basis to provide liquidity or for other reasons. Money market instruments are generally short-term investments that may include but are not limited to: (i) shares of money market funds (including those advised by BFA or otherwise affiliated with BFA); (ii) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities (including government-sponsored enterprises); (iii) negotiable certificates of deposit (“CDs”), bankers’ acceptances, fixed-time deposits and other obligations of U.S. and non-U.S. banks (including non-U.S. branches) and similar institutions; (iv) commercial paper, including asset-backed commercial paper; (v) non-convertible corporate debt securities (e.g., bonds and debentures) with remaining maturities at the date of purchase of not more than 397 days and that satisfy the rating requirements set forth in Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act; (vi) repurchase agreements; and (vii) short-term U.S. dollar-denominated obligations of non-U.S. banks (including U.S. branches) that, in the opinion of BFA, are of comparable quality to obligations of U.S. banks which may be purchased by the Fund. Any of these instruments may be purchased on a current or forward-settled basis. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Bankers’ acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers, usually in connection with international transactions.

Short Sales. The Fund may make short sales of securities, either as a hedge against potential declines in value of a portfolio security or to realize appreciation when a security that the Fund does not own declines in value. When the Fund makes a short sale, it borrows the security sold short and delivers it to the broker-dealer through which it made the short sale. The Fund may have to pay a fee to borrow particular securities and is often obligated to turn over any payments received on such borrowed securities to the lender of the securities.

The Fund secures its obligation to replace the borrowed security by depositing collateral with the broker-dealer, usually in cash, U.S. government securities or other liquid securities similar to those borrowed. With respect to uncovered short positions, the Fund is required to deposit similar collateral with its custodian, if necessary, to the extent that the value of both collateral deposits in the aggregate is at all times equal to at least 100% of the current market value of the security sold short. Depending on arrangements made with the broker-dealer from which the Fund borrowed the security, regarding payment received by the Fund on such security, the Fund may not receive any payments (including interest) on its collateral deposited with such broker-dealer.

Sovereign Obligations. The Fund may invest in sovereign and quasi-sovereign obligations. An investment in sovereign debt obligations involves special risks not present in corporate debt obligations. Sovereign debt includes investments in securities issued or guaranteed by a foreign sovereign government. Quasi-sovereign debt includes investments in securities issued or guaranteed by an entity affiliated with or backed by a sovereign government. The issuer of the sovereign debt that controls the repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due, and the Fund may have limited recourse in the event of a default. During periods of economic uncertainty, the market prices of sovereign debt obligations may be more volatile than prices of U.S. debt obligations, which may affect the Fund’s NAV. In the past, certain emerging market countries have encountered difficulties in servicing their debt obligations, withheld payments of principal and interest and declared moratoria on the payment of principal and interest on their sovereign debts. Several sovereign issuers have experienced volatility and adverse trends due to concerns about rising government debt levels, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

A sovereign debtor’s willingness or ability to repay principal and pay interest in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its non-U.S. currency reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign exchange, the relative size of the debt service burden, the sovereign debtor’s policy toward principal international lenders and local political constraints. Sovereign debtors may also be dependent on expected disbursements from foreign governments, multilateral agencies and other entities to reduce principal and interest arrears on their debt. The failure of a sovereign debtor to implement economic reforms, achieve specified levels of economic performance or repay principal or interest when due may result in the cancellation of third-party commitments to lend funds to the sovereign debtor, which may further impair such debtor’s ability or willingness to service its debts.

Stripped Securities. Stripped securities are created when the issuer separates the interest and principal components of an instrument and sells them as separate securities. In general, one security is entitled to receive

 

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the interest payments on the underlying assets (the interest only, or “IO” security) and the other to receive the principal payments (the principal only, or “PO” security). Some stripped securities may receive a combination of interest and principal payments. The yields to maturity on IOs and POs are sensitive to the expected or anticipated rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the related underlying assets, and principal payments may have a material effect on yield to maturity. If the underlying assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the Fund may not fully recoup its initial investment in IOs. Conversely, if the underlying assets experience less than anticipated prepayments of principal, the yield on POs could be adversely affected. Stripped securities may be highly sensitive to changes in interest rates and rates of prepayment.

Structured Securities. Structured products are privately negotiated debt obligations where the principal and/or interest is determined by reference to the performance of an underlying investment, index or reference obligation. Structured products may be issued by corporations, including banks, as well as by governmental agencies. The terms of structured products normally provide that their principal and/or interest payments are to be adjusted upwards or downwards (but ordinarily not below zero) to reflect changes in the index while the instruments are outstanding. As a result, the interest and/or principal payments that may be made on a structured product may vary widely, depending on a variety of factors, including the volatility of the index and the effect of changes in the index on principal and/or interest payments. The rate of return on structured products may be determined by applying a multiplier to the performance or differential performance of the referenced index or other assets. Application of a multiplier involves leverage that will serve to magnify the potential for gain and the risk of loss.

Holders of structured products bear risks of the underlying investments, index or reference obligation and are subject to counterparty risk. The Fund may have the right to receive payments only from the structured product, and generally does not have direct rights against the issuer or the entity that sold the assets to be securitized. Certain structured products may be thinly traded or have a limited trading market. In addition to the general risks associated with debt securities, structured products carry additional risks, including, but not limited to: the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; the quality of the collateral may decline in value or default; and the possibility that the structured products are subordinate to other instruments. Structured notes are based upon the movement of one or more factors, including currency exchange rates, interest rates, referenced bonds and stock indices, and changes in interest rates and impact of these factors may cause significant price fluctuations. Additionally, changes in the reference instrument or security may cause the interest rate on the structured note to be reduced to zero.

U.S. Government Obligations. The Fund may invest in various types of U.S. government obligations. U.S. government obligations are a type of bond and include securities issued or guaranteed as to principal and interest by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities. Payment of principal and interest on U.S. government obligations (i) may be backed by the full faith and credit of the United States or (ii) may be backed solely by the issuing or guaranteeing agency or instrumentality itself (as with FNMA, FHLMC and Federal Home Loan Bank notes). In the latter case, the Fund must look principally to the agency or instrumentality issuing or guaranteeing the obligation for ultimate repayment, which agency or instrumentality may be privately owned. There can be no assurance that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies or instrumentalities where it is not obligated to do so. As a general matter, the value of debt instruments, including U.S. government obligations, declines when market interest rates increase and rises when market interest rates decrease. Certain types of U.S. government obligations are subject to fluctuations in yield or value due to their structure or contract terms.

In 2008, FNMA and FHLMC were placed under the conservatorship of the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”). Under this conservatorship, the FHFA operates and manages the agencies, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury has agreed to provide capital as needed (up to $100 billion per agency) to ensure that the agencies continue to provide liquidity to the housing and mortgage markets.

U.S.-Registered Securities of Non U.S. Issuers. The Fund may invest in U.S.- registered, dollar-denominated bonds of foreign governments, agencies and supranational entities. Investing in U.S.-registered, dollar-denominated, investment grade bonds issued by non-U.S. issuers involves some risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in U.S. issuers. These include differences in accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, the possibility of expropriation or confiscatory taxation, adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations, political instability which could affect U.S. investments in foreign countries, and potential restrictions of the flow of international capital. Foreign issuers may be subject to less governmental regulation than U.S. issuers. In addition, the risk that the issuer may fail to meet its obligation on these securities may be affected by fluctuations in non-U.S. currency exchange rates between the issuer’s local currency and the U.S. dollar. Moreover, individual foreign economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product (GDP), rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and balance of payment positions.

 

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When Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments. The Fund may purchase or sell securities that it is entitled to receive on a when issued basis. The Fund may also purchase or sell securities on a delayed delivery basis or through a forward commitment (including on a TBA transactions). These transactions involve the purchase or sale of securities by the Fund at an established price with payment and delivery taking place in the future. The Fund enters into these transactions to obtain what is considered an advantageous price to the Fund at the time of entering into the transaction. When the Fund purchases securities in these transactions, the Fund segregates liquid securities in an amount equal to the amount of its purchase commitments.

There can be no assurance that a security purchased on a when issued basis will be issued or that a security purchased or sold on a delayed delivery basis or through a forward commitment will be delivered. Also, the value of securities in these transactions on the delivery date may be more or less than the price paid by the Fund to purchase the securities.

The Fund will lose money if the value of the security in such a transaction declines below the purchase price and will not benefit if the value of the security appreciates above the sale price during the commitment period.

If deemed advisable as a matter of investment strategy, the Fund may dispose of or renegotiate a commitment after it has been entered into, and may sell securities it has committed to purchase before those securities are delivered to the Fund on the settlement date. In these cases the Fund may realize a taxable capital gain or loss.

When the Fund engages in when-issued, TBA transactions or forward commitment transactions, it relies on the other party to consummate the trade. Failure of such party to do so may result in the Fund’s incurring a loss or missing an opportunity to obtain a price considered to be advantageous.

The market value of the securities underlying a commitment to purchase securities, and any subsequent fluctuations in their market value, is taken into account when determining the market value of the Fund starting on the day the Fund agrees to purchase the securities. The Fund does not earn interest on the securities it has committed to purchase until they are paid for and delivered on the settlement date.

Zero Coupon Securities. Zero coupon securities are securities that are sold at a discount to par value and do not pay interest during the life of the security. The discount approximates the total amount of interest the security will accrue and compound over the period until maturity at a rate of interest reflecting the market rate of the security at the time of issuance. Upon maturity, the holder of a zero coupon security is entitled to receive the par value of the security.

While interest payments are not made on such securities, holders of such securities are deemed to have received income (“phantom income”) annually, notwithstanding that cash may not be received currently. The effect of owning instruments that do not make current interest payments is that a fixed yield is earned not only on the original investment but also, in effect, on all discount accretion during the life of the obligations. This implicit reinvestment of earnings at a fixed rate eliminates the risk of being unable to invest distributions at a rate as high as the implicit yield on the zero coupon bond, but at the same time eliminates the holder’s ability to reinvest at higher rates in the future. For this reason, some of these securities may be subject to substantially greater price fluctuations during periods of changing market interest rates than are comparable securities that pay interest currently. Longer term zero coupon bonds are more exposed to interest rate risk than shorter term zero coupon bonds. These investments benefit the issuer by mitigating its need for cash to meet debt service, but also require a higher rate of return to attract investors who are willing to defer receipt of cash.

The Fund accrues income with respect to these securities for federal income tax and accounting purposes prior to the receipt of cash payments. Zero coupon securities may be subject to greater fluctuation in value and less liquidity in the event of adverse market conditions than comparably rated securities that pay cash interest at regular intervals.

Further, to maintain its qualification for pass-through treatment under the federal tax laws, the Fund is required to distribute income to its shareholders and, consequently, may have to dispose of other, more liquid portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances or may have to leverage itself by borrowing in order to generate the cash to satisfy these distributions. The required distributions may result in an increase in the Fund’s exposure to zero coupon securities.

In addition to the above-described risks, there are certain other risks related to investing in zero coupon securities. During a period of severe market conditions, the market for such securities may become even less liquid. In addition, as these securities do not pay cash interest, the Fund’s investment exposure to these securities and their risks, including credit risk, will increase during the time these securities are held in the Fund’s portfolio.

 

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The Board may, in the future, authorize the Fund to invest in securities contracts and investments, other than those listed in this SAI and in the Prospectus, provided they are consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and do not violate any investment restrictions or policies.

General Considerations and Risks

A discussion of some of the principal risks associated with an investment in the Fund is contained in the Prospectus.

An investment in the Fund should be made with an understanding that the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of the issuers of the portfolio securities, the value of bonds in general, and other factors that affect the market.

Currency Risk. Because the Fund’s NAV is determined on the basis of the U.S. dollar, investors may lose money if the currency of a non-U.S. market in which the Fund invests depreciates against the U.S. dollar, even if the local currency value of the Fund’s holdings in that market increases. Generally, when the U.S. dollar rises in value against a foreign currency, a security denominated in that currency loses value because the currency is worth fewer U.S. dollars. Conversely, when the U.S. dollar decreases in value against a foreign currency, a security denominated in that currency gains value because the currency is worth more U.S. dollars. This risk, generally known as “currency risk,” means that a strong U.S. dollar will reduce returns for U.S. investors, while a weak U.S. dollar will increase those returns.

A forward currency contract is an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. Foreign exchange transactions involve a significant degree of risk and the markets in which foreign exchange transactions are effected are highly volatile, highly specialized and highly technical. Significant changes, including changes in liquidity and prices, can occur in such markets within very short periods of time, often within minutes. If BFA utilizes foreign exchange transactions at an inappropriate time or judges market conditions, trends or correlations incorrectly, foreign exchange transactions may not serve their intended purpose of improving the Fund’s performance and may lower the Fund’s return. The Fund could experience losses if the value of its currency forward positions are poorly correlated with its other investments or if it cannot close out its positions because of an illiquid market. In addition, the Fund could incur transaction costs, including trading commissions, in connection with certain non-U.S. currency transactions.

Municipal Market Disruption Risk. The value of municipal securities may be affected by uncertainties in the municipal market related to legislation or litigation involving the taxation of municipal securities or the rights of municipal securities holders in the event of a bankruptcy. Proposals to restrict or eliminate the U.S. federal income tax exemption for interest on municipal securities are introduced before the U.S. Congress from time to time. Proposals also may be introduced before state legislatures that would affect the state tax treatment of a municipal fund’s distributions. If such proposals were enacted, the availability of municipal securities and the value of a of the municipal security within the Fund’s holdings would be affected, and the Trustees would reevaluate the Fund’s investment objective and policies. Municipal bankruptcies are relatively rare, and certain provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code governing such bankruptcies are unclear and remain untested. Further, the application of state law to municipal issuers could produce varying results among the states or among municipal securities issuers within a state. These legal uncertainties could affect the municipal securities market generally, certain specific segments of the market, or the relative credit quality of particular securities. Any of these effects could have a significant impact on the prices of some or all of the municipal securities held by the Fund.

Not a Money Market Fund. The Fund is not a money market fund and is not subject to the strict rules that govern the quality, maturity, liquidity and other features of securities that money market funds may purchase. Under normal circumstances, the Fund’s investments may be more susceptible than a money market fund is to credit risk, interest rate risk, valuation risk and other risks relevant to the Fund’s investments. The Fund does not seek to maintain a stable net asset value of $1.00 per share.

Repurchase Agreement Risk. A repurchase agreement is an instrument under which the purchaser (i.e., the Fund) acquires a security and the seller agrees, at the time of the sale, to repurchase the security at a mutually agreed upon time and price. Repurchase agreements may be construed to be collateralized loans by the purchaser to the seller secured by the securities transferred to the purchaser. If a repurchase agreement is construed to be a collateralized loan, the underlying securities will not be considered to be owned by the Fund but only to constitute collateral for the seller’s obligation to pay the repurchase price. If the seller defaults on its obligation under the agreement, the Fund may suffer delays and incur costs or lose money in exercising its rights under the agreement. If the seller fails to repurchase the security and the market value of the security declines, the Fund may lose money.

 

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Risks of Investing in the Financial Sector. Companies in the financial sector include regional and money center banks, securities brokerage firms, asset management companies, savings banks and thrift institutions, specialty finance companies (e.g., credit card, mortgage providers), insurance and insurance brokerage firms, financial conglomerates and foreign banking and financial companies. The global financial markets have recently experienced very difficult conditions and volatility as well as significant adverse trends. The deteriorating conditions in these markets have resulted in a decrease in availability of corporate credit, capital and liquidity and have led indirectly to the insolvency, closure or acquisition of a number of financial institutions. These conditions have also contributed to consolidation within the financial industry. In addition, the global financial industry has been materially and adversely affected by a significant decline in the value of mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, and by the sovereign debt crisis. The prospects of many financial companies are questionable and continue to evolve as financial companies revise their outlooks and write down assets that they hold.

Most financial companies are subject to extensive governmental regulation, which limits their activities and may affect their ability to earn a profit from a given line of business. Government regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for companies in the financial sector, including effects not intended by the regulation. Direct governmental intervention in the operations of financial companies and financial markets may materially and adversely affect the companies in which the Fund invests, including recent legislation in many countries that may increase government regulation, repatriation and other intervention. The impact of governmental intervention and recent legislation on any individual financial company or on the financial sector as a whole cannot be predicted. The valuation of financial companies has been and continues to be subject to unprecedented volatility and may be influenced by unpredictable factors, including interest rate risk and sovereign debt default. Certain financial businesses are subject to intense competitive pressures, including market share and price competition.

Financial companies in non-U.S. countries are subject to market specific and general regulatory and interest rate concerns. In particular, government regulation in certain non-U.S. countries may include taxes and controls on interest rates, credit availability, minimum capital requirements, ban on short sales, prices and currency transfers.

The profitability of banks, savings and loan associations and financial companies is largely dependent on the availability and cost of capital funds and can fluctuate significantly when interest rates change. In addition, general economic conditions are important to the operations of these concerns, with exposure to credit losses resulting from financial difficulties of borrowers having an adverse effect on the profitability of financial companies. Financial companies can be highly dependent upon access to capital markets and any impediments to such access, such as adverse overall economic conditions or a negative perception in the capital markets of a financial company’s financial condition or prospects, could adversely affect its business.

Risks of Investing in Non-U.S. Debt Securities. The Fund may invest in non-U.S. debt securities. An issuer of a security may be deemed to be located in a particular country if (i) the principal trading market for the security is in such country, (ii) the issuer is organized under the laws of such country, (iii) the issuer derives at least 50% of its revenues or profits from such country or has at least 50% of its assets situated in such country, or (iv) the issuer is the particular country. An investment in the Fund involves risks similar to those of investing in a portfolio of debt securities traded on foreign exchanges and over-the-counter in the respective countries covered by the Fund. These risks typically include market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic and political developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in bond prices. Investing in the Fund’s portfolio, which contains non-U.S. issuers, involves certain risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in the securities of U.S. issuers. These risks include generally less liquid and less efficient securities markets; generally greater price volatility; less publicly available information about issuers; the imposition of withholding or other taxes; the imposition of restrictions on the expatriation of funds or other assets of the Fund; higher transaction and custody costs; delays and risks attendant in settlement procedures; difficulties in enforcing contractual obligations; lower liquidity and significantly smaller market capitalization of most non-U.S. securities markets; different accounting and disclosure standards; lower levels of regulation of the securities markets; more substantial government interference with the economy; higher rates of inflation; greater social, economic, and political uncertainty; and the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets and risk of war.

U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk. The Fund invests in various types of U.S. Treasury securities. U.S. Treasury obligations may differ from other securities in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit rating of the U.S. government may cause the value of U.S. Treasury obligations to decline. On August 5, 2011, S&P downgraded U.S. Treasury securities from a AAA rating to AA+. A downgrade of the ratings of U.S. government debt obligations, which are often used as a benchmark for other borrowing arrangements, could result in higher interest rates for individual and corporate borrowers, cause disruptions in the international bond markets and generally have a substantial negative effect on the U.S. economy. A downgrade of U.S. Treasury securities from another ratings agency or a further downgrade beyond AA+ rating by S&P may cause the value of the Fund’s U.S. Treasury obligations to decline.

 

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Risks of Investing in Asia. Investments in securities of issuers in certain Asian countries involve risks not typically associated with investments in securities of issuers in more developed countries. Such heightened risks include, among others, expropriation and/or nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation, political instability, including authoritarian and/or military involvement in governmental decision-making, armed conflict and social instability as a result of religious, ethnic and/or socio-economic unrest.

Certain Asian countries have democracies with relatively short histories, which may increase the risk of political instability. These countries have faced political and military unrest, and further unrest could present a risk to their local economies and securities markets. Indonesia and the Philippines have each experienced violence and terrorism, which has negatively impacted their economies. North and South Korea each have substantial military capabilities, and historical tensions between the two countries present the risk of war. Any outbreak of hostilities between the two countries could have a severe adverse effect on the South Korean economy and securities market. Increased political and social unrest in these geographic areas could adversely affect the performance of investments in this region.

Certain governments in this region administer prices on several basic goods, including fuel and electricity, within their respective countries. Certain governments may exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector in their respective countries and may own or control many companies. Future government actions could have a significant effect on the economic conditions in this region, which in turn could have a negative impact on private sector companies. There is also the possibility of diplomatic developments adversely affecting investments in the region.

Corruption and the perceived lack of a rule of law in dealings with international companies in certain Asian countries may discourage foreign investment and could negatively impact the long-term growth of certain economies in this region. In addition, certain countries in the region are experiencing high unemployment and corruption, and have fragile banking sectors.

Some economies in this region are dependent on a range of commodities, including oil, natural gas and coal. Accordingly, they are strongly affected by international commodity prices and particularly vulnerable to any weakening in global demand for these products. The market for securities in this region may also be directly influenced by the flow of international capital, and by the economic and market conditions of neighboring countries. Adverse economic conditions or developments in neighboring countries may increase investors’ perception of the risk of investing in the region as a whole, which may adversely impact the market value of the securities issued by companies in the region.

The economies of Australasia, which include Australia and New Zealand, are dependent on exports from the agricultural and mining sectors. This makes Australasian economies susceptible to fluctuations in the commodity markets. Australasian economies are also increasingly dependent on their growing service industries. Because the economies of Australasia are dependent on the economies of Asia, Europe and the United States as key trading partners and investors, reduction in spending by any of these trading partners on Australasian products and services, or negative changes in any of these economies, may cause an adverse impact on some or all of the Australasian economies. Additionally, Australia and New Zealand are located in a region that has historically been prone to natural disasters. Any natural disaster in the region could negatively impact the economies of Australia and New Zealand and affect the value of securities held by the Fund.

Risks of Investing in Central and South America. The economies of certain countries in which the Fund invests are affected by the economies of other Central and South American countries, some of which have experienced high interest rates, economic volatility, inflation, currency devaluations, government defaults and high unemployment rates. In addition, commodities (such as oil, gas and minerals) represent a significant percentage of the region’s exports and many economies in this region are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Adverse economic events in one country may have a significant adverse effect on some or all of the countries in which the Fund invests.

Risks of Investing in Emerging Markets Securities. Investments in emerging market countries may be subject to greater risks than investments in developed countries. These risks include: (i) less social, political, and economic stability; (ii) greater illiquidity and price volatility due to smaller or limited local capital markets for such securities, or low or non-existent trading volumes; (iii) foreign exchanges and broker-dealers may be subject to less scrutiny and regulation by local authorities; (iv) local governments may decide to seize or confiscate securities held by foreign investors and/or local governments may decide to suspend or limit an issuer’s ability to make dividend or interest payments; (v) local governments may limit or entirely restrict repatriation of invested capital, profits, and dividends;

 

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(vi) capital gains may be subject to local taxation, including on a retroactive basis; (vii) issuers facing restrictions on dollar or euro payments imposed by local governments may attempt to make dividend or interest payments to foreign investors in the local currency; (viii) investors may experience difficulty in enforcing legal claims related to the securities and/or local judges may favor the interests of the issuer over those of foreign investors; (ix) bankruptcy judgments may only be permitted to be paid in the local currency; (x) limited public information regarding the issuer may result in greater difficulty in determining market valuations of the securities, and (xi) lax financial reporting on a regular basis, substandard disclosure and differences in accounting standards may make it difficult to ascertain the financial health of an issuer.

Emerging market securities markets are typically marked by a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of ownership of such securities by a limited number of investors. In addition, brokerage and other costs associated with transactions in emerging markets securities markets can be higher, sometimes significantly, than similar costs incurred in securities markets in developed countries. Although some emerging markets have become more established and tend to issue securities of higher credit quality, the markets for securities in other emerging countries are in the earliest stages of their development, and these countries issue securities across the credit spectrum. Even the markets for relatively widely traded securities in emerging countries may not be able to absorb, without price disruptions, a significant increase in trading volume or trades of a size customarily undertaken by institutional investors in the securities markets of developed countries. The limited size of many of these securities markets can cause prices to be erratic for reasons apart from factors that affect the soundness and competitiveness of the securities issuers. For example, prices may be unduly influenced by traders who control large positions in these markets. Additionally, market making and arbitrage activities are generally less extensive in such markets, which may contribute to increased volatility and reduced liquidity of such markets. The limited liquidity of emerging country securities may also affect the Fund’s ability to accurately value its portfolio securities or to acquire or dispose of securities at the price and time it wishes to do so or in order to meet redemption requests.

Many emerging market countries suffer from uncertainty and corruption in their legal frameworks. Legislation may be difficult to interpret and laws may be too new to provide any precedential value. Laws regarding foreign investment and private property may be weak or non-existent. Sudden changes in governments may result in policies which are less favorable to investors such as policies designed to expropriate or nationalize “sovereign” assets. Certain emerging market countries in the past have expropriated large amounts of private property, in many cases with little or no compensation, and there can be no assurance that such expropriation will not occur in the future.

Investment in the securities markets of certain emerging countries is restricted or controlled to varying degrees. These restrictions may limit the Fund’s investment in certain emerging countries and may increase the expenses of the Fund. Certain emerging countries require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons or limit investment by foreign persons to only a specified percentage of an issuer’s outstanding securities or a specific class of securities which may have less advantageous terms (including price) than securities of the company available for purchase by nationals.

Many emerging market countries lack the social, political, and economic stability characteristic of the United States. Political instability among emerging market countries can be common and may be caused by an uneven distribution of wealth, social unrest, labor strikes, civil wars, and religious oppression. Economic instability in emerging market countries may take the form of: (i) high interest rates; (ii) high levels of inflation, including hyperinflation; (iii) high levels of unemployment or underemployment; (iv) changes in government economic and tax policies, including confiscatory taxation; and (v) imposition of trade barriers.

The Fund’s income and, in some cases, capital gains from foreign securities will be subject to applicable taxation in certain of the emerging market countries in which it invests, and treaties between the United States and such countries may not be available in some cases to reduce the otherwise applicable tax rates.

Emerging markets also have different clearance and settlement procedures, and in certain of these emerging markets there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions, making it difficult to conduct such transactions.

In the past, certain governments in emerging market countries have become overly reliant on the international capital markets and other forms of foreign credit to finance large public spending programs, which in the past have caused huge budget deficits. Often, interest payments have become too overwhelming for a government to meet, representing a large percentage of total GDP. These foreign obligations have become the subject of political debate and served as fuel for political parties of the opposition, which pressure the government not to make payments to foreign creditors, but instead to use these funds for, among other things, social programs. Either due to an inability to pay or submission to political pressure, foreign governments have been forced to seek a restructuring of their

 

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loan and/or bond obligations, have declared a temporary suspension of interest payments or have defaulted. These events have adversely affected the values of securities issued by foreign governments and corporations domiciled in those countries and have negatively affected not only their cost of borrowing, but their ability to borrow in the future as well.

Risks of Investing in Europe. The Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (the “EU”) requires member countries to comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels and fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe. Decreasing imports or exports, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro, the default or threat of default by an EU member country on its sovereign debt, and/or an economic recession in an EU member country may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of EU member countries and their trading partners.

Although certain of the European countries in which the Fund may invest do not use the euro, many of these countries are obliged to meet the criteria for joining the euro zone. Consequently, these countries must comply with many of the restrictions noted above. The European financial markets have recently experienced volatility and adverse trends due to concerns about economic downturns, rising government debt levels and the possible default of government debt in several European countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. A default or debt restructuring by any European country would adversely impact holders of that country’s debt and sellers of credit default swaps linked to that country’s creditworthiness, which may be located in countries other than those listed in the previous sentence. These events have adversely affected the value and exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect the economies of every country in Europe, including countries that do not use the euro and non-EU member countries.

Risks of Investing in North America. The United States is Canada’s and Mexico’s largest trading and investment partner. The Canadian and Mexican economies are significantly affected by developments in the U.S. economy. Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) in 1994 among Canada, the United States and Mexico, total merchandise trade between the three countries has increased. To further this relationship, the three NAFTA countries entered into the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America in March 2005, which may further affect Canada’s and Mexico’s dependency on the U.S. economy. Economic events in any one North American country can have a significant economic effect on the entire North American region, and on some or all of the North American countries in which the Fund invests.

Risks of Investing in the Middle East. Many Middle Eastern countries have little or no democratic tradition and the political and legal systems in such countries may have an adverse impact on the Fund. Many economies in the Middle East are highly reliant on income from sales of oil or trade with countries involved in the sale of oil, and their economies are therefore vulnerable to changes in the market for oil and foreign currency values. As global demand for oil fluctuates, many Middle Eastern economies may be significantly impacted.

In addition, many Middle Eastern governments have exercised and continue to exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector. In certain cases, a country’s government may own or control many companies, including some of the largest companies in the country. Accordingly, governmental actions in the future could have a significant effect on economic conditions in Middle Eastern countries. This could affect private sector companies and the Fund, as well as the value of securities in the Fund’s portfolio.

Certain Middle Eastern markets are in the earliest stages of development. As a result, there may be a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of investors and financial intermediaries. Brokers in Middle Eastern countries typically are fewer in number and less well capitalized than brokers in the United States.

The legal systems in certain Middle Eastern countries also may have an adverse impact on the Fund. For example, the potential liability of a shareholder in a U.S. corporation with respect to acts of the corporation generally is limited to the amount of the shareholder’s investment. However, the notion of limited liability is less clear in certain Middle Eastern countries. The Fund therefore may be liable in certain Middle Eastern countries for the acts of a corporation in which it invests for an amount greater than the Fund’s actual investment in that corporation. Similarly, the rights of investors in Middle Eastern issuers may be more limited than those of shareholders of a U.S. corporation. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain and/or enforce a legal judgment in a Middle Eastern country. Some Middle Eastern countries prohibit or impose substantial restrictions on investments in their capital markets, particularly their equity markets, by foreign entities such as the Fund. For example, certain countries may require governmental approval prior to investment by foreign persons or limit the amount of investment by foreign persons in a particular issuer. They may also limit the investment by foreign persons to only a specific class of securities of an issuer that may have less advantageous terms (including price) than securities of the issuer available for purchase by nationals.

 

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The manner in which foreign investors may invest in companies in certain Middle Eastern countries, as well as limitations on those investments, may have an adverse impact on the operations of the Fund. For example, in certain of these countries, the Fund may be required to invest initially through a local broker or other entity and then have the shares that were purchased re-registered in the name of the Fund. Re-registration in some instances may not be possible on a timely basis. This may result in a delay during which the Fund may be denied certain of its rights as an investor, including rights as to dividends or to be made aware of certain corporate actions. There also may be instances where the Fund places a purchase order but is subsequently informed, at the time of re-registration, that the permissible allocation of the investment to foreign investors has been filled.

Substantial limitations may exist in certain Middle Eastern countries with respect to the Fund’s ability to repatriate investment income or capital gains. The Fund could be adversely affected by delays in, or a refusal to grant, any required governmental approval for repatriation of capital, as well as by the application to the Fund of any restrictions on investment.

Certain Middle Eastern countries may be heavily dependent upon international trade and, consequently, have been and may continue to be negatively affected by trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which they trade. These countries also have been and may continue to be adversely affected by economic conditions in the countries with which they trade. In addition, certain issuers located in Middle Eastern countries in which the Fund invests may operate in, or have dealings with, countries subject to sanctions and/or embargoes imposed by the U.S. government and the United Nations, and/or countries identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism. As a result, an issuer may sustain damage to its reputation if it is identified as an issuer which operates in, or has dealings with, such countries. The Fund, as an investor in such issuers, will be indirectly subject to those risks.

Certain Middle Eastern countries have strained relations with other Middle Eastern countries due to territorial disputes, historical animosities or defense concerns, which may adversely affect the economies of these Middle Eastern countries. Certain Middle Eastern countries experience significant unemployment, as well as widespread underemployment. Recently, many Middle Eastern countries have experienced political, economic and social unrest as protestors have called for widespread reform. These protests may adversely affect the economies of these Middle Eastern countries.

Risks of Investing in Russia. Investing in the Russian securities market involves a high degree of risk and special considerations not typically associated with investing in the U.S. securities markets, and should be considered highly speculative. Risks include the absence of developed legal structures governing private and foreign investments and private property; the possibility of the loss of all or a substantial portion of the Fund’s assets invested in Russia as a result of expropriation; certain national policies which may restrict the Fund’s investment opportunities, including, without limitation, restrictions on investing in issuers or industries deemed sensitive to relevant national interests; and potentially greater price volatility in, significantly smaller capitalization of, and relative illiquidity of, the Russian market. There can also be no assurance that the Fund’s investments in these companies would not be expropriated, nationalized or otherwise confiscated. In the event of the settlement of any such claims or such expropriation, nationalization or other confiscation, the Fund could lose its entire investment. In addition, it may be difficult and more costly to obtain and enforce a judgment in the Russian court system.

Russia may also be subject to a greater degree of economic, political and social instability than is the case in other developed countries. Such instability may result from, among other things, the following: (i) an authoritarian government or military involvement in political and economic decision-making, including changes in government through extra-constitutional means; (ii) popular unrest associated with demands for improved political, economic and social conditions; (iii) internal insurgencies; (iv) hostile relations with neighboring countries; and (v) ethnic, religious and racial disaffection.

The Russian economy is heavily dependent upon the export of a range of commodities including most industrial metals, forestry products and oil and gas. Accordingly, it is strongly affected by international commodity prices and is particularly vulnerable to any weakening in global demand for these products. Any acts of terrorism or armed conflicts in Russia or internationally could have an adverse effect on the financial and commodities markets and the global economy. As Russia produces and exports large amounts of crude oil and gas, any acts of terrorism or armed conflict causing disruptions of Russian oil and gas exports could negatively affect the Russian economy and, thus, adversely affect, the financial condition, results of operations or prospects of related companies.

The Russian government may exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector and may own or control many companies. Future government actions could have a significant effect on the economic conditions in Russia, which could have a negative impact on private sector companies. There is also the possibility of

 

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diplomatic developments that could adversely affect investments in Russia. In recent years, the Russian government has begun to take bolder steps to re-assert its regional geopolitical influence (including military steps). Such steps may increase tensions between Russia and its neighbors and Western countries and may negatively affect economic growth.

Proxy Voting Policy

The Trust has adopted, as its proxy voting policies for the Fund, the proxy voting guidelines of BFA, the investment adviser to the Fund. The Trust has delegated to BFA the responsibility for voting proxies on the portfolio securities held by the Fund. The remainder of this section discusses the Fund’s proxy voting guidelines and BFA’s role in implementing such guidelines.

BFA votes (or refrains from voting) proxies for the Fund in a manner that BFA, in the exercise of its independent business judgment, concludes is in the best economic interests of the Fund. In some cases, BFA may determine that it is in the best economic interests of the Fund to refrain from exercising the Fund’s proxy voting rights (such as, for example, proxies on certain non-U.S. securities that might impose costly or time-consuming in-person voting requirements). With regard to the relationship between securities lending and proxy voting, BFA’s approach is also driven by the Fund’s economic interests. The evaluation of the economic desirability of recalling loans involves balancing the revenue-producing value of loans against the likely economic value of casting votes. Based on our evaluation of this relationship, we believe that the likely economic value of casting a vote generally is less than the securities lending income, either because the votes will not have significant economic consequences or because the outcome of the vote would not be affected by BFA recalling loaned securities in order to ensure they are voted. Periodically, BFA analyzes the process and benefits of voting proxies for securities on loan, and will consider whether any modification of its proxy voting policies or procedures are necessary in light of any regulatory changes. BFA will normally vote on specific proxy issues in accordance with its proxy voting guidelines. BFA’s proxy voting guidelines provide detailed guidance as to how to vote proxies on certain important or commonly raised issues. BFA may, in the exercise of its business judgment, conclude that the proxy voting guidelines do not cover the specific matter upon which a proxy vote is requested, or that an exception to the proxy voting guidelines would be in the best economic interests of the Fund. BFA votes (or refrains from voting) proxies without regard to the relationship of the issuer of the proxy (or any shareholder of such issuer) to the Fund, the Fund’s affiliates (if any), BFA or BFA’s affiliates, or the Distributor or the Distributor’s affiliates. When voting proxies, BFA attempts to encourage issuers to follow practices that enhance shareholder value and increase transparency and allow the market to place a proper value on their assets. With respect to certain specific issues:

 

§    The Fund generally supports the board’s nominees in the election of directors and generally supports proposals that strengthen the independence of boards of directors;
§    The Fund generally does not support proposals on social issues that lack a demonstrable economic benefit to the issuer and the Fund investing in such issuer; and
§    The Fund generally votes against anti-takeover proposals and proposals that would create additional barriers or costs to corporate transactions that are likely to deliver a premium to shareholders.

BFA maintains institutional policies and procedures that are designed to prevent any relationship between the issuer of the proxy (or any shareholder of the issuer) and the Fund, the Fund’s affiliates (if any), BFA or BFA’s affiliates (if any) or the Distributor or the Distributor’s affiliates, from having undue influence on BFA’s proxy voting activity. In certain instances, BFA may determine to engage an independent fiduciary to vote proxies as a further safeguard against potential conflicts of interest or as otherwise required by applicable law. The independent fiduciary may either vote such proxies or provide BFA with instructions as to how to vote such proxies. In the latter case, BFA votes the proxy in accordance with the independent fiduciary’s determination.

Information with respect to how BFA voted proxies relating to the Fund’s portfolio securities during the 12-month period ending June 30 will be available: (i) without charge, upon request, by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or through the Fund’s website at www.iShares.com; and (ii)  on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

Portfolio Holdings Information

The Board has adopted a policy regarding the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio holdings information that requires that such information be disclosed in a manner that: (i) is consistent with applicable legal requirements and in the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders; (ii) does not put the interests of BFA, the Distributor or any affiliated

 

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person of BFA or the Distributor, above those of Fund shareholders; (iii) does not advantage any current or prospective Fund shareholders over any other current or prospective Fund shareholders, except to the extent that certain Entities (as described below) may receive portfolio holdings information not available to other current or prospective Fund shareholders in connection with the dissemination of information necessary for transactions in Creation Units, as discussed below; and (iv) does not provide selective access to portfolio holdings information except pursuant to the procedures outlined below and to the extent appropriate confidentiality arrangements limiting the use of such information are in effect. The “Entities” referred to in sub-section (iii) above are generally limited to National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) members, subscribers to various fee-based subscription services, large institutional investors (known as “Authorized Participants”) that have been authorized by the Distributor to purchase and redeem large blocks of shares pursuant to legal requirements and other institutional market participants and entities that provide information services.

Each business day, the Fund’s portfolio holdings information will be provided to the Distributor or other agent for dissemination through the facilities of the NSCC and/or other fee-based subscription services to NSCC members and/or subscribers to those other fee-based subscription services, including Authorized Participants, and to entities that publish and/or analyze such information in connection with the process of purchasing or redeeming Creation Units or trading shares of the Fund in the secondary market. This information typically reflects the Fund’s anticipated holdings on the following business day.

Daily access to information concerning the Fund’s portfolio holdings is permitted (i) to certain personnel of those service providers that are involved in portfolio management and providing administrative, operational, risk management, or other support to portfolio management, including affiliated broker-dealers and Authorized Participants; and (ii) to other personnel of the Fund’s investment adviser (and Sub-Adviser) and the Distributor, administrator, custodian and fund accountant who deal directly with or assist in, functions related to investment management, distribution, administration, custody and fund accounting, as may be necessary to conduct business in the ordinary course in a manner consistent with agreements with the Fund and the terms of the Fund’s current registration statement. In addition, the Fund discloses its portfolio holdings and the percentages they represent of the Fund’s net assets each day the Fund is open for business, at www.iShares.com. More information about this disclosure is available at www.iShares.com.

Portfolio holdings information made available in connection with the creation/redemption process may be provided to other entities that provide services to the Fund in the ordinary course of business after it has been disseminated to the NSCC. From time to time, information concerning portfolio holdings other than portfolio holdings information made available in connection with the creation/redemption process, as discussed above, may be provided to other entities that provide services to the Fund, including rating or ranking organizations, in the ordinary course of business, no earlier than one business day following the date of the information.

The Fund will disclose its complete portfolio holdings schedule in public filings with the SEC within 70 days after the end of each fiscal quarter and will provide that information to shareholders as required by federal securities laws and regulations thereunder. The Fund may, however, voluntarily disclose all or part of its portfolio holdings other than in connection with the creation/redemption process, as discussed above, in advance of required filings with the SEC, provided that such information is made generally available to all shareholders and other interested parties in a manner that is consistent with the above policy for disclosure of portfolio holdings information. Such information may be made available through a publicly-available website or other means that make the information available to all likely interested parties contemporaneously.

The Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer may authorize disclosure of portfolio holdings information pursuant to the above policy and procedures.

The Board reviews the policy and procedures for disclosure of portfolio holdings information at least annually.

Investment Limitations

The Board has adopted as a non-fundamental policy the investment objective of the Fund. Therefore, the Fund may change its investment objective without a shareholder vote. The Board has adopted as fundamental policies the following numbered investment restrictions, which cannot be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities. A vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities is defined in the 1940 Act as the lesser of (a) 67% or more of the voting securities present at a fund meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities are present or represented by proxy and (b) more than 50% of outstanding voting securities of the fund.

 

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The Fund will not:

 

1.  

Purchase the securities of issuers conducting their principal business activity in the same industry if, immediately after the purchase and as a result thereof, the value of the Fund’s investments in that industry would equal or exceed 25% of the current value of the Fund’s total assets, provided that this restriction does not limit the Fund’s: (i) investments in securities of other investment companies, (ii) investments in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities, (iii) investments in repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities (iv) wholly-owned finance companies will be considered to be in the industries of their parents if their activities are primarily related to financing the activities of the parents; and (v) financial services will be divided according to its industries; for example, commercial banks, thrifts and mortgage finance, diversified financial services, consumer finance, capital markets, insurance, real estate investment trusts and real estate management and development will each be considered a separate industry.

2.   Purchase the securities of any single issuer if, as a result, with respect to 75% of the Fund’s total assets, more than 5% of the value of its total assets would be invested in the securities of such issuer or the Fund’s ownership would be more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, provided that this restriction does not limit the Fund’s cash or cash items, investments in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies and instrumentalities, or investments in securities of other investment companies.
3.   Borrow money, except that (i) the Fund may borrow from banks for temporary or emergency (not leveraging) purposes, including the meeting of redemption requests which might otherwise require the untimely disposition of securities; and (ii) the Fund may, to the extent consistent with its investment policies, enter into repurchase agreements, reverse repurchase agreements, forward roll transactions and similar investment strategies and techniques. To the extent that it engages in transactions described in (i) and (ii), the Fund will be limited so that no more than 33 1/3% of the value of its total assets (including the amount borrowed) is derived from such transactions. Any borrowings which come to exceed this amount will be reduced in accordance with applicable law.
4.   Issue any senior security, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as amended, and as interpreted, modified or otherwise permitted by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.
5.   Make loans, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as interpreted, modified or otherwise permitted by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.
6.   Purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments (but this restriction shall not prevent the Fund from investing in securities of companies engaged in the real estate business or securities or other instruments backed by real estate or mortgages), or commodities or commodity contracts.
7.   Engage in the business of underwriting securities issued by other persons, except to the extent that the Fund may technically be deemed to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act, in disposing of portfolio securities.

In addition to the investment restrictions adopted as fundamental policies set forth above, the Fund has adopted a non-fundamental policy not to invest in the securities of a company for the purpose of exercising management or control or purchase or otherwise acquire any illiquid security, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, which currently permits up to 15% of the Fund’s net assets to be invested in illiquid securities (calculated at the time of investment).

BFA monitors the liquidity of restricted securities in the Fund’s portfolio. In reaching liquidity decisions, BFA considers the following factors:

 

§    The frequency of trades and quotes for the security;
§    The number of dealers wishing to purchase or sell the security and the number of other potential purchasers;
§    Dealer undertakings to make a market in the security; and
§    The nature of the security and the nature of the marketplace in which it trades (e.g., the time needed to dispose of the security, the method of soliciting offers and the mechanics of transfer).

If any percentage restriction described above is complied with at the time of an investment, a later increase or decrease in percentage resulting from a change in values of assets will not constitute a violation of such restriction, except that certain percentage limitations will be observed continuously in accordance with applicable law.

 

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The Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of its net assets in a diversified portfolio of U.S. dollar-denominated investment grade fixed income securities and in TBA transactions with respect to the percentage of the portfolio (if any) that consists of mortgage-pass through securities. The Fund also has adopted a policy to provide its shareholders with at least 60 days’ prior written notice of any change in such policy. If, subsequent to an investment, the 80% requirement is no longer met, the Fund’s future investments will be made in a manner that will bring the Fund into compliance with this policy.

Continuous Offering

The method by which Creation Units are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Units are issued and sold by the Fund on an ongoing basis, at any point a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may occur. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the 1933 Act.

For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Units after placing an order with the Distributor, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers or if it chooses to couple the creation of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the 1933 Act must take into account all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a categorization as an underwriter.

Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, generally are required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(3) of the 1933 Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares of the Fund are reminded that, pursuant to Rule 153 under the 1933 Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the 1933 Act owed to an exchange member in connection with a sale on the Listing Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available at the Listing Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available only with respect to transactions on an exchange.

Management

Trustees and Officers. The Board has responsibility for the overall management and operations of the Fund, including general supervision of the duties performed by BFA and other service providers. Each Trustee serves until he or she resigns, is removed, dies, retires or becomes incapacitated. The President, Chief Compliance Officer, Treasurer and Secretary shall each hold office until their successors are chosen and qualified, and all other officers shall hold office until he or she resigns or is removed. Trustees who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) are referred to as Independent Trustees.

The registered investment companies advised by BFA or its affiliates are organized into one complex of closed-end funds, two complexes of open-end funds and one complex of exchange-traded funds (“Exchange-Traded Fund Complex”) (each, a “BlackRock Fund Complex”). The Fund is included in the BlackRock Fund Complex referred to as the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex. Each Trustee also serves as a Trustee of iShares Trust, a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. and, as a result, oversees a total of              funds within the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex. With the exception of Robert S. Kapito, the address of each Trustee and officer is c/o BlackRock, Inc., 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. The address of Mr. Kapito is c/o BlackRock, Inc., Park Avenue Plaza, 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055. The Board has designated George G.C. Parker as its Independent Chairman.

Interested Trustees

 

Name (Age)

  

Position

  

Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years

  

Other Directorships
Held by Trustee

Robert S.

Kapito1

(55)

  

Trustee

(since 2011).

   President and Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2006 and 2007, respectively); Vice Chairman of    Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2009); Trustee of iShares Trust (since 2009); Director of iShares MSCI Russia

 

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      BlackRock, Inc. and Head of BlackRock’s Portfolio Management Group (since its formation in 1998) and BlackRock’s predecessor entities (since 1988); Trustee, University of Pennsylvania (since 2009); President of Board of Directors, Hope & Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund (since 2002); President of the Board of Directors, Periwinkle Theatre for Youth (since 1983).    Capped Index Fund, Inc. (since 2010);; Director of BlackRock, Inc. (since 2007).

 

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Name (Age)

  

Position

  

Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years

  

Other Directorships
Held by Trustee

Michael Latham2 (46)   

Trustee

(since 2010);

President

(since 2011).

   Chairman of iShares, BTC (since 2011); Global Chief Executive Officer of iShares, BTC (2010-2011); Managing Director, BTC (since 2009); Head of Americas iShares, Barclays Global Investors (“BGI”) (2007-2009); Director and Chief Financial Officer of Barclays Global Investors International, Inc. (2005-2009); Chief Operating Officer of the Intermediary Investor and Exchange-Traded Products Business of BGI (2003-2007).    Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2010); Trustee of iShares Trust (since 2010); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. (since 2010).

 

  1 

Robert S. Kapito is deemed to be an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust due to his affiliations with BlackRock, Inc.

  2 

Michael Latham is deemed to be an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust due to his affiliations with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates.

Independent Trustees

 

Name (Age)

  

Position

  

Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years

  

Other Directorships
Held by Trustee

George G.C.

Parker

(72)

  

Trustee

(since 2011); Independent Chairman

(since 2011).

   Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, Emeritus, Stanford University: Graduate School of Business (Professor since 1973; Emeritus since 2006).    Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2002); Trustee of iShares Trust (since 2000); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. (since 2010); Independent Chairman of iShares, Inc. (since 2010); Independent Chairman of iShares Trust (since 2010); Independent Chairman of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. (since 2010); Director of Tejon Ranch Company (since 1999); Director of Threshold Pharmaceuticals (since 2004); Director of Colony Financial, Inc. (since 2009); Director of First Republic Bank (since 2010).
John E. Martinez (50)   

Trustee

(since 2011).

  

Director of EquityRock, Inc.

(since 2005).

   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2003); Trustee of iShares Trust (since 2003); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. (since 2010).

 

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Name (Age)

  

Position

  

Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years

  

Other Directorships
Held by Trustee

Cecilia H. Herbert

(62)

  

Trustee

(since 2011).

   Director (since 1998) and President (2007-2010) of the Board of Directors, Catholic Charities CYO; Trustee of Pacific Select Funds (2004-2005); Trustee (2002-2011) and Chair of the Finance Committee (2006-2009) and Investment Committee (2006-2011) of the Thacher School; Member (since 1994) and Chair (1994-2005) of Investment Committee, Archdiocese of San Francisco; Trustee and Member of the Investment Committee (since 2011), WNET, the New York Public Broadcasting Company.    Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005); Trustee of iShares Trust (since 2005); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. (since 2010); Director, Forward Funds (34 portfolios) (since 2009).

Charles A. Hurty

(68)

  

Trustee

(since 2011).

   Retired; Partner, KPMG LLP (1968-2001).    Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005); Trustee of iShares Trust (since 2005); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. (since 2010); Director of GMAM Absolute Return Strategy Fund (1 portfolio) (since 2002); Director of SkyBridge Multi-Adviser Hedge Fund Portfolios LLC (2 portfolios) (since 2002).

John E. Kerrigan

(56)

  

Trustee

(since 2011).

   Chief Investment Officer, Santa Clara University (since 2002).    Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005); Trustee of iShares Trust (since 2005); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. (since 2010).

Robert H. Silver

(56)

  

Trustee

(since 2011).

   President and Co-Founder of The Bravitas Group, Inc. (since 2006); Member, Non-Investor Advisory Board of Russia Partners II, LP (since 2006); Director and Vice Chairman of the YMCA of Greater NYC (2001-2011); Broadway Producer (2006 -2011); Co-Founder and Vice President of Parentgiving Inc. (since 2008); Director and Member of the Audit and Compensation Committee of EPAM Systems, Inc. (2006-2009).    Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2007); Trustee of iShares Trust (since 2007); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. (since 2010).

Madhav V. Rajan

(47)

  

Trustee

(since 2011).

   Gregor G. Peterson Professor of Accounting and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Stanford University: Graduate School of Business (since 2001); Professor of Law (by courtesy), Stanford Law School (since 2005); Visiting Professor, University of Chicago (Winter 2007-2008).    Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2011); Trustee of iShares Trust (since 2011); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. (since 2011).

 

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Officers

 

Name (Age)

  

Position

  

Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years

Jack Gee

(52)

  

Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

(since 2011).

   Managing Director, BTC (since 2009); Senior Director of Fund Administration of Intermediary Investor Business of BGI (2009); Director of Fund Administration of Intermediary Investor Business of BGI (2004-2009).

Eilleen M. Clavere

(59)

  

Secretary

(since 2011).

   Director, BTC (since 2009); Director of Legal Administration of Intermediary Investor Business of BGI (2006-2009); Legal Counsel and Vice President of Atlas Funds, Atlas Advisers, Inc. and Atlas Securities, Inc. (2005-2006); Counsel of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP (2001-2005).

Ira P. Shapiro

(48)

  

Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

(since 2011).

   Managing Director, BTC (since 2009); Associate General Counsel, BGI (2004-2009).

Amy Schioldager

(49)

  

Executive Vice President

(since 2011).

   Managing Director, BTC (since 2009); Global Head of Index Equity, BGI (2008-2009); Global Head of U.S. Indexing, BGI (2006-2008); Head of Domestic Equity Portfolio Management, BGI (2001-2006).
Matt Tucker (39)   

Vice President

(since 2011).

   Managing Director, BTC (since 2009); Director of Fixed Income Investment Strategy, BGI (2009); Head of U.S. Fixed Income Investment Solutions, BGI (2005-2008); Fixed Income Investment Strategist, BGI (2003-2005).

The Board has concluded that, based on each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes or skills on an individual basis and in combination with those of the other Trustees, each Trustee should serve as a Trustee of the Board. Among the attributes common to all Trustees are their ability to review critically, evaluate, question and discuss information provided to them, to interact effectively with the Fund’s investment adviser, other service providers, counsel and the independent registered public accounting firm, and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties as Trustees. A Trustee’s ability to perform his or her duties effectively may have been attained through the Trustee’s educational background or professional training; business, consulting, public service or academic positions; experience from service as a board member of the Fund and the other funds in the Trust (and any predecessor funds), other investment funds, public companies, or non-profit entities or other organizations; and/or other life experiences. Also, set forth below is a brief discussion of the specific experience, qualifications, attributes or skills of each Trustee that led the Board to conclude that he or she should serve as a Trustee.

Robert Kapito has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011. Mr. Kapito has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares Trust since 2009, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010 and a Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2007. In addition, he has over 20 years of experience as part of BlackRock, Inc. and BlackRock’s predecessor entities. Mr. Kapito serves as President and Director of BlackRock, Inc., and is the Chairman of the Operating Committee, a member of the Office of the Chairman, the Leadership Committee and the Corporate Council. He is responsible for day-to-day oversight of BlackRock’s key operating units, including the Account Management and Portfolio Management Groups, Real Estate Group and BlackRock Solutions®. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in 2007, Mr. Kapito served as Head of BlackRock’s Portfolio Management Group. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing all portfolio management within BlackRock, including the Fixed Income, Equity, Liquidity, and Alternative Investment Groups. Mr. Kapito serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. He is also President of the Board of Directors for the Hope & Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund since 2002 and President of the Board of Directors for Periwinkle Theatre for Youth, a national non-profit arts-in-education organization, since 1983. Mr. Kapito earned a BS degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1979, and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School in 1983.

Michael Latham has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011 and President of the Trust since 2011. Mr. Latham has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2010, President of iShares, Inc. since 2007, Principal Financial Officer of iShares, Inc. from 2002 until 2007, a Trustee of iShares Trust since 2010, President of iShares Trust since 2007, Principal Financial Officer of iShares Trust from 2002 until 2007, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010 and President of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010. Mr. Latham is the Chairman of BlackRock’s iShares exchange-traded fund business. In addition, he has over 15 years of

 

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experience as part of BlackRock, Inc. and BlackRock’s predecessor entities. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in September 2011, he was the global head of BlackRock’s iShares exchange-traded fund business. Prior to April 2009, he was head of BlackRock’s iShares exchange-traded fund business for the United States and Canada, and Chief Operating Officer for the U.S. iShares business. He previously held a variety of operating positions within the firm. Mr. Latham earned a BS degree in business administration from California State University at San Francisco in 1988.

George G.C. Parker has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011 and Chairman of the Trust’s Board since 2011. Mr. Parker has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2002, Chairman of iShares, Inc.’s Board since 2010, Lead Independent Director of iShares, Inc. from 2006 until 2010, Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee for iShares, Inc. from 2002 until 2010, a Trustee of iShares Trust since 2000, Chairman of iShares Trust’s Board since 2010, Lead Independent Trustee of iShares Trust from 2006 until 2010, Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee for iShares Trust from 2002 until 2010, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010 and Chairman of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc.’s Board since 2010. Mr. Parker also serves as Director on four other boards. Mr. Parker is the Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance (Emeritus) at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He teaches courses in Corporate Finance in the MBA Program, Stanford Sloan Program for Executives, and in various other Executive Education Programs at Stanford University. Mr. Parker’s teaching and research interests are primarily in the field of corporate finance, management of financial institutions, and corporate governance, and he has written numerous case studies related to these subjects. He has also authored several articles on capital structure, risk management, and corporate valuation. Mr. Parker holds MBA and Ph.D. degrees from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

John E. Martinez has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011. Mr. Martinez has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2003, a Trustee of iShares Trust since 2003 and a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010. Mr. Martinez is a Director of EquityRock, Inc. (previously Real Estate Equity Exchange, Inc), providing governance oversight and consulting services to this privately held firm that develops products and strategies for homeowners in managing the equity in their homes. Mr. Martinez previously served as Director of Barclays Global Investors (BGI) UK Holdings, where he provided governance oversight representing BGI’s shareholders (Barclays PLC, BGI management shareholders) through oversight of BGI’s worldwide activities. Since 2003, he is a Director and Executive Committee Member for Larkin Street Youth Services, providing governance oversight and strategy development to an agency that provides emergency and transitional housing, health care, education, job and life skills training to homeless youth. Mr. Martinez has an AB degree in economics from The University of California, Berkeley and holds an MBA degree in finance and statistics from the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.

Cecilia H. Herbert has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011. Ms. Herbert has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, a Trustee of iShares Trust since 2005 and a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010. She is Director of the Board of the Catholic Charities CYO, among the Bay Area’s largest private social services organizations serving the homeless, poor, aged, families, children and AIDS/HIV victims, on which she has served since 1998. Ms. Herbert is a member of the Finance Council, Archdiocese of San Francisco since 1994, which she chaired from 1994 to 2005. She has served on numerous non-profit boards. Ms. Herbert is also a Director and Advisory Board Member since 2009 of the Forward Funds. Ms. Herbert previously served as a Trustee for the Pacific Select Funds and The Montgomery Funds. Ms. Herbert previously served as Managing Director of J.P. Morgan/Morgan Guaranty Trust Company responsible for product development, marketing and credit for U.S. multinational corporations and as head of its San Francisco office and as Assistant Vice President, Signet Banking Corporation. Ms. Herbert has a BA degree in economics and communications from Stanford University and an MBA degree in finance from Harvard Business School.

Charles A. Hurty has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011 and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Trust since 2011. Mr. Hurty has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, Chairman of the Audit Committee of iShares, Inc. since 2006, a Trustee of iShares Trust since 2005, Chairman of the Audit Committee of iShares Trust since 2006, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010 and Chairman of the Audit Committee of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010. In addition, Mr. Hurty serves as Director of the GMAM Absolute Return Strategy Fund since 2002, Director of the SkyBridge Multi-Adviser Hedge Fund Portfolios LLC (formerly, Citigroup Alternative Investments Multi-Adviser Hedge Fund Portfolios LLC) since 2002 and was a Director of the CSFB Alternative Investment Funds from 2005 to December 2009, when the funds were liquidated. Mr. Hurty was formerly a Partner at KPMG, LLP from 1968 to 2001. Mr. Hurty has a BS degree in accounting from University of Kansas.

 

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John E. Kerrigan has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011 and Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Trust since 2011. Mr. Kerrigan has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee of iShares, Inc. since 2010, a Trustee of iShares Trust since 2005, Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee of iShares Trust since 2010, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010 and Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010. Mr. Kerrigan serves as Chief Investment Officer, Santa Clara University since 2002. Mr. Kerrigan was formerly a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch & Co., including the following responsibilities: Global Manager of Institutional Client Division eCommerce, Global Manager of Technology Specialists Sales and Chair, Performance Measurement, Evaluation & Compensation Task Force. Mr. Kerrigan is a Trustee, since 2008, of Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, CA, and Director, since 1999, of The BASIC Fund (Bay Area Scholarships for Inner City Children). Mr. Kerrigan has a BA degree from Boston College and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Robert H. Silver has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011. Mr. Silver has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2007, a Trustee of iShares Trust since 2007 and a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc. since 2010. Mr. Silver is President and a co-founder of The Bravitas Group Inc., a firm dedicated to advising and investing in emerging business enterprises and to supporting philanthropic activities that benefit under-served urban youth. Previously, Mr. Silver served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of UBS Financial Services Inc., the registered broker dealer comprising the Wealth Management USA business unit of UBS AG. Mr. Silver also served on the Board of Directors of EPAM, a provider of software engineering outsourcing services in Central and Eastern Europe, the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and served as a governor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. In addition, Mr. Silver is a Vice Chairman and a Member of the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Greater New York and chairs its Fund Development Committee since 2001 and Co-Founder and Vice President of Parentgiving Inc. since 2008. Mr. Silver began his career as a CPA at KPMG LLP from 1983 until 1997. Mr. Silver has a BS degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina.

Madhav V. Rajan has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011. Mr. Rajan has served as a Director of iShares, Inc., a Trustee of iShares Trust, and a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc since 2011. Mr. Rajan is the Gregor G. Peterson Professor of Accounting at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has taught accounting for over 20 years to undergraduate, MBA and law students, as well as to senior executives. Mr. Rajan serves as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and head of the MBA Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Mr. Rajan served as editor of “The Accounting Review” from 2002 to 2008 and is co-author of “Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis,” a leading cost accounting textbook. Mr. Rajan holds MS, MBA and Ph.D. degrees in Accounting from Carnegie Mellon University.

Board – Leadership Structure and Oversight Responsibilities

Overall responsibility for oversight of the Fund rests with the Board. The Board has engaged BFA to manage the Fund on a day-to-day basis. The Board is responsible for overseeing BFA and other service providers in the operations of the Fund in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act, applicable provisions of state and other laws and the Trust’s charter. The Board is currently composed of nine members, seven of whom are Independent Trustees (defined below). The Board currently conducts regular meetings four times a year. In addition, the Board frequently holds special in-person or telephonic meetings or informal conference calls to discuss specific matters that may arise or require action between regular meetings. The Independent Trustees meet regularly outside the presence of management, in executive session or with other service providers to the Trust.

The Board has appointed an Independent Trustee to serve in the role of Chairman. The Chairman’s role is to preside at all meetings of the Board and to act as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys, and other Trustees generally between meetings. The Chairman may also perform such other functions as may be delegated by the Board from time to time. The Board has established a Nominating and Governance Committee and an Audit Committee to assist the Board in the oversight and direction of the business and affairs of the Fund, and from time to time may establish ad-hoc committees or informal working groups to review and address the policies and practices of the Fund with respect to certain specified matters. The Board and each standing Committee conduct annual assessments of their oversight function and structure. The Board has determined that the Board’s leadership structure is appropriate because it allows the Board to exercise independent judgment over management and it allocates areas of responsibility among committees of Independent Trustees and the full Board to enhance effective oversight.

Day-to-day risk management with respect to the Fund is the responsibility of BFA or other service providers (depending on the nature of the risk), subject to the supervision of BFA. The Fund is subject to a number of risks, including investment, compliance, operational and valuation risks, among others. While there are a number of risk management functions performed by BFA and other service providers, as applicable, it is not possible to eliminate

 

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all of the risks applicable to the Fund. The Trustees have an oversight role in this area, satisfying themselves that risk management processes are in place and operating effectively. Risk oversight forms part of the Board’s general oversight of the Fund and is addressed as part of various Board and committee activities. The Board, directly or through a committee, also reviews reports from, among others, management and the independent registered public accounting firm for the Trust, as appropriate, regarding risks faced by the Fund and management’s risk functions. The Board has appointed a Chief Compliance Officer who oversees the implementation and testing of the Trust’s compliance program and reports to the Board regarding compliance matters for the Trust and its principal service providers. In testing and maintaining the compliance program, the Chief Compliance Officer assesses key compliance risks affecting the Fund, and addresses them in reports to the Board. The Independent Trustees have engaged independent legal counsel to assist them in performing their oversight responsibilities.

Committees of the Board of Trustees. Each Trustee who is not an interested person (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust (“Independent Trustee”) serves on the Audit Committee and the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board. The purposes of the Audit Committee are to assist the Board (i) in its oversight of the Trust’s accounting and financial reporting principles and policies and related controls and procedures maintained by or on behalf of the Trust; (ii) in its oversight of the Trust’s financial statements and the independent audit thereof; (iii) in selecting, evaluating and, where deemed appropriate, replacing the independent accountants (or nominating the independent accountants to be proposed for shareholder approval in any proxy statement); (iv) in evaluating the independence of the independent accountants; (v) in complying with legal and regulatory requirements that relate to the Trust’s accounting and financial reporting, internal controls and independent audits; and (vi) to assume such other responsibilities as may be delegated by the Board.

The Nominating and Governance Committee nominates individuals for Independent Trustee membership on the Board. The Nominating and Governance Committee functions include, but are not limited to, the following: (i) reviewing the qualifications of any person properly identified or nominated to serve as an Independent Trustee; (ii) recommending to the Board and current Independent Trustees the nominee(s) for appointment as an Independent Trustee by the Board and current Independent Trustees and/or for election as Independent Trustees by shareholders to fill any vacancy for a position of Independent Trustee(s) on the Board; (iii) recommending to the Board and current Independent Trustees the size and composition of the Board and Board committees and whether they comply with applicable laws and regulations; (iv) recommending a current Independent Trustee to the Board and current Independent Trustees to serve as Lead Independent Trustee; (v) periodic review of the Board’s retirement policy; and (vi) recommending an appropriate level of compensation for the Independent Trustees for their services as Trustees, members or chairpersons of committees of the Board, Lead Independent Trustee, Chairperson of the Board and any other positions as the Nominating and Governance Committee considers appropriate. The Nominating and Governance Committee does not consider Board nomination(s) recommended by shareholders (acting solely in their capacity as a shareholder and not in any other capacity). The Nominating and Governance Committee is comprised of all members of the Board that are Independent Trustees.

The following table sets forth, as of December 31, 2011, the dollar range of equity securities beneficially owned by each Trustee in the Fund and in other registered investment companies overseen by the Trustee within the same family of investment companies as the Trust. If a fund is not listed below, the Trustee did not own any securities in that fund as of the date indicated above:

 

Name of

Trustee

 

Fund

 

Dollar Range of

Equity
Securities in the

Fund

 

Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies

Robert Kapito   iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000   Over $100,000
  iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares MSCI Canada Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell 1000 Growth Index Fund   Over $100,000  
     

 

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  iShares Russell 1000 Value Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell Midcap Index Fund   Over $100,000  
Michael Latham   iShares MSCI ACWI ex US Index Fund   Over $100,000   Over $100,000

 

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Name of

Trustee

 

Fund

 

Dollar Range of

Equity
Securities in the

Fund

 

Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies

  iShares MSCI EAFE Small Cap Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares MSCI EAFE Value Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell 2000 Value Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell 3000 Value Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell Microcap Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P California AMT-Free Municipal Bond Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Fund   Over $100,000  
John E. Martinez   iShares Barclays TIPS Bond Fund   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
  iShares MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell 1000 Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell 1000 Value Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P 500 Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P Emerging Markets Infrastructure Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P Global Consumer Staples Sector Index Fund   Over $100,000  
George G.C. Parker   iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond Fund   $10,001-$50,000   Over $100,000
  iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P 100 Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P 500 Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P California AMT-Free Municipal Bond Fund   Over $100,000  
Cecilia H. Herbert   iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000   $10,001-$50,000
Charles A. Hurty   iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Sector Index Fund   $1-$10,000   Over $100,000

 

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Name of

Trustee

 

Fund

 

Dollar Range of

Equity
Securities in the

Fund

 

Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies

  iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund   $1-$10,000  
  iShares Dow Jones U.S. Energy Sector Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Sector Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares S&P 500 Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares S&P Global Energy Sector Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares S&P Global Technology Sector Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares S&P North American Technology-Multimedia Networking Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
John E. Kerrigan   iShares MSCI ACWI ex US Index Fund   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
  iShares S&P Short Term National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Fund   Over $100,000  
Robert H. Silver   iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Credit Bond Fund   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
  iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares Dow Jones U.S. Broker-Dealers Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares Dow Jones U.S. Index Fund   $50,001-$100,000  
  iShares Dow Jones U.S. Regional Banks Index Fund   $50,001-$100,000  
  iShares High Dividend Equity Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares MSCI ACWI ex US Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares MSCI BRIC Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares Russell 1000 Growth Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell 1000 Value Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares Russell 2000 Growth Index Fund   $50,001-$100,000  
  iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund   $1-$10,000  

 

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Name of

Trustee

 

Fund

 

Dollar Range of

Equity
Securities in the

Fund

 

Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies

  iShares Russell 2000 Value Index Fund   $50,001-$100,000  
  iShares Russell 3000 Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P 500 Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P Europe 350 Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index Fund   Over $100,000  
  iShares S&P/Citigroup International Treasury Bond Fund   $1-$10,000  
Madhav V. Rajan   iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund   $10,001-$50,000   Over $100,000
  iShares High Dividend Equity Fund   $10,001-$50,000  
  iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund   $10,001-$50,000  

As of December 31, 2011, none of the Independent Trustees or their immediate family members owned beneficially or of record any securities of BFA (the Fund’s investment adviser), the Distributor or any person controlling, controlled by or under common control with BFA or the Distributor.

Remuneration of Trustees. Each current Independent Trustee is paid compensation for services as a Trustee of the Exchange-Traded Complex an annual retainer of $250,000 per year for his or her services as a Board member to the BlackRock-advised Funds in the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex, together with out -of -pocket expenses in accordance with a Board policy on travel and other business expenses relating to attendance at meetings. The Independent Chairman of the Boards is paid an additional annual retainer of $50,000. The Chair of the Audit Committees is paid an additional annual retainer of $40,000. The Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committees is paid an additional annual retainer of $15,000. The Independent Trustees that serve as directors of subsidiaries of the Exchange-Traded Complex are paid an additional annual retainer of $10,000 (plus an additional $1,765 paid annually to compensate for taxes due in Mauritius).

Because the Trust is newly organized, the Trust has not yet paid any compensation to the Trustees. The following tables illustrate amounts estimated to be paid for the Fund’s initial fiscal year.

 

Name of Interested Trustee1

  

Aggregate
Compensation
from the
iShares Ultrashort
Bond Fund

  

Pension or
Retirement
Benefits Accrued

As
Part of Trust
Expenses2

  

Estimated Annual
Benefits Upon
Retirement2

  

Total
Compensation
From the Fund
and Fund Complex3

Robert S. Kapito

   $0    Not Applicable    Not Applicable    $0

Michael Latham

   $0    Not Applicable    Not Applicable    $0

 

  1 

Robert S. Kapito and Michael Latham will not be compensated by the Trust due to their employment with BTC.

 

  2 

No Trustee or Officer is entitled to any pension or retirement benefits from the Trust.

 

  3 

Includes compensation for service on the Board of Trustees of iShares Trust and the Boards of Directors of iShares, Inc. and iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc.

 

Name of Independent Trustee

  

Aggregate
Compensation
from the
iShares Ultrashort
Bond Fund

  

Pension or
Retirement Benefits
Accrued As
Part of Trust
Expenses1

  

Estimated Annual
Benefits Upon
Retirement1

  

Total
Compensation
From the Fund
and Fund Complex2

George G.C. Parker

   $500    Not Applicable    Not Applicable    $300,000

John E. Kerrigan

     500    Not Applicable    Not Applicable      276,765

Charles A. Hurty

     500    Not Applicable    Not Applicable      290,000

Cecilia H. Herbert

     500    Not Applicable    Not Applicable      261,765

Robert H. Silver

     500    Not Applicable    Not Applicable      250,000

John E. Martinez

     500    Not Applicable    Not Applicable      261,765

Madhav V. Rajan

     500    Not Applicable    Not Applicable      187,500

 

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  1 

No Trustee or Officer is entitled to any pension or retirement benefits from the Trust.

 

  2 

Includes compensation for service on the Board of Trustees of iShares Trust and the Boards of Directors of iShares, Inc. and iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund, Inc.

Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities. Ownership information is not provided for the Fund as it has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI.

Potential Conflicts of Interest. Barclays PLC (“Barclays”) and The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”), each has a significant economic interest in BlackRock, Inc., the parent of BFA, the Fund’s investment adviser. PNC is considered to be an affiliate of BlackRock, Inc., under the 1940 Act. Certain activities of BFA, BlackRock, Inc. and their affiliates (collectively, “BlackRock”) and PNC and its affiliates (collectively, “PNC” and together with BlackRock, “Affiliates”), and those of Barclays and its affiliates (collectively, the “Barclays Entities”), with respect to the Fund and/or other accounts managed by BlackRock, PNC or Barclays Entities, may give rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest such as those described below.

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest asset management firms. PNC is a diversified financial services organization spanning the retail, business and corporate markets. Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in a range of activities, including retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, and wealth management. BlackRock and PNC are affiliates of one another under the 1940 Act. BlackRock, PNC, Barclays and their respective affiliates (including, for these purposes, their directors, partners, trustees, managing members, officers and employees), including the entities and personnel who may be involved in the investment activities and business operations of the Fund, are engaged worldwide in businesses, including equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investments. These are considerations of which investors in the Fund should be aware, and which may cause conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. These activities and interests include potential multiple advisory, transactional, financial and other interests in securities and other instruments that may be purchased or sold by the Fund.

BlackRock and its Affiliates, as well as the Barclays Entities, have proprietary interests in, and may manage or advise with respect to, accounts or funds (including separate accounts and other funds and collective investment vehicles) that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and instruments as the Fund. One or more Affiliates and Barclays Entities are also major participants in the global currency, equities, swap and fixed income markets, in each case both on a proprietary basis and for the accounts of customers. As such, one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities are or may be actively engaged in transactions in the same securities, currencies, and instruments in which the Fund invests. Such activities could affect the prices and availability of the securities, currencies, and instruments in which the Fund invests, which could have an adverse impact on the Fund’s performance. Such transactions, particularly in respect of most proprietary accounts or customer accounts, will be executed independently of the Fund’s transactions and thus at prices or rates that may be more or less favorable than those obtained by the Fund. When BlackRock and its Affiliates purchase or sell the same assets for their managed accounts, including the Fund, the assets actually purchased or sold may be allocated among the accounts on a basis determined in their good faith discretion to be equitable. In some cases, this system may adversely affect the size or price of the assets purchased or sold for the Fund. In addition, transactions in investments by one or more other accounts managed by BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund, particularly, but not limited to, with respect to small capitalization, emerging market or less liquid strategies. This may occur when investment decisions regarding the Fund are based on research or other information that is also used to support decisions for other accounts. When BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity implements a portfolio decision or strategy on behalf of another account ahead of, or contemporaneously with, similar decisions or strategies for the Fund, market impact, liquidity constraints, or other factors could result in the Fund receiving less favorable trading results and the costs of implementing such decisions or strategies could be increased or the Fund could otherwise be disadvantaged. BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity may, in certain cases, elect to implement internal policies and procedures designed to limit such consequences, which may cause the Fund to be unable to engage in certain activities, including purchasing or disposing of securities, when it might otherwise be desirable for it to do so.

Conflicts may also arise because portfolio decisions regarding the Fund may benefit other accounts managed by BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity. For example, the sale of a long position or establishment of a short position by the Fund may impair the price of the same security sold short by (and therefore benefit) one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities or their other accounts, and the purchase of a security or covering of a short position in a security by the Fund may increase the price of the same security held by (and therefore benefit) one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities or their other accounts.

 

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BlackRock and its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity and their clients may pursue or enforce rights with respect to an issuer in which the Fund has invested, and those activities may have an adverse effect on the Fund. As a result, prices, availability, liquidity and terms of the Fund’s investments may be negatively impacted by the activities of BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity or their clients, and transactions for the Fund may be impaired or effected at prices or terms that may be less favorable than would otherwise have been the case.

The results of the Fund’s investment activities may differ significantly from the results achieved by BlackRock and its Affiliates or the Barclays Entities for their proprietary accounts or other accounts (including investment companies or collective investment vehicles) managed or advised by them. It is possible that one or more Affiliate- or Barclays Entity-managed accounts and such other accounts will achieve investment results that are substantially more or less favorable than the results achieved by the Fund. Moreover, it is possible that the Fund will sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entity-managed accounts achieve significant profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible. The investment activities of one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities for their proprietary accounts and accounts under their management may also limit the investment opportunities for the Fund in certain emerging and other markets in which limitations are imposed upon the amount of investment, in the aggregate or in individual issuers, by affiliated foreign investors.

From time to time, the Fund’s activities may also be restricted because of regulatory restrictions applicable to one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities, and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions. As a result, there may be periods, for example, when BlackRock, and/or one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities, will not initiate or recommend certain types of transactions in certain securities or instruments with respect to which BlackRock and/or one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities are performing services or when position limits have been reached.

In connection with its management of the Fund, BlackRock may have access to certain fundamental analysis and proprietary technical models developed by one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities. BlackRock will not be under any obligation, however, to effect transactions on behalf of the Fund in accordance with such analysis and models. In addition, neither BlackRock nor any of its Affiliates, nor any Barclays Entity, will have any obligation to make available any information regarding their proprietary activities or strategies, or the activities or strategies used for other accounts managed by them, for the benefit of the management of the Fund and it is not anticipated that BlackRock will have access to such information for the purpose of managing the Fund. The proprietary activities or portfolio strategies of BlackRock and its Affiliates and the Barclays Entities, or the activities or strategies used for accounts managed by them or other customer accounts could conflict with the transactions and strategies employed by BlackRock in managing the Fund.

In addition, certain principals and certain employees of BlackRock are also principals or employees of Affiliates. As a result, the performance by these principals and employees of their obligations to such other entities may be a consideration of which investors in the Fund should be aware.

BlackRock may enter into transactions and invest in securities, instruments and currencies on behalf of the Fund in which customers of BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity, or, to the extent permitted by the SEC, BlackRock or another Affiliate or a Barclays Entity, serves as the counterparty, principal or issuer. In such cases, such party’s interests in the transaction will be adverse to the interests of the Fund, and such party may have no incentive to assure that the Fund obtains the best possible prices or terms in connection with the transactions. In addition, the purchase, holding and sale of such investments by the Fund may enhance the profitability of BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity. One or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities may also create, write or issue derivatives for their customers, the underlying securities, currencies or instruments of which may be those in which the Fund invests or which may be based on the performance of the Fund. The Fund may, subject to applicable law, purchase investments that are the subject of an underwriting or other distribution by one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities and may also enter into transactions with other clients of an Affiliate or Barclays Entity where such other clients have interests adverse to those of the Fund.

At times, these activities may cause departments of BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity to give advice to clients that may cause these clients to take actions adverse to the interests of the Fund. To the extent affiliated transactions are permitted, the Fund will deal with BlackRock and its Affiliates or Barclays Entities on an arms-length basis. BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity may also have an ownership interest in certain trading or information systems used by the Fund. The Fund’s use of such trading or information systems may enhance the profitability of BlackRock and its Affiliates or Barclays Entities.

 

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One or more Affiliates or one of the Barclays Entities may act as broker, dealer, agent, lender or adviser or in other commercial capacities for the Fund. It is anticipated that the commissions, mark-ups, mark-downs, financial advisory fees, underwriting and placement fees, sales fees, financing and commitment fees, brokerage fees, other fees, compensation or profits, rates, terms and conditions charged by an Affiliate or Barclays Entity will be in its view commercially reasonable, although each Affiliate or Barclays Entity, including its sales personnel, will have an interest in obtaining fees and other amounts that are favorable to the Affiliate or Barclays Entity and such sales personnel.

Subject to applicable law, the Affiliates and Barclays Entities (and their personnel and other distributors) will be entitled to retain fees and other amounts that they receive in connection with their service to the Fund as broker, dealer, agent, lender, adviser or in other commercial capacities and no accounting to the Fund or its shareholders will be required, and no fees or other compensation payable by the Fund or its shareholders will be reduced by reason of receipt by an Affiliate or Barclays Entity of any such fees or other amounts.

When an Affiliate or Barclays Entity acts as broker, dealer, agent, adviser or in other commercial capacities in relation to the Fund, the Affiliate or Barclays Entity may take commercial steps in its own interests, which may have an adverse effect on the Fund. The Fund will be required to establish business relationships with its counterparties based on the Fund’s own credit standing. Neither BlackRock nor any of the Affiliates, nor any Barclays Entity, will have any obligation to allow their credit to be used in connection with the Fund’s establishment of its business relationships, nor is it expected that the Fund’s counterparties will rely on the credit of BlackRock or any of the Affiliates or Barclays Entities in evaluating the Fund’s creditworthiness.

Purchases and sales of securities for the Fund may be bunched or aggregated with orders for other BlackRock client accounts. BlackRock, however, is not required to bunch or aggregate orders if portfolio management decisions for different accounts are made separately, or if it determines that bunching or aggregating is not practicable or required, or in cases involving client direction.

Prevailing trading activity frequently may make impossible the receipt of the same price or execution on the entire volume of securities purchased or sold. When this occurs, the various prices may be averaged, and the Fund will be charged or credited with the average price. Thus, the effect of the aggregation may operate on some occasions to the disadvantage of the Fund.

In addition, under certain circumstances, the Fund will not be charged the same commission or commission equivalent rates in connection with a bunched or aggregated order.

BlackRock may select brokers (including, without limitation, Affiliates or Barclays Entities) that furnish BlackRock, the Fund, other BlackRock client accounts or other Affiliates or Barclays Entities or personnel, directly or through correspondent relationships, with research or other appropriate services which provide, in BlackRock’s view, appropriate assistance to BlackRock in the investment decision-making process (including with respect to futures, fixed-price offerings and over-the-counter transactions). Such research or other services may include, to the extent permitted by law, research reports on companies, industries and securities; economic and financial data; financial publications; proxy analysis; trade industry seminars; computer data bases; research-oriented software and other services and products. Research or other services obtained in this manner may be used in servicing any or all of the Fund and other BlackRock client accounts, including in connection with BlackRock client accounts other than those that pay commissions to the broker relating to the research or other service arrangements. Such products and services may disproportionately benefit other BlackRock client accounts relative to the Fund based on the amount of brokerage commissions paid by the Fund and such other BlackRock client accounts. For example, research or other services that are paid for through one client’s commissions may not be used in managing that client’s account. In addition, other BlackRock client accounts may receive the benefit, including disproportionate benefits, of economies of scale or price discounts in connection with products and services that may be provided to the Fund and to such other BlackRock client accounts. To the extent that BlackRock uses soft dollars, it will not have to pay for those products and services itself.

BlackRock may receive research that is bundled with the trade execution, clearing, and/or settlement services provided by a particular broker-dealer. To the extent that BlackRock receives research on this basis, many of the same conflicts related to traditional soft dollars may exist. For example, the research effectively will be paid by client commissions that also will be used to pay for the execution, clearing, and settlement services provided by the broker-dealer and will not be paid by BlackRock.

BlackRock may endeavor to execute trades through brokers who, pursuant to such arrangements, provide research or other services in order to ensure the continued receipt of research or other services BlackRock believes are

 

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useful in its investment decision-making process. BlackRock may from time to time choose not to engage in the above described arrangements to varying degrees. BlackRock may also enter into commission sharing arrangements under which BlackRock may execute transactions through a broker-dealer, including, where permitted, an Affiliate or Barclays Entity, and request that the broker-dealer allocate a portion of the commissions or commission credits to another firm that provides research to BlackRock. To the extent that BlackRock engages in commission sharing arrangements, many of the same conflicts related to traditional soft dollars may exist.

BlackRock may utilize certain electronic crossing networks (“ECNs”) in executing client securities transactions for certain types of securities. These ECNs may charge fees for their services, including access fees and transaction fees. The transaction fees, which are similar to commissions or markups/markdowns, will generally be charged to clients and, like commissions and markups/markdowns, would generally be included in the cost of the securities purchased. Access fees may be paid by BlackRock even though incurred in connection with executing transactions on behalf of clients, including the Fund. In certain circumstances, ECNs may offer volume discounts that will reduce the access fees typically paid by BlackRock. This would have the effect of reducing the access fees paid by BlackRock. BlackRock will only utilize ECNs consistent with its obligation to seek to obtain best execution in client transactions.

BlackRock has adopted policies and procedures designed to prevent conflicts of interest from influencing proxy voting decisions that it makes on behalf of advisory clients, including the Fund, and to help ensure that such decisions are made in accordance with BlackRock’s fiduciary obligations to its clients. Nevertheless, notwithstanding such proxy voting policies and procedures, actual proxy voting decisions of BlackRock may have the effect of favoring the interests of other clients or businesses of other divisions or units of BlackRock and/or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity, provided that BlackRock believes such voting decisions to be in accordance with its fiduciary obligations. For a more detailed discussion of these policies and procedures, see the Proxy Voting Policy section of this SAI.

It is also possible that, from time to time, BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity may, although they are not required to, purchase and hold shares of the Fund. Increasing the Fund’s assets may enhance investment flexibility and diversification and may contribute to economies of scale that tend to reduce the Fund’s expense ratio. BlackRock and its Affiliates or Barclays Entities reserve the right to redeem at any time some or all of the shares of the Fund acquired for their own accounts. A large redemption of shares of the Fund by BlackRock or its Affiliates or by a Barclays Entity could significantly reduce the asset size of the Fund, which might have an adverse effect on the Fund’s investment flexibility, portfolio diversification and expense ratio. BlackRock will consider the effect of redemptions on the Fund and other shareholders in deciding whether to redeem its shares.

It is possible that the Fund may invest in securities of companies with which an Affiliate or a Barclays Entity has or is trying to develop investment banking relationships as well as securities of entities in which BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity has significant debt or equity investments or in which an Affiliate or Barclays Entity makes a market. The Fund also may invest in securities of companies to which an Affiliate or a Barclays Entity provides or may some day provide research coverage. In addition, the Fund may invest in sovereign issuers that are advised by an Affiliate with respect to their debt ratings. Such investments could cause conflicts between the interests of the Fund and the interests of other clients of BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity. In making investment decisions for the Fund, BlackRock is not permitted to obtain or use material non-public information acquired by any division, department or Affiliate of BlackRock or of a Barclays Entity in the course of these activities.

In addition, from time to time, the activities of an Affiliate or a Barclays Entity may limit the Fund’s flexibility in purchases and sales of securities. When an Affiliate is engaged in an underwriting or other distribution of securities of an entity, BlackRock may be prohibited from purchasing or recommending the purchase of certain securities of that entity for the Fund.

BlackRock and its Affiliates and the Barclays Entities, their personnel and other financial service providers may have interests in promoting sales of the Fund. With respect to BlackRock and its Affiliates and Barclays Entities and their personnel, the remuneration and profitability relating to services to and sales of the Fund or other products may be greater than remuneration and profitability relating to services to and sales of certain funds or other products that might be provided or offered. BlackRock and its Affiliates or Barclays Entities and their sales personnel may directly or indirectly receive a portion of the fees and commissions charged to the Fund or its shareholders. BlackRock and its advisory or other personnel may also benefit from increased amounts of assets under management. Fees and commissions may also be higher than for other products or services, and the remuneration and profitability to BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity and such personnel resulting from transactions on behalf of or management of the Fund may be greater than the remuneration and profitability resulting from other funds or products.

 

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BlackRock and its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity and their personnel may receive greater compensation or greater profit in connection with an account for which BlackRock serves as an adviser than with an account advised by an unaffiliated investment adviser. Differentials in compensation may be related to the fact that BlackRock may pay a portion of its advisory fee to its Affiliate or to a Barclays Entity, or relate to compensation arrangements, including for portfolio management, brokerage transactions or account servicing. Any differential in compensation may create a financial incentive on the part of BlackRock or its Affiliates or Barclays Entities and their personnel to recommend BlackRock over unaffiliated investment advisers or to effect transactions differently in one account over another. BlackRock and its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity may provide valuation assistance to certain clients with respect to certain securities or other investments and the valuation recommendations made for their clients’ accounts may differ from the valuations for the same securities or investments assigned by the Fund’s pricing vendors, especially if such valuations are based on broker-dealer quotes or other data sources unavailable to the Fund’s pricing vendors. While BlackRock will generally communicate its valuation information or determinations to the Fund’s pricing vendors and/or fund accountants, there may be instances where the Fund’s pricing vendors or fund accountants assign a different valuation to a security or other investment than the valuation for such security or investment determined or recommended by BlackRock.

As disclosed in more detail in the Determination of Net Asset Value section of the Fund’s Prospectus, when market valuations are not readily available or such valuations do not reflect current market values, the affected investments will be valued using fair value pricing, pursuant to procedures adopted by the Fund’s Board. As a result, the Fund’s sale or redemption of its shares at net asset value, at a time when a holding or holdings are valued by BlackRock (pursuant to Board-adopted procedures) at fair value, may have the effect of diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, the Fund may invest all or some of its short term cash investments in any money market fund or similarly-managed private fund advised or managed by BlackRock. In connection with any such investments, the Fund, to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, may pay its share of expenses of a money market fund in which it invests, which may result in the Fund bearing some additional expenses.

BlackRock and its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity and their directors, officers and employees, may buy and sell securities or other investments for their own accounts, and may have conflicts of interest with respect to investments made on behalf of the Fund. As a result of differing trading and investment strategies or constraints, positions may be taken by directors, officers, employees and Affiliates of BlackRock or by Barclays Entities that are the same, different from or made at different times than positions taken for the Fund. To lessen the possibility that the Fund will be adversely affected by this personal trading, the Fund, BFA and BlackRock each has adopted a Code of Ethics in compliance with Section 17(j) of the 1940 Act that restricts securities trading in the personal accounts of investment professionals and others who normally come into possession of information regarding the Fund’s portfolio transactions. Each Code of Ethics can be reviewed and copied at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. Information on the operation of the Public Reference Room may be obtained by calling the SEC at (202) 551-8090. Each Code of Ethics is also available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet site at http://www.sec.gov, and copies may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by e-mail at publicinfo@sec.gov or by writing the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, DC 20549-1520.

BlackRock and its Affiliates will not purchase securities or other property from, or sell securities or other property to, the Fund, except that the Fund may in accordance with rules adopted under the 1940 Act engage in transactions with accounts that are affiliated with the Fund as a result of common officers, directors, or investment advisers or pursuant to exemptive orders granted to the Fund and/or BlackRock by the SEC. These transactions would be affected in circumstances in which BlackRock determined that it would be appropriate for the Fund to purchase and another client of BlackRock to sell, or the Fund to sell and another client of BlackRock to purchase, the same security or instrument on the same day. From time to time, the activities of the Fund may be restricted because of regulatory requirements applicable to BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity and/or BlackRock’s internal policies designed to comply with, limit the applicability of, or otherwise relate to such requirements. A client not advised by BlackRock would not be subject to some of those considerations. There may be periods when BlackRock may not initiate or recommend certain types of transactions, or may otherwise restrict or limit their advice in certain securities or instruments issued by or related to companies for which an Affiliate or a Barclays Entity is performing investment banking, market making or other services or has proprietary positions. For example, when an Affiliate is engaged in an underwriting or other distribution of securities of, or advisory services for, a company, the Fund may be prohibited from or limited in purchasing or selling securities of that company. Similar situations could arise if personnel of BlackRock or its Affiliates or a Barclays Entity serve as directors of companies the securities of which the Fund wishes to purchase or sell. However, if permitted by applicable law, the Fund may purchase securities or instruments that are issued by such companies or are the subject of an underwriting,

 

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distribution, or advisory assignment by an Affiliate or a Barclays Entity, or in cases in which personnel of BlackRock or its Affiliates or of Barclays Entities are directors or officers of the issuer.

The investment activities of one or more Affiliates or Barclays Entities for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts may also limit the investment strategies and rights of the Fund. For example, in regulated industries, in certain emerging or international markets, in corporate and regulatory ownership definitions, and in certain futures and derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate amount of investment by affiliated investors that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BlackRock, the Fund or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions. If certain aggregate ownership thresholds are reached or certain transactions undertaken, the ability of BlackRock on behalf of clients (including the Fund) to purchase or dispose of investments, or exercise rights or undertake business transactions, may be restricted by regulation or otherwise impaired. As a result, BlackRock, on behalf of clients (including the Fund), may limit purchases, sell existing investments, or otherwise restrict or limit the exercise of rights (including voting rights) when BlackRock, in its sole discretion, deems it appropriate.

BlackRock and its Affiliates and Barclays Entities may maintain securities indices as part of their product offerings. Index based funds seek to track the performance of securities indices and may use the name of the index in the fund name. Index providers, including BlackRock and its Affiliates and Barclays Entities may be paid licensing fees for use of their index or index name. BlackRock and its Affiliates and Barclays Entities will not be obligated to license their indices to BlackRock, and BlackRock cannot be assured that the terms of any index licensing agreement with BlackRock and its Affiliates and Barclays Entities will be as favorable as those terms offered to other index licensees.

BlackRock and its Affiliates and Barclays Entities may serve as Authorized Participants in the creation and redemption of exchange-traded funds, including funds advised by Affiliates of BlackRock. As described in greater detail in the Creations and Redemptions section of the prospectus, BlackRock and its Affiliates and Barclays Entities may therefore be deemed to be participants in a distribution of iShares funds that could render them statutory underwriters.

Present and future activities of BlackRock and its Affiliates and Barclays Entities, including BFA, in addition to those described in this section, may give rise to additional conflicts of interest.

Investment Advisory, Administrative and Distribution Services

Investment Adviser. BFA serves as investment adviser to the Fund pursuant to an Investment Advisory Agreement between the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, and BFA. BFA is a California corporation indirectly owned by BlackRock, Inc. and is registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Under the Investment Advisory Agreement, BFA, subject to the supervision of the Board and in conformity with the stated investment policies of the Fund, manages and administers the Trust and the investment of the Fund’s assets. BFA is responsible for placing purchase and sale orders and providing continuous supervision of the investment portfolio of the Fund.

Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement, BFA may, from time to time, in its sole discretion and to the extent permitted by applicable law, appoint one or more sub-advisers, including, without limitation, affiliates of BFA, to perform investment advisory or other services with respect to the Fund. In addition, BFA may delegate certain of its investment advisory functions under the Investment Advisory Agreement to one or more of its affiliates to the extent permitted by applicable law. BFA may terminate any or all sub-advisers or such delegation arrangements in its sole discretion upon appropriate notice at any time to the extent permitted by applicable law.

Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement, BFA is responsible for substantially all expenses of the Fund, including the cost of transfer agency, custody, fund administration, legal, audit and other services. BFA is not responsible for, and the Fund will bear the cost of, interest expense, taxes, brokerage expenses and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio securities transactions, distribution fees and extraordinary expenses.

 

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For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA is entitled to receive a management fee from the Fund, based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at an annual rate of     %. Because the Fund has been in operation for less than one full fiscal year, this percentage reflects the rate at which BFA will be paid.

The Investment Advisory Agreement with respect to the Fund continues in effect for two years from its effective date, and thereafter is subject to annual approval by (i) the Board, or (ii) the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, provided that in either event such continuance also is approved by a majority of the Board who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, by a vote cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval.

Investment Sub-Adviser. Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement between BFA and the Trust entered into on behalf of the Fund, BFA may from time to time, in its sole discretion, to the extent permitted by applicable law, appoint one or more sub-advisers, including, without limitation, affiliates of BFA, to perform investment advisory services with respect to the Fund. In addition, BFA may delegate certain of its investment advisory functions under the Investment Advisory Agreement to one or more of its affiliates to the extent permitted by applicable law. BFA may terminate any or all sub-advisers or such delegation arrangements in its sole discretion at any time to the extent permitted by applicable law.

BFA has entered into an investment sub-advisory agreement (the “Sub-Advisory Agreement” and together

with the Investment Advisory Agreement, the “Advisory Agreements”) with the Sub-Adviser with respect to the Fund. The Sub-Adviser is an investment adviser located 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055. The Sub-Adviser is an affiliate of BFA and is a registered investment adviser organized in 1994. As of             , the Sub-Adviser’s total assets under management were approximately $        .

Under the Sub-Advisory Agreement, subject to the supervision and oversight of the Board and BFA, the Sub-Adviser will be primarily responsible for execution of securities transactions and may, from time to time, participate in the management of specified assets in the Fund’s portfolio.

Pursuant to the Sub-Advisory Agreement, BFA pays the Sub-Adviser for services it provides either: (i) a fee equal to a percentage of the management fee paid to BFA under the Investment Advisory Agreement, or (ii) an amount based on the cost of the services provided. The Sub-Adviser’s fee is determined based on the types of services being provided. If the Sub-Adviser provides services relating to both portfolio management and trading, it is entitled to receive, from BFA, an amount equal to     % of BFA’s management fee, and if the Sub-Adviser provides services related solely to trading, then it is entitled to receive, from BFA, an amount equal to     % of the actual pre-tax costs incurred by the Sub-Adviser. The Sub-Adviser may be responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund.

Unless earlier terminated as described below, each Advisory Agreement will remain in effect for an initial two year period and from year to year if approved annually (a) by the Board or by a vote of a majority of the applicable Fund’s outstanding voting securities and (b) by a majority of the Trustees who are not parties to such agreement or interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of any such party.

Each Advisory Agreement with respect to the Fund is terminable without penalty, on 60 days’ notice, by the Board or by a vote of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act). The Investment Advisory Agreement is also terminable upon 60 days’ notice by BFA. The Sub-Advisory Agreement is also terminable on 60 days’ written notice at the option of either BFA or the Sub-Adviser. Each Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act).

Current interpretations of U.S. federal banking laws and regulations (i) may prohibit BlackRock, Inc., BTC and BFA from controlling or underwriting the shares of the Fund, but (ii) do not prohibit BlackRock, Inc. or BFA generally from acting as an investment adviser, administrator, transfer agent or custodian to the Fund or from purchasing shares as agent for and upon the order of a customer.

BFA believes that it may perform advisory and related services for the Trust without violating applicable banking laws or regulations. However, the legal requirements and interpretations about the permissible activities of banks and their affiliates may change in the future. These changes could prevent BFA from continuing to perform services for the Trust. If this happens, the Board would consider selecting other qualified firms. Any new investment advisory agreement would be subject to shareholder approval.

 

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If current restrictions on bank activities with mutual funds were relaxed, BFA, or its affiliates, would consider performing additional services for the Trust. BFA cannot predict whether these changes will be enacted, or the terms under which BFA, or its affiliates, might offer to provide additional services.

Portfolio Managers. As of             , 2012, the individuals named as Portfolio Managers in the Fund’s Prospectus were also primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of other iShares funds and certain other types of portfolios and/or accounts as indicated in the tables below:

 

James Mauro      

Types of Accounts

 

  

Number

 

  

Total Assets

 

Registered Investment Companies

     

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     

Other Accounts

     

Accounts with Incentive-Based Fee Arrangements

     

 

Scott Radell      

Types of Accounts

 

  

Number

 

  

Total Assets

 

Registered Investment Companies

     

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     

Other Accounts

     

Accounts with Incentive-Based Fee Arrangements

     

 

Stuart Spodek      

Types of Accounts

 

  

Number

 

  

Total Assets

 

Registered Investment Companies

     

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     

Other Accounts

     

Accounts with Incentive-Based Fee Arrangements

     

 

Thomas Musmanno      

Types of Accounts

 

  

Number

 

  

Total Assets

 

Registered Investment Companies

     

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     

Other Accounts

     

Accounts with Incentive-Based Fee Arrangements

     

Pursuant to BTC and BFA policy, investment opportunities are allocated equitably among the Fund and other portfolios and accounts. For example, under certain circumstances, an investment opportunity may be restricted due to limited supply on the market, legal constraints or other factors, in which event the investment opportunity will be allocated equitably among those portfolios and accounts, including the Fund seeking such investment opportunity. As a consequence, from time to time the Fund may receive a smaller allocation of an investment opportunity than it would have if the Portfolio Managers and BFA and its affiliates did not manage other portfolios or accounts.

Like the Fund, the other portfolios or accounts for which the Portfolio Managers are primarily responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management generally pay an asset-based fee to BFA or BTC, as applicable, for its advisory services. One or more of those other portfolios or accounts, however, may pay BTC an incentive-based fee in lieu of, or in addition to, an asset-based fee for its advisory services. A portfolio or account with an incentive-based fee would pay BTC a portion of that portfolio’s or account’s gains, or would pay BTC more for its services than would otherwise be the case if BTC meets or exceeds specified performance targets. By their nature, incentive-based fee arrangements could present an incentive for BTC to devote greater resources, and allocate more investment opportunities, to the portfolios or accounts that have those fee arrangements, relative to other portfolios or accounts, in order to earn larger fees. Although BTC has an obligation to allocate resources and opportunities equitably among portfolios and accounts and intends to do so, shareholders of the Fund should be aware that, as with any group of portfolios and accounts managed by an investment adviser and/or its affiliates pursuant to varying fee

 

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arrangements, including incentive-based fee arrangements, there is the potential for a conflict of interest that may result in the Portfolio Managers’ favoring those portfolios or accounts with incentive-based fee arrangements. The tables below show, for each Portfolio Manager, the number of portfolios or accounts of the types set forth in the above tables and the aggregate of total assets in those portfolios or accounts with respect to which the investment management fees are based on the performance of those portfolios or accounts as of             , 2012:

 

James Mauro

Types of Accounts

  

Number of Other
Accounts with
Performance-Based

Fees Managed by Portfolio Manager

  

Aggregate
of Total Assets

Registered Investment Companies

     

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     

Other Accounts

     

 

Scott Radell

Types of Accounts

  

Number of Other
Accounts with
Performance-Based

Fees Managed by Portfolio Manager

  

Aggregate
of Total Assets

Registered Investment Companies

     

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     

Other Accounts

     

 

Stuart Spodek

Types of Accounts

  

Number of Other
Accounts with
Performance-Based

Fees Managed by Portfolio Manager

  

Aggregate
of Total Assets

Registered Investment Companies

     

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     

Other Accounts

     

 

Thomas Musmanno

Types of Accounts

  

Number of Other
Accounts with
Performance-Based

Fees Managed by Portfolio Manager

  

Aggregate
of Total Assets

Registered Investment Companies

     

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     

Other Accounts

     

The discussion below describes the Portfolio Managers’ compensation as of             , 2012.

Portfolio Manager Compensation Overview

Base compensation. Generally, portfolio managers receive base compensation based on their seniority and/or their position with the firm. Senior portfolio managers who perform additional management functions within the portfolio management group or within BlackRock may receive additional compensation for serving in these other capacities.

Discretionary Incentive Compensation. Discretionary incentive compensation is a function of several components: the performance of BlackRock, Inc., the performance of the portfolio manager’s group within BlackRock, the investment performance, including risk-adjusted returns, of the firm’s assets under management or supervision by that portfolio manager relative to predetermined benchmarks, and the individual’s seniority, role within the portfolio management team, teamwork and contribution to the overall performance of these portfolios and BlackRock.

 

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Distribution of Discretionary Incentive Compensation. Discretionary incentive compensation is distributed to portfolio managers in a combination of cash and BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units which vest ratably over a number of years. The BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units, if properly vested, will be settled in BlackRock, Inc. common stock. Typically, the cash bonus, when combined with base salary, represents more than 60% of total compensation for the portfolio managers. Paying a portion of annual bonuses in stock puts compensation earned by a portfolio manager for a given year “at risk” based on BlackRock’s ability to sustain and improve its performance over future periods.

From time to time, long-term incentive equity awards are granted to certain key employees to aid in retention, align their interests with long-term shareholder interests and motivate performance. Equity awards are generally granted in the form of BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units that, once vested, settle in BlackRock, Inc. common stock.

As of             , 2012, the Portfolio Managers did not beneficially own shares of the Fund.

Codes of Ethics. The Trust, BFA, the Sub-Adviser and the Distributor have adopted Codes of Ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 of the 1940 Act. The Codes of Ethics permit personnel subject to the Codes of Ethics to invest in securities, subject to certain limitations, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Fund. The Codes of Ethics are on public file with, and are available from, the SEC.

Anti-Money Laundering Requirements. The Fund is subject to the USA PATRIOT Act (the “Patriot Act”). The Patriot Act is intended to prevent the use of the U.S. financial system in furtherance of money laundering, terrorism or other illicit activities. Pursuant to requirements under the Patriot Act, the Fund may request information from Authorized Participants to enable it to form a reasonable belief that it knows the true identity of its Authorized Participants. This information will be used to verify the identity of Authorized Participants or, in some cases, the status of financial professionals; it will be used only for compliance with the requirements of the Patriot Act.

The Fund reserves the right to reject purchase orders from persons who have not submitted information sufficient to allow the Fund to verify their identity. The Fund also reserves the right to redeem any amounts in the Fund from persons whose identity it is unable to verify on a timely basis. It is the Fund’s policy to cooperate fully with appropriate regulators in any investigations conducted with respect to potential money laundering, terrorism or other illicit activities.

Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent. State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) serves as administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund under the Master Services Agreement and related Service Schedule (the “Service Module”). State Street’s principal address is 200 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA 02116. Pursuant to the Service Module for Fund Administration and Accounting Services with the Trust, State Street provides necessary administrative, legal, tax and accounting and financial reporting services for the maintenance and operations of the Trust and the Fund. In addition, State Street makes available the office space, equipment, personnel and facilities required to provide such services. Pursuant to the Service Module for Custodial Services with the Trust, State Street maintains, in separate accounts, cash, securities and other assets of the Trust and the Fund, keeps all necessary accounts and records and provides other services. State Street is required, upon the order of the Trust, to deliver securities held by State Street and to make payments for securities purchased by the Trust for the Fund. State Street is authorized to appoint certain foreign custodians or foreign custody managers for Fund investments outside the United States. Pursuant to the Service Module for Transfer Agency Services with the Trust, State Street acts as a transfer agent for the Fund’s authorized and issued shares of beneficial interest, and as dividend disbursing agent of the Trust. As compensation for these services, State Street receives certain out-of-pocket costs, transaction fees and asset-based fees which are accrued daily and paid monthly by BFA from its management fee.

Distributor. The Distributor’s principal address is 525 Washington Boulevard, Suite 1405, Jersey City, NJ 07310. The Distributor has entered into a Distribution Agreement with the Trust pursuant to which it distributes shares of the Fund. The Distribution Agreement will continue for two years from its effective date and is renewable annually. Shares are continuously offered for sale by the Fund through the Distributor only in Creation Units, as described in the Prospectus and below in the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI. Fund shares in amounts less than Creation Units are not distributed by the Distributor. The Distributor will deliver the Prospectus and, upon request, the SAI to persons purchasing Creation Units and will maintain records of both orders placed with it and confirmations of acceptance furnished by it. The Distributor is a broker-dealer registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “1934 Act”), and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”).

The Distribution Agreement for the Fund provides that it may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, on at least 60 days’ prior written notice to the other party following (i) the vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees, or (ii) the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act)

 

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of the Fund. The Distribution Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act).

The Distributor may also enter into agreements with securities dealers (“Soliciting Dealers”) who will solicit purchases of Creation Units of Fund shares. Such Soliciting Dealers may also be Authorized Participants (as defined below), Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) participants and/or investor services organizations.

BFA or BTC may, from time to time and from its own resources, pay, defray or absorb costs relating to distribution, including payments out of its own resources to the Distributor, or to otherwise promote the sale of shares.

Financial Intermediary Compensation. BFA and/or BTC and/or their respective subsidiaries (“BFA Entities”) pay certain broker-dealers, banks and other financial intermediaries (“Intermediaries”) for certain activities related to the Fund, other iShares funds or exchange-traded products in general (“Payments”). BFA Entities make Payments from their own assets and not from the assets of the Fund. Although a portion of BFA Entities’ revenue comes directly or indirectly in part from fees paid by the Fund and other iShares funds, Payments do not increase the price paid by investors for the purchase of shares of, or the cost of owning, the Fund or other iShares funds. BFA Entities make Payments for Intermediaries’ participating in activities that are designed to make registered representatives, other professionals and individual investors more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Fund or for other activities, such as participation in marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems (“Education Costs”). BFA Entities also make Payments to Intermediaries for certain printing, publishing and mailing costs associated with the Fund or materials relating to exchange-traded products in general (“Publishing Costs”). In addition, BFA Entities make Payments to Intermediaries that make shares of the Fund and certain other iShares funds available to their clients, develop new products that feature iShares or otherwise promote the Fund and other iShares funds. Payments of this type are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments.

Payments to an Intermediary may be significant to the Intermediary, and amounts that Intermediaries pay to your salesperson or other investment professional may also be significant for your salesperson or other investment professional. Because an Intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it will recommend or make available to its clients or what services to provide for various products based on payments it receives or is eligible to receive, Payments create conflicts of interest between the Intermediary and its clients and these financial incentives may cause the Intermediary to recommend the Fund and other iShares funds over other investments. The same conflict of interest exists with respect to your salesperson or other investment professional if he or she receives similar payments from his or her Intermediary firm.

As of February 2, 2010, BFA Entities had arrangements to make Payments other than Education Costs or Publishing Costs only to Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC (“FBS”). Pursuant to BFA Entities’ arrangement with FBS, FBS has agreed to promote iShares funds to FBS’s customers and not to charge certain of its customers any commissions when those customers purchase or sell shares of certain iShares funds online (the “Co-Branded Marketing Program”). BFA Entities have agreed to facilitate the Co-Branded Marketing Program by making payments to FBS during the term of the agreement in a fixed amount. Upon termination of the agreement the BFA Entities will make additional payments to FBS based upon a number of criteria, including the overall success of the Co-Branded Marketing Program and the level of services provided by FBS during the wind-down period.

Any additions, modifications, or deletions to Intermediaries listed above that have occurred since the date noted above are not included in the list. Further, BFA Entities make Education Costs and Publishing Costs Payments to other Intermediaries that are not listed above. BFA Entities may determine to make Payments based on any number of metrics. For example, BFA Entities may make Payments at year-end or other intervals in a fixed amount, an amount based upon an Intermediary’s services at defined levels or an amount based on the Intermediary’s net sales of one or more iShares funds in a year or other period, any of which arrangements may include an agreed-upon minimum or maximum payment, or any combination of the foregoing. As of the date of this SAI, BFA anticipates that the Payments paid by BFA Entities in connection with the Fund, iShares funds and exchange-traded products in general will be immaterial to BFA Entities in the aggregate for the next year. Please contact your salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any Payments his or her Intermediary firm may receive. Any Payments made by the BFA Entities to an Intermediary may create the incentive for an Intermediary to encourage customers to buy shares of iShares funds.

Brokerage Transactions

BFA assumes general supervision over placing orders on behalf of the Fund for the purchase and sale of portfolio securities. In selecting brokers or dealers for any transaction in portfolio securities, BFA’s policy is to make such

 

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selection based on factors deemed relevant, including but not limited to, the breadth of the market in the security, the price of the security, the reasonableness of the commission or mark-up or mark-down, if any, execution capability, settlement capability, back office efficiency and the financial condition of the broker or dealer, both for the specific transaction and on a continuing basis. The overall reasonableness of brokerage commissions paid is evaluated by BFA based upon its knowledge of available information as to the general level of commissions paid by other institutional investors for comparable services. Brokers may also be selected because of their ability to handle special or difficult executions, such as may be involved in large block trades, less liquid securities, broad distributions, or other circumstances. BFA does not consider the provision or value of research, products or services a broker or dealer may provide, if any, as a factor in the selection of a broker or dealer or the determination of the reasonableness of commissions paid in connection with portfolio transactions. The Trust has adopted policies and procedures that prohibit the consideration of sales of the Fund’s shares as a factor in the selection of a broker or a dealer to execute its portfolio transactions.

Purchases and sales of fixed income securities for the Fund usually are principal transactions and ordinarily are purchases directly from the issuer or from an underwriter or broker-dealer. The Fund does not usually pay brokerage commissions in connection with such purchases and sales, but such transactions may be subject to mark-ups or mark-downs.

The Fund’s purchase and sale orders for securities may be combined with those of other investment companies, clients or accounts that BFA or its Affiliates manage or advise and for which they have brokerage placement authority. If purchases or sales of portfolio securities of the Fund and one or more other accounts managed or advised by BFA or its Affiliates are considered at or about the same time, transactions in such securities are allocated among the Fund and the other accounts in a manner deemed equitable to all by BFA and its Affiliates. In some cases, this procedure could have a detrimental effect on the price or volume of the security as far as the Fund is concerned.

However, in other cases, it is possible that the ability to participate in volume transactions and to negotiate lower transaction costs will be beneficial to the Fund. BFA and its Affiliates may deal, trade and invest for their own account in the types of securities in which the Fund may invest. BFA and its Affiliates may, from time to time, effect trades on behalf of and for the account of the Fund with brokers or dealers that are affiliated with BFA, in conformity with the 1940 Act and SEC rules and regulations. Under these provisions, any commissions paid to affiliated brokers or dealers must be reasonable and fair-compared to the commissions charged by other brokers or dealers in comparable transactions. The Fund will not deal with Affiliates in principal transactions unless permitted by applicable SEC rules or regulations, or by SEC exemptive order.

Portfolio turnover may vary from year to year, as well as within a year. The Fund may hold TBA transactions which are expected to cause a higher portfolio turnover rate because TBA positions are rolled every month. High turnover rates may result in comparatively greater brokerage expenses.

Additional Information Concerning the Trust

Shares. The Trust currently consists of      separate investment series or portfolios called funds. The Trust issues shares of beneficial interests in each fund with no par value. The Board may designate additional iShares funds.

Each share issued by a fund has a pro rata interest in the assets of that fund. Shares have no preemptive, exchange, subscription or conversion rights and are freely transferable. Each share is entitled to participate equally in dividends and distributions declared by the Board with respect to the relevant fund, and in the net distributable assets of such fund on liquidation.

Each share has one vote with respect to matters upon which the shareholder is entitled to vote. In any matter submitted to shareholders for a vote, each fund shall hold a separate vote, provided that shareholders of all affected funds will vote together when: (1) required by the 1940 Act, or (2) the Trustees determine that the matter affects the interests of more than one fund of the Trust.

Under Delaware law, the Trust is not required to hold an annual meeting of shareholders unless required to do so under the 1940 Act. The policy of the Trust is not to hold an annual meeting of shareholders unless required to do so under the 1940 Act. Under Delaware law, Trustees of the Trust may be removed by vote of the shareholders.

Following the creation of the initial Creation Unit(s) of shares of a fund and immediately prior to the commencement of trading in the fund’s shares, a holder of shares may be a “control person” of the fund, as defined in the 1940 Act. The fund cannot predict the length of time for which one or more shareholders may remain a control person of the fund.

 

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Shareholders may make inquiries by writing to iShares U.S. ETF Trust, c/o BlackRock Investments, LLC, 525 Washington Boulevard, Suite 1405, Jersey City, NJ 07310.

Absent an applicable exemption or other relief from the SEC or its staff, beneficial owners of more than 5% of the shares of a fund may be subject to the reporting provisions of Section 13 of the 1934 Act and the SEC’s rules promulgated thereunder. In addition, absent an applicable exemption or other relief from the SEC or its staff, officers and trustees of the fund and beneficial owners of 10% of the shares of the fund (“Insiders”) may be subject to the insider reporting, short-swing profit and short sale provisions of Section 16 of the 1934 Act and the SEC’s rules promulgated thereunder. Beneficial owners and Insiders should consult with their own legal counsel concerning their obligations under Sections 13 and 16 of the 1934 Act.

Termination of the Trust or the Fund. The Trust or the Fund may be terminated by a majority vote of the Board, or the affirmative vote of a majority of the shareholders of the Trust or the Fund entitled to vote on termination. Although the shares are not automatically redeemable upon the occurrence of any specific event, the Declaration of Trust provide that the Board will have the unrestricted power to alter the number of shares in a Creation Unit. In the event of a termination of the Trust or the Fund, the Board, in its sole discretion, could determine to permit the shares to be redeemable in aggregations smaller than Creation Units or to be individually redeemable. In such circumstance, the Trust may make redemptions in-kind, for cash or for a combination of cash or securities.

DTC as Securities Depository for Shares of the Fund. Shares of the Fund are represented by securities registered in the name of DTC or its nominee and deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC.

DTC, a limited-purpose trust company, was created to hold securities of its participants (“DTC Participants”) and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions among the DTC Participants in such securities through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of the DTC Participants, thereby eliminating the need for physical movement of securities’ certificates. DTC Participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC. More specifically, DTC is owned by a number of its DTC Participants and by the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), the NYSE Amex Equities and FINRA. Access to the DTC system is also available to others such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly (“Indirect Participants”).

Beneficial ownership of shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial Owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial Owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of shares. The laws of some jurisdictions may require that certain purchasers of securities take physical delivery of such securities in definitive form. Such laws may impair the ability of certain investors to acquire beneficial interests in shares.

Conveyance of all notices, statements and other communications to Beneficial Owners is effected as follows. Pursuant to the Depositary Agreement between the Trust and DTC, DTC is required to make available to the Trust upon request and for a fee to be charged to the Trust a listing of the shares of the Fund held by each DTC Participant. The Trust shall inquire of each such DTC Participant as to the number of Beneficial Owners holding shares, directly or indirectly, through such DTC Participant. The Trust shall provide each such DTC Participant with copies of such notice, statement or other communication, in such form, number and at such place as such DTC Participant may reasonably request, in order that such notice, statement or communication may be transmitted by such DTC Participant, directly or indirectly, to such Beneficial Owners. In addition, the Trust shall pay to each such DTC Participant a fair and reasonable amount as reimbursement for the expenses attendant to such transmittal, all subject to applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

Share distributions shall be made to DTC or its nominee, Cede & Co., as the registered holder of all shares of the Trust. DTC or its nominee, upon receipt of any such distributions, shall credit immediately DTC Participants’ accounts with payments in amounts proportionate to their respective beneficial interests in shares of the Fund as shown on the records of DTC or its nominee. Payments by DTC Participants to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners of shares held through such DTC Participants will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is now the case with securities held for the accounts of customers in bearer form or registered in a “street name,” and will be the responsibility of such DTC Participants.

 

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The Trust has no responsibility or liability for any aspect of the records relating to or notices to Beneficial Owners, or payments made on account of beneficial ownership interests in such shares, or for maintaining, supervising or reviewing any records relating to such beneficial ownership interests, or for any other aspect of the relationship between DTC and the DTC Participants or the relationship between such DTC Participants and the Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners owning through such DTC Participants. DTC may decide to discontinue providing its service with respect to shares of the Trust at any time by giving reasonable notice to the Trust and discharging its responsibilities with respect thereto under applicable law. Under such circumstances, the Trust shall take action to find a replacement for DTC to perform its functions at a comparable cost.

Creation and Redemption of Creation Units

General. The Trust issues and sells shares of the Fund only in Creation Units on a continuous basis through the Distributor, without a sales load, at a price based on the Fund’s NAV next determined after receipt, on any Business Day (as defined below), of an order received by the Distributor in proper form. The following table sets forth the number of shares of the Fund that constitute a Creation Unit for the Fund and the value of such Creation Unit as of             , 2012:

 

    

Shares Per
Creation

Unit

  

Value Per
Creation
Unit (U.S.$)

         
 

        

   $               

The Board reserves the right to declare a split or a consolidation in the number of shares outstanding of the Fund, and to make a corresponding change in the number of shares constituting a Creation Unit, in the event that the per share price in the secondary market rises (or declines) to an amount that falls outside the range deemed desirable by the Board.

A “Business Day” with respect to the Fund is any day on which the Listing Exchange on which the Fund is listed for trading is open for business. As of the date of this SAI, the Listing Exchange observes the following holidays, as observed: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Fund Deposit. The consideration for purchase of Creation Units of the Fund generally consists of the in-kind deposit of a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) (i.e., the Deposit Securities) and the Cash Component computed as described below. Together, the Deposit Securities and the Cash Component constitute the “Fund Deposit,” which, when combined with the Fund’s portfolio securities is designed to generate performance that has a collective investment profile similar to that of the Underlying Index. The Fund Deposit represents the minimum initial and subsequent investment amount for a Creation Unit of the Fund.

The Cash Component is an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of the shares (per Creation Unit) and the “Deposit Amount,” which is an amount equal to the market value of the Deposit Securities, and serves to compensate for any differences between the NAV per Creation Unit and the Deposit Amount. Payment of any stamp duty or other similar fees and expenses payable upon transfer of beneficial ownership of the Deposit Securities are the sole responsibility of the Authorized Participant purchasing the Creation Unit. The Fund generally offers Creation Units partially for cash.

BFA makes available through the NSCC on each Business Day prior to the opening of business on the Listing Exchange, the list of names and the required number or par value of each Deposit Security and the amount of the Cash Component to be included in the current Fund Deposit (based on information as of the end of the previous Business Day for the Fund). Such Fund Deposit is applicable, subject to any adjustments as described below, to any purchases of Creation Units of shares of the Fund until such time as the next-announced Fund Deposit is made available.

The identity and number or par value of the Deposit Securities change pursuant to changes in the composition of the Fund’s portfolio and as rebalancing adjustments and corporate action events are reflected from time to time by

 

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BFA with a view to the investment objective of the Fund. The composition of the Deposit Securities may also change in response to adjustments to the weighting or composition of the component securities constituting the Underlying Index.

The Fund reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of a “cash in lieu” amount to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security that may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery or that may not be eligible for transfer through DTC or the Clearing Process (as discussed below). If permitted by applicable laws to offer Creation Units of the Fund in exchange for the Fund Deposit, the Fund also reserves the right to permit or require a “cash in lieu” amount in certain circumstances, including circumstances in which (i) the delivery of the Deposit Security by the Authorized Participant (as described below) would be restricted under applicable securities laws or (ii) the delivery of the Deposit Security to the Authorized Participant would result in the disposition of the Deposit Security by the Authorized Participant becoming restricted under applicable securities laws, or in certain other situations.

Cash Purchase Method. Although the Trust does not ordinarily permit partial or full cash purchases of Creation Units of iShares funds, when partial or full cash purchases of Creation Units are available or specified (Creation Units of the Fund are generally offered for partial cash), they will be effected in essentially the same manner as in-kind purchases thereof. In the case of a partial or full cash purchase, the Authorized Participant must pay the cash equivalent of the Deposit Securities it would otherwise be required to provide through an in-kind purchase, plus the same Cash Component required to be paid by an in-kind purchaser.

Procedures for Creation of Creation Units. To be eligible to place orders with the Distributor and to create a Creation Unit of the Fund, an entity must be: (i) a “Participating Party,” i.e., a broker-dealer or other participant in the clearing process through the Continuous Net Settlement System of the NSCC (the “Clearing Process”), a clearing agency that is registered with the SEC, or (ii) a DTC Participant, and must have executed an agreement with the Distributor, with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Units (“Authorized Participant Agreement”) (discussed below). A Participating Party or DTC Participant who has executed an Authorized Participant Agreement is referred to as an “Authorized Participant.” All shares of the Fund, however created, will be entered on the records of DTC in the name of Cede & Co. for the account of a DTC Participant.

Role of the Authorized Participant. Creation Units may be purchased only by or through a DTC Participant that has entered into an Authorized Participant Agreement with the Distributor. Such Authorized Participant will agree, pursuant to the terms of such Authorized Participant Agreement and on behalf of itself or any investor on whose behalf it will act, to certain conditions, including that such Authorized Participant will make available in advance of each purchase of shares an amount of cash sufficient to pay the Cash Component, once the net asset value of a Creation Unit is next determined after receipt of the purchase order in proper form, together with the transaction fee described below. The Authorized Participant may require the investor to enter into an agreement with such Authorized Participant with respect to certain matters, including payment of the Cash Component. Investors who are not Authorized Participants must make appropriate arrangements with an Authorized Participant. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not be a DTC Participant or may not have executed an Authorized Participant Agreement and that orders to purchase Creation Units may have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant. As a result, purchase orders placed through an Authorized Participant may result in additional charges to such investor. The Trust does not expect to enter into an Authorized Participant Agreement with more than a small number of DTC Participants. A list of current Authorized Participants may be obtained from the Distributor.

Placement of Creation Orders. Fund Deposits must be delivered through the Federal Reserve System (for cash and U.S. government securities), through DTC (for corporate and municipal securities) or through a central depository account, such as with Euroclear or DTC, maintained by State Street or a sub-custodian (a “Central Depository Account”). Any portion of a Fund Deposit that may not be delivered through the Federal Reserve System or DTC must be delivered through a Central Depository Account. The Fund Deposit transfers made through DTC must be ordered by the DTC Participant in a timely fashion so as to ensure the delivery of the requisite number of Deposit Securities through DTC to the account of the Fund generally before 3:00 p.m., Eastern time on the Settlement Date. Fund Deposit transfers made through the Federal Reserve System must be deposited by the participant institution in a timely fashion so as to ensure the delivery of the requisite number or amount of Deposit Securities or cash through the Federal Reserve System to the account of the Fund generally before 3:00 p.m., Eastern time on the Settlement Date. Fund Deposit transfers made through a Central Depository Account must be completed pursuant to the requirements established by the Custodian or sub-custodian for such Central Depository Account generally before 2:00 p.m., Eastern time on the Settlement Date. The “Settlement Date” for the Fund is generally the third business day after the Transmittal Date. All questions as to the number of Deposit Securities to be delivered, and the validity, form and eligibility (including time of receipt) for the deposit of any tendered securities, will be determined by the Trust, whose determination shall be final and binding. The amount of cash equal to the Cash

 

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Component must be transferred directly to State Street through the Federal Reserve Bank wire transfer system in a timely manner so as to be received by State Street generally before 3:00 p.m., Eastern time on the Settlement Date. If the Cash Component and the Deposit Securities are not received generally before 3:00 p.m., Eastern time on the Settlement Date, the creation order may be canceled. Upon written notice to the Distributor, such canceled order may be resubmitted the following Business Day using a Fund Deposit as newly constituted to reflect the then current NAV of the Fund. The delivery of Creation Units so created generally will occur no later than the third Business Day following the day on which the purchase order is deemed received by the Distributor, provided that the relevant Fund Deposit has been received by the Fund prior to such time.

Purchase Orders. To initiate an order for a Creation Unit, an Authorized Participant must submit to the Distributor an irrevocable order to purchase shares of the Fund, in proper form, before 4:00 p.m., Eastern time on any Business Day to receive that day’s NAV. On days when the Listing Exchange or the bond markets close earlier than normal, the Fund may require orders for Creation Units to be placed earlier in the day. The Distributor will notify BFA and the Custodian of such order. The Custodian will then provide such information to any appropriate sub-custodian. Procedures and requirements governing the delivery of the Fund Deposit are set forth in the procedures handbook for Authorized Participants and may change from time to time. Those placing orders to purchase Creation Units through an Authorized Participant should allow sufficient time to permit proper submission of the purchase order to the Distributor by the Cutoff Time (as defined below) on such Business Day.

The Authorized Participant must also make available on or before the contractual settlement date, by means satisfactory to the Fund, immediately available or same day funds estimated by the Fund to be sufficient to pay the Cash Component next determined after acceptance of the purchase order, together with the applicable purchase transaction fees. Any excess funds will be returned following settlement of the issue of the Creation Unit. Those placing orders should ascertain the deadline for cash transfers by contacting the operations department of the broker or depositary institution effectuating the transfer of the Cash Component. This deadline is likely to be significantly earlier than the Cutoff Time of the Fund.

The Authorized Participant is responsible for any and all expenses and costs incurred by the Fund, including any applicable cash amounts, in connection with any purchase order.

Investors, other than Authorized Participants, are responsible for making arrangements for a creation request to be made through an Authorized Participant. The Distributor will provide a list of current Authorized Participants upon request. Investors should be aware that an Authorized Participant may require orders for purchases of shares placed with it to be in the particular form required by the individual Authorized Participant.

Timing of Submission of Purchase Orders. An Authorized Participant must submit an irrevocable order to purchase shares of the Fund generally before 4:00 p.m., Eastern time on any Business Day in order to receive that day’s NAV. Creation Orders must be transmitted by an Authorized Participant by telephone or other transmission method acceptable to the Distributor pursuant to procedures set forth in the Authorized Participant Agreement, as described below. Economic or market disruptions or changes, or telephone or other communication failure, may impede the ability to reach the Distributor or an Authorized Participant. Orders to create shares of the Fund that are submitted on the Business Day immediately preceding a holiday or day (other than a weekend) when the equity markets in the relevant foreign market are closed may not be accepted. The Fund’s deadline specified above for the submission of purchase orders is referred to as the Fund’s “Cutoff Time.” The Distributor, in its discretion, may permit the submission of such orders and requests by or through an Authorized Participant at any time (including on days on which the Listing Exchange is not open for business) via communication through the facilities of the Distributor’s proprietary website maintained for this purpose. Purchase orders and redemption requests, if accepted by the Trust, will be processed based on the NAV next determined after such acceptance in accordance with the Trust’s standard Cutoff Times as provided in the Authorized Participant Agreement and disclosed in this SAI.

Acceptance of Orders for Creation Units. Subject to the conditions that (i) an irrevocable purchase order has been submitted by the Authorized Participant (either on its own or another investor’s behalf) and (ii) arrangements satisfactory to the Fund are in place for payment of the Cash Component and any other cash amounts which may be due, the Fund will accept the order, subject to the Fund’s right (and the right of the Distributor and BFA) to reject any order until acceptance.

Once the Fund has accepted an order, upon the next determination of the net asset value of the shares, the Fund will confirm the issuance of a Creation Unit, against receipt of payment, at such net asset value. The Distributor will then transmit a confirmation of acceptance to the Authorized Participant that placed the order.

The Fund reserves the absolute right to reject or revoke a creation order transmitted to it by the Distributor if (i) the order is not in proper form; (ii) the investor(s), upon obtaining the shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the

 

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currently outstanding shares of the Fund; (iii) the Deposit Securities delivered do not conform to the identity and number of shares specified, as described above; (iv) acceptance of the Deposit Securities would have certain adverse tax consequences to the Fund; (v) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the opinion of counsel, be unlawful; (vi) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the discretion of the Fund or BFA, have an adverse effect on the Fund or the rights of beneficial owners; or (vii) circumstances outside the control of the Fund, the Distributor and BFA make it impracticable to process purchase orders. The Distributor shall notify a prospective purchaser of a Creation Unit and/or the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such purchaser of its rejection of such order. The Fund, State Street, the sub-custodian and the Distributor are under no duty, however, to give notification of any defects or irregularities in the delivery of the Fund Deposits nor shall any of them incur any liability for failure to give such notification.

Issuance of a Creation Unit. Except as provided herein, a Creation Unit will not be issued until the transfer of good title to the Fund of the Deposit Securities and the payment of the Cash Component have been completed. When the sub-custodian has confirmed to the Custodian that the securities included in the Fund Deposit (or the cash value thereof) have been delivered to the account of the relevant sub-custodian or sub-custodians, the Distributor and BFA shall be notified of such delivery and the Fund will issue and cause the delivery of the Creation Unit. Creation Units typically are issued on a “T+3 basis” (i.e., three Business Days after trade date). However, as discussed in the Regular Holidays section, the Fund reserves the right to settle Creation Unit transactions on a basis other than T+3 in order to accommodate non-U.S. market holiday schedules, to account for different treatment among non-U.S. and U.S. markets of dividend record dates and ex-dividend dates (i.e., the last day the holder of a security can sell the security and still receive dividends payable on the security) and in certain other circumstances.

To the extent contemplated by an Authorized Participant’s agreement with the Distributor, the Fund will issue Creation Units to such Authorized Participant, notwithstanding the fact that the corresponding Fund Deposits have not been received in part or in whole, in reliance on the undertaking of the Authorized Participant to deliver the missing Deposit Securities as soon as possible, which undertaking shall be secured by such Authorized Participant’s delivery and maintenance of collateral having a value at least equal to 105% and up to 115%, which percentage BFA may change at any time in its sole discretion, of the value of the missing Deposit Securities in accordance with the Fund’s then-effective procedures. The only collateral that is acceptable to the Fund is cash in U.S. dollars. Such cash collateral must be delivered no later than 2:00 p.m., Eastern time on the contractual settlement date. The cash collateral posted by the Authorized Participant may be invested at the risk of the Authorized Participant, and income, if any, on invested cash collateral will be paid to that Authorized Participant. Information concerning the Fund’s current procedures for collateralization of missing Deposit Securities is available from the Distributor. The Authorized Participant Agreement will permit the Fund to buy the missing Deposit Securities at any time and will subject the Authorized Participant to liability for any shortfall between the cost to the Fund of purchasing such securities and the cash collateral.

In certain cases, Authorized Participants may create and redeem Creation Units on the same trade date and in these instances, the Fund reserves the right to settle these transactions on a net basis or require a representation from the Authorized Participants that the creation and redemption transactions are for separate beneficial owners. All questions as to the number of shares of each security in the Deposit Securities and the validity, form, eligibility and acceptance for deposit of any securities to be delivered shall be determined by the Fund and the Fund’s determination shall be final and binding.

Costs Associated with Creation Transactions. A standard creation transaction fee is imposed to offset the transfer and other transaction costs associated with the issuance of Creation Units. The standard creation transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant creates a Creation Unit, and is the same, regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased by the Authorized Participant on the applicable Business Day. The Authorized Participant may also be required to cover certain brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, market impact and other costs and expenses related to the execution of trades resulting from such transaction (up to the maximum amount shown below). Authorized Participants will also bear the costs of transferring the Deposit Securities to the Fund. Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary may be charged a fee for such services.

The following table sets forth the Fund’s standard creation transaction fees and maximum additional charge (as described above):

 

    

Standard Creation

Transaction Fee

  Maximum Additional
Charge for Creations*
   
  $                   %  

 

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  * As a percentage of the net asset value per Creation Unit.

Redemption of Creation Units. Shares of the Fund may be redeemed by Authorized Participants only in Creation Units at their NAV next determined after receipt of a redemption request in proper form by the Distributor and only on a Business Day. The Fund will not redeem shares in amounts less than Creation Units. There can be no assurance, however, that there will be sufficient liquidity in the secondary market at any time to permit assembly of a Creation Unit. Investors should expect to incur brokerage and other costs in connection with assembling a sufficient number of shares to constitute a Creation Unit that could be redeemed by an Authorized Participant. Beneficial owners also may sell shares in the secondary market.

The Fund generally redeems Creation Units partially for cash. Please see the Cash Redemption Method section below and the following discussion summarizing the in-kind method for further information on redeeming Creation Units of the Fund.

BFA makes available through the NSCC, prior to the opening of business on the Listing Exchange on each Business Day, the designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as defined below) on that day (“Fund Securities”), and an amount of cash (the “Cash Amount,” as described below). Such Fund Securities and the corresponding Cash Amount (each subject to possible amendment or correction) are applicable, in order to effect redemptions of Creation Units of the Fund until such time as the next announced composition of the Fund Securities and Cash Amount is made available. Fund Securities received on redemption may not be identical to Deposit Securities that are applicable to creations of Creation Units.

If redemptions are not paid in cash, the redemption proceeds for a Creation Unit generally consist of Fund Securities, plus the Cash Amount, which is an amount equal to the difference between the net asset value of the shares being redeemed, as next determined after the receipt of a redemption request in proper form, and the value of Fund Securities, less a redemption transaction fee (as described below).

The Trust may, in its sole discretion, substitute a “cash in lieu” amount to replace any Fund Security. The amount of cash paid out in such cases will be equivalent to the value of the substituted security listed as a Fund Security. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Trust may, in its sole discretion, substitute a “cash-in-lieu” amount to replace any Fund Security of the Fund that is a TBA transaction or mortgage pass through security. The amount of cash paid out in such cases will be equivalent to the value of the substituted security listed as the Fund security. In the event that the Fund Securities have a value greater than the NAV of the shares, a compensating cash payment equal to the difference is required to be made by or through an Authorized Participant by the redeeming shareholder. The Fund generally redeems Creation Units partially for cash.

Cash Redemption Method. Although the Trust does not ordinarily permit partial or full cash redemptions of Creation Units of iShares funds, when partial or full cash redemptions of Creation Units are available or specified (Creation Units of the Fund are generally redeemed partially for cash), they will be effected in essentially the same manner as in-kind redemptions thereof. In the case of partial or full cash redemption, the Authorized Participant receives the cash equivalent of the Fund Securities it would otherwise receive through an in-kind redemption, plus the same Cash Amount to be paid to an in-kind redeemer.

Costs Associated with Redemption Transactions. A standard redemption transaction fee is imposed to offset transfer and other transaction costs that may be incurred by the Fund. The standard redemption transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant redeems a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units redeemed by an Authorized Participant on the applicable Business Day. The Authorized Participant may also be required to cover certain brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, market impact and other costs and expenses related to the execution of trades resulting from such transaction (up to the maximum amount shown below). Authorized Participants will also bear the costs of transferring the Fund Securities from the Fund to their account on their order. Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary may be charged a fee for such services.

The following table sets forth the Fund’s standard redemption transaction fees and maximum additional charge (as described above):

 

    

Standard Redemption

Transaction Fee

  Maximum Additional
Charge for Redemptions*
   
  $                   %  

 

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  * As a percentage of the net asset value per Creation Unit, inclusive of the standard redemption transaction fee.

Placement of Redemption Orders. Redemption requests for Creation Units of the Fund must be submitted to the Distributor by or through an Authorized Participant. An Authorized Participant must submit an irrevocable request to redeem shares of the Fund generally before 4:00 p.m., Eastern time on any Business Day, in order to receive that day’s NAV. Orders to redeem shares of the Fund that are submitted on the Business Day immediately preceding a holiday or day (other than a weekend) when the equity markets in the relevant non-U.S. market are closed may not be accepted. On days when the Listing Exchange closes earlier than normal, the Fund may require orders to redeem Creation Units to be placed earlier that day. Investors other than Authorized Participants are responsible for making arrangements for a redemption request to be made through an Authorized Participant. The Distributor will provide a list of current Authorized Participants upon request.

The Authorized Participant must transmit the request for redemption in the form required by the Fund to the Distributor in accordance with procedures set forth in the Authorized Participant Agreement. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not have executed an Authorized Participant Agreement and that, therefore, requests to redeem Creation Units may have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant who has executed an Authorized Participant Agreement. At any time, only a limited number of broker-dealers will have an Authorized Participant Agreement in effect. Investors making a redemption request should be aware that such request must be in the form specified by such Authorized Participant. Investors making a request to redeem Creation Units should allow sufficient time to permit proper submission of the request by an Authorized Participant and transfer of the shares to the Fund’s Transfer Agent; such investors should allow for the additional time that may be required to effect redemptions through their banks, brokers or other financial intermediaries if such intermediaries are not Authorized Participants.

A redemption request is considered to be in “proper form” if (i) an Authorized Participant has transferred or caused to be transferred to the Fund’s Transfer Agent the Creation Unit being redeemed through the book-entry system of DTC so as to be effective by the Listing Exchange closing time on any Business Day, (ii) a request in form satisfactory to the Fund is received by the Distributor from the Authorized Participant on behalf of itself or another redeeming investor within the time periods specified above and (iii) all other procedures set forth in the Authorized Participant Agreement are properly followed. If the Transfer Agent does not receive the investor’s shares through DTC’s facilities by 10:00 a.m., Eastern time on the Business Day next following the day that the redemption request is received, the redemption request shall be rejected. Investors should be aware that the deadline for such transfers of shares through the DTC system may be significantly earlier than the close of business on the Listing Exchange. Those making redemption requests should ascertain the deadline applicable to transfers of shares through the DTC system by contacting the operations department of the broker or depositary institution effecting the transfer of the shares.

Upon receiving a redemption request, the Distributor shall notify the Fund and the Fund’s Transfer Agent of such redemption request. The tender of an investor’s shares for redemption and the distribution of the securities and/or cash included in the redemption payment made in respect of Creation Units redeemed will be made through DTC and the relevant Authorized Participant to the Beneficial Owner thereof as recorded on the book-entry system of DTC or the DTC Participant through which such investor holds, as the case may be, or by such other means specified by the Authorized Participant submitting the redemption request.

A redeeming Beneficial Owner or Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such Beneficial Owner must maintain appropriate security arrangements with a qualified broker-dealer, bank or other custody providers in each jurisdiction in which any of the Portfolio Securities are customarily traded, to which account such Portfolio Securities will be delivered.

Deliveries of redemption proceeds by the Fund generally will be made within three Business Days (i.e., “T+3”). However, as discussed in the Regular Holidays section, the Fund reserves the right to settle redemption transactions and deliver redemption proceeds on another basis to accommodate non-U.S. market holiday schedules, to account for different treatment among non-U.S. and U.S. markets of dividend record dates and dividend ex-dates (i.e., the last date the holder of a security can sell the security and still receive dividends payable on the security sold) and in certain other circumstances. The Regular Holidays section hereto identifies the instances, if any, where more than seven days would be needed to deliver redemption proceeds. Pursuant to an order of the SEC, the Trust will make delivery of redemption proceeds within the number of days stated in the Regular Holidays section to be the maximum number of days necessary to deliver redemption proceeds.

 

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If neither the redeeming Beneficial Owner nor the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such redeeming Beneficial Owner has appropriate arrangements to take delivery of Fund Securities in the applicable non-U.S. jurisdiction and it is not possible to make other such arrangements, or if it is not possible to effect deliveries of Fund Securities in such jurisdiction, the Fund may in its discretion exercise its option to redeem such shares in cash, and the redeeming Beneficial Owner will be required to receive its redemption proceeds in cash. In such case, the investor will receive a cash payment equal to the net asset value of its shares based on the NAV of the Fund next determined after the redemption request is received in proper form (minus a redemption transaction fee and additional charges specified above to offset the Fund’s brokerage and other transaction costs associated with the disposition of Fund Securities). Redemptions of shares for Fund Securities will be subject to compliance with applicable U.S. federal and state securities laws and the Fund (whether or not it otherwise permits cash redemptions) reserves the right to redeem Creation Units for cash to the extent that the Fund cannot lawfully deliver specific Fund Securities upon redemptions or cannot do so without first registering the Fund Securities under such laws.

Although the Trust does not ordinarily permit cash redemptions of Creation Units (except that, as noted above, Creation Units of the Fund may be redeemed in partial cash), in the event that cash redemptions are permitted or required by the Trust, proceeds will be paid to the Authorized Participant redeeming shares as soon as practicable after the date of redemption (within seven calendar days thereafter, except for the instances listed in the Regular Holidays section in which more than seven calendar days would be needed).

To the extent contemplated by an Authorized Participant’s agreement with the Distributor, in the event an Authorized Participant has submitted a redemption request in proper form but is unable to transfer all or part of the Creation Unit to be redeemed to the Fund, at or prior to 10:00 a.m., Eastern time on the Listing Exchange business day after the date of submission of such redemption request, the Distributor will accept the redemption request in reliance on the undertaking by the Authorized Participant to deliver the missing shares as soon as possible. Such undertaking shall be secured by the Authorized Participant’s delivery and maintenance of collateral consisting of cash, in U.S. dollars in immediately available funds, having a value at least equal to 105% and up to 115%, which percentage BFA may change at any time in its sole discretion, of the value of the missing shares. Such cash collateral must be delivered no later than 10:00 a.m., Eastern time on the day after the date of submission of such redemption request and shall be held by State Street and marked-to-market daily. The fees of State Street and any sub-custodians in respect of the delivery, maintenance and redelivery of the cash collateral shall be payable by the Authorized Participant. The cash collateral posted by the Authorized Participant may be invested at the risk of the Authorized Participant, and income, if any, on invested cash collateral will be paid to that Authorized Participant. The Authorized Participant Agreement permits the Fund to acquire shares of the Fund at any time and subjects the Authorized Participant to liability for any shortfall between the aggregate of the cost to the Fund of purchasing such shares, plus the value of the Cash Amount, and the value of the cash collateral.

Because the Portfolio Securities of the Fund may trade on exchange(s) on days that the Listing Exchange is closed or are otherwise not Business Days for the Fund, shareholders may not be able to redeem their shares of the Fund, or purchase or sell shares of the Fund on the Listing Exchange on days when the NAV of the Fund could be significantly affected by events in the relevant non-U.S. markets.

The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to the Fund (i) for any period during which the Listing Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (ii) for any period during which trading on the Listing Exchange is suspended or restricted; (iii) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the shares of the Fund’s portfolio securities or determination of its net asset value is not reasonably practicable; or (iv) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC.

Taxation on Creation and Redemptions of Creation Units. An Authorized Participant generally will recognize either gain or loss upon the exchange of Deposit Securities for Creation Units. This gain or loss is calculated by taking the market value of the Creation Units purchased over the Authorized Participant’s aggregate basis in the Deposit Securities exchanged therefor. However, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) may apply the wash sales rules to determine that any loss realized upon the exchange of Deposit Securities for Creation Units is not currently deductible. Authorized Participants should consult their own tax advisors.

Current U.S. federal tax laws dictate that capital gain or loss realized from the redemption of Creation Units will generally create long-term capital gain or loss if the Authorized Participant holds the Creation Units for more than one year, or short-term capital gain or loss if the Creation Units were held for one year or less, if the Creation Units are held as capital assets.

 

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Regular Holidays. For every occurrence of one or more intervening holidays in the applicable non-U.S. market that are not holidays observed in the U.S. equity market, the redemption settlement cycle will be extended by the number of such intervening holidays. In addition to holidays, other unforeseeable closings in a non-U.S. market due to emergencies may also prevent the Trust from delivering securities within normal settlement period.

The securities delivery cycles currently practicable for transferring portfolio securities to redeeming investors, coupled with non-U.S. market holiday schedules, will require a delivery process longer than seven calendar days, in certain circumstances. The holidays applicable to the Fund during such periods are listed below, as are instances where more than seven days will be needed to deliver redemption proceeds. Although certain holidays may occur on different dates in subsequent years, the number of days required to deliver redemption proceeds in any given year is not expected to exceed the maximum number of days listed below for the Fund. The proclamation of new holidays, the treatment by market participants of certain days as “informal holidays” (e.g., days on which no or limited securities transactions occur, as a result of substantially shortened trading hours), the elimination of existing holidays, or changes in local securities delivery practices, could affect the information set forth herein at some time in the future.

In calendar years 2012 and 2013, the dates of regular holidays affecting the relevant securities markets in which the Fund invests are as follows (please note these holiday schedules are subject to potential changes in the relevant securities markets):

2012

 

Argentina

 

February 20    April 30    August 20    December 25
February 21    May 1    October 8   
April 2    May 25    November 6   
April 5    June 20    November 26   
April 6    July 9    December 24   

Australia

 

January 2    April 10    August 6    December 24
January 26    April 25    August 15    December 25
March 12    May 7    October 1    December 26
April 6    June 4    October 8    December 31
April 9    June 11    November 6   

Austria

 

January 6    May 17    October 26    December 26
April 6    May 28    November 1    December 31
April 9    June 7    December 24   
May 1    August 15    December 25   

Bahamas

 

January 2    June 1    December 25   
April 6    July 10    December 26   
April 9    August 6      
May 28    October 12      

Bahrain

 

January 1    August 19    October 27    December 16
February 4    August 20    November 14    December 17
May 1    October 25    November 22   
August 18    October 26    November 23   
The Bahraini market is closed every Friday.

Bangladesh

 

February 5    July 6    August 21    December 16
February 21    August 9    October 24    December 25

 

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March 26    August 15    October 25    December 31
May 1    August 16    October 27   
June 4    August 19    October 28   
July 1    August 20    November 25   
The Bangladeshi market is closed every Friday.

Belgium

 

April 6    May 18    September 27   
April 9    May 28    November 1   
May 1    July 11    December 25   
May 17    August 15    December 26   

Bermuda

January 2    August 2    December 25   
April 6    August 3    December 26   
May 24    September 3      
June 11    November 12      

Botswana

 

January 2    May 1    July 17    December 26
January 3    May 17    October 1   
April 6    July 2    October 2   
April 9    July 16    December 25   

Brazil

 

January 25    April 6    September 7    December 24
February 20    May 1    October 12    December 25
February 21    June 7    November 2    December 31
February 22    July 9    November 15

Bulgaria

 

January 2    April 30    September 6    December 25
March 3    May 1    September 7    December 26
April 13    May 24    September 22    December 31
April 16    May 25    December 24   

Canada

 

January 2    May 21    September 3    December 26
January 3    June 25    October 8   
February 20    July 2    November 12   
April 6    August 6    December 25   

The Cayman Islands

 

January 2    April 9    November 12   
January 23    May 21    December 25   
February 22    June 16    December 26   
April 6    July 2      

 

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Chilé

 

April 6    July 16    September 19    December 25
May 1    August 15    October 15    December 31
May 21    September 17    November 1   
July 2    September 18    November 2   

China

 

January 2    January 30    May 7    October 4
January 16    January 31    May 28    October 5
January 23    February 20    July 4    October 8
January 24    May 1    September 3    November 12
January 25    May 2    October 1    November 22
January 26    May 3    October 2    December 25
January 27    May 4    October 3   

Colombia

 

January 9    May 21    August 7    December 25
March 19    June 11    August 20   
April 5    June 18    October 15   
April 6    July 2    November 5   
May 1    July 20    November 12   

Croatia

 

January 6    June 7    October 8    December 26
April 6    June 22    November 1    December 31
April 9    June 25    December 24   
May 1    August 15    December 25   

Cyprus

 

January 6    April 13    June 4    December 25
February 27    April 16    August 15    December 26
April 6    April 17    October 1   
April 9    May 1    December 24   

The Czech Republic

 

April 9    July 6    December 26   
May 1    September 28      
May 8    December 24      
July 5    December 25      

Denmark

 

April 5    May 17    December 24   
April 6    May 18    December 25   
April 9    May 28    December 26   
May 4    June 5    December 31   

The Dominican Republic

 

January 9    April 30    September 24   
January 30    May 16    November 5   
February 27    June 7    December 25   
April 6    August 16      

Ecuador

 

February 20    May 24    November 2   

 

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February 21   July 25   November 3  
April 6   August 10   December 6  
May 1   October 9   December 25  

Egypt

 

January 1   May 1   August 20   November 15
April 15   July 1   August 21  
April 16   July 23   October 25  
April 25   August 19   October 28  
The Egyptian market is closed every Friday.

El Salvador

 

April 6   November 2    
May 1   December 25    
August 6      

Estonia

 

February 23   May 1   December 24  
February 24   May 17   December 25  
April 6   June 22   December 26  
April 9   August 20   December 31  

Finland

 

January 6   May 1   December 24  
April 5   May 17   December 25  
April 6   June 22   December 26  
April 9   December 6   December 31  

France

 

April 6   May 17   December 26  
April 9   August 15    
May 1   November 1    
May 8   December 25    

 

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Germany

 

April 6      December 25         
April 9      December 26         
May 1         

Greece

 

January 6      April 13         August 15       December 31
February 27      April 16         December 24      
April 6      May 1         December 25      
April 9      June 4         December 26      

Hong Kong

 

January 2      April 4         July 2       December 25
January 23      April 6         October 1       December 26
January 24      April 9         October 2      
January 25      May 1         October 23      

Hungary

 

March 15      May 1         October 23       December 25
March 16      May 28         November 1       December 26
April 9      August 20         November 2       December 31
April 30      October 22         December 24      

Iceland

 

April 5      May 1         December 24      
April 6      May 17         December 25      
April 9      May 28         December 26      
April 19      August 6         December 31      

India

 

January 26      April 6         October 2       December 25
February 20      May 1         October 24      
March 8      July 2         October 26      
March 23      August 15         November 13      
April 2      August 20         November 14      
April 5      September 19         November 28      

Indonesia

 

January 23      August 17         November 15      
March 23      August 20         November 16      
April 6      August 21         December 24      
May 17      August 22         December 25      
May 18      October 26         December 31      

Ireland

 

January 2      June 4         December 31      
April 6      December 24         
April 9      December 25         
May 7      December 26         

Israel

 

January 2

     April 25         September 17       September 30

March 8

     April 26         September 18       October 1

    

 

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April 9    May 27    September 19    October 7
April 11    July 29    September 25    October 8
April 12    September 16    September 26    December 25
The Israeli market is closed every Friday.

Italy

 

April 6    August 15    December 26   
April 9    December 24    December 31   
May 1    December 25      

Japan

 

January 2    April 30    September 17    December 31
January 3    May 3    October 8   
January 9    May 4    November 23   
March 20    July 16    December 24   

Jordan

 

January 1    June 17    August 23    November 14
January 30    August 19    October 24    November 15
February 5    August 20    October 25    December 25
May 1    August 21    October 28    December 31
May 24    August 22    October 29   
The Jordanian market is closed every Friday.

Kazakhstan

 

January 2    March 23    August 30   
March 8    May 1    December 17   
March 21    May 9      
March 22    July 6      

Kenya

 

January 2    June 1    December 12   
April 6    August 19    December 25   
April 9    August 20    December 26   
May 1    October 26      

Kuwait

 

January 1    August 19    October 25   
February 5    August 20    October 26   
February 26    August 21    October 27   
June 17    October 24    November 15   
The Kuwaiti market is closed every Friday.

Latvia

 

April 5    May 1    June 22    December 25
April 6    May 3    November 19    December 26
April 9    May 4    December 24    December 31
April 30    May 17    December 25   

Lebanon

 

January 6    April 13    August 20    November 22
February 4    May 1    October 26    November 24
February 9    August 15    October 27    December 25
April 6    August 19    November 15   

Lithuania

 

    

 

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February 16   May 17   December 24  
April 6   July 6   December 25  
April 9   August 15   December 26  
May 1   November 1   December 31  

Luxembourg

 

April 6   May 17   November 1   December 26
April 9   May 28   December 24   December 31
May 1   August 15   December 25  

Malaysia

 

January 2   February 7   September 17  
January 23   May 1   October 26  
January 24   August 19   November 13  
February 1   August 20   November 15  
February 6   August 31   December 25  

Mauritius

 

January 2   February 20   August 15   November 13
January 23   March 12   August 19   December 25
February 1   March 23   September 20  
February 7   May 1   November 2  

Mexico

 

February 6   May 1   December 25  
March 19   November 2    
April 5   November 19    
April 6   December 12    

Morocco

 

January 11   August 14   November 6  
February 6   August 20   November 15  
May 1   August 21    
July 30   October 26    

Namibia

 

January 2   May 1   August 27  
March 21   May 4   December 10  
April 6   May 17   December 25  
April 9   May 25   December 26  

The Netherlands

 

April 6   December 25    
April 9   December 26    
May 1      

The Netherlands Antilles

 

February 20   April 30   July 2  
April 6   May 1   December 25  
April 9   May 17   December 26  

New Zealand

    

 

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January 2   April 9   December 25  
January 3   April 25   December 26  
February 6   June 4    
April 6   October 22    

Nigeria

 

April 4   May 29   December 25  
April 6   August 19   December 26  
April 9   October 1    
May 1   October 26    

Norway

 

April 4   May 1   December 25  
April 5   May 17   December 26  
April 6   May 28   December 31  
April 9   December 24    

Oman

 

February 4   August 21   October 28  
June 17   August 22   November 17  
August 19   October 25   November 18  
August 20   October 27   November 19  
The Omani market is closed every Friday.

Pakistan

 

January 2   August 14   August 22   November 24
March 23   August 16   October 26   December 25
May 1   August 17   October 27  
July 2   August 20   October 29  
July 21   August 21   November 9  

Panama

 

January 2   February 22   August 15  
January 9   April 5   November 5  
February 20   April 6   November 26  
February 21   May 1   December 25  

Papua

 

January 2   June 11    
April 6   September 17    
April 9   December 25    
April 25   December 26    

Peru

 

April 5   August 30   December 25  
April 6   October 8    
May 1   November 1    
June 29   December 8    

The Philippines

 

April 5   June 12   November 2   December 31
April 6   August 20   November 30  

    

 

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April 9   August 21   December 24  
May 1   November 1   December 25  

Poland

 

January 6   May 3   December 24  
April 6   June 7   December 25  
April 9   August 15   December 26  
May 1   November 1   December 31  

Portugal

 

April 6   December 25    
April 9   December 26    
May 1      

Qatar

 

January 1   August 21   October 29  
March 4   August 22   October 30  
August 20   October 28   December 18  
The Qatari market is closed every Friday.

Romania

 

January 2   June 4   December 26  
April 16   August 15    
May 1   December 25    

Russia

 

January 9   March 9   June 11  
February 22   April 30   June 12  
February 23   May 1   November 5  
March 7   May 8   December 31  
March 8   May 9    

Saudi Arabia

 

August 20   August 24   October 23   October 27
August 21   August 25   October 24   October 28
August 22   August 26   October 25   October 29
August 23   September 23   October 26  
The Saudi Arabian market is closed every Thursday and Friday.

Serbia

 

January 2   April 16    
February 15   May 1    
April 13   May 2    

Singapore

 

January 2   May 1   November 13  
January 23   August 9   December 25  
January 24   August 20    
April 6   October 26    

 

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The Slovak Republic

 

January 6   July 5   December 25  
April 6   August 29    
April 9   November 1    
May 1   December 24    
May 8   December 25    

Slovenia

 

January 1   May 1   August 17   November 23
February 8   May 27   September 15   December 25
April 9   June 25   October 31   December 26
April 27   August 15   November 1  

South Africa

 

January 2   April 27   December 17  
March 21   May 1   December 25  
April 6   August 9   December 26  
April 9   September 24    

South Korea

 

January 23   May 28   December 19  
January 24   June 6   December 25  
March 1   August 15   December 31  
April 11   October 1    
May 1   October 3    

Spain

 

April 6   December 24   December 31  
April 9   December 25    
May 1   December 26    

Sri Lanka

 

January 16   April 6   July 3   November 27
February 3   April 12   August 1   December 25
February 7   April 13   August 31   December 27
February 10   May 1   October 26  
February 20   May 7   October 29  
March 7   June 4   November 13  

Sweden

 

January 5   April 9   May 17   December 24
January 6   April 30   June 6   December 25
April 5   May 1   June 22   December 26
April 6   May 16   November 2   December 31

Switzerland

 

January 2   May 1   August 1  
April 6   May 17   December 25  
April 9   May 28   December 26  

Taiwan

    

 

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January 23   January 27   May 1  
January 24   February 27   October 10  
January 25   February 28   December 31  
January 26   April 4    

Thailand

 

January 2   April 16   August 2   December 10
March 7   May 1   August 13   December 31
April 6   May 7   October 23  
April 13   June 4   December 5  

Tunisia

 

March 20   July 25   November 16  
March 21   August 13   November 17  
April 9   September 9   November 18  
May 1   September 10    

Turkey

 

April 23   August 21   October 25  
May 1   August 30   October 26  
August 20   October 24   October 29  

Ukraine

 

January 2   May 1   June 28  
January 9   May 2   August 24  
March 8   May 9    
April 16   June 4    

The United Arab Emirates

 

January 1   August 19   November 14  
February 4   August 20   December 2  
June 17   October 24   December 3  
August 6   October 25    
The United Arab Emirates market is closed every Friday.

The United Kingdom

 

January 2   June 4   December 25  
April 6   June 5   December 26  
April 9   August 27   December 31  
May 7   December 24    

The United States

 

January 2   May 25*   October 8   December 24*
January 16   May 28   November 12   December 25
February 20   July 4   November 22   December 31*
April 6*   September 3   November 23*  

 

*   The U.S. bond market has recommended early close.

Uruguay

 

January 6   April 6   June 19   December 25
February 20   April 23   July 18  

 

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February 21   May 1   October 15  
April 5   May 21   November 2  

Venezuela

 

January 9   April 6   July 2   November 5
February 20   April 19   July 5   December 25
February 21   May 1   July 24  
March 19   May 21   August 13  
April 5   June 11   October 12  

Vietnam

 

January 2   January 26   May 1  
January 23   January 27   September 3  
January 24   April 2    
January 25   April 30    

Zimbabwe

 

January 2   April 18   August 13   December 26
April 6   May 1   August 14  
April 9   May 25   December 25  
2013

Argentina

 

January 1   May 1   November 6  
March 28   June 17   December 24  
March 29   July 9   December 25  
April 1   August 19   December 31  

Australia

 

January 1   April 1   June 10   November 5
January 28   April 25   August 5   December 25
March 4   May 6   August 14   December 26
March 11   May 20   September 30  
March 29   June 3   October 7  

Austria

 

January 1   May 9   November 1   December 31
March 29   May 20   December 24  
April 1   May 30   December 25  
May 1   August 15   December 26  

Bahamas

 

January 1   June 7   December 25  
March 29   July 10   December 26  
April 1   August 5    
May 20   October 14    

Bahrain

 

January 1   August 11   October 17   December 16

    

 

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January 24   October 14   November 4   December 17
May 1   October 15   November 12  
August 8   October 16   November 13  
The Bahraini market is closed every Friday.

Bangladesh

 

February 21   July 1   October 14   December 16
March 26   August 6   October 15   December 25
April 14   August 8   October 16   December 31
May 1   August 10   October 17  
June 25   August 28   November 7  
The Bangladeshi market is closed every Friday.

Belgium

 

January 1   May 9   November 1  
March 29   May 10   November 11  
April 1   May 20   December 25  
May 1   August 15   December 26  

Bermuda

 

January 1   August 1   December 25  
March 29   August 2   December 26  
May 24   September 2    
June 10   November 11    

Botswana

 

January 1   April 1   July 15   December 25
January 2   May 1   July 16   December 26
March 29   May 9   September 30  
March 30   July 1   October 1  

Brazil

 

January 1   March 29   November 15   December 31
January 25   May 1   November 20  
February 11   May 30   December 24  
February 12   July 9   December 25  

Bulgaria

 

January 1   May 6   December 24  
March 3   May 24   December 25  
May 1   September 6   December 26  
May 5   September 22    

Canada

 

January 1   May 20   September 2   December 26
January 2   June 24   October 14  
February 18   July 1   November 11  
March 29   August 5   December 25  

The Cayman Islands

 

January 1   April 1   November 11  
January 28   May 20   December 25  

    

 

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February 13   June 17   December 26  
March 29   July 1    

Chilé

 

January 1   May 27   November 1  
March 29   August 15   December 25  
May 1   September 18   December 31  
May 21   September 19    

China

 

January 1   February 14   May 7   October 3
January 21   February 15   May 27   October 4
February 7   February 18   July 4   October 7
February 8   May 1   September 2   October 14
February 11   May 2   September 30   November 11
February 12   May 3   October 1   November 28
February 13   May 6   October 2   December 25

Colombia

 

January 1   May 1   August 7   December 25
January 7   May 13   August 19   December 31
March 25   June 3   October 14  
March 28   June 10   November 4  
March 29   July 1   November 11  

Croatia

 

January 1   May 1   August 5   December 25
January 6   May 30   August 15   December 26
March 31   June 22   October 8  
April 1   June 25   November 1  

Cyprus

 

January 1   April 1   May 19   October 28
January 6   April 23   June 24   October 29
March 18   May 1   August 15   December 24
March 25   May 3   August 30   December 25
March 29   May 6   October 1   December 26

The Czech Republic

 

January 1   July 5   December 26  
April 1   October 28   December 31  
May 1   December 24    
May 8   December 25    

Denmark

 

January 1   April 26   December 24  
March 28   May 9   December 25  

    

 

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March 29    May 20    December 26   
April 1    June 5    December 31   

The Dominican Republic

 

January 1    April 29    November 4   
January 21    May 30    December 25   
February 27    August 19      
March 29    September 24      

Ecuador

 

January 1    March 29    August 10    November 3
February 11    May 1    October 9    December 25
February 12    May 24    November 2   

Egypt

 

January 1    May 5    August 8    October 16
January 7    May 6    August 11    November 4
January 24    July 1    October 6    November 5
April 25    July 23    October 14   
May 1    August 7    October 15   
The Egyptian market is closed every Friday.

El Salvador

 

January 1    August 5    November 2   
May 1    August 6    December 25   
August 4    September 15      

Estonia

 

January 1    May 19    December 25   
February 24    June 23    December 26   
March 29    June 24    December 31   
March 31    August 20      
May 1    December 24      

Finland

 

January 1    May 9    December 25   
March 29    June 21    December 26   
April 1    December 6    December 31   
May 1    December 24      

France

 

January 1    May 8    November 11   
March 29    May 9    December 25   
April 1    August 15    December 26   
May 1    November 1      

Germany

 

January 1    May 1    August 15    December 25
February 11    May 9    October 3    December 26

 

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March 29    May 20    November 1    December 31
April 1    May 30    December 24   

Greece

 

January 1    April 1    June 24    December 26
March 18    May 1    August 15   
March 25    May 3    October 28   
March 29    May 6    December 25   

Hong Kong

 

January 1    April 4    September 20    December 26
February 11    May 1    October 1    December 31
February 12    May 17    October 14   
March 29    June 12    December 24   
April 1    July 1    December 25   

Hungary

 

January 1    May 20    November 1   
March 15    August 19    December 24   
April 1    August 20    December 25   
May 1    October 23    December 26   

Iceland

 

January 1    April 1    May 20    December 25
January 2    April 25    June 17    December 26
March 28    May 1    August 5    December 31
March 29    May 9    December 24   

India

 

January 25    April 20    August 10    November 4
January 26    April 23    August 15    November 5
March 27    May 1    August 22    November 14
March 29    May 25    September 9    November 15
April 1    June 29    September 30    December 25
April 11    July 1    October 2   
April 19    August 9    October 16   

Indonesia

 

January 1    May 9    August 12    December 24
January 25    June 7    August 13    December 25
March 12    August 7    October 15    December 26
March 29    August 8    November 4    December 30
April 11    August 9    November 5    December 31

Ireland

 

January 1    May 1    October 28    December 27
March 18    May 6    December 24   
March 29    June 3    December 25   
April 1    August 5    December 26   

Israel

 

February 24    April 14    September 4    September 19
March 25    April 15    September 5    September 25

 

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March 26    May 14    September 6    September 26
March 31    May 15    September 13   
April 1    July 16    September 18   
The Israeli market is closed every Friday.

Italy

 

January 1    May 1    December 25   
March 29    August 15    December 26   
April 1    November 1    December 31   
April 25    December 24      

Japan

 

January 1    February 11    May 6    October 14
January 2    March 20    July 15    November 4
January 3    April 29    September 16    December 23
January 14    May 3    September 23    December 31

Jordan

 

January 1    August 7    October 14    November 14
January 24    August 8    October 15    December 25
January 30    August 11    October 16    December 31
May 1    August 12    October 17   
June 6    October 13    November 5   
The Jordanian market is closed every Friday.

Kazakhstan

 

January 1    May 1    October 25   
January 7    May 9    December 16   
March 8    August 30      
March 22    October 15      

Kenya

 

January 1    August 9    December 25   
March 29    October 10    December 26   
April 1    October 21      
May 1    December 12      

Kuwait

 

January 3    February 26    October 14    November 7
January 24    June 6    October 15   
February 24    August 8    October 16   
February 25    August 11    October 17   
The Kuwaiti market is closed every Friday.

Latvia

 

January 1    May 1    November 18   
March 29    May 4    December 25   
March 31    June 23    December 26   
April 1    June 24    December 31   

Lebanon

 

January 1    March 29    August 15    November 22
January 6    May 1    October 15    November 28
February 9    May 6    November 1    December 25
February 14    May 25    November 15   

 

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Lithuania

 

January 1    April 2    July 8    December 26
February 18    May 1    August 15    December 27
March 11    May 6    August 16   
March 29    May 9    November 1   
April 1    June 24    December 25   

Luxembourg

 

January 1    May 1    August 15    December 25
March 29    May 9    November 1    December 26
April 1    May 20    December 24   

Malaysia

 

January 1    May 1    June 1    October 15
January 24    May 24    August 7    November 4
February 1    May 25    August 8    November 5
February 11    May 30    August 9    December 25
February 12    May 31    August 31   

Mauritius

 

January 1    March 12    September 10   
January 2    April 11    November 1   
February 1    May 1    December 25   
February 11    August 9      

Mexico

 

January 1    March 21    September 16    December 25
February 4    March 28    November 18   
February 5    March 29    November 20   
March 18    May 1    December 12   

Morocco

 

January 1    May 1    August 14    October 17
January 11    July 30    August 20    November 5
January 24    August 8    August 21    November 6
January 25    August 9    October 16    November 18

Namibia

 

January 1    May 1    August 26    December 25
March 21    May 9    September 24    December 26
March 29    June 17    December 10   
April 1    August 9    December 16   

The Netherlands

 

January 1    April 30    May 20   
March 29    May 1    December 25   
April 1    May 9    December 26   

The Netherlands Antilles

 

January 1    April 30    October 21   
February 11    May 1    December 25   

 

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March 29    May 9    December 26   
April 1    July 2      

New Zealand

 

January 1    February 6    June 3   
January 2    March 29    October 28   
January 21    April 1    December 25   
January 28    April 25    December 26   

Nigeria

 

January 1    May 27    October 1   
January 24    May 29    October 15   
February 4    June 12    December 25   
March 29    August 8    December 26   

Norway

 

January 1    May 1    December 24   
March 28    May 9    December 25   
March 29    May 17    December 26   
April 1    May 20    December 31   

Oman

 

January 26    August 11    October 17   
June 8    October 14    November 5   
August 8    October 15    November 18   
August 10    October 16    November 19   
The Omani market is closed every Friday.

Pakistan

 

January 1    July 11    August 14    November 14
January 25    August 2    October 15    November 15
February 5    August 6    October 16    December 25
March 23    August 8    October 17   
May 1    August 9    October 18   
July 1    August 10    November 9   

Panama

 

January 1    February 13    August 15    December 2
January 7    March 28    November 4    December 9
February 11    March 29    November 5    December 25
February 12    May 1    November 11   

Papua

 

January 1    April 25    December 25   
March 29    June 10    December 26   
April 1    September 16      

Peru

 

January 1    July 29    December 24   
March 28    August 30    December 25   
March 29    October 8    December 31   
May 1    November 1      

 

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The Philippines

 

January 1    April 8    August 8    December 24
February 25    May 1    August 9    December 25
March 28    May 13    August 21    December 30
March 29    June 12    November 1    December 31

Poland

 

January 1    May 3    November 11   
March 29    May 30    December 25   
April 1    August 15    December 26   
May 1    November 1      

Portugal

 

January 1    April 25    June 13    December 25
February 12    May 1    August 15    December 26
March 29    May 30    November 1   
April 1    June 10    December 24   

Qatar

 

August 7    September 3    October 16   
August 8    October 14    October 17   
August 11    October 15      
The Qatari market is closed every Friday.

Romania

 

January 1    May 6    December 1   
January 2    June 23    December 25   
May 1    June 24    December 26   
May 5    August 15      

Russia

 

January 1    January 8    May 9   
January 2    January 9    May 10   
January 3    February 25    June 12   
January 4    March 8    November 4   
January 7    May 1      

Saudi Arabia

 

August 6    August 11    October 16   
August 7    September 23    October 17   
August 8    October 14    October 19   
August 10    October 15    October 20   
The Saudi Arabian market is closed every Thursday and Friday.

Serbia

 

January 1    February 15    May 3   
January 2    May 1    May 5   
January 7    May 2    May 6   

Singapore

 

January 1    May 24    November 2   
February 11    May 25    November 4   

 

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February 12    August 8    December 25   
March 29    August 9      
May 1    October 15      

The Slovak Republic

 

January 1    April 1    November 1    December 30
January 2    May 1    December 24    December 31
January 3    May 8    December 25   
January 4    July 5    December 26   
March 29    August 29    December 27   

Slovenia

 

January 1    April 1    May 19    November 1
January 2    April 27    June 25    December 25
February 8    May 1    August 15    December 26
March 31    May 2    October 31   

South Africa

 

January 1    May 1    December 16   
March 21    June 17    December 25   
March 29    August 9    December 26   
April 1    September 24      

South Korea

 

January 1    May 17    September 19   
February 11    June 6    September 20   
March 1    July 17    October 3   
April 5    August 15    December 25   
May 1    September 18    December 31   

Spain

 

January 1    March 29    May 15    December 25
January 7    April 1    August 15    December 26
March 19    May 1    November 1   
March 28    May 2    December 6   

Sri Lanka

 

January 7    March 29    July 22    October 15
January 12    April 12    August 8    October 16
January 15    April 15    August 9    October 18
February 4    May 1    August 20    December 16
February 15    May 23    September 18    December 25
March 26    May 24    September 19   

Sweden

 

January 1    May 9    December 25   
March 29    June 6    December 26   
Apri