497 1 d156999d497.htm BLACKROCK ETF TRUST II BLACKROCK ETF TRUST II
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March 16, 2021

 

 

2021 PROSPECTUS

 

   

LOGO

 

BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF  |  HYMU  |  CBOE BZX

 

 

 

The 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.


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BlackRock® is a registered trademark of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates.

 

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BLACKROCK HIGH YIELD MUNI INCOME BOND ETF

 

Ticker: HYMU                        Stock Exchange: Cboe BZX

Investment Objectives

The BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF (the “Fund”) primarily seeks to maximize tax-free current income and secondarily seeks to maximize capital appreciation with a portfolio composed principally of high yield and other income-generating U.S. municipal bonds.

Fees and Expenses

The following table describes the fees and expenses that you will incur if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. The investment advisory agreement between BlackRock ETF Trust II (the “Trust”) and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”) provides that BFA will pay all operating expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses.

You may also incur usual and customary brokerage commissions and other charges 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
Fees1,2
  Distribution
and
Service (12b-1)

Fees
  Other
Expenses
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
  Fee
Waiver1,2
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
After Fee Waiver1,2
0.45%   None   0.00%   0.45%   (0.10%)   0.35%

 

  1 

As described in the “Management” section of the Fund’s prospectus beginning on page S-5, BFA has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Fund pays to BFA indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by BFA or its affiliates, through November 30, 2023.

 

  2 

As described in the “Management of the Fund” section of the Fund’s prospectus beginning on page S-5, BlackRock has contractually agreed to waive 0.10% of its management fee through November 30, 2023. The agreement may be terminated upon 90 days’ notice by a majority of the non-interested trustees of the Trust or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.

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
$36   $124

 

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 the Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. There has been no portfolio turnover because the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this prospectus (the “Prospectus”).

Principal Investment Strategies

Under normal circumstances, the Fund seeks to achieve its objectives by investing at least 80% of its assets in municipal bonds. This policy is a fundamental policy of the Fund and may not be changed without approval of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities, as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). Municipal bonds include debt obligations issued by or on behalf of a governmental entity or

 


 

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other qualifying issuer that pay interest that is, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, generally excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of the federal alternative minimum tax (“AMT”)). Municipal bonds may be obligations of a variety of issuers, including governmental entities or other qualifying issuers. Issuers may be states, territories and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities. Municipal bonds also include short-term tax-exempt obligations like municipal notes and variable rate demand obligations.

The Fund may invest in municipal bonds rated in any rating category or in unrated municipal bonds. Fund management chooses municipal bonds that it believes offer a relatively high potential for total return relative to their total risk. Although the Fund may invest in municipal bonds in any rating category, Fund management presently intends to invest at least 65% of the Fund’s net assets in medium- to low-quality bonds as rated by at least one independent rating agency (BBB or lower by S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”) or Fitch Ratings, Inc. (“Fitch”), or Baa or lower by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”)), or if unrated, judged to be of comparable quality by BFA. Obligations rated below BBB or Baa are commonly known as “junk bonds.” It is possible that the Fund could invest up to 100% of its assets in junk bonds. Fund management reserves the right to invest less than 65% of the Fund’s net assets in municipal bonds rated BBB or Baa or lower if Fund management determines that there is an insufficient supply of such obligations available for investment.

The Fund may also invest up to 20% of its net assets in municipal bonds that are considered distressed securities, which are securities that are the subject of bankruptcy proceedings or otherwise in default as to the repayment of principal and/or payment of interest at the time of acquisition or are rated in the lowest rating categories by at least one independent rating agency (CC or lower by S&P or Fitch, or Ca or lower by Moody’s), or if unrated, judged to be of comparable quality by BFA.

Generally, the Fund will invest in distressed securities when Fund management believes they offer significant potential for higher returns or can be exchanged for other securities that offer this potential. However, there can be no assurance that the Fund will achieve these returns or that the issuer will make an exchange offer or adopt a plan of

reorganization. The Fund will primarily invest in municipal bonds that have a maturity of five years or longer.

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).

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 certain risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund’s net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objectives. Unlike many exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), the Fund is not an index-based ETF.

Municipal Securities Risk. Municipal securities can be significantly affected by political or economic changes, including changes made in the law after issuance of the securities, as well as uncertainties in the municipal market related to taxation, legislative changes or the rights of municipal security holders, including in connection with an issuer insolvency. 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 from such projects or assets. Certain municipal securities are issued by entities with limited taxing authority such as school districts, or dependent on revenue from a particular sector or industry, such as the utilities sector, infrastructure sector, or transportation industry.

High Yield Securities Risk. Securities that are rated below investment-grade (commonly referred to as “junk bonds,” which may include those bonds rated below “BBB-” by S&P and Fitch, or “Baa3” by Moody’s), or are unrated, may be deemed speculative, may involve greater levels of risk than higher-rated securities of similar maturity and may be more likely to default.

Income Risk. Income risk is the risk that the Fund’s yield will vary as short-term securities in its portfolio mature and the proceeds are reinvested in securities with different interest rates.

Interest Rate Risk. During periods of very low or negative interest rates, the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns or pay dividends to Fund shareholders. Very low or negative interest rates may magnify interest rate risk. Changing interest rates,

 


 

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including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on markets, result in heightened market volatility and detract from the Fund’s performance to the extent the Fund is exposed to such interest rates. Additionally, under certain market conditions in which interest rates are low and the market prices for portfolio securities have increased, the Fund may have a very low, or even negative yield. A low or negative yield would cause the Fund to lose money in certain conditions and over certain time periods. An increase in interest rates may cause the value of securities held by the Fund to decline, will generally lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and may adversely affect the liquidity of certain fixed-income investments, including those held by the Fund. The historically low interest rate environment heightens the risks associated with rising interest rates.

Credit Risk. Debt issuers and other counterparties may be unable or unwilling to make timely interest and/or principal payments when due or otherwise honor their obligations. Changes in an issuer’s credit rating or the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may also adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investment in that issuer. The degree of credit risk depends on an issuer’s or counterparty’s financial condition and on the terms of an obligation.

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 in securities with lower yields, which would result in a decline in the Fund’s income, or in securities with greater risks or with other less favorable features.

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

Distressed Securities Risk. Distressed securities are speculative and involve substantial risks in addition to the risks of investing in junk bonds. The Fund will generally not receive interest payments on the distressed securities and may incur costs to protect its investment. In addition, distressed securities involve the substantial risk that principal will not be repaid. These securities may present a substantial risk of default or may be in default at the time of investment. The Fund may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek recovery upon a default in the payment of principal of or

interest on its portfolio holdings. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a portfolio holding, the Fund may lose its entire investment or may be required to accept cash or securities with a value less than its original investment. Distressed securities and any securities received in an exchange for such securities may be subject to restrictions on resale.

Asset Class Risk. Securities and other assets in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to the general financial markets, a particular financial market or other asset classes.

Assets Under Management (AUM) Risk. From time to time, an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section of the Prospectus), a third-party investor, the Fund’s adviser or an affiliate of the Fund’s adviser, or a fund may invest in the Fund and hold its investment for a specific period of time in order to facilitate commencement of the Fund’s operations or to allow the Fund to achieve size or scale. There can be no assurance that any such entity would not redeem its investment or that the size of the Fund would be maintained at such levels, which could negatively impact the Fund.

Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus) may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting.

Cash Transactions Risk. The Fund expects to effect all of its creations and redemptions for cash, rather than in-kind securities. As a result, the Fund may have to sell portfolio securities at inopportune times in order to obtain the cash needed to meet redemption orders. This may cause the Fund to sell a security and recognize a capital gain or loss that might not have been incurred if it had made a redemption in-kind. The use of cash creations and redemptions may also cause the Fund’s shares to

 


 

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trade in the market at wider bid-ask spreads or greater premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.

Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund’s investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class.

Cybersecurity Risk. Failures or breaches of the electronic systems of the Fund, the Fund’s adviser, distributor, and other service providers (including the benchmark provider), market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests have the ability to cause disruptions, negatively impact the Fund’s business operations and/or potentially result in financial losses to the Fund and its shareholders. While the Fund has established business continuity plans and risk management systems seeking to address system breaches or failures, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems of the Fund’s service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or issuers of securities in which the Fund invests.

High Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of its portfolio securities. High portfolio turnover (considered by the Fund to mean higher than 100% annually) 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.

Illiquid Investments Risk. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. To the extent the Fund holds illiquid investments, the illiquid investments may reduce the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices. During periods of market volatility, liquidity in the market for the Fund’s shares may be impacted by the liquidity in the market for the underlying securities or instruments held by the Fund, which could lead to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to the Fund’s NAV.

Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus has resulted in travel restrictions, disruption of healthcare systems, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, layoffs, ratings downgrades, defaults and other significant economic impacts. Certain markets have experienced temporary closures, extreme volatility, severe losses, reduced liquidity and increased trading costs. These events will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and could impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities or cause elevated tracking error and increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. Other infectious illness outbreaks in the future may result in similar impacts.

Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due. Changes in the financial condition or credit rating of an issuer of those securities may cause the value of the securities to decline.

Management Risk. The Fund is subject to management risk, which is the risk that the investment process, techniques and risk analyses applied by BFA will not produce the desired results, and that securities selected by BFA may underperform the market or any relevant benchmark. In addition, legislative, regulatory, or tax developments may affect the investment techniques available to BFA in connection with managing the Fund and may also adversely affect the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objectives.

Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issue, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.

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 disruptions in the creation/redemption process. 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

 


 

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traded at prices that closely correspond to NAV per share. 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.

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 as opposed to a fund that invests more widely.

Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.

Privately-Issued Securities Risk. The Fund may invest in privately-issued securities, including those that 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 may be subject to legal restrictions on resale. Privately- issued securities are generally not traded on established markets. As a result of the absence of a public trading market, privately-issued securities may be deemed to be illiquid investments, may be more difficult to value than publicly traded securities and may be subject to wide fluctuations in value. Delay or difficulty in selling such securities may result in a loss to the Fund.

Risk of Investing in the U.S. Certain changes in the U.S. economy, such as when the U.S. economy weakens or when its financial markets decline, may have an adverse effect on the securities to which the Fund has exposure.

Small Fund Risk. When the Fund’s size is small, the Fund may experience low trading volume and wide bid/ask spreads. In addition, the Fund may face the risk of being delisted if the Fund does not meet certain conditions of the listing exchange. Any resulting liquidation of the Fund could cause the Fund to incur elevated transaction costs for the Fund and negative tax consequences for its shareholders.

Tax Risk. There is no guarantee that the Fund’s income will be exempt from U.S. federal income taxes or the federal Medicare contribution tax of 3.8% on “net investment income.”

Valuation Risk. The price the Fund could receive upon the sale of a security or other asset may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the security or other asset, particularly for securities or other assets that trade in low volume or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair value methodology as a result of trade suspensions or for other reasons. In addition, the value of the securities or other assets in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days or during time periods when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s shares. Authorized Participants who purchase or redeem Fund shares on days when the Fund is holding fair-valued securities may receive fewer or more shares, or lower or higher redemption proceeds, than they would have received had the Fund not fair-valued securities or used a different valuation methodology. The Fund’s ability to value investments may be impacted by technological issues or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers.

Performance Information

Because the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus, it does not have performance information an investor would find useful in evaluating the risks of investing in the Fund.

Management

Investment Adviser. BlackRock Fund Advisors.

Portfolio Managers. Kevin Maloney, James Mauro and Michael Perilli (the “Portfolio Managers”) are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager supervises a portfolio management team. Messrs. Maloney, Mauro and Perilli have been Portfolio Managers of the Fund since 2020.

 


 

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Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares

The Fund is an ETF. Individual shares of the Fund may only be bought and sold in the secondary market through a broker-dealer. Because ETF shares trade at market prices rather than at NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (a premium) or less than NAV (a discount). An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase shares of the Fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for shares of the Fund (ask) when buying or selling shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”).

Tax Information

The Fund intends to make distributions primarily from net tax-exempt income (but not necessarily free from federal AMT), although distributions of taxable capital gains may also occur. The Fund is generally not an appropriate investment for a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (“IRA”). Please consult your personal tax advisor.

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

This Prospectus contains important information about investing in the Fund. Please read this Prospectus carefully before you make any investment decisions. Additional information regarding the Fund is available at www.blackrock.com.

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 objectives.

ETFs are funds that trade like other publicly-traded securities. Similar to shares of a mutual fund, each share of the Fund represents an ownership interest in an underlying portfolio of securities and other instruments. Unlike shares of a mutual fund, which can be bought and redeemed from the issuing fund by all shareholders at a price based on NAV, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed directly from the Fund at NAV solely by Authorized Participants and only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (“Creation Units”). Also unlike shares of a mutual fund, shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange and trade in the secondary market at market prices that change throughout the day.

The Fund’s investment objectives are non-fundamental policies and may be changed without shareholder approval.

Additional Information on Principal Investment Strategies. The Fund primarily seeks to maximize tax-free current income and secondarily seeks to maximize capital appreciation with a portfolio composed principally of high yield and other income-generating U.S. municipal bonds Under normal circumstances, the Fund seeks to achieve its objectives by investing at least 80% of its assets in municipal bonds.

Municipal bonds include debt obligations issued by or on behalf of a governmental entity or other qualifying issuer that pay interest that is, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, generally excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of federal AMT). Municipal bonds may be obligations of a variety of issuers, including governmental entities or other qualifying issuers. Issuers may be states, territories and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities. Municipal bonds also include short-term tax-exempt obligations like municipal notes and variable rate demand obligations.

The Fund may invest in municipal bonds rated in any rating category or in unrated municipal bonds. Fund management chooses municipal bonds that it believes offer a relatively high potential for total return relative to their total risk. Although the Fund may invest in municipal bonds in any rating category, Fund management presently intends to invest at least 65% of the Fund’s net assets in medium- to low-quality bonds as rated by at least one independent rating agency (BBB or lower by S&P or Fitch or Baa or lower by Moody’s,) or if unrated, judged to be of comparable quality by BFA. Obligations rated below BBB or Baa are commonly known as “junk bonds.” It is possible that the Fund could invest up to 100% of its assets in junk bonds. Fund management reserves the right to invest less than 65% of the Fund’s net assets in municipal bonds rated BBB or Baa or lower if Fund management determines that there is an insufficient supply of such obligations available for investment.

The Fund may also invest up to 20% of its net assets in municipal bonds that are considered distressed securities, which are securities that are the subject of bankruptcy proceedings or otherwise in default as to the repayment of principal and/or payment of interest at the time of acquisition or are rated in the lowest rating categories by at least one independent rating agency (CC or lower by S&P or Fitch or Ca or lower by Moody’s), or if unrated, judged to be of comparable quality by BFA. Generally, the Fund will invest in distressed securities when Fund management believes they offer significant potential for higher returns or can be exchanged for other securities that offer this potential. However, there can be no assurance that the Fund will achieve these returns or that the issuer will make an exchange offer or adopt a plan of reorganization. The Fund will primarily invest in municipal bonds that have a maturity of five years or longer.

The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities to achieve its principal investment strategies.

Investment Process. The management team evaluates portfolio construction, municipal security selection, and trade execution on an ongoing basis. The investment approach represents a collaboration between BFA’s Municipal Mutual Fund Team and Municipal Credit Research Team. The Municipal Credit Research Team will provide credit oversight

 

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and research, and will independently rate each security in the investment universe with a BFA equivalent rating. The Municipal Mutual Fund Team will use these credit ratings in conjunction with the following factors to manage the portfolio:

 

   

Credit Quality of Issuers — based on bond ratings and other factors, including economic and financial conditions.

 

   

Yield Analysis — takes into account factors such as the different yields available on different types of obligations and the shape of the yield curve (longer-term obligations typically have higher yields).

 

   

Maturity Analysis — the weighted average maturity of the portfolio will be maintained within a desirable range as determined from time to time. Factors considered include portfolio activity, maturity of the supply of available bonds and the shape of the yield curve. Maturity of a debt security refers to the date upon which debt securities are due to be repaid, that is, the date when the issuer generally must pay back the face amount of the security.

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 BFA, consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives and in the best interests 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.

The management team 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 objectives. You could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund could underperform other investments.

Municipal Securities Risk. Municipal securities include both general obligation bonds (bonds secured by the full faith and credit of the issuer) and limited obligation bonds (or “Revenue Bonds”). All municipal securities are subject to the risk that litigation, legislation or other political events, local business or economic conditions, credit rating downgrades, 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. Additionally, certain municipal securities may be issued by entities with limited taxing authority, which could limit or prevent tax increases necessary to make continued payments of principal and interest.

Municipal securities can be significantly affected by political or economic changes, including changes made in the law after issuance of the securities, as well as uncertainties in the municipal market related to taxation, legislative changes or the rights of municipal security holders, including in connection with an issuer insolvency. There is also the risk that corruption may negatively affect municipal issuers, including corruption related to a particular project from which payments on a security are derived, resulting in delays and cost overruns.

There may be less publicly available information on the financial condition of municipal security issuers than for issuers of other securities. As a result, municipal securities may be more difficult for the Fund to value accurately than the securities of public companies. Municipal securities may also be harder to buy and sell compared to taxable bonds and non-municipal securities, especially on short notice. Because the Fund invests a significant portion of its portfolio in municipal securities, the Fund’s portfolio is subject to greater exposure to illiquidity risk than a fund that invests in comparable taxable bonds or non-municipal securities.

The Fund and BFA will rely on the opinion of issuers’ bond counsel on the tax-exempt status of interest on municipal bonds. Neither the Fund nor BFA will independently review the bases for those tax opinions, which may ultimately be determined to be incorrect, potentially resulting in the Fund and its shareholders being subject to substantial tax liabilities. In addition, changes in the financial condition of an individual municipal issuer can affect the overall municipal market.

Revenue Bonds are backed by current or anticipated revenues from a specific project or specific assets and can be negatively affected by the discontinuance of the tax benefits supporting the project or assets or the inability to collect revenues from the project or the assets. Additionally, the market values of Revenue Bonds may decline in times of higher inflation to the extent that revenues are fixed income streams. In other instances, the prices that an issuer is

 

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able to charge users of its assets may be linked to inflation, whether by government regulation, contractual arrangement or other factors. Rising interest rates could result in higher costs of capital for certain issuers, which could negatively impact their ability to meet payment obligations. In this case, changes in the rate of inflation may affect the issuer’s revenues. Because many municipal securities are issued to finance projects, such as those related to education, health care, housing, transportation, utilities, and water and sewer, conditions in one or more of these sectors can affect the overall municipal market. Adverse conditions and developments affecting a particular project can result in lower revenues to an issuer of the municipal securities and, by extension, adversely affect payments of principal and interest on, or the market value of, such securities.

Additionally, certain municipal securities are issued by entities dependent on revenue from a particular sector and thus are subject to the specific risks associated with that sector.

Municipal Securities Market Risk. Economic exposure to the municipal securities market involves certain risks. The municipal market is one in which dealer firms make markets in bonds on a principal basis using their proprietary capital, and during the financial crisis of 2007-2009 these firms’ capital was severely constrained. As a result, some firms were unwilling to commit their capital to purchase and to serve as a dealer for municipal securities. Certain municipal securities may not be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or any state securities commission and will not be listed on any national securities exchange. The amount of public information available about the municipal securities to which the Fund is economically exposed is generally less than that for corporate equities or bonds, and the investment performance of the Fund may therefore be more dependent on the analytical abilities of BFA than would be a fund investing solely in stocks or taxable bonds. The secondary market for municipal securities, particularly the below investment grade securities to which the Fund may be economically exposed, also tends to be less well-developed or liquid than many other securities markets, which may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to sell such securities at attractive prices or at prices approximating those at which the Fund currently values them.

In addition, many state and municipal governments that issue securities are under significant economic and financial stress and may not be able to satisfy their obligations. This stress may be significantly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The ability of municipal issuers to make timely payments of interest and principal may be diminished during general economic downturns and as governmental cost burdens are reallocated among federal, state and local governments. The taxing power of any governmental entity may be limited by provisions of state constitutions or laws and an entity’s credit will depend on many factors, including the entity’s tax base, the extent to which the entity relies on federal or state aid, and other factors which are beyond the entity’s control. In addition, laws enacted in the future by Congress or state legislatures or referenda could extend the time for payment of principal and/or interest, or impose other constraints on enforcement of such obligations or on the ability of municipalities to levy taxes. Issuers of municipal securities might seek protection under the bankruptcy laws. In the event of bankruptcy of such an issuer, holders of municipal securities could experience delays in collecting principal and interest and such holders may not, in all circumstances, be able to collect all principal and interest to which they are entitled. To enforce its rights in the event of a default in the payment of interest or repayment of principal, or both, the Fund may take possession of and manage the assets securing the issuer’s obligations on such securities, which may increase the Fund’s operating expenses. Any income derived from the Fund’s ownership or operation of such assets may not be tax-exempt or may fail to generate qualifying income for purposes of the income tests applicable to regulated investment companies under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

High Yield Securities Risk. Securities that are rated below investment-grade (commonly referred to as “junk bonds,” which may include those bonds rated below “BBB-” by S&P and Fitch, or “Baa3” by Moody’s), or are unrated, may be deemed speculative, may involve greater levels of risk than higher-rated securities of similar maturity and may be more likely to default.

The major risks of high yield securities investments include:

 

   

High yield securities may be issued by less creditworthy issuers. Issuers of high yield securities may have a larger amount of outstanding debt relative to their assets than issuers of investment-grade bonds. In the event of an issuer’s bankruptcy, claims of other creditors may have priority over the claims of high yield securities holders, leaving few or no assets available to repay high yield securities holders.

 

   

Prices of high yield securities are subject to extreme price fluctuations. Adverse changes in an issuer’s industry and general economic conditions may have a greater impact on the prices of high yield securities than on other higher rated fixed-income securities. The credit rating of a high yield security does not

 

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necessarily address its market value risk. Ratings and market value may change from time to time, positively or negatively, to reflect new developments regarding the issuer.

 

   

Issuers of high yield securities may be unable to meet their interest or principal payment obligations because of an economic downturn, specific issuer developments, or the unavailability of additional financing.

 

   

High yield securities frequently have redemption features that permit an issuer to repurchase the security from the Fund before it matures. If the issuer redeems high yield securities held by the Fund, the Fund may have to invest the proceeds in bonds with lower yields and may lose income.

 

   

High yield securities may be less liquid than higher rated fixed-income securities, even under normal economic conditions. There are fewer dealers in the high yield securities market, and there may be significant differences in the prices quoted for high yield securities by the dealers. Because high yield securities may be less liquid than higher rated fixed-income securities, judgment may play a greater role in valuing certain of the Fund’s securities than is the case with securities trading in a more liquid market.

 

   

The Fund may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting issuer.

Income Risk. Income risk is the risk that the Fund’s yield will vary as short-term securities in its portfolio mature and the proceeds are reinvested in securities with different interest rates.

Interest Rate Risk. As interest rates rise, the value of the fixed-income securities or other instruments held by the Fund is likely to decrease. A measure investors commonly use to determine this price sensitivity is called duration. Fixed-income securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making their prices more volatile than those of securities with shorter durations. To the extent the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in fixed-income securities with longer duration, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline significantly, which would adversely affect the value of the Fund. An increase in interest rates may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and adversely affect certain fixed-income investments, including those held by the Fund. In addition, decreases in fixed income dealer market-making capacity may lead to lower trading volume, heightened volatility, wider bid-ask spreads and less transparent pricing in certain fixed-income markets.

The historically low interest rate environment was created in part by the world’s major central banks keeping their overnight policy interest rates at, near or below zero percent and implementing monetary policy facilities, such as asset purchase programs, to anchor longer-term interest rates below historical levels. During periods of very low or negative interest rates, the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns or pay dividends to Fund shareholders. Certain countries have recently experienced negative interest rates on certain fixed-income instruments. Very low or negative interest rates may magnify interest rate risk. Changing interest rates, including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on markets, result in heightened market volatility and detract from the Fund’s performance to the extent the Fund is exposed to such interest rates. Additionally, under certain market conditions in which interest rates are set at low levels and the market prices of portfolio securities have increased, the Fund may have a very low, or even negative yield. A low or negative yield would cause the Fund to lose money in certain conditions and over certain time periods. Central banks may increase their short-term policy rates or begin phasing out, or “tapering,” accommodative monetary policy facilities in the future. The timing, coordination, magnitude and effect of such policy changes on various markets is uncertain, and such changes in monetary policy may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments.

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that the issuer or guarantor of a debt instrument or the counterparty to a derivatives contract, repurchase agreement or loan of portfolio securities will be unable or unwilling to make its timely interest and/or principal payments when due or otherwise honor its obligations. There are varying degrees of credit risk, depending on an issuer’s or counterparty’s financial condition and on the terms of an obligation, which may be reflected in the issuer’s or counterparty’s credit rating. There is the chance that the Fund’s portfolio holdings will have their credit ratings downgraded or will default (i.e., fail to make scheduled interest or principal payments), or that the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may worsen, potentially reducing the Fund’s income level or share price.

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 in securities with lower yields, which would result in a decline in the Fund’s income, or in securities with greater risks or with other less favorable features.

 

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

Distressed Securities Risk. Distressed securities are speculative and involve substantial risks in addition to the risks of investing in junk bonds. The Fund will generally not receive interest payments on the distressed securities and may incur costs to protect its investment. In addition, distressed securities involve the substantial risk that principal will not be repaid. These securities may present a substantial risk of default or may be in default at the time of investment. The Fund may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek recovery upon a default in the payment of principal of or interest on its portfolio holdings. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a portfolio holding, the Fund may lose its entire investment or may be required to accept cash or securities with a value less than its original investment. Distressed securities and any securities received in an exchange for such securities may be subject to restrictions on resale.

Asset Class Risk. The securities and other assets in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to 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 may experience cycles of outperformance and underperformance in comparison to the general financial markets. This may cause the Fund to underperform other investment vehicles that invest in different asset classes.

Assets Under Management (AUM) Risk. From time to time, an Authorized Participant, a third-party investor, the Fund’s adviser or an affiliate of the Fund’s adviser, or a fund may invest in the Fund and hold its investment for a specific period of time in order to facilitate commencement of the Fund’s operations or to allow the Fund to achieve size or scale. There can be no assurance that any such entity would not redeem its investment or that the size of the Fund would be maintained at such levels, which could negatively impact the Fund.

Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem Creation Units, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting.

Cash Transactions Risk. Unlike most other ETFs, the Fund expects to effect all of its creations and redemptions for cash, rather than in-kind securities. Paying redemption proceeds in cash rather than through in-kind delivery of portfolio securities may require the Fund to dispose of or sell portfolio securities or other assets at an inopportune time to obtain the cash needed to meet redemption orders. This may cause the Fund to sell a security and recognize a capital gain or loss that might not have been incurred if it had made a redemption in-kind. As a result, the Fund may pay out higher or lower annual capital gains distributions than ETFs that redeem in-kind. The use of cash creations and redemptions may also cause the Fund’s shares to trade in the market at greater bid-ask spreads or greater premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. As a practical matter, only institutions and large investors, such as market makers or other large broker dealers, create or redeem shares directly through the Fund. Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund on an exchange through a broker-dealer. Furthermore, cash creation and redemption transactions may result in certain brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, price movement and other costs and expenses related to the execution of trades resulting from such transactions. To the extent that the maximum additional charge for creation or redemption transactions is insufficient to cover these costs and expenses, the Fund’s performance could be negatively impacted.

Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund’s investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, representing a particular country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. The Fund may be more adversely affected by the underperformance of those securities and/or other assets, may experience increased price volatility and may be more susceptible to adverse economic, market, political or regulatory occurrences affecting those securities and/or other assets than a fund that does not concentrate its investments.

Cybersecurity Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as the internet to conduct business, the Fund, Authorized Participants, service providers and the relevant listing exchange are susceptible to operational, information

 

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security and related “cyber” risks both directly and through their service providers. Similar types of cybersecurity risks are also present for issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers and may cause the Fund’s investment in such portfolio companies to lose value. Unlike many other types of risks faced by the Fund, these risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyberattacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users).

Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities with nation-state backing.

Cybersecurity failures by or breaches of the systems of the Fund’s adviser, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, index and benchmark providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses; interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, disclosure of confidential trading information, impediments to trading, submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders; the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, cyberattacks may render records of Fund assets and transactions, shareholder ownership of Fund shares, and other data integral to the functioning of the Fund inaccessible or inaccurate or incomplete. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber incidents, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful or that cyberattacks will go undetected. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, market makers or Authorized Participants. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

High Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of its portfolio securities. High portfolio turnover (considered by the Fund to mean higher than 100% annually) 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 the Fund’s 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, such as index-based ETFs. These effects of higher than normal portfolio turnover may adversely affect Fund performance.

Illiquid Investments Risk. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. To the extent the Fund holds illiquid investments, the illiquid investments may reduce the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices. An investment may be illiquid due to, among other things, the reduced number and capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in securities or instruments or the lack of an active market for such securities or instruments. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities or instruments with substantial market and/or credit risk, the Fund will tend to have increased exposure to the risks associated with illiquid investments. Liquid investments may become illiquid after purchase by the Fund, particularly during periods of market turmoil. There can be no assurance that a security or instrument that is deemed to be liquid when purchased will continue to be liquid for as long as it is held by the Fund, and any security or instrument held by the Fund may be deemed an illiquid investment pursuant to the Fund’s liquidity risk management program. Illiquid investments may be harder to value, especially in changing markets. If the Fund is forced to sell underlying investments at reduced prices or under unfavorable conditions to meet redemption requests or for other cash needs, the Fund may suffer a loss. This may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment or other circumstances where redemptions from the Fund may be greater than normal. Other market participants may be attempting to liquidate holdings at the same time as the Fund, causing increased supply of the Fund’s underlying investments in the market and contributing to illiquid investments risk and downward pricing pressure. During periods

 

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of market volatility, liquidity in the market for the Fund’s shares may be impacted by the liquidity in the market for the underlying securities or instruments held by the Fund, which could lead to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to the Fund’s NAV.

Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in December 2019 has spread globally. The impact of this outbreak has adversely affected the economies of many nations and the global economy, and may impact individual issuers and capital markets in ways that cannot be foreseen. The duration of the outbreak and its effects cannot be predicted with certainty. Any market or economic disruption can be expected to result in elevated tracking error and increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.

 

   

General Impact. This outbreak has resulted in travel restrictions, closed international borders, enhanced health screenings at ports of entry and elsewhere, disruption of and delays in healthcare service preparation and delivery, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, temporary closures of stores, restaurants and other commercial establishments, layoffs, defaults and other significant economic impacts, as well as general concern and uncertainty.

 

   

Market Volatility. The outbreak has also resulted in extreme volatility, severe losses, and disruptions in markets which can adversely impact the Fund and its investments, including impairing hedging activity to the extent the Fund engages in such activity, as expected correlations between related markets or instruments may no longer apply. In addition, to the extent the Fund invests in short-term instruments that have negative yields, the Fund’s value may be impaired as a result. Certain issuers of equity securities have cancelled or announced the suspension of dividends. The outbreak has, and may continue to, negatively affect the credit ratings of some fixed income securities and their issuers.

 

   

Market Closures. Certain local markets have been or may be subject to closures, and there can be no assurance that trading will continue in any local markets in which the Fund may invest, when any resumption of trading will occur or, once such markets resume trading, whether they will face further closures. Any suspension of trading in markets in which the Fund invests will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and will impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities in such markets.

 

   

Operational Risk. The outbreak could also impair the information technology and other operational systems upon which the Fund’s service providers, including BFA, rely, and could otherwise disrupt the ability of employees of the Fund’s service providers to perform critical tasks relating to the Fund, for example, due to the service providers’ employees performing tasks in alternate locations than under normal operating conditions or the illness of certain employees of the Fund’s service providers.

 

   

Governmental Interventions. Governmental and quasi-governmental authorities and regulators throughout the world have responded to the outbreak and the resulting economic disruptions with a variety of fiscal and monetary policy changes, including direct capital infusions into companies and other issuers, new monetary policy tools, and lower interest rates. An unexpected or sudden reversal of these policies, or the ineffectiveness of such policies, is likely to increase market volatility, which could adversely affect the Fund’s investments.

 

   

Pre-Existing Conditions. Public health crises caused by the outbreak may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally.

Other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future could have similar or other unforeseen effects.

Issuer Risk. Fund performance depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due. Changes to the financial condition or credit rating of an issuer of those securities may cause the value of the securities to decline. An issuer may also be subject to risks associated with the countries, states and regions in which the issuer resides, invests, sells products, or otherwise conducts operations.

Management Risk. The Fund is subject to management risk because it does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index. BFA 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 in connection with managing the Fund and may also adversely affect the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objectives.

 

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Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. Market risk arises mainly from uncertainty about future values of financial instruments and may be influenced by price, currency and interest rate movements. It represents the potential loss the Fund may suffer through holding financial instruments in the face of market movements or uncertainty. The value of a security or other asset may decline due to changes in general market conditions, economic trends or events that are not specifically related to the issuer of the security or other asset, or factors that affect a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issue, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. During a general market downturn, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected. Fixed-income securities with short-term maturities are generally less sensitive to such changes than are fixed-income securities with longer-term maturities. Changes in market conditions and interest rates generally do not have the same impact on all types of securities and instruments.

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 by market makers or Authorized Participants.

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, and may otherwise be made available to non-U.S. investors through funds or structured investment vehicles similar to depositary receipts. 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 in 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 for 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.

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 and price decreases associated with being sold short.

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 the Fund’s 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. The trading price of the Fund’s shares fluctuates continuously throughout trading hours based on both market supply of and demand for Fund shares and the underlying value of the Fund’s portfolio holdings or NAV. As a result, the trading prices of the Fund’s shares may deviate significantly from NAV during periods of market volatility, including during periods of significant redemption requests or other unusual market conditions. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUNDS SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at NAV, BFA believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of the Fund are not likely to be sustained over the long term (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their NAVs). While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it more 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, supply and demand imbalances and other factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions, including disruptions at market makers, Authorized Participants, or other market participants, and during periods of significant market volatility, may result in trading prices for shares of the Fund that differ significantly from its NAV. Authorized

 

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Participants may be less willing to create or redeem Fund shares if there is a lack of an active market for such shares or its underlying investments, which may contribute to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to 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 and other charges. 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). The spread, which varies over time for shares of the Fund based on trading volume and market liquidity, is generally narrower if the Fund has more trading volume and market liquidity and wider if the Fund has less trading volume and market liquidity. In addition, increased market volatility may cause wider spreads. There may also be regulatory and other charges that are incurred as a result of trading activity. 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 through a brokerage account.

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.

Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.

Privately-Issued Securities Risk. The Fund may invest in privately-issued securities, including those that are normally purchased pursuant to Rule 144A or Regulation S under the 1933 Act. 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 market 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 NAV 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, and its value may decline as a result.

Risk of Investing in the U.S. A decrease in imports or exports, changes in trade regulations and/or an economic recession in the U.S. may have a material adverse effect on the U.S. economy and the securities listed on U.S. exchanges. Proposed and adopted policy and legislative changes in the U.S. are changing many aspects of financial and other regulation and may have a significant effect on the U.S. markets generally, as well as on the value of certain securities. In addition, a continued rise in the U.S. public debt level or the imposition of U.S. austerity measures may adversely affect U.S. economic growth and the securities to which the Fund has exposure.

The U.S. has developed increasingly strained relations with a number of foreign countries. If relations with certain countries continue to worsen, it could adversely affect U.S. issuers as well as non-U.S. issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. The U.S. has also experienced increased internal unrest and discord. If this trend were to continue, it may have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy and the issuers in which the Fund invests.

Small Fund Risk. When the Fund’s size is small, the Fund may experience low trading volume and wide bid/ask spreads. In addition, the Fund may face the risk of being delisted if the Fund does not meet certain conditions of the listing exchange. If the Fund were to be required to delist from the listing exchange, the value of the Fund may rapidly decline and performance may be negatively impacted. Any resulting liquidation of the Fund could cause the Fund to incur elevated transaction costs for the Fund and negative tax consequences for its shareholders.

 

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Tax Risk. There is no guarantee that the Fund’s income will be exempt from U.S. federal income taxes or the federal Medicare contribution tax of 3.8% on “net investment income.” BFA relies on the bond issuer’s prospectus disclosure of the opinion from its counsel as to the tax-exempt status of the investment. Neither BFA nor the Fund guarantees that this opinion is correct, and there is no assurance that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) will agree with the bond issuer’s counsel’s tax opinion. Issuers or other parties generally enter into covenants requiring continuing compliance with U.S. federal tax requirements to preserve the tax-free status of interest payments over the life of the security. If at any time the covenants are not complied with, or if the IRS otherwise determines that the issuer did not comply with relevant tax requirements, interest payments from a security could become federally taxable, possibly retroactively to the date the security was issued, and the security could decline significantly in value. BFA will generally seek to obtain bonds that pay interest that is exempt from U.S. federal income taxes and the federal Medicare contribution tax. The interest on any money market instruments or other cash equivalents held by the Fund may be subject to the federal Medicare contribution tax.

Events occurring after the date of issuance of a municipal bond or after the Fund’s acquisition of a municipal bond may result in a determination that interest on that bond is includible in gross income for U.S. federal income tax or federal Medicare contribution tax purposes retroactively to its date of issuance. Such a determination may cause a portion of prior distributions by the Fund to its shareholders to be taxable to those shareholders in the year of receipt. U.S. federal or state changes in income or federal Medicare contribution tax rates or in the tax treatment of municipal bonds may make municipal bonds less attractive as investments and cause them to lose value. If the IRS determines an issuer of a municipal security has not complied with applicable tax requirements, interest from the security could become taxable, even retroactively, and the securities could decline significantly in value.

Valuation Risk. The price the Fund could receive upon the sale of a security or other asset may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the security or other asset, particularly for securities or other assets that trade in low volume or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair value methodology as a result of trade suspensions or for other reasons. Because non-U.S. exchanges may be open on days when the Fund does not price its shares, the value of the securities or other assets in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days or during time periods when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s shares.

Authorized Participants who purchase or redeem Fund shares on days when the Fund is holding fair-valued securities may receive fewer or more shares, or lower or higher redemption proceeds, than they would have received had the Fund not fair-valued securities or used a different valuation methodology. The Fund’s ability to value investments may be impacted by technological issues or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers.

A Further Discussion of Other Risks

The Fund may also be subject to certain other risks associated with its investments and investment strategies.

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. A decline in interest rates may result in a reduction in income received from floating rate securities held by the Fund and may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s shares. Generally, floating rate securities carry lower yields than fixed notes of the same maturity. The interest rate for a floating rate note resets or adjusts periodically by reference to a benchmark interest rate. 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. Floating rate notes generally are subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, may trade infrequently, and their value may be impaired when the Fund needs to liquidate such loans. Benchmark interest rates, such as the London Interbank Offered Rate, 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 risk and default risk, which could impair their value.

LIBOR Risk. The Fund may be exposed to financial instruments that are tied to the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) to determine payment obligations, financing terms, hedging strategies or investment value. The Fund’s investments may pay interest at floating rates based on LIBOR or may be subject to interest caps or floors based on LIBOR. The Fund may also obtain financing at floating rates based on LIBOR.

 

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In 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021, and it is expected that LIBOR will cease to be published after that time. The Fund may have investments linked to other interbank offered rates, such as the Euro Overnight Index Average (“EONIA”), which may also cease to be published. Various financial industry groups have begun planning for the transition away from LIBOR, but there are challenges to converting certain securities and transactions to a new reference rate (e.g., the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), which is intended to replace the U.S. dollar LIBOR).

Neither the effect of the LIBOR transition process nor its ultimate success can yet be known. The transition process might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets for, and reduce the effectiveness of new hedges placed against, instruments whose terms currently include LIBOR. While some existing LIBOR-based instruments may contemplate a scenario where LIBOR is no longer available by providing for an alternative rate-setting methodology, there may be significant uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of any such alternative methodologies to replicate LIBOR. Not all existing LIBOR-based instruments may have alternative rate-setting provisions and there remains uncertainty regarding the willingness and ability of issuers to add alternative rate-setting provisions in certain existing instruments. In addition, a liquid market for newly-issued instruments that use a reference rate other than LIBOR still may be developing. All of the aforementioned may adversely affect the Fund’s performance or NAV.

School District Investment Risk. School districts rely, in part, on funding appropriations from, among others, the federal government and state governments. As a result, municipal securities issued by school districts may be adversely affected by political and economic changes at the state or federal levels, such as decreased tax or other revenues, spending reductions or changes in appropriations. Municipal securities that are issued to finance a particular school district project often depend on revenues from that project to make principal and interest payments. Adverse conditions and developments affecting a particular project can result in lower revenues to the issuer of the municipal securities. Investors in these securities, similar to investors in municipal securities generally, face heightened risk of loss upon insolvency of the school district issuers because there is often no ready source of funding to pay the bonds other than the local tax base, which a bankruptcy court or administrator does not control.

Threshold/Underinvestment Risk. If certain aggregate and/or fund-level ownership thresholds are reached through transactions undertaken by BFA, its affiliates or the Fund, or as a result of third-party transactions or actions by an issuer or regulator, the ability of BFA and its affiliates 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. The capacity of the Fund to make investments in certain securities may be affected by the relevant threshold limits, and such limitations may have adverse effects on the liquidity and performance of the Fund’s portfolio holdings.

For example, in certain circumstances where the Fund invests in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries or in certain emerging or international markets, is subject to corporate or regulatory ownership restrictions, or invests in certain futures or other derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate and/or fund-level amount invested or voted by BFA and its affiliates for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including the Fund) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BFA and its affiliates, the Fund or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions.

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 Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The Fund discloses its portfolio holdings daily at www.blackrock.com. Fund fact sheets provide information regarding the Fund’s top holdings and may be requested by calling 1-800-441-7762.

Management

Investment Adviser. As investment adviser, BFA has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Fund. 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 trading, research and expertise of its asset management affiliates for portfolio decisions and management with respect to portfolio securities. In seeking to achieve the Fund’s investment objectives, 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.

 

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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 the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses (as determined by a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust).

For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA will be paid a management fee from the Fund, based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at an annual rate of 0.45%.

BlackRock has contractually agreed to waive 0.10% of the management fee through November 30, 2023. The agreement may be terminated upon 90 days’ notice by a majority of the non-interested trustees of the Trust or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.

BFA has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Fund pays to BFA indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by BFA or its affiliates, through November 30, 2023.

BFA may from time to time voluntarily waive and/or reimburse fees or expenses in order to limit total annual fund operating expenses (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, if any). Any such voluntary waiver or reimbursement may be eliminated by BFA at any time.

BFA is located at 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. It is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). As of December 31, 2020, BFA and its affiliates provided investment advisory services for assets in excess of $8.676 trillion. BFA and its affiliates trade and invest for their own accounts in the actual securities and types of securities in which the Fund may also invest, which may affect the price of such securities.

A discussion regarding the basis for the approval by the Board of the Investment Advisory Agreement with BFA will be available in the Fund’s annual report for the period ending July 31, 2021.

From time to time, a manager, analyst, or other employee of BlackRock or its affiliates may express views regarding a particular asset class, company, security, industry, or market sector. The views expressed by any such person are the views of only that individual as of the time expressed and do not necessarily represent the views of BlackRock or any other person within the BlackRock organization. Any such views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and BlackRock disclaims any responsibility to update such views. These views may not be relied on as investment advice and, because investment decisions for the Fund are based on numerous factors, may not be relied on as an indication of trading intent on behalf of the Fund.

Portfolio Managers. Kevin Maloney and Michael Perilli are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. In managing the Fund, Messrs. Maloney and Perilli consult regularly with James Mauro. Each Portfolio Manager is responsible for various functions related to portfolio management, including, but not limited to, developing and implementing the Fund’s investment process and investment strategy, researching and reviewing investment strategy and overseeing members of his portfolio management team that have more limited responsibilities.

Kevin Maloney has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2016. Mr. Maloney has been with BlackRock since 2010. Mr. Maloney has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2020. Michael Perilli has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2014. Mr. Perilli has been with BlackRock since 2008. Mr. Perilli has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2020. James Mauro has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Mauro was a Vice President at State Street Global Advisors. Mr. Mauro has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2020.

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.

 

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Legal Proceedings. On May 27, 2014, certain investors in the BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc. (“Global Allocation”) and the BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund (“Equity Dividend”) filed a consolidated complaint in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey against BlackRock Advisors, LLC, BlackRock Investment Management, LLC and BlackRock International Limited (collectively, the “Defendants”) under the caption In re BlackRock Mutual Funds Advisory Fee Litigation. In the lawsuit, which purports to be brought derivatively on behalf of Global Allocation and Equity Dividend, the plaintiffs allege that the Defendants violated Section 36(b) of the 1940 Act by receiving allegedly excessive investment advisory fees from Global Allocation and Equity Dividend. On June 13, 2018, the court granted in part and denied in part the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. On July 25, 2018, the plaintiffs served a pleading that supplemented the time period of their alleged damages to run through the date of trial. The lawsuit seeks, among other things, to recover on behalf of Global Allocation and Equity Dividend all allegedly excessive advisory fees received by the Defendants beginning twelve months preceding the start of the lawsuit with respect to each of Global Allocation and Equity Dividend and ending on the date of judgment, along with purported lost investment returns on those amounts, plus interest. The trial on the remaining issues was completed on August 29, 2018. On February 8, 2019, the court issued an order dismissing the claims in their entirety. On March 8, 2019, the plaintiffs provided notice that they were appealing both the February 8, 2019 post-trial order and the June 13, 2018 order partially granting Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. On May 28, 2020, the appellate court affirmed the trial courts orders. On June 26, 2020, the plaintiffs petitioned the appeals court for a rehearing, which was denied on July 9, 2020. Plaintiffs’ deadline to seek further appeal has passed; consequently, this matter is now closed.

Conflicts of Interest. The investment activities of BFA and its affiliates (including BlackRock and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Affiliates”)), and their respective directors, officers or employees, 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 provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow investment programs similar to that of the Fund. BFA and its Affiliates 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 or one or more Affiliates act, or may act, as an investor, research provider, investment manager, commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, financier, underwriter, adviser, trader, lender, index provider, agent and/or principal, and have other direct and indirect interests in securities, currencies, commodities, derivatives and other instruments in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. The Fund may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies with which an Affiliate has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Fund may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which an Affiliate provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. The Fund also may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies for which an Affiliate provides or may in the future provide research coverage. An Affiliate 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. BFA or one or more Affiliates 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. This may include transactions in securities issued by other open-end and closed-end investment companies (which may include investment companies that are affiliated with the Fund and BFA, to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. The trading activities of BFA and these Affiliates are carried out without reference to positions held directly or indirectly by the Fund and may result in BFA or an Affiliate having positions in certain securities that are senior or junior to, or have interests different from or adverse to, the securities that are owned by the Fund.

Neither BlackRock nor any Affiliate is under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Fund. As a result, an Affiliate may compete with the Fund for appropriate investment opportunities. The results of the Fund’s investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of an Affiliate and of other accounts managed by BlackRock or an Affiliate, and it is possible that the Fund could sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible.

In addition, the Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which BFA or an Affiliate or its or their directors, officers or employees or other clients have an adverse interest. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by clients advised or managed by BFA or its Affiliates may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more clients

 

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or by BFA or its Affiliates or their directors, officers or employees, may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund.

The Fund’s activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to BFA or one or more Affiliates and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions.

Under a securities lending program approved by the Board, the Fund has retained BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A., 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 securities lending agent will 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 the 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 and its Affiliates and their respective directors, officers or employees, 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 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: 1-800-441-7762 or visiting our website at www.blackrock.com.

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 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 or otherwise in the secondary market. The Fund’s shares trade under the ticker symbol “HYMU.”

Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange or other secondary market involves two types of costs that may apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission and other charges. 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 the Fund’s trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund has high trading volume and market liquidity, and higher if the Fund has little trading volume and market liquidity (which is often the case for funds that are newly launched or small in size). The Fund’s spread may also be impacted by the liquidity or illiquidity of the underlying securities held by the Fund, particularly for newly launched or smaller funds or in instances of significant volatility of the underlying securities.

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 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 (or the days on which they are 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. The Fund’s listing exchange is Cboe BZX.

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, and holds legal title to, all outstanding shares of the Fund.

 

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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 the supply of and demand for ETF shares and underlying securities held by the Fund, economic conditions and other factors.

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 (i) 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 and (ii) U.S. fixed-income assets may be valued as 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 and liabilities held by the Fund are determined pursuant to valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board.

The Fund values fixed-income portfolio securities using last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by the Fund’s approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board. Pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but the Fund may hold or transact in such securities in smaller odd lot sizes. Odd lots often trade at lower prices than institutional round lots. An amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless BFA determines in good faith that such method does not represent fair value.

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 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 trading or other reasons, 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, when there is a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation, or if the trading market on which a security is listed is suspended or closed and no appropriate alternative trading market is available. A “significant event” is deemed to occur if BFA determines, in its reasonable business judgment prior to or at the time of pricing the Fund’s assets or liabilities, that the event is likely to cause a material change to the closing market price of one or more assets or liabilities held by the Fund.

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.

 

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Dividends and Distributions

General Policies. Dividends from net investment income, if any, generally are declared and paid at least once a year 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 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, based on current law. 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, in which case your distributions generally will be taxable when withdrawn, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Fund shares.

Taxes on Distributions. Dividends paid by the Fund that are properly reported as tax-exempt interest dividends will not be subject to regular U.S. federal income tax. The Fund intends to invest its assets in a manner such that dividend distributions to its shareholders will generally be exempt from U.S. federal income taxation (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of the AMT. Dividends paid by the Fund will be exempt from U.S. federal income tax (though not necessarily exempt from state and local taxation) to the extent of the Fund’s tax-exempt interest income as long as 50% or more of the value of the Fund’s assets at the end of each quarter is invested in state, municipal and other bonds that are excluded from gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes and as long as the Fund properly reports such dividends as tax-exempt interest dividends. Exempt interest dividends from interest earned on municipal securities of a state, or its political subdivisions, may be exempt from income tax in that state. However, income from municipal securities of other states generally will not qualify for tax-free treatment.

Distributions from the Fund’s net investment income other than from net tax-exempt income, including 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 (capital gain dividends) are taxable to you as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you have held the Fund’s shares. Long-term capital gains are eligible for taxation at a maximum rate of 15% or 20% for non-corporate shareholders, depending on whether their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. Taxable distributions from the Fund are subject to a 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax on “net investment income,” for individuals with incomes exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly) and of estates and trusts. Distributions from the Fund are not expected to qualify as qualified dividend income.

Any market discount recognized on a bond is taxable as ordinary income. A market discount bond is a bond acquired in the secondary market at a price below redemption value or adjusted issue price if issued with original issue discount. To the extent the Fund does not include the market discount in income as it accrues, gain on the Fund’s disposition of such an obligation will be treated as ordinary income rather than capital gain to the extent of the accrued market discount.

If you lend your Fund shares pursuant to securities lending arrangements, you may lose the ability to treat Fund dividends (paid while the shares are held by the borrower) as tax-exempt income. Consult your financial intermediary or tax advisor.

 

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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 you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the U.S. or if you are a non-U.S. entity (other than a pass-through entity to the extent owned by U.S. persons), the Fund’s ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gains) will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies, provided that withholding tax will generally not apply to any gain or income realized by a non-U.S. shareholder in respect of any distributions of net tax-exempt income or long-term capital gains or upon the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund.

Separately, a 30% withholding tax is currently imposed on U.S.-source dividends, interest and other income items paid to (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the 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 (i) enter into agreements with the IRS that state that they will provide the IRS information, including the names, addresses and taxpayer identification numbers 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 concerning their account holders, or (ii) in the event that an applicable intergovernmental agreement and implementing legislation are adopted, provide local revenue authorities with similar account holder information. Other foreign entities may need to report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner or provide certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership unless certain exceptions apply.

If you are a resident or a citizen of the U.S., by law, backup withholding at a 24% rate 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. Any such capital gains, including from sales of Fund shares or from capital gain dividends, are included in “net investment income” for purposes of the 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax mentioned above.

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 advisor 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 or multiples thereof. Each “creator” or authorized participant (an “Authorized Participant”) has entered into an agreement with the Fund’s distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of BFA. An Authorized Participant is a member or participant of a clearing agency registered with the SEC, which has a written agreement with the Fund or one of its service providers that allows such member or participant to place orders for the purchase and redemption of Creation Units.

These transactions are usually in exchange for cash.

A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the Distributor and the Fund, generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits into the Fund a specified amount of cash and/or a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units. Similarly, shares can be redeemed only in Creation Units, generally for a specified amount of cash and/or a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted).

 

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Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares are not redeemable by the Fund. Creation and redemption baskets may differ and the Fund will accept “custom baskets.” More information regarding custom baskets is contained in the Fund’s SAI.

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 an acceptable form under the authorized participant agreement.

Only an Authorized Participant may create or redeem Creation Units with the Fund. Authorized Participants may create or redeem Creation Units for their own accounts or for customers, including, without limitation, affiliates of the Fund.

In the event of a system failure or other interruption, including disruptions at market makers or Authorized Participants, orders to purchase or redeem Creation Units either may not be executed according to the Fund’s instructions or may not be executed at all, or the Fund may not be able to place or change orders.

To the extent the Fund engages in in-kind transactions, 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 1933 Act. Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined in Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, will not be able to receive 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 that 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 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(a)(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(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.

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.

Distribution

The Distributor or its agent 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 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.

BFA or its affiliates make payments to broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks or other intermediaries (together, “intermediaries”) related to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs,

 

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conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, data provision services, or their making shares of the Fund and certain other BFA-advised ETFs available to their customers generally and in certain investment programs. 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 BFA-advised ETFs. 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 payments or other financial incentives it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments or other financial incentives offered or made to an intermediary create conflicts of interest between the intermediary and its customers and may cause the intermediary to recommend the Fund or other BFA-advised ETFs 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 Cboe BZX. Cboe BZX 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 objectives. Cboe BZX 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. Cboe BZX 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 Cboe BZX 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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Want to know more?

www.blackrock.com    |    1-800-441-7762

Copies of the Prospectus, SAI and other information can be found on our website at www.blackrock.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:    1-800-441-7762 (toll free)
Write:    c/o BlackRock Investments, LLC
   1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540

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.

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 this Prospectus for future reference.

Investment Company Act File No.: 811-23511

 

PRO-HYMIBE-0321

 

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March 16, 2021

 

 

2021 PROSPECTUS

 

   

LOGO

 

BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF  |  INMU  |  NYSE ARCA

 

 

 

The 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.


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BlackRock® is a registered trademark of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates.

 

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BLACKROCK INTERMEDIATE MUNI INCOME BOND ETF

Ticker: INMU                        Stock Exchange: NYSE Arca

Investment Objective

The BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to maximize tax-free current income.

Fees and Expenses

The following table describes the fees and expenses that you will incur if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. The investment advisory agreement between BlackRock ETF Trust II (the “Trust”) and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”) provides that BFA will pay all operating expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses.

You may also incur usual and customary brokerage commissions and other charges 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
Fees1,2
  Distribution
and
Service (12b-1)
Fees
  Other
Expenses
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating

Expenses
  Fee
Waiver1,2
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
After Fee Waiver1,2
0.40%   None   0.00%   0.40%   (0.10%)   0.30%

 

  1

As described in the “Management” section of the Fund’s prospectus beginning on page S-5, BFA has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Fund pays to BFA indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by BFA or its affiliates, through June 30, 2023.

 

  2 

As described in the “Management of the Fund” section of the Fund’s prospectus beginning on page S-5, BlackRock has contractually agreed to waive 0.10% of its management fee through June 30, 2023. The agreement may be terminated upon 90 days’ notice by a majority of the non-interested trustees of the Trust or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.

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
$31   $108

 

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 the Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. There has been no portfolio turnover because the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this prospectus (the “Prospectus”).

Principal Investment Strategies

Under normal circumstances, the Fund seeks to achieve its objective by investing at least 80% of its assets in municipal bonds. This policy is a fundamental policy of the Fund and may not be changed without approval of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities, as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). Municipal bonds include debt obligations issued by or on behalf of a governmental entity or other qualifying issuer that pay interest that is, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, generally

 


 

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excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of the federal alternative minimum tax (“AMT”)). Municipal bonds may be obligations of a variety of issuers, including governmental entities or other qualifying issuers. Issuers may be states, territories and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities. Municipal bonds also include short-term tax-exempt obligations like municipal notes and variable rate demand obligations.

The Fund may invest in municipal bonds rated in any rating category or in unrated municipal bonds. Fund management chooses municipal bonds that it believes offer a relatively high potential for total return relative to their total risk. Although the Fund may invest in municipal bonds in any rating category, Fund management presently intends to invest the Fund’s assets primarily in investment grade municipal bonds. Investment grade bonds are securities which are rated in the four highest rating categories by at least one of the major rating agencies or determined by the management team to be of similar quality. Generally, the higher the rating of a bond, the higher the likelihood that interest and principal payments will be made on time. The Fund may also invest in non-investment grade municipal bonds (commonly called “high yield” or “junk bonds”).

The Fund expects to maintain, under normal market conditions, a dollar-weighted average portfolio duration, as calculated by BFA, of four to six years.

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).

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 certain risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund’s net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. Unlike many exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), the Fund is not an index-based ETF.

Municipal Securities Risk. Municipal securities can be significantly affected by political or economic changes, including changes made in the law after issuance of the securities, as well as uncertainties in

the municipal market related to taxation, legislative changes or the rights of municipal security holders, including in connection with an issuer insolvency. 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 from such projects or assets. Certain municipal securities are issued by entities with limited taxing authority such as school districts, or dependent on revenue from a particular sector or industry, such as the utilities sector, infrastructure sector, or transportation industry.

Income Risk. Income risk is the risk that the Fund’s yield will vary as short-term securities in its portfolio mature and the proceeds are reinvested in securities with different interest rates.

Interest Rate Risk. During periods of very low or negative interest rates, the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns or pay dividends to Fund shareholders. Very low or negative interest rates may magnify interest rate risk. Changing interest rates, including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on markets, result in heightened market volatility and detract from the Fund’s performance to the extent the Fund is exposed to such interest rates. Additionally, under certain market conditions in which interest rates are low and the market prices for portfolio securities have increased, the Fund may have a very low, or even negative yield. A low or negative yield would cause the Fund to lose money in certain conditions and over certain time periods. An increase in interest rates may cause the value of securities held by the Fund to decline, will generally lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and may adversely affect the liquidity of certain fixed-income investments, including those held by the Fund. The historically low interest rate environment heightens the risks associated with rising interest rates.

Credit Risk. Debt issuers and other counterparties may be unable or unwilling to make timely interest and/or principal payments when due or otherwise honor their obligations. Changes in an issuer’s credit rating or the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may also adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investment in that issuer. The degree of credit risk depends on an issuer’s or counterparty’s financial condition and on the terms of an obligation.

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

 


 

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the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in securities with lower yields, which would result in a decline in the Fund’s income, or in securities with greater risks or with other less favorable features.

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

High Yield Securities Risk. Securities that are rated below investment-grade (commonly referred to as “junk bonds,” which may include those bonds rated below “BBB-” by S&P and Fitch, or “Baa3” by Moody’s), or are unrated, may be deemed speculative, may involve greater levels of risk than higher-rated securities of similar maturity and may be more likely to default.

Asset Class Risk. Securities and other assets in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to the general financial markets, a particular financial market or other asset classes.

Assets Under Management (AUM) Risk. From time to time, an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section of the Prospectus), a third-party investor, the Fund’s adviser or an affiliate of the Fund’s adviser, or a fund may invest in the Fund and hold its investment for a specific period of time in order to facilitate commencement of the Fund’s operations or to allow the Fund to achieve size or scale. There can be no assurance that any such entity would not redeem its investment or that the size of the Fund would be maintained at such levels, which could negatively impact the Fund.

Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus) may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or

redeem, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting.

Cash Transactions Risk. The Fund expects to effect all of its creations and redemptions for cash, rather than in-kind securities. As a result, the Fund may have to sell portfolio securities at inopportune times in order to obtain the cash needed to meet redemption orders. This may cause the Fund to sell a security and recognize a capital gain or loss that might not have been incurred if it had made a redemption in-kind. The use of cash creations and redemptions may also cause the Fund’s shares to trade in the market at wider bid-ask spreads or greater premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.

Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund’s investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class.

Cybersecurity Risk. Failures or breaches of the electronic systems of the Fund, the Fund’s adviser, distributor, and other service providers (including the benchmark provider), market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests have the ability to cause disruptions, negatively impact the Fund’s business operations and/or potentially result in financial losses to the Fund and its shareholders. While the Fund has established business continuity plans and risk management systems seeking to address system breaches or failures, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems of the Fund’s service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or issuers of securities in which the Fund invests.

High Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of its portfolio securities. High portfolio turnover (considered by the Fund to mean higher than 100% annually) 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.

Illiquid Investments Risk. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in

 


 

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illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. To the extent the Fund holds illiquid investments, the illiquid investments may reduce the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices. During periods of market volatility, liquidity in the market for the Fund’s shares may be impacted by the liquidity in the market for the underlying securities or instruments held by the Fund, which could lead to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to the Fund’s NAV.

Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus has resulted in travel restrictions, disruption of healthcare systems, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, layoffs, ratings downgrades, defaults and other significant economic impacts. Certain markets have experienced temporary closures, extreme volatility, severe losses, reduced liquidity and increased trading costs. These events will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and could impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities or cause elevated tracking error and increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. Other infectious illness outbreaks in the future may result in similar impacts.

Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due. Changes in the financial condition or credit rating of an issuer of those securities may cause the value of the securities to decline.

Management Risk. The Fund is subject to management risk, which is the risk that the investment process, techniques and risk analyses applied by BFA will not produce the desired results, and that securities selected by BFA may underperform the market or any relevant benchmark. In addition, legislative, regulatory, or tax developments may affect the investment techniques available to BFA 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 more prolonged market

downturns. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issue, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.

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 disruptions in the creation/redemption process. 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 that closely correspond to NAV per share. 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.

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 as opposed to a fund that invests more widely.

Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.

Privately-Issued Securities Risk. The Fund may invest in privately-issued securities, including those that 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 may be subject to legal restrictions on resale. Privately- issued securities are generally not traded on established markets. As a

 


 

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result of the absence of a public trading market, privately-issued securities may be deemed to be illiquid investments, may be more difficult to value than publicly traded securities and may be subject to wide fluctuations in value. Delay or difficulty in selling such securities may result in a loss to the Fund.

Risk of Investing in the U.S. Certain changes in the U.S. economy, such as when the U.S. economy weakens or when its financial markets decline, may have an adverse effect on the securities to which the Fund has exposure.

Small Fund Risk. When the Fund’s size is small, the Fund may experience low trading volume and wide bid/ask spreads. In addition, the Fund may face the risk of being delisted if the Fund does not meet certain conditions of the listing exchange. Any resulting liquidation of the Fund could cause the Fund to incur elevated transaction costs for the Fund and negative tax consequences for its shareholders.

Tax Risk. There is no guarantee that the Fund’s income will be exempt from U.S. federal income taxes or the federal Medicare contribution tax of 3.8% on “net investment income.”

Valuation Risk. The price the Fund could receive upon the sale of a security or other asset may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the security or other asset, particularly for securities or other assets that trade in low volume or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair value methodology as a result of trade suspensions or for other reasons. In addition, the value of the securities or other assets in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days or during time periods when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s shares. Authorized Participants who purchase or redeem Fund shares on days when the Fund is holding fair-valued securities may receive fewer or more shares, or lower or higher redemption proceeds, than they would have received had the Fund not fair-valued securities or used a different valuation methodology. The Fund’s ability to value investments may be impacted by technological issues or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers.

Performance Information

Because the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus, it does not have performance information an investor would find useful in evaluating the risks of investing in the Fund.

Management

Investment Adviser. BlackRock Fund Advisors.

Portfolio Managers. James Mauro, Phillip Soccio and Christian Romaglino (the “Portfolio Managers”) are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager supervises a portfolio management team. Messrs. Mauro, Soccio and Romaglino have been Portfolio Managers of the Fund since 2020.

Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares

The Fund is an ETF. Individual shares of the Fund may only be bought and sold in the secondary market through a broker-dealer. Because ETF shares trade at market prices rather than at NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (a premium) or less than NAV (a discount). An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase shares of the Fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for shares of the Fund (ask) when buying or selling shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”).

Tax Information

The Fund intends to make distributions primarily from net tax-exempt income (but not necessarily free from federal AMT), although distributions of taxable capital gains may also occur. The Fund is generally not an appropriate investment for a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (“IRA”). Please consult your personal tax advisor.

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

This Prospectus contains important information about investing in the Fund. Please read this Prospectus carefully before you make any investment decisions. Additional information regarding the Fund is available at www.blackrock.com.

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.

ETFs are funds that trade like other publicly-traded securities. Similar to shares of a mutual fund, each share of the Fund represents an ownership interest in an underlying portfolio of securities and other instruments. Unlike shares of a mutual fund, which can be bought and redeemed from the issuing fund by all shareholders at a price based on NAV, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed directly from the Fund at NAV solely by Authorized Participants and only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (“Creation Units”). Also unlike shares of a mutual fund, shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange and trade in the secondary market at market prices that change throughout the day.

The Fund’s investment objective is a non-fundamental policy and may be changed without shareholder approval.

Additional Information on Principal Investment Strategies. The Fund seeks to maximize tax-free current income. Under normal circumstances, the Fund seeks to achieve its objective by investing at least 80% of its assets in municipal bonds.

Municipal bonds include debt obligations issued by or on behalf of a governmental entity or other qualifying issuer that pay interest that is, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, generally excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of federal AMT). Municipal bonds may be obligations of a variety of issuers, including governmental entities or other qualifying issuers. Issuers may be states, territories and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities. Municipal bonds also include short-term tax-exempt obligations like municipal notes and variable rate demand obligations.

The Fund may invest in municipal bonds rated in any rating category or in unrated municipal bonds. Fund management chooses municipal bonds that it believes offer a relatively high potential for total return relative to their total risk. Although the Fund may invest in municipal bonds in any rating category, Fund management presently intends to invest the Fund’s assets primarily in investment grade municipal bonds. Investment grade bonds are securities which are rated in the four highest rating categories by at least one of the major rating agencies or determined by the management team to be of similar quality. Generally, the higher the rating of a bond, the higher the likelihood that interest and principal payments will be made on time. The Fund may also invest in non-investment grade municipal bonds (commonly called “high yield” or “junk bonds”).

The Fund expects to maintain, under normal market conditions, a dollar-weighted average portfolio duration, as calculated by BFA, of four to six years.

The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities to achieve its principal investment strategies.

Investment Process. The management team evaluates portfolio construction, municipal security selection, and trade execution on an ongoing basis. The investment approach represents a collaboration between BFA’s Municipal Mutual Fund Team and Municipal Credit Research Team. The Municipal Credit Research Team will provide credit oversight and research, and will independently rate each security in the investment universe with a BFA equivalent rating. The Municipal Mutual Fund Team will use these credit ratings in conjunction with the following factors to manage the portfolio:

 

   

Credit Quality of Issuers — based on bond ratings and other factors, including economic and financial conditions.

 

   

Yield Analysis — takes into account factors such as the different yields available on different types of obligations and the shape of the yield curve (longer-term obligations typically have higher yields).

 

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Maturity Analysis — the weighted average maturity of the portfolio will be maintained within a desirable range as determined from time to time. Factors considered include portfolio activity, maturity of the supply of available bonds and the shape of the yield curve. Maturity of a debt security refers to the date upon which debt securities are due to be repaid, that is, the date when the issuer generally must pay back the face amount of the security.

 

   

Duration Analysis — the average portfolio duration of the portfolio will generally be maintained within a range as determined from time to time. Duration is a measure, expressed in years, of the price sensitivity of a bond or a portfolio to changes in interest rates. Factors considered include interest rates, economic environment, Federal Reserve policy, market conditions, and characteristics of a particular security.

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 BFA, consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and in the best interests 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.

The management team 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.

Municipal Securities Risk. Municipal securities include both general obligation bonds (bonds secured by the full faith and credit of the issuer) and limited obligation bonds (or “Revenue Bonds”). All municipal securities are subject to the risk that litigation, legislation or other political events, local business or economic conditions, credit rating downgrades, 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. Additionally, certain municipal securities may be issued by entities with limited taxing authority, which could limit or prevent tax increases necessary to make continued payments of principal and interest.

Municipal securities can be significantly affected by political or economic changes, including changes made in the law after issuance of the securities, as well as uncertainties in the municipal market related to taxation, legislative changes or the rights of municipal security holders, including in connection with an issuer insolvency. There is also the risk that corruption may negatively affect municipal issuers, including corruption related to a particular project from which payments on a security are derived, resulting in delays and cost overruns.

There may be less publicly available information on the financial condition of municipal security issuers than for issuers of other securities. As a result, municipal securities may be more difficult for the Fund to value accurately than the securities of public companies. Municipal securities may also be harder to buy and sell compared to taxable bonds and non-municipal securities, especially on short notice. Because the Fund invests a significant portion of its portfolio in municipal securities, the Fund’s portfolio is subject to greater exposure to illiquidity risk than a fund that invests in comparable taxable bonds or non-municipal securities.

The Fund and BFA will rely on the opinion of issuers’ bond counsel on the tax-exempt status of interest on municipal bonds. Neither the Fund nor BFA will independently review the bases for those tax opinions, which may ultimately be determined to be incorrect, potentially resulting in the Fund and its shareholders being subject to substantial tax liabilities. In addition, changes in the financial condition of an individual municipal issuer can affect the overall municipal market.

Revenue Bonds are backed by current or anticipated revenues from a specific project or specific assets and can be negatively affected by the discontinuance of the tax benefits supporting the project or assets or the inability to collect revenues from the project or the assets. Additionally, the market values of Revenue Bonds may decline in times of higher inflation to the extent that revenues are fixed income streams. In other instances, the prices that an issuer is able to charge users of its assets may be linked to inflation, whether by government regulation, contractual arrangement or other factors. Rising interest rates could result in higher costs of capital for certain issuers, which could negatively impact their ability to meet payment obligations. In this case, changes in the rate of inflation may

 

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affect the issuers revenues. Because many municipal securities are issued to finance projects, such as those related to education, health care, housing, transportation, utilities, and water and sewer, conditions in one or more of these sectors can affect the overall municipal market. Adverse conditions and developments affecting a particular project can result in lower revenues to an issuer of the municipal securities and, by extension, adversely affect payments of principal and interest on, or the market value of, such securities.

Additionally, certain municipal securities are issued by entities dependent on revenue from a particular sector and thus are subject to the specific risks associated with that sector.

Municipal Securities Market Risk. Economic exposure to the municipal securities market involves certain risks. The municipal market is one in which dealer firms make markets in bonds on a principal basis using their proprietary capital, and during the financial crisis of 2007-2009 these firms’ capital was severely constrained. As a result, some firms were unwilling to commit their capital to purchase and to serve as a dealer for municipal securities. Certain municipal securities may not be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or any state securities commission and will not be listed on any national securities exchange. The amount of public information available about the municipal securities to which the Fund is economically exposed is generally less than that for corporate equities or bonds, and the investment performance of the Fund may therefore be more dependent on the analytical abilities of BFA than would be a fund investing solely in stocks or taxable bonds. The secondary market for municipal securities, particularly the below investment grade securities to which the Fund may be economically exposed, also tends to be less well-developed or liquid than many other securities markets, which may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to sell such securities at attractive prices or at prices approximating those at which the Fund currently values them. In addition, many state and municipal governments that issue securities are under significant economic and financial stress and may not be able to satisfy their obligations. This stress may be significantly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The ability of municipal issuers to make timely payments of interest and principal may be diminished during general economic downturns and as governmental cost burdens are reallocated among federal, state and local governments. The taxing power of any governmental entity may be limited by provisions of state constitutions or laws and an entity’s credit will depend on many factors, including the entity’s tax base, the extent to which the entity relies on federal or state aid, and other factors which are beyond the entity’s control. In addition, laws enacted in the future by Congress or state legislatures or referenda could extend the time for payment of principal and/or interest, or impose other constraints on enforcement of such obligations or on the ability of municipalities to levy taxes. Issuers of municipal securities might seek protection under the bankruptcy laws. In the event of bankruptcy of such an issuer, holders of municipal securities could experience delays in collecting principal and interest and such holders may not, in all circumstances, be able to collect all principal and interest to which they are entitled. To enforce its rights in the event of a default in the payment of interest or repayment of principal, or both, the Fund may take possession of and manage the assets securing the issuer’s obligations on such securities, which may increase the Fund’s operating expenses. Any income derived from the Fund’s ownership or operation of such assets may not be tax-exempt or may fail to generate qualifying income for purposes of the income tests applicable to regulated investment companies under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

Income Risk. Income risk is the risk that the Fund’s yield will vary as short-term securities in its portfolio mature and the proceeds are reinvested in securities with different interest rates.

Interest Rate Risk. As interest rates rise, the value of the fixed-income securities or other instruments held by the Fund is likely to decrease. A measure investors commonly use to determine this price sensitivity is called duration. Fixed-income securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making their prices more volatile than those of securities with shorter durations. To the extent the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in fixed-income securities with longer duration, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline significantly, which would adversely affect the value of the Fund. An increase in interest rates may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and adversely affect certain fixed-income investments, including those held by the Fund. In addition, decreases in fixed income dealer market-making capacity may lead to lower trading volume, heightened volatility, wider bid-ask spreads and less transparent pricing in certain fixed-income markets.

The historically low interest rate environment was created in part by the world’s major central banks keeping their overnight policy interest rates at, near or below zero percent and implementing monetary policy facilities, such as asset purchase programs, to anchor longer-term interest rates below historical levels. During periods of very low or negative interest rates, the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns or pay dividends to Fund shareholders. Certain countries have recently experienced negative interest rates on certain fixed-income instruments. Very low or

 

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negative interest rates may magnify interest rate risk. Changing interest rates, including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on markets, result in heightened market volatility and detract from the Fund’s performance to the extent the Fund is exposed to such interest rates. Additionally, under certain market conditions in which interest rates are set at low levels and the market prices of portfolio securities have increased, the Fund may have a very low, or even negative yield. A low or negative yield would cause the Fund to lose money in certain conditions and over certain time periods. Central banks may increase their short-term policy rates or begin phasing out, or “tapering,” accommodative monetary policy facilities in the future. The timing, coordination, magnitude and effect of such policy changes on various markets is uncertain, and such changes in monetary policy may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments.

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that the issuer or guarantor of a debt instrument or the counterparty to a derivatives contract, repurchase agreement or loan of portfolio securities will be unable or unwilling to make its timely interest and/or principal payments when due or otherwise honor its obligations. There are varying degrees of credit risk, depending on an issuer’s or counterparty’s financial condition and on the terms of an obligation, which may be reflected in the issuer’s or counterparty’s credit rating. There is the chance that the Fund’s portfolio holdings will have their credit ratings downgraded or will default (i.e., fail to make scheduled interest or principal payments), or that the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may worsen, potentially reducing the Fund’s income level or share price.

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 in securities with lower yields, which would result in a decline in the Fund’s income, or in securities with greater risks or with other less favorable features.

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

High Yield Securities Risk. Securities that are rated below investment-grade (commonly referred to as “junk bonds,” which may include those bonds rated below “BBB-” by S&P and Fitch, or “Baa3” by Moody’s), or are unrated, may be deemed speculative, may involve greater levels of risk than higher-rated securities of similar maturity and may be more likely to default.

The major risks of high yield securities investments include:

 

   

High yield securities may be issued by less creditworthy issuers. Issuers of high yield securities may have a larger amount of outstanding debt relative to their assets than issuers of investment-grade bonds. In the event of an issuer’s bankruptcy, claims of other creditors may have priority over the claims of high yield securities holders, leaving few or no assets available to repay high yield securities holders.

 

   

Prices of high yield securities are subject to extreme price fluctuations. Adverse changes in an issuer’s industry and general economic conditions may have a greater impact on the prices of high yield securities than on other higher rated fixed-income securities. The credit rating of a high yield security does not necessarily address its market value risk. Ratings and market value may change from time to time, positively or negatively, to reflect new developments regarding the issuer.

 

   

Issuers of high yield securities may be unable to meet their interest or principal payment obligations because of an economic downturn, specific issuer developments, or the unavailability of additional financing.

 

   

High yield securities frequently have redemption features that permit an issuer to repurchase the security from the Fund before it matures. If the issuer redeems high yield securities held by the Fund, the Fund may have to invest the proceeds in bonds with lower yields and may lose income.

 

   

High yield securities may be less liquid than higher rated fixed-income securities, even under normal economic conditions. There are fewer dealers in the high yield securities market, and there may be significant differences in the prices quoted for high yield securities by the dealers. Because high yield securities may be less liquid than higher rated fixed-income securities, judgment may play a greater role in valuing certain of the Fund’s securities than is the case with securities trading in a more liquid market.

The Fund may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting issuer.

 

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Asset Class Risk. The securities and other assets in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to 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 may experience cycles of outperformance and underperformance in comparison to the general financial markets. This may cause the Fund to underperform other investment vehicles that invest in different asset classes.

Assets Under Management (AUM) Risk. From time to time, an Authorized Participant, a third-party investor, the Fund’s adviser or an affiliate of the Fund’s adviser, or a fund may invest in the Fund and hold its investment for a specific period of time in order to facilitate commencement of the Funds operations or to allow the Fund to achieve size or scale. There can be no assurance that any such entity would not redeem its investment or that the size of the Fund would be maintained at such levels, which could negatively impact the Fund.

Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem Creation Units, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting.

Cash Transactions Risk. Unlike most other ETFs, the Fund expects to effect all of its creations and redemptions for cash, rather than in-kind securities. Paying redemption proceeds in cash rather than through in-kind delivery of portfolio securities may require the Fund to dispose of or sell portfolio securities or other assets at an inopportune time to obtain the cash needed to meet redemption orders. This may cause the Fund to sell a security and recognize a capital gain or loss that might not have been incurred if it had made a redemption in-kind. As a result, the Fund may pay out higher or lower annual capital gains distributions than ETFs that redeem in-kind. The use of cash creations and redemptions may also cause the Fund’s shares to trade in the market at greater bid-ask spreads or greater premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. As a practical matter, only institutions and large investors, such as market makers or other large broker dealers, create or redeem shares directly through the Fund . Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund on an exchange through a broker-dealer. Furthermore, cash creation and redemption transactions may result in certain brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, price movement and other costs and expenses related to the execution of trades resulting from such transactions. To the extent that the maximum additional charge for creation or redemption transactions is insufficient to cover these costs and expenses, the Fund’s performance could be negatively impacted.

Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund’s investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, representing a particular country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. The Fund may be more adversely affected by the underperformance of those securities and/or other assets, may experience increased price volatility and may be more susceptible to adverse economic, market, political or regulatory occurrences affecting those securities and/or other assets than a fund that does not concentrate its investments.

Cybersecurity Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as the internet to conduct business, the Fund, Authorized Participants, service providers and the relevant listing exchange are susceptible to operational, information security and related “cyber” risks both directly and through their service providers. Similar types of cybersecurity risks are also present for issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers and may cause the Fund’s investment in such portfolio companies to lose value. Unlike many other types of risks faced by the Fund, these risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyberattacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users).

Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities with nation-state backing.

Cybersecurity failures by or breaches of the systems of the Fund’s adviser, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, index and benchmark providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and

 

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administrators), market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses; interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, disclosure of confidential trading information, impediments to trading, submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders; the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, cyberattacks may render records of Fund assets and transactions, shareholder ownership of Fund shares, and other data integral to the functioning of the Fund inaccessible or inaccurate or incomplete. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber incidents, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful or that cyberattacks will go undetected. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, market makers or Authorized Participants. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

High Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of its portfolio securities. High portfolio turnover (considered by the Fund to mean higher than 100% annually) 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 the Fund’s 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, such as index-based ETFs. These effects of higher than normal portfolio turnover may adversely affect Fund performance.

Illiquid Investments Risk. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. To the extent the Fund holds illiquid investments, the illiquid investments may reduce the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices. An investment may be illiquid due to, among other things, the reduced number and capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in securities or instruments or the lack of an active market for such securities or instruments. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities or instruments with substantial market and/or credit risk, the Fund will tend to have increased exposure to the risks associated with illiquid investments. Liquid investments may become illiquid after purchase by the Fund, particularly during periods of market turmoil. There can be no assurance that a security or instrument that is deemed to be liquid when purchased will continue to be liquid for as long as it is held by the Fund, and any security or instrument held by the Fund may be deemed an illiquid investment pursuant to the Fund’s liquidity risk management program. Illiquid investments may be harder to value, especially in changing markets. If the Fund is forced to sell underlying investments at reduced prices or under unfavorable conditions to meet redemption requests or for other cash needs, the Fund may suffer a loss. This may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment or other circumstances where redemptions from the Fund may be greater than normal. Other market participants may be attempting to liquidate holdings at the same time as the Fund, causing increased supply of the Fund’s underlying investments in the market and contributing to illiquid investments risk and downward pricing pressure. During periods of market volatility, liquidity in the market for the Fund’s shares may be impacted by the liquidity in the market for the underlying securities or instruments held by the Fund, which could lead to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to the Fund’s NAV.

Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in December 2019 has spread globally. The impact of this outbreak has adversely affected the economies of many nations and the global economy, and may impact individual issuers and capital markets in ways that cannot be foreseen. The duration of the outbreak and its effects cannot be predicted with certainty. Any market or economic disruption can be expected to result in elevated tracking error and increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.

 

   

General Impact. This outbreak has resulted in travel restrictions, closed international borders, enhanced health screenings at ports of entry and elsewhere, disruption of and delays in healthcare service preparation and delivery, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, temporary closures of stores, restaurants and other commercial establishments, layoffs, defaults and other significant economic impacts, as well as general concern and uncertainty.

 

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Market Volatility. The outbreak has also resulted in extreme volatility, severe losses, and disruptions in markets which can adversely impact the Fund and its investments, including impairing hedging activity to the extent the Fund engages in such activity, as expected correlations between related markets or instruments may no longer apply. In addition, to the extent the Fund invests in short-term instruments that have negative yields, the Fund’s value may be impaired as a result. Certain issuers of equity securities have cancelled or announced the suspension of dividends. The outbreak has, and may continue to, negatively affect the credit ratings of some fixed income securities and their issuers.

 

   

Market Closures. Certain local markets have been or may be subject to closures, and there can be no assurance that trading will continue in any local markets in which the Fund may invest, when any resumption of trading will occur or, once such markets resume trading, whether they will face further closures. Any suspension of trading in markets in which the Fund invests will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and will impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities in such markets.

 

   

Operational Risk. The outbreak could also impair the information technology and other operational systems upon which the Fund’s service providers, including BFA, rely, and could otherwise disrupt the ability of employees of the Fund’s service providers to perform critical tasks relating to the Fund, for example, due to the service providers’ employees performing tasks in alternate locations than under normal operating conditions or the illness of certain employees of the Fund’s service providers.

 

   

Governmental Interventions. Governmental and quasi-governmental authorities and regulators throughout the world have responded to the outbreak and the resulting economic disruptions with a variety of fiscal and monetary policy changes, including direct capital infusions into companies and other issuers, new monetary policy tools, and lower interest rates. An unexpected or sudden reversal of these policies, or the ineffectiveness of such policies, is likely to increase market volatility, which could adversely affect the Fund’s investments.

 

   

Pre-Existing Conditions. Public health crises caused by the outbreak may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally.

Other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future could have similar or other unforeseen effects.

Issuer Risk. Fund performance depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due. Changes to the financial condition or credit rating of an issuer of those securities may cause the value of the securities to decline. An issuer may also be subject to risks associated with the countries, states and regions in which the issuer resides, invests, sells products, or otherwise conducts operations.

Management Risk. The Fund is subject to management risk because it does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index. BFA 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 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 more prolonged market downturns. Market risk arises mainly from uncertainty about future values of financial instruments and may be influenced by price, currency and interest rate movements. It represents the potential loss the Fund may suffer through holding financial instruments in the face of market movements or uncertainty. The value of a security or other asset may decline due to changes in general market conditions, economic trends or events that are not specifically related to the issuer of the security or other asset, or factors that affect a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issue, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Funds NAV. During a general market downturn, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected. Fixed-income securities with short-term maturities are generally less sensitive to such changes than are fixed-income securities with longer-term maturities. Changes in market conditions and interest rates generally do not have the same impact on all types of securities and instruments.

 

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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 by market makers or Authorized Participants.

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, and may otherwise be made available to non-U.S. investors through funds or structured investment vehicles similar to depositary receipts. 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 in 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 for 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.

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 and price decreases associated with being sold short.

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 the Fund’s 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. The trading price of the Fund’s shares fluctuates continuously throughout trading hours based on both market supply of and demand for Fund shares and the underlying value of the Fund’s portfolio holdings or NAV. As a result, the trading prices of the Fund’s shares may deviate significantly from NAV during periods of market volatility, including during periods of significant redemption requests or other unusual market conditions. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUNDS SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at NAV, BFA believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of the Fund are not likely to be sustained over the long term (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their NAVs). While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it more 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, supply and demand imbalances and other factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions, including disruptions at market makers, Authorized Participants, or other market participants, and during periods of significant market volatility, may result in trading prices for shares of the Fund that differ significantly from its NAV. Authorized Participants may be less willing to create or redeem Fund shares if there is a lack of an active market for such shares or its underlying investments, which may contribute to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to 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 and other charges. 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). The spread, which varies over time for shares of the Fund based on trading volume and market liquidity, is generally narrower if the Fund has more trading volume and market liquidity and wider if the Fund has less trading volume and market liquidity. In addition, increased market volatility may cause wider spreads. There may also be regulatory and other charges that are incurred as a result of trading activity. 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 through a brokerage account.

 

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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.

Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.

Privately-Issued Securities Risk. The Fund may invest in privately-issued securities, including those that are normally purchased pursuant to Rule 144A or Regulation S under the 1933 Act. 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 market 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 NAV 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, and its value may decline as a result.

Risk of Investing in the U.S. A decrease in imports or exports, changes in trade regulations and/or an economic recession in the U.S. may have a material adverse effect on the U.S. economy and the securities listed on U.S. exchanges. Proposed and adopted policy and legislative changes in the U.S. are changing many aspects of financial and other regulation and may have a significant effect on the U.S. markets generally, as well as on the value of certain securities. In addition, a continued rise in the U.S. public debt level or the imposition of U.S. austerity measures may adversely affect U.S. economic growth and the securities to which the Fund has exposure.

The U.S. has developed increasingly strained relations with a number of foreign countries. If relations with certain countries continue to worsen, it could adversely affect U.S. issuers as well as non-U.S. issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. The U.S. has also experienced increased internal unrest and discord. If this trend were to continue, it may have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy and the issuers in which the Fund invests.

Small Fund Risk. When the Fund’s size is small, the Fund may experience low trading volume and wide bid/ask spreads. In addition, the Fund may face the risk of being delisted if the Fund does not meet certain conditions of the listing exchange. If the Fund were to be required to delist from the listing exchange, the value of the Fund may rapidly decline and performance may be negatively impacted. Any resulting liquidation of the Fund could cause the Fund to incur elevated transaction costs for the Fund and negative tax consequences for its shareholders.

Tax Risk. There is no guarantee that the Fund’s income will be exempt from U.S. federal income taxes or the federal Medicare contribution tax of 3.8% on “net investment income.” BFA relies on the bond issuer’s prospectus disclosure of the opinion from its counsel as to the tax-exempt status of the investment. Neither BFA nor the Fund guarantees that this opinion is correct, and there is no assurance that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) will agree with the bond issuer’s counsel’s tax opinion. Issuers or other parties generally enter into covenants requiring continuing compliance with U.S. federal tax requirements to preserve the tax-free status of interest payments over the life of the security. If at any time the covenants are not complied with, or if the IRS otherwise determines that the issuer did not comply with relevant tax requirements, interest payments from a security could become federally taxable, possibly retroactively to the date the security was issued, and the security could decline significantly in value. BFA will generally seek to obtain bonds that pay interest that is exempt from U.S. federal income taxes and the federal Medicare contribution tax. The interest on any money market instruments or other cash equivalents held by the Fund may be subject to the federal Medicare contribution tax.

Events occurring after the date of issuance of a municipal bond or after the Fund’s acquisition of a municipal bond may result in a determination that interest on that bond is includible in gross income for U.S. federal income tax or federal Medicare contribution tax purposes retroactively to its date of issuance. Such a determination may cause a

 

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portion of prior distributions by the Fund to its shareholders to be taxable to those shareholders in the year of receipt. U.S. federal or state changes in income or federal Medicare contribution tax rates or in the tax treatment of municipal bonds may make municipal bonds less attractive as investments and cause them to lose value. If the IRS determines an issuer of a municipal security has not complied with applicable tax requirements, interest from the security could become taxable, even retroactively, and the securities could decline significantly in value.

Valuation Risk. The price the Fund could receive upon the sale of a security or other asset may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the security or other asset, particularly for securities or other assets that trade in low volume or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair value methodology as a result of trade suspensions or for other reasons. Because non-U.S. exchanges may be open on days when the Fund does not price its shares, the value of the securities or other assets in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days or during time periods when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s shares.

Authorized Participants who purchase or redeem Fund shares on days when the Fund is holding fair-valued securities may receive fewer or more shares, or lower or higher redemption proceeds, than they would have received had the Fund not fair-valued securities or used a different valuation methodology. The Fund’s ability to value investments may be impacted by technological issues or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers.

A Further Discussion of Other Risks

The Fund may also be subject to certain other risks associated with its investments and investment strategies.

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. A decline in interest rates may result in a reduction in income received from floating rate securities held by the Fund and may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s shares. Generally, floating rate securities carry lower yields than fixed notes of the same maturity. The interest rate for a floating rate note resets or adjusts periodically by reference to a benchmark interest rate. 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. Floating rate notes generally are subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, may trade infrequently, and their value may be impaired when the Fund needs to liquidate such loans. Benchmark interest rates, such as the London Interbank Offered Rate, 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 risk and default risk, which could impair their value.

LIBOR Risk. The Fund may be exposed to financial instruments that are tied to the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) to determine payment obligations, financing terms, hedging strategies or investment value. The Fund’s investments may pay interest at floating rates based on LIBOR or may be subject to interest caps or floors based on LIBOR. The Fund may also obtain financing at floating rates based on LIBOR.

In 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021, and it is expected that LIBOR will cease to be published after that time. The Fund may have investments linked to other interbank offered rates, such as the Euro Overnight Index Average (“EONIA”), which may also cease to be published. Various financial industry groups have begun planning for the transition away from LIBOR, but there are challenges to converting certain securities and transactions to a new reference rate (e.g., the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), which is intended to replace the U.S. dollar LIBOR).

Neither the effect of the LIBOR transition process nor its ultimate success can yet be known. The transition process might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets for, and reduce the effectiveness of new hedges placed against, instruments whose terms currently include LIBOR. While some existing LIBOR-based instruments may contemplate a scenario where LIBOR is no longer available by providing for an alternative rate-setting methodology, there may be significant uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of any such alternative methodologies to replicate LIBOR. Not all existing LIBOR-based instruments may have alternative rate-setting provisions and there remains uncertainty regarding the willingness and ability of issuers to add alternative rate-setting provisions in certain existing instruments. In addition, a liquid market for newly-issued instruments that use a reference rate other than LIBOR still may be developing. All of the aforementioned may adversely affect the Fund’s performance or NAV.

 

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School District Investment Risk. School districts rely, in part, on funding appropriations from, among others, the federal government and state governments. As a result, municipal securities issued by school districts may be adversely affected by political and economic changes at the state or federal levels, such as decreased tax or other revenues, spending reductions or changes in appropriations. Municipal securities that are issued to finance a particular school district project often depend on revenues from that project to make principal and interest payments. Adverse conditions and developments affecting a particular project can result in lower revenues to the issuer of the municipal securities. Investors in these securities, similar to investors in municipal securities generally, face heightened risk of loss upon insolvency of the school district issuers because there is often no ready source of funding to pay the bonds other than the local tax base, which a bankruptcy court or administrator does not control.

Threshold/Underinvestment Risk. If certain aggregate and/or fund-level ownership thresholds are reached through transactions undertaken by BFA, its affiliates or the Fund, or as a result of third-party transactions or actions by an issuer or regulator, the ability of BFA and its affiliates 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. The capacity of the Fund to make investments in certain securities may be affected by the relevant threshold limits, and such limitations may have adverse effects on the liquidity and performance of the Fund’s portfolio holdings.

For example, in certain circumstances where the Fund invests in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries or in certain emerging or international markets, is subject to corporate or regulatory ownership restrictions, or invests in certain futures or other derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate and/or fund-level amount invested or voted by BFA and its affiliates for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including the Fund) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BFA and its affiliates, the Fund or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions.

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 Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The Fund discloses its portfolio holdings daily at www.blackrock.com. Fund fact sheets provide information regarding the Fund’s top holdings and may be requested by calling 1-800-441-7762.

Management

Investment Adviser. As investment adviser, BFA has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Fund. 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 trading, research and expertise of its asset management affiliates for portfolio decisions and management with respect to 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 the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses (as determined by a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust).

For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA will be paid a management fee from the Fund, based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at an annual rate of 0.40%.

BlackRock has contractually agreed to waive 0.10% of the management fee through June 30, 2023. The agreement may be terminated upon 90 days’ notice by a majority of the non-interested trustees of the Trust or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.

BFA has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Fund pays to BFA indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by BFA or its affiliates, through June 30, 2023.

 

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BFA may from time to time voluntarily waive and/or reimburse fees or expenses in order to limit total annual fund operating expenses (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, if any). Any such voluntary waiver or reimbursement may be eliminated by BFA at any time.

BFA is located at 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. It is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). As of December 31, 2020, BFA and its affiliates provided investment advisory services for assets in excess of $8.676 trillion. BFA and its affiliates trade and invest for their own accounts in the actual securities and types of securities in which the Fund may also invest, which may affect the price of such securities.

A discussion regarding the basis for the approval by the Board of the Investment Advisory Agreement with BFA will be available in the Fund’s annual report for the period ending July 31, 2021.

From time to time, a manager, analyst, or other employee of BlackRock or its affiliates may express views regarding a particular asset class, company, security, industry, or market sector. The views expressed by any such person are the views of only that individual as of the time expressed and do not necessarily represent the views of BlackRock or any other person within the BlackRock organization. Any such views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and BlackRock disclaims any responsibility to update such views. These views may not be relied on as investment advice and, because investment decisions for the Fund are based on numerous factors, may not be relied on as an indication of trading intent on behalf of the Fund.

Portfolio Managers. Phillip Socco and Christian Romaglino are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. In managing the Fund, Messrs. Soccio and Romaglino consult regularly with James Mauro. Each Portfolio Manager is responsible for various functions related to portfolio management, including, but not limited to, developing and implementing the Fund’s investment process and investment strategy, researching and reviewing investment strategy and overseeing members of his portfolio management team that have more limited responsibilities.

Phillip Soccio has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2007. Mr. Soccio has been with BlackRock since 1998. Mr. Soccio has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2020. Christian Romaglino has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2017. Mr. Romaglino was a portfolio manager at Brown Brothers Harriman from 2010 to 2017. Mr. Romaglino has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2020. James Mauro has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Mauro was a Vice President at State Street Global Advisors. Mr. Mauro has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2020.

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.

Legal Proceedings. On May 27, 2014, certain investors in the BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc. (“Global Allocation”) and the BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund (“Equity Dividend”) filed a consolidated complaint in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey against BlackRock Advisors, LLC, BlackRock Investment Management, LLC and BlackRock International Limited (collectively, the “Defendants”) under the caption In re BlackRock Mutual Funds Advisory Fee Litigation. In the lawsuit, which purports to be brought derivatively on behalf of Global Allocation and Equity Dividend, the plaintiffs allege that the Defendants violated Section 36(b) of the 1940 Act by receiving allegedly excessive investment advisory fees from Global Allocation and Equity Dividend. On June 13, 2018, the court granted in part and denied in part the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. On July 25, 2018, the plaintiffs served a pleading that supplemented the time period of their alleged damages to run through the date of trial. The lawsuit seeks, among other things, to recover on behalf of Global Allocation and Equity Dividend all allegedly excessive advisory fees received by the Defendants beginning twelve months preceding the start of the lawsuit with respect to each of Global Allocation and Equity Dividend and ending on the date of judgment, along with purported lost investment returns on those amounts, plus interest. The trial on the remaining issues was completed on August 29, 2018. On February 8, 2019, the court issued an order dismissing the claims in their entirety. On March 8, 2019, the plaintiffs provided notice that they were appealing both the February 8, 2019 post-trial order and the June 13, 2018 order partially granting Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. On May 28, 2020, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s orders. On June 26, 2020, the plaintiffs petitioned the appeals court for a rehearing,

 

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which was denied on July 9, 2020. Plaintiffs’ deadline to seek further appeal has passed; consequently, this matter is now closed.

Conflicts of Interest. The investment activities of BFA and its affiliates (including BlackRock and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Affiliates”)), and their respective directors, officers or employees, 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 provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow investment programs similar to that of the Fund. BFA and its Affiliates 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 or one or more Affiliates act, or may act, as an investor, research provider, investment manager, commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, financier, underwriter, adviser, trader, lender, index provider, agent and/or principal, and have other direct and indirect interests in securities, currencies, commodities, derivatives and other instruments in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. The Fund may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies with which an Affiliate has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Fund may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which an Affiliate provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. The Fund also may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies for which an Affiliate provides or may in the future provide research coverage. An Affiliate 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. BFA or one or more Affiliates 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. This may include transactions in securities issued by other open-end and closed-end investment companies (which may include investment companies that are affiliated with the Fund and BFA, to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act. The trading activities of BFA and these Affiliates are carried out without reference to positions held directly or indirectly by the Fund and may result in BFA or an Affiliate having positions in certain securities that are senior or junior to, or have interests different from or adverse to, the securities that are owned by the Fund. Neither BlackRock nor any Affiliate is under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Fund. As a result, an Affiliate may compete with the Fund for appropriate investment opportunities. The results of the Fund’s investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of an Affiliate and of other accounts managed by BlackRock or an Affiliate, and it is possible that the Fund could sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible.

In addition, the Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which BFA or an Affiliate or its or their directors, officers or employees or other clients have an adverse interest. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by clients advised or managed by BFA or its Affiliates may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more clients or by BFA or its Affiliates or their directors, officers or employees, may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund.

The Fund’s activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to BFA or one or more Affiliates and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions.

Under a securities lending program approved by the Board, the Fund has retained BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A., 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 securities lending agent will 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 the 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 and its Affiliates and their respective directors, officers or employees, 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 SAI for further information.

 

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Shareholder Information

Additional shareholder information, including how to buy and sell shares of the Fund, is available free of charge by calling toll-free: 1-800-441-7762 or visiting our website at www.blackrock.com.

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 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 or otherwise in the secondary market. The Fund’s shares trade under the ticker symbol “INMU.”

Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange or other secondary market involves two types of costs that may apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission and other charges. 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 the Fund’s trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund has high trading volume and market liquidity, and higher if the Fund has little trading volume and market liquidity (which is often the case for funds that are newly launched or small in size). The Fund’s spread may also be impacted by the liquidity or illiquidity of the underlying securities held by the Fund, particularly for newly launched or smaller funds or in instances of significant volatility of the underlying securities.

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 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 (or the days on which they are 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. The Fund’s listing exchange is NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca”).

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, and holds legal title to, all outstanding shares of the Fund.

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 the supply of and demand for ETF shares and underlying securities held by the Fund, economic conditions and other factors.

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

 

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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 (i) 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 and (ii) U.S. fixed-income assets may be valued as 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 and liabilities held by the Fund are determined pursuant to valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board.

The Fund values fixed-income portfolio securities using last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by the Fund’s approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board. Pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but the Fund may hold or transact in such securities in smaller odd lot sizes. Odd lots often trade at lower prices than institutional round lots. An amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless BFA determines in good faith that such method does not represent fair value.

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 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 trading or other reasons, 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, when there is a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation, or if the trading market on which a security is listed is suspended or closed and no appropriate alternative trading market is available. A “significant event” is deemed to occur if BFA determines, in its reasonable business judgment prior to or at the time of pricing the Fund’s assets or liabilities, that the event is likely to cause a material change to the closing market price of one or more assets or liabilities held by the Fund.

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.

Dividends and Distributions

General Policies. Dividends from net investment income, if any, generally are declared and paid at least once a year 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 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

 

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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, based on current law. 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, in which case your distributions generally will be taxable when withdrawn, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Fund shares.

Taxes on Distributions. Dividends paid by the Fund that are properly reported as tax-exempt interest dividends will not be subject to regular U.S. federal income tax. The Fund intends to invest its assets in a manner such that dividend distributions to its shareholders will generally be exempt from U.S. federal income taxation (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of the AMT. Dividends paid by the Fund will be exempt from U.S. federal income tax (though not necessarily exempt from state and local taxation) to the extent of the Fund’s tax-exempt interest income as long as 50% or more of the value of the Fund’s assets at the end of each quarter is invested in state, municipal and other bonds that are excluded from gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes and as long as the Fund properly reports such dividends as tax-exempt interest dividends. Exempt interest dividends from interest earned on municipal securities of a state, or its political subdivisions, may be exempt from income tax in that state. However, income from municipal securities of other states generally will not qualify for tax-free treatment.

Distributions from the Fund’s net investment income other than from net tax-exempt income, including 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 (capital gain dividends) are taxable to you as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you have held the Fund’s shares. Long-term capital gains are eligible for taxation at a maximum rate of 15% or 20% for non-corporate shareholders, depending on whether their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. Taxable distributions from the Fund are subject to a 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax on “net investment income,” for individuals with incomes exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly) and of estates and trusts. Distributions from the Fund are not expected to qualify as qualified dividend income.

Any market discount recognized on a bond is taxable as ordinary income. A market discount bond is a bond acquired in the secondary market at a price below redemption value or adjusted issue price if issued with original issue discount. To the extent the Fund does not include the market discount in income as it accrues, gain on the Fund’s disposition of such an obligation will be treated as ordinary income rather than capital gain to the extent of the accrued market discount.

If you lend your Fund shares pursuant to securities lending arrangements, you may lose the ability to treat Fund dividends (paid while the shares are held by the borrower) as tax-exempt income. Consult your financial intermediary or tax advisor.

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 you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the U.S. or if you are a non-U.S. entity (other than a pass-through entity to the extent owned by U.S. persons), the Fund’s ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gains) will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies, provided that withholding tax will generally not apply to any gain or income realized by a non-U.S. shareholder in respect of any distributions of net tax-exempt income or long-term capital gains or upon the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund.

Separately, a 30% withholding tax is currently imposed on U.S.-source dividends, interest and other income items paid to (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the 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

 

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financial institutions will need to (i) enter into agreements with the IRS that state that they will provide the IRS information, including the names, addresses and taxpayer identification numbers 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 concerning their account holders, or (ii) in the event that an applicable intergovernmental agreement and implementing legislation are adopted, provide local revenue authorities with similar account holder information. Other foreign entities may need to report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner or provide certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership unless certain exceptions apply.

If you are a resident or a citizen of the U.S., by law, backup withholding at a 24% rate 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. Any such capital gains, including from sales of Fund shares or from capital gain dividends, are included in “net investment income” for purposes of the 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax mentioned above.

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 advisor 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 or multiples thereof. Each “creator” or authorized participant (an “Authorized Participant”) has entered into an agreement with the Fund’s distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of BFA. An Authorized Participant is a member or participant of a clearing agency registered with the SEC, which has a written agreement with the Fund or one of its service providers that allows such member or participant to place orders for the purchase and redemption of Creation Units.

These transactions are usually in exchange for cash.

A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the Distributor and the Fund, generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits into the Fund a specified amount of cash and/or a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units. Similarly, shares can be redeemed only in Creation Units, generally for a specified amount of cash and/or a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted). Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares are not redeemable by the Fund. Creation and redemption baskets may differ and the Fund will accept “custom baskets.” More information regarding custom baskets is contained in the Fund’s SAI.

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 an acceptable form under the authorized participant agreement.

Only an Authorized Participant may create or redeem Creation Units with the Fund. Authorized Participants may create or redeem Creation Units for their own accounts or for customers, including, without limitation, affiliates of the Fund.

In the event of a system failure or other interruption, including disruptions at market makers or Authorized Participants, orders to purchase or redeem Creation Units either may not be executed according to the Fund’s instructions or may not be executed at all, or the Fund may not be able to place or change orders.

 

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To the extent the Fund engages in in-kind transactions, 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 1933 Act. Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined in Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, will not be able to receive 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 that 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 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(a)(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(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.

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.

Distribution

The Distributor or its agent 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 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.

BFA or its affiliates make payments to broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks or other intermediaries (together, “intermediaries”) related to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, data provision services, or their making shares of the Fund and certain other BFA-advised ETFs available to their customers generally and in certain investment programs. 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 BFA-advised ETFs. 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 payments or other financial incentives it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments or other financial incentives offered or made to an intermediary create conflicts of interest between the intermediary and its customers and may cause the intermediary to recommend the Fund or other BFA-advised ETFs 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 NYSE Arca. NYSE Arca 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. NYSE Arca 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. NYSE Arca 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 NYSE Arca 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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Want to know more?

www.blackrock.com    |    1-800-441-7762

Copies of the Prospectus, SAI and other information can be found on our website at www.blackrock.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:    1-800-441-7762 (toll free)
Write:    c/o BlackRock Investments, LLC
  

1 University Square Drive

Princeton, NJ 08540

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.

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 this Prospectus for future reference.

Investment Company Act File No.: 811-23511

 

PRO-IMIBE-0321

 

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BlackRock ETF Trust II

Statement of Additional Information

Dated March 16, 2021

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 series of BlackRock ETF Trust II (the “Trust”):

 

Fund

   Ticker    Listing Exchange

BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF

   HYMU    Cboe BZX

BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF

   INMU    NYSE Arca

The Prospectus for the above listed Funds (each, a “Fund” and together, the “Funds”) is dated March 16, 2021, 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 for the Fund may be obtained without charge by writing to the Trust’s distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor” or “BRIL”), 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540, calling 1-800-441-7762 or visiting www.blackrock.com. Each Fund’s Prospectus is incorporated by reference into this SAI.

References to the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act” or the “1940 Act”), or other applicable law, will include any rules promulgated thereunder and any guidance, interpretations or modifications by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, including court interpretations, and exemptive, no action or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

BlackRock® is a registered trademark of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates.


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

    Page  

General Description of the Trust and the Fund

    1  

Exchange Listing and Trading

    1  

Investment Strategies and Risks

    2  

Bonds

    3  

Borrowing

    4  

Diversification Status

    4  

Floating and Variable Rate Securities

    5  

High Yield Securities

    5  

Lending Portfolio Securities

    6  

Municipal Insurance

    7  

Municipal Securities

    8  

New or Unseasoned Municipal Issuers

    11  

Privately-Issued Securities

    11  

Ratings

    12  

Repurchase Agreements

    12  

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

    12  

Securities of Investment Companies

    13  

Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments

    13  

Future Developments

    13  

Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) Integration

    14  

Borrowing Risk

    14  

Illiquid Investments Risk

    14  

Municipal Market Disruption Risk

    14  

Operational Risk

    15  

Repurchase Agreement Risk

    15  

Tax Risks Associated with Municipal Securities

    15  

Proxy Voting Policy

    15  

Portfolio Holdings Information

    16  

Investment Policies

    17  

Fundamental Investment Policies

    17  

Notations Regarding the Fund’s Fundamental Investment Policies

    18  

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

    19  

Continuous Offering

    19  

Management

    20  

Trustees and Officers

    20  

Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities

    35  

Potential Conflicts of Interest

    35  

Investment Advisory, Administrative and Distribution Services

    45  

Investment Adviser

    45  

Portfolio Managers

    47  

Portfolio Manager Compensation Overview

    49  

Codes of Ethics

    51  

Anti-Money Laundering Requirements

    51  

Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent

    51  

Distributor

    52  

Securities Lending

    52  

Payments by BFA and its Affiliates

    53  

Determination of Net Asset Value

    55  

 

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    Page  

Brokerage Transactions

    58  

Additional Information Concerning the Trust

    61  

Shares

    61  

DTC as Securities Depository for Shares of the Funds

    62  

Distribution of Shares

    63  

Creation and Redemption of Creation Units

    64  

General

    64  

Fund Deposit

    64  

Cash Purchase Method

    65  

Procedures for Creation of Creation Units

    65  

Role of the Authorized Participant

    65  

Placement of Creation Orders

    66  

Purchase Orders

    66  

Timing of Submission of Purchase Orders

    67  

Acceptance of Orders for Creation Units

    67  

Issuance of a Creation Unit

    68  

Costs Associated with Creation Transactions

    68  

Redemption of Creation Units

    69  

Cash Redemption Method

    70  

Costs Associated with Redemption Transactions

    70  

Placement of Redemption Orders

    71  

Custom Baskets

    72  

Taxation on Creations and Redemptions of Creation Units

    72  

Taxes

    73  

Regulated Investment Company Qualifications

    73  

Taxation of RICs

    74  

Excise Tax

    74  

Net Capital Loss Carryforwards

    74  

Sales of Shares

    76  

Backup Withholding

    76  

Sections 351 and 362

    77  

Tax-Exempt Interest Income

    77  

Qualified Dividend Income

    77  

Excess Inclusion Income

    78  

Reporting

    78  

Other Taxes

    79  

Original Issue Discount

    79  

Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders

    79  

Miscellaneous Information

    80  

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

    81  

Investors’ Rights

    81  

Financial Statements

    81  

Appendix A1 – Proxy Voting Policy

    A-1  

Appendix A2 – BlackRock Proxy Voting Policies

    A-2  

Appendix  A3 – BlackRock’s Corporate Governance and Proxy Voting Guidelines for U.S. Securities

    A-15  

Appendix B – Description of Bond Ratings

    B-1  

 

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General Description of the Trust and the Fund

The Trust currently consists of 2 investment series or portfolios. The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on February 19, 2020 and is authorized to have multiple series or portfolios. The Trust is an open-end management investment company registered with the SEC under the 1940 Act. The offering of the Trust’s shares is registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”).

The BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF primarily seeks to maximize tax-free current income and secondarily seeks to maximize capital appreciation with a portfolio composed principally of high yield and other income-generating U.S. municipal bonds.

The BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF seeks to maximize tax-free current income.

Each Fund is managed by BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA” or the “Investment Adviser”), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc.

Each Fund offers and issues shares at their net asset value per share (“NAV”) only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (each, a “Creation Unit”), generally in exchange for a specified amount of cash. Shares of BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF are listed for trading on Cboe BZX (“Cboe”), a national securities exchange. Shares of BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca” and together with Cboe, the “Listing Exchanges”), a national securities exchange. Shares of each 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 a specified amount of cash. Creation Units typically are a specified number of shares, generally 100,000 or multiples thereof.

The Trust reserves the right to permit or require that creations and redemptions of shares are effected fully in cash. 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 with respect to creations and redemptions of shares 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 each 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 applicable Prospectus.

Shares of each Fund are listed for trading, and trade throughout the day, on the Listing Exchanges and in other secondary markets. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Listing Exchanges necessary to maintain the listing of shares of each Fund will continue to be met. Each Listing Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the shares of a Fund from listing if, among other things: (i) a Fund is no longer eligible to operate in reliance on Rule 6c-11 under the Investment

 

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Company Act, (ii) any of the other listing requirements are not continuously maintained; 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. Each Listing Exchange will also remove shares of a 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 of a Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission determined by that broker, as well as other charges.

The Trust reserves the right to adjust the share prices of the Funds 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 Funds or an investor’s equity interest in the Funds.

Investment Strategies and Risks

Under normal circumstances, the BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF seeks to achieve its objectives by investing at least 80% of its assets in municipal bonds. This policy is a fundamental policy of the Fund and may not be changed without approval of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities, as defined in the 1940 Act.

Municipal bonds include debt obligations issued by or on behalf of a governmental entity or other qualifying issuer that pay interest that is, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, generally excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of federal alternative minimum tax (“AMT”)). Municipal bonds may be obligations of a variety of issuers, including governmental entities or other qualifying issuers. Issuers may be states, territories and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities. Municipal bonds also include short-term tax-exempt obligations like municipal notes and variable rate demand obligations.

The Fund may invest in municipal bonds rated in any rating category or in unrated municipal bonds. Fund management chooses municipal bonds that it believes offer a relatively high potential for total return relative to their total risk. Although the Fund may invest in municipal bonds in any rating category, Fund management presently intends to invest at least 65% of the Fund’s net assets in medium- to low-quality bonds as rated by at least one independent rating agency (BBB or lower by S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”) or Fitch Ratings, Inc. (“Fitch”), or Baa or lower by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”)), or if unrated, judged to be of comparable quality by BFA. Obligations rated below BBB or Baa are commonly known as “junk bonds.” It is possible that the Fund could invest up to 100% of its assets in junk bonds. Fund management reserves the right to invest less than 65% of the Fund’s net assets in municipal bonds rated BBB or Baa or lower if Fund management determines that there is an insufficient supply of such obligations available for investment.

The Fund may also invest up to 20% of its net assets in municipal bonds that are considered distressed securities, which are securities that are the subject of bankruptcy proceedings or otherwise in default as to the repayment of principal and/or payment of interest at the time of acquisition or are rated in the lowest rating categories by at least one independent rating agency (CC or lower by S&P or Fitch or Ca or lower by Moody’s), or if unrated, judged to be of comparable quality by BFA. Generally, the Fund will invest in distressed securities when Fund management believes they offer significant potential for higher returns or can be exchanged for other securities that offer this potential. However, there can be no assurance that the Fund will achieve these returns or that the issuer will make an exchange offer or adopt a plan of reorganization. The Fund will primarily invest in municipal bonds that have a maturity of five years or longer.

 

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The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities to achieve its principal investment strategies.

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).

Under normal circumstances, the BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF seeks to achieve its objective by investing at least 80% of its assets in municipal bonds. This policy is a fundamental policy of the Fund and may not be changed without approval of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities, as defined in the 1940 Act.

Municipal bonds include debt obligations issued by or on behalf of a governmental entity or other qualifying issuer that pay interest that is, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, generally excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of federal AMT). Municipal bonds may be obligations of a variety of issuers, including governmental entities or other qualifying issuers. Issuers may be states, territories and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities. Municipal bonds also include short-term tax-exempt obligations like municipal notes and variable rate demand obligations.

The Fund may invest in municipal bonds rated in any rating category or in unrated municipal bonds. Fund management chooses municipal bonds that it believes offer a relatively high potential for total return relative to their total risk. Although the Fund may invest in municipal bonds in any rating category, Fund management presently intends to invest the Fund’s assets primarily in investment grade municipal bonds. Investment grade bonds are securities which are rated in the four highest rating categories by at least one of the major rating agencies or determined by the management team to be of similar quality. Generally, the higher the rating of a bond, the higher the likelihood that interest and principal payments will be made on time. The Fund may also invest in non-investment grade municipal bonds (commonly called “high yield” or “junk bonds”).

The Fund expects to maintain, under normal market conditions, a dollar-weighted average portfolio duration, as calculated by BFA, of four to six years.

The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities to achieve its principal investment strategies.

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

 

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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 their value may decline if their interest rates do not rise as much, or as quickly, as interest rates in general. Each 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).

Borrowing. Each Fund may borrow for temporary or emergency purposes, including to meet payments due from redemptions or to facilitate the settlement of securities or other transactions.

The purchase of securities while borrowings are outstanding may have the effect of leveraging a Fund. The incurrence of leverage increases a Fund’s exposure to risk, and borrowed funds are subject to interest costs that will reduce net income. Purchasing securities while borrowings are outstanding creates special risks, such as the potential for greater volatility in the NAV of Fund shares and in the yield on a Fund’s portfolio. In addition, the interest expenses from borrowings may exceed the income generated by a Fund’s portfolio and, therefore, the amount available (if any) for distribution to shareholders as dividends may be reduced. BFA may determine to maintain outstanding borrowings if it expects that the benefits to a Fund’s shareholders will outweigh the current reduced return.

Certain types of borrowings by a Fund must be made from a bank or may result in a Fund being subject to covenants in credit agreements relating to asset coverage, portfolio composition requirements and other matters. It is not anticipated that observance of such covenants would impede BFA’s management of a Fund’s portfolio in accordance with the Fund’s investment objective(s) and policies. However, a breach of any such covenants not cured within the specified cure period may result in acceleration of outstanding indebtedness and require a Fund to dispose of portfolio investments at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so.

Diversification Status. Each 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 constitute a significant percentage of 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.

Each 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 Funds and may make it less likely that each Fund will meet its investment objective(s).

 

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Floating and Variable Rate Securities. Each 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.

High Yield Securities. Each Fund may invest in non-investment grade securities. Non-investment grade or “high yield” fixed-income or convertible securities, commonly known to investors as “junk bonds” or “high yield bonds,” are generally debt securities that are rated below investment grade by one or more of the major rating agencies or are unrated securities that BFA believes are of comparable quality. While generally providing greater income and opportunity for gain, non-investment grade debt securities may be subject to greater risks than securities that have higher credit ratings, including a high risk of default, and their yields will fluctuate over time. High yield securities will generally be in the lower rating categories of recognized rating agencies (rated below Baa3 by Moody’s and below BBB- by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch) or be unrated. The credit rating of a high yield security does not necessarily address its market value risk, and ratings may from time to time change, positively or negatively, to reflect developments regarding the issuer’s financial condition. High yield securities are considered to be speculative with respect to the capacity of the issuer to timely repay principal and pay interest in accordance with the terms of the obligation and may have more credit risk than higher rated securities.

The major risks of high yield bond investments include the following:

 

 

High yield bonds may be issued by less creditworthy companies. These securities are vulnerable to adverse changes in the issuer’s industry and to general economic conditions. Issuers of high yield bonds may be unable to meet their interest or principal payment obligations because of an economic downturn, specific issuer developments or the unavailability of additional financing.

 

 

The issuers of high yield bonds may have a larger amount of outstanding debt relative to their assets than issuers of investment grade bonds. If the issuer experiences financial stress, it may be unable to meet its debt obligations. The issuer’s ability to pay its debt obligations also may be lessened by specific issuer developments, or the unavailability of additional financing. Issuers of high yield securities are often in the growth stage of their development and/or involved in a reorganization or takeover.

 

 

High yield bonds are frequently ranked junior to claims by other creditors. If the issuer cannot meet its obligations, the senior obligations are generally paid off before the junior obligations, which will potentially limit the Fund’s ability to fully recover principal, to receive interest payments when senior securities are in default or to receive restructuring benefits paid to holders of more senior classes of debt. Thus, investors in high yield securities frequently have a lower degree of protection with respect to principal and interest payments than do investors in higher rated securities.

 

 

High yield bonds frequently have redemption features that permit an issuer to repurchase the security from the Fund before it matures. If an issuer redeems the high yield bonds, the Fund may have to invest the proceeds in bonds with lower yields and may lose income.

 

 

Prices of high yield bonds are subject to extreme fluctuations. Negative economic developments may have a greater impact on the prices of high yield bonds than on those of other higher rated fixed-income securities.

 

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High yield bonds may be less liquid than higher rated fixed-income securities even under normal economic conditions. Under certain economic and/or market conditions, the Fund may have difficulty disposing of certain high yield securities due to the limited number of investors in that sector of the market. There are fewer dealers in the high yield bond market, and there may be significant differences in the prices quoted for high yield bonds by dealers, and such quotations may not be the actual prices available for a purchase or sale. Because high yield bonds are less liquid, judgment may play a greater role in the prices and values generated for such securities than in the case of securities trading in a more liquid market.

 

 

The secondary markets for high yield securities are not as liquid as the secondary markets for higher rated securities. The secondary markets for high yield securities are concentrated in relatively few market makers and participants in the markets are mostly institutional investors, including insurance companies, banks, other financial institutions and mutual funds. In addition, the trading volume for high yield securities is generally lower than that for higher rated securities and the secondary markets could contract under adverse market or economic conditions independent of any specific adverse changes in the condition of a particular issuer. Under certain economic and/or market conditions, a Fund may have difficulty disposing of certain high yield securities due to the limited number of investors in that sector of the market. An illiquid secondary market may adversely affect the market price of the high yield security, which may result in increased difficulty selling the particular issue and obtaining accurate market quotations on the issue when valuing a Fund’s assets. Market quotations on high yield securities are available only from a limited number of dealers, and such quotations may not be the actual prices available for a purchase or sale. When the secondary market for high yield securities becomes more illiquid, or in the absence of readily available market quotations for such securities, the relative lack of reliable objective data makes it more difficult to value such securities, and judgment plays a more important role in determining such valuations.

 

 

A Fund may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting issuer.

The high yield bond markets may react strongly to adverse news about an issuer or the economy, or to the perception or expectation of adverse news, whether or not it is based on fundamental analysis. Additionally, prices for high yield securities may be affected by legislative and regulatory developments. These developments could adversely affect a Fund’s NAV and investment practices, the secondary market for high yield securities, the financial condition of issuers of these securities and the value and liquidity of outstanding high yield securities, especially in a thinly traded market. For example, federal legislation requiring the divestiture by federally insured savings and loan associations of their investments in high yield bonds and limiting the deductibility of interest by certain corporate issuers of high yield bonds adversely affected the market in the past.

Lending Portfolio Securities. Each Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain borrowers that BFA determines to be creditworthy, 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 a Fund if, as a result, the aggregate value of all securities loaned by the Fund exceeds one-third of the value of the Fund’s total assets (including the value of the collateral received). A Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. Each Fund receives, by way of substitute payment, the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities that it would have received if the securities were not on loan.

With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower may be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. The Funds are typically compensated by the difference between the amount earned on the reinvestment of cash collateral and the fee paid to the borrower. In

 

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the case of collateral other than cash, a Fund is typically 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 lending Fund or through one or more joint accounts or money market funds, including those affiliated with BFA; such investments are subject to investment risk.

Each Fund conducts its securities lending pursuant to an exemptive order from the SEC permitting it to lend portfolio securities to borrowers affiliated with the Fund and to retain an affiliate of the Fund to act as securities lending agent. To the extent that a Fund engages in securities lending, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. (“BTC”) acts as securities lending agent for the Fund, subject to the overall supervision of BFA. BTC administers the lending program in accordance with guidelines approved by the Trust’s Board of Trustees (the “Board,” the trustees of which are the “Trustees”).

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 a Fund has agreed to pay a borrower), and credit, legal, counterparty and market risk. If a securities lending counterparty were to default, a 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 collateral. In the event a borrower does not return a 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 a Fund. A Fund could lose money if its short-term investment of the collateral declines in value over the period of the loan. Substitute payments received by a Fund representing dividends paid on securities loaned out by the Fund will not be considered qualified dividend income. BTC will take into account the tax effects on shareholders caused by this difference in connection with a Fund’s securities lending program. Substitute payments received on tax-exempt securities loaned out will not be tax-exempt income.

Liquidity Risk Management. Rule 22e-4 under the Investment Company Act (the “Liquidity Rule”) requires open-end funds, including ETFs such as the Funds, to establish a liquidity risk management program (the “Liquidity Program”) and enhance disclosures regarding fund liquidity. As required by the Liquidity Rule, the Funds have implemented a Liquidity Program, and the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees of the Trust, has appointed BFA as the administrator of the Liquidity Program. Under the Liquidity Program, BFA assesses, manages, and periodically reviews each Fund’s liquidity risk and classifies each investment held by a Fund as a “highly liquid investment,” “moderately liquid investment,” “less liquid investment” or “illiquid investment.” The Liquidity Rule defines “liquidity risk” as the risk that a Fund could not meet requests to redeem shares issued by a Fund without significant dilution of the remaining investors’ interest in a Fund. The liquidity of a Fund’s portfolio investments is determined based on relevant market, trading and investment-specific considerations under the Liquidity Program. There are exclusions from certain portions of the liquidity risk management program requirements for “in-kind” ETFs, as defined in the Liquidity Rule. To the extent that an investment is deemed to be an illiquid investment or a less liquid investment, a Fund can expect to be exposed to greater liquidity risk.

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.

 

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Municipal security insurance does not insure against market fluctuations or fluctuations in each of 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 are 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 Securities. The Funds 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 (“municipal securities”), the interest payments of which are not subject to U.S. federal income tax. The municipal securities which such Funds 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. Revenue 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. Revenue Bonds that are issued to finance a particular project often depend on revenues from that project to make principal and interest payments. Adverse conditions and developments affecting a particular project can result in lower revenues to the issuer of the municipal securities. Additionally, the market values of Revenue Bonds may decline in times of higher inflation to the extent that revenues are fixed income streams. In other instances, the prices that certain Revenue Bond issuers are able to charge users of their assets may be linked to inflation, whether by government regulation, contractual arrangement or other factors. In this case, changes in the rate of inflation may affect the issuer’s revenues. Additionally, rising interest rates could result in higher costs of capital for issuers of both general obligation bonds and Revenue Bonds, which could negatively impact their ability to meet payment obligations.

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.

 

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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, a 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 insolvency concerns and, unlike obligations of corporate issuers, may not be subject to resolution in the event of insolvency or default through a bankruptcy proceeding. 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 a Fund’s municipal securities in the same manner.

Additionally, certain municipal securities are issued by entities dependent on revenue from a particular sector and thus are subject to the specific risks associated with that sector. These sectors are described in more detail below.

Risk of Investing in Health Care-Related Municipal Securities. Changes to state or federal policy tied to health care services could adversely affect the value of municipal securities backed by revenue from public hospitals and other health care facilities. Regulatory changes that govern cost reimbursements to health care providers under government-funded programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, including policies that award exclusive contracts to certain hospitals, may adversely affect the revenue streams backing certain municipal securities. Additionally, the expansion of healthcare facilities by some issuers may be subject to “determinations of need” by various regulators or other authorities. This process not only generally increases the time and expenses such expansions entail, but also makes expansion plans uncertain, thus potentially limiting the revenue and growth of healthcare facility operators. Moreover, local, state and federal governmental bodies are under increasing pressure to reduce medical spending and control healthcare costs, which could both adversely affect regulatory processes and public funding available for healthcare services and facilities. The value of healthcare-related municipal securities could also be affected by a variety of other factors that impact the underlying healthcare facilities including demand for services, the ability of the health care facility to provide the services required, competition with other facilities, and expenses (such as malpractice insurance premiums).

 

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Risk of Investing in Infrastructure-Related Municipal Securities. Entities that issue municipal securities related to infrastructure (“infrastructure issuers”) may be subject to a variety of factors that could adversely affect their capacity to make principal and interest payments, such as high interest costs in connection with capital construction programs, high degrees of leverage, costs associated with governmental, environmental and other regulations, the effects of economic slowdowns, increased competition from other providers of services, uncertainties concerning costs, the level of government spending on infrastructure projects, and other factors. Such issuers may be adversely affected by commodity price volatility, changes in exchange rates, import controls, depletion of resources, technological developments, and labor relations. Infrastructure issuers can be significantly affected by government spending policies.

Leverage Risk. Infrastructure issuers can be highly indebted, which increases investment risk and other risks normally associated with debt financing, which could adversely affect such an issuer’s operations and the market value of related municipal securities in periods of rising interest rates.

Operations Risk. The failure of an infrastructure issuer to carry adequate insurance or to operate its assets appropriately could lead to significant losses. Infrastructure may be adversely affected by environmental clean-up costs and catastrophic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist acts.

Regulatory Risk. Infrastructure projects may be subject to significant regulation by various governmental authorities and also may be affected by regulation of rates charged to customers, service interruption due to environmental, operational or other events, the imposition of special tariffs and changes in tax laws, regulatory policies and accounting standards.

Strategic Asset Risk. Infrastructure issuers may control significant strategic assets (e.g., major pipelines or highways), which are assets that have a national or regional profile, and may have monopolistic characteristics. Given their national or regional profile or irreplaceable nature, strategic assets could generate additional risk not common in other industry sectors and they may be targeted for terrorist acts or adverse political actions.

User Risk. Infrastructure issuers can be dependent upon a narrow user base. If these users do not patronize infrastructure projects as expected, significant revenues could be lost and may not be replaceable, in which case infrastructure issuers may fail to pay their obligations.

Risk of Investing in Municipal Securities Issued By School Districts. School districts rely, in part, on funding appropriations from, among others, the federal government and state governments. As a result, municipal securities issued by school districts may be adversely affected by political and economic changes at the state or federal levels, such as decreased tax or other revenues, spending reductions or changes in appropriations. Investors in these securities, similar to investors in municipal securities generally, face heightened risk of loss upon insolvency of the school district issuers because there is often no ready source of funding to pay the bonds other than the local tax base, which a bankruptcy court or administrator does not control.

Risk of Investing in Transportation Infrastructure-Related Municipal Securities. The transportation infrastructure industry may be adversely affected by economic changes, increases in fuel and other operating costs, labor relations, insurance costs, and, in many jurisdictions, the effects of regulatory changes or other government decisions. Municipal securities that are issued to finance a particular transportation project (e.g., toll roads) often depend on revenues from that project to make principal and interest payments.

Risk of Investing in Utility-Related Municipal Securities. Certain municipal securities are issued by public bodies, including state and municipal utility authorities, to, among other things, finance the operation or expansion of utility entities. Various future economic and other conditions may adversely

 

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affect utility entities, including inflation, increases in financing requirements, increases in raw material costs and other operating costs, changes in demand for services and the effects of environmental and other governmental regulations. Certain utilities are subject to specific risks. For example, gas utilities are subject to risks of supply conditions and increased competition from other providers of utility services. In addition, gas utilities are affected by gas prices, which may be magnified to the extent that a gas utility enters into long-term contracts for the purchase or sale of gas at a fixed price, since such prices may change significantly and to the disadvantage of the gas utility.

Industrial Development Bonds

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).

Private Activity Bonds

The Funds 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

Municipal notes (also known as municipal commercial paper) 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 Funds 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 Funds 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.

New or Unseasoned Municipal Issuers. A Fund may invest in municipal securities issued by entities that have not previously issued securities or that do not have an extensive history of issuing securities. Information regarding these issuers may be more limited than for other issuers. Securities of these issuers may be subject to volatility in their prices and may have a limited trading market, which could adversely affect a Fund’s ability to dispose of them and could reduce the price a Fund might be able to obtain for them.

Privately-Issued Securities. Each Fund may invest in privately-issued securities, including those that may be resold only in accordance with Rule 144A or Regulation S under the 1933 Act (“Restricted Securities”). Restricted Securities are not publicly-traded and are subject to a variety of restrictions, which limit a purchaser’s ability to acquire or resell such securities. Accordingly, the liquidity of the market for specific Restricted Securities may vary. Delay or difficulty in selling such securities may result in a loss to a Fund.

 

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Ratings. An investment-grade rating generally means the security or issuer is rated investment-grade by one or more of Moody’s, S&P, Fitch, or another credit rating agency designated as a NRSRO by the SEC, or is unrated but considered to be of equivalent quality by BFA. Generally, 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. In recent years, the U.S. and certain other countries experienced a credit rating downgrade; these downgrades or additional downgrades in the future may result in the deterioration of investor confidence.

Subsequent to purchase by a 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 or BBB- by S&P or Fitch are generally considered below investment-grade quality and are obligations of issuers that are generally 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 lower-rated securities are commonly referred to as “junk bonds” and are subject to a substantial degree of credit risk. Please see Appendix B of this SAI for a description of each rating category of Moody’s, S&P and Fitch and BFA’s treatment of investments that are not rated by any of the rating agencies.

Repurchase Agreements. A repurchase agreement is an instrument under which the purchaser (i.e., a 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, 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 a 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 determined to (A) have exceptionally strong capacity to meet their financial obligations and (B) are sufficiently liquid such that they can be sold at approximately their carrying value in the ordinary course of business within seven days.

Repurchase agreements pose certain risks for a Fund, should it decide to utilize them. Such risks are not unique to the Funds, but are inherent in repurchase agreements. Each 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 a longer maturity may be subject to greater price fluctuations than higher quality collateral and collateral with a shorter maturity. 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, a Fund would likely retain the status of an unsecured creditor of the counterparty (i.e., the position a 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, a 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 a Fund can

 

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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 a 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 a 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 increase or decrease in the value of a Fund’s assets. A Fund’s exposure to reverse repurchase agreements will be covered by liquid assets having a value equal to or greater than the Fund’s obligations under such commitments. The use of reverse repurchase agreements is a form of leverage, and the proceeds obtained by a Fund through reverse repurchase agreements may be invested in additional securities.

Securities of Investment Companies. Each Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies (including money market funds) to the extent permitted by law, regulation, exemptive order or SEC staff guidance. Under the 1940 Act, a fund’s investment in investment companies is limited to, subject to certain exceptions, (i) 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of any 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 Funds intend from time to time to invest their assets in securities of investment companies, including, but not limited to, 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 a Fund invests can be expected to incur fees and expenses for operations, such as investment advisory and administration fees, which would be in addition to those incurred by a Fund. Pursuant to guidance issued by the SEC staff, fees and expenses of money market funds used for cash collateral received in connection with loans of securities are not treated as Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, which reflect a Fund’s pro rata share of the fees and expenses incurred by investing in other investment companies (as disclosed in the Prospectus, as applicable).

Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments. Each Fund may invest in short-term instruments, including money market 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, 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 have been determined to present minimal credit risks, in accordance with the 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 that may be purchased by a 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.

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

 

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General Considerations and Risks

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

An investment in a 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. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.

Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) Integration. Although each Fund does not seek to implement a specific ESG, impact or sustainability strategy, Fund management will consider ESG characteristics as part of the investment process. These considerations may include consideration of third-party research as well as consideration of proprietary BFA research across the ESG risks and opportunities regarding an issuer. Fund management will consider those ESG characteristics it deems relevant or additive when making investment decisions for the Funds. The ESG characteristics utilized in each Fund’s investment process are anticipated to evolve over time and one or more characteristics may not be relevant with respect to all issuers that are eligible for investment. ESG characteristics are not the sole considerations when making investment decisions for the Funds. Further, investors can differ in their views of what constitutes positive or negative ESG characteristics. As a result, the Funds may invest in issuers that do not reflect the beliefs and values with respect to ESG of any particular investor. ESG considerations may affect each Fund’s exposure to certain companies or industries and the Funds may forego certain investment opportunities. While Fund management views ESG considerations as having the potential to contribute to each Fund’s long-term performance, there is no guarantee that such results will be achieved.

Borrowing Risk. Borrowing may exaggerate changes in the NAV of Fund shares and in the return on a Fund’s portfolio. Borrowing will cause a Fund to incur interest expense and other fees. The costs of borrowing may reduce a Fund’s return. Borrowing may cause a Fund to liquidate positions when it may not be advantageous to do so to satisfy its obligations.

Illiquid Investments Risk. Each Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that a Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. The liquidity of an investment will be determined based on relevant market, trading and investment specific considerations as set out in the Liquidity Program as required by the Liquidity Rule. Illiquid investments may trade at a discount to comparable, more liquid investments and a Fund may not be able to dispose of illiquid investments in a timely fashion or at their expected prices. If illiquid investments exceed 15% of a Fund’s net assets, the Liquidity Rule and the Liquidity Program will require that certain remedial actions be taken.

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 Fund’s holdings would be affected, and the Trustees would reevaluate the Fund’s investment objective(s) and policies. Municipal bankruptcies are relatively rare, and certain provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code governing such bankruptcies are

 

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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 a Fund.

Operational Risk. BFA and a Fund’s other service providers may experience disruptions or operating errors such as processing errors or human errors, inadequate or failed internal or external processes, or systems or technology failures, that could negatively impact the Funds. While service providers are required to have appropriate operational risk management policies and procedures, their methods of operational risk management may differ from a Fund’s in the setting of priorities, the personnel and resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. BFA, through its monitoring and oversight of service providers, seeks to ensure that service providers take appropriate precautions to avoid and mitigate risks that could lead to disruptions and operating errors. However, it is not possible for BFA or the other Fund service providers to identify all of the operational risks that may affect a Fund or to develop processes and controls to completely eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects.

Repurchase Agreement Risk. A repurchase agreement is an instrument under which the purchaser (i.e., a 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 a 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, a 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, a Fund may lose money.

Tax Risks Associated with Municipal Securities. As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in shares of the Fund will be taxed. The tax information in the Prospectus and this SAI is provided as general information. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in shares of a Fund.

Unless your investment in shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an individual retirement account (“IRA”), you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when a Fund makes distributions or you sell Fund shares. In general, given their investment strategies, the Funds would not be an appropriate investment for a tax deferred retirement account such as an IRA.

In response to the national economic downturn in recent years, 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.

Proxy Voting Policy

The Board has delegated the voting of proxies for each Fund’s securities to BFA pursuant to the Funds’ Proxy Voting Policy (the “Proxy Voting Policy”), and BFA has adopted policies and procedures (the “BlackRock Proxy Voting Policies”) governing proxy voting by accounts managed by BFA, including the Funds.

 

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Under the BlackRock Proxy Voting Policies, BFA will vote proxies related to Fund securities in the best interests of a Fund and its shareholders. From time to time, a vote may present a conflict between the interests of a Fund’s shareholders, on the one hand, and those of BFA, or any affiliated person of a Fund or BFA, on the other. BFA maintains policies and procedures that are designed to prevent undue influence on BFA’s proxy voting activity that might stem from any relationship between the issuer of a proxy (or any dissident shareholder) and BFA, BFA’s affiliates, a Fund or a Fund’s affiliates. Most conflicts are managed through a structural separation of BFA’s Corporate Governance Group from BFA’s employees with sales and client responsibilities. In addition, BFA maintains procedures to ensure that all engagements with corporate issuers or dissident shareholders are managed consistently and without regard to BFA’s relationship with the issuer of the proxy or the dissident shareholder. In certain instances, BFA may determine to engage an independent fiduciary to vote proxies as a further safeguard to avoid potential conflicts of interest or as otherwise required by applicable law.

Copies of the Proxy Voting Policy, the BlackRock Global Proxy Voting Policies and the BlackRock U.S. Proxy Voting Policies are attached as Appendices A1 and A2, respectively.

Information with respect to how proxies relating to the Funds’ portfolio securities were voted during the 12-month period ended June 30 will be available: (i) without charge, upon request, by calling 1-800-441-7762 or through the Funds’ website at www.blackrock.com; and (ii) on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

Portfolio Holdings Information

On each Business Day (as defined in the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI), prior to the opening of regular trading on the Fund’s primary listing exchange, a Fund discloses on its website (www.iShares.com) certain information relating to the portfolio holdings that will form the basis of a Fund’s next net asset value per share calculation.

In addition, certain information may also be made available to certain parties:

 

 

Communications of Data Files: A Fund may make available through the facilities of the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) or through posting on the www.iShares.com, prior to the opening of trading on each business day, a list of a Fund’s holdings (generally pro-rata) that Authorized Participants could deliver to a Fund to settle purchases of a Fund (i.e. Deposit Securities) or that Authorized Participants would receive from a Fund to settle redemptions of a Fund (i.e. Fund Securities). These files are known as the Portfolio Composition File and the Fund Data File (collectively, “Files”). The Files are applicable for the next trading day and are provided to the NSCC and/or posted on www.iShares.com after the close of markets in the U.S.

 

 

Communications with Authorized Participants and Liquidity Providers: Certain employees of BFA are responsible for interacting with Authorized Participants and liquidity providers with respect to discussing custom basket proposals as described in the Custom Baskets section of this SAI. As part of these discussions, these employees may discuss with an Authorized Participant or liquidity provider the securities a Fund is willing to accept for a creation, and securities that a Fund will provide on a redemption.

BFA employees may also discuss portfolio holdings-related information with broker/dealers, in connection with settling a Fund’s transactions, as may be necessary to conduct business in the ordinary course in a manner consistent with the disclosure in the Fund’s current registration statements.

 

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Communications with Listing Exchanges: From time to time, employees of BFA may discuss portfolio holdings information with the applicable primary listing exchange for a Fund as needed to meet the exchange listing standards.

 

 

Communications with Other Portfolio Managers: Certain information may be provided to employees of BFA who manage funds that invest a significant percentage of their assets in shares of an underlying fund as necessary to manage the fund’s investment objective(s) and strategy.

 

 

Communication of Other Information: Certain explanatory information regarding the Files is released to Authorized Participants and liquidity providers on a daily basis, but is only done so after the Files are posted to www.iShares.com.

 

 

Third-Party Service Providers: Certain portfolio holdings information may be disclosed to Fund Trustees and their counsel, outside counsel for the Funds, auditors and to certain third-party service providers (i.e., fund administrator, custodian, proxy voting service) for which a non-disclosure, confidentiality agreement or other obligation is in place with such service providers, as may be necessary to conduct business in the ordinary course in a manner consistent with applicable policies, agreements with the Funds, the terms of the current registration statements and federal securities laws and regulations thereunder.

The Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer or his delegate may authorize disclosure of portfolio holdings information pursuant to the above policy and procedures, subject to restrictions on selective disclosure imposed by applicable law. The Board reviews the policy and procedures for disclosure of portfolio holdings information at least annually.

Investment Policies

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

Fundamental Investment Policies

Each Fund may not:

 

1.

Concentrate its investments in a particular industry, as that term is used in the Investment Company Act.

 

2.

Borrow money, except as permitted under the Investment Company Act.

 

3.

Issue senior securities to the extent such issuance would violate the Investment Company Act.

 

4.

Purchase or hold real estate, except the Fund may purchase and hold securities or other instruments that are secured by, or linked to, real estate or interests therein, securities of REITs, mortgage-related securities and securities of issuers engaged in the real estate business, and the Fund may purchase and hold real estate as a result of the ownership of securities or other instruments.

 

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5.

Underwrite securities issued by others, except to the extent that the sale of portfolio securities by the Fund may be deemed to be an underwriting or as otherwise permitted by applicable law.

 

6.

Purchase or sell commodities or commodity contracts, except as permitted by the Investment Company Act.

 

7.

Make loans to the extent prohibited by the Investment Company Act.

Notations Regarding the Fund’s Fundamental Investment Policies

The following notations are not considered to be part of each Fund’s fundamental investment policies and are subject to change without shareholder approval.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to concentration set forth in (1) above, the Investment Company Act does not define what constitutes “concentration” in an industry. The SEC staff has taken the position that investment of 25% or more of a fund’s total assets in one or more issuers conducting their principal activities in the same industry or group of industries constitutes concentration. It is possible that interpretations of concentration could change in the future. The policy in (1) above will be interpreted to refer to concentration as that term may be interpreted from time to time. The policy also will be interpreted to permit investment without limit in the following: securities of the U.S. government and its agencies or instrumentalities; securities of state, territory, possession or municipal governments and their authorities, agencies, instrumentalities or political subdivisions; and repurchase agreements collateralized by any such obligations. Accordingly, issuers of the foregoing securities will not be considered to be members of any industry. There also will be no limit on investment in issuers domiciled in a single jurisdiction or country. 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. Each foreign government will be considered to be a member of a separate industry. With respect to each Fund’s industry classifications, each Fund currently utilizes any one or more of the industry sub-classifications used by one or more widely recognized market indexes or rating group indexes, and/or as defined by Fund management. The policy also will be interpreted to give broad authority to each Fund as to how to classify issuers within or among industries.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to borrowing money set forth in (2) above, the Investment Company Act permits each Fund to borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of the Fund’s total assets from banks for any purpose, and to borrow up to 5% of the Fund’s total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes. (Each Fund’s total assets include the amounts being borrowed.) To limit the risks attendant to borrowing, the Investment Company Act requires each Fund to maintain at all times an “asset coverage” of at least 300% of the amount of its borrowings. Asset coverage means the ratio that the value of each Fund’s total assets (including amounts borrowed), minus liabilities other than borrowings, bears to the aggregate amount of all borrowings. Borrowing money to increase portfolio holdings is known as “leveraging.” Certain trading practices and investments, such as reverse repurchase agreements, may be considered to be borrowings or involve leverage and thus are subject to the Investment Company Act restrictions. In accordance with SEC staff guidance and interpretations, when each Fund engages in such transactions, the Fund instead of maintaining asset coverage of at least 300%, may segregate or earmark liquid assets, or enter into an offsetting position, in an amount at least equal to the Fund’s exposure, on a mark-to-market basis, to the transaction (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the SEC). The policy in (2) above will be interpreted to permit each Fund to engage in trading practices and investments that may be considered to be borrowing or to involve leverage to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act and to permit each Fund to segregate or earmark liquid assets or enter into offsetting positions in accordance with the Investment Company Act. Short-term credits necessary for the settlement of securities transactions and arrangements with respect to securities lending will not be considered to be borrowings under the policy. Practices and investments that may involve leverage but are not considered to be borrowings are not subject to the policy.

 

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With respect to the fundamental policy relating to underwriting set forth in (5) above, the Investment Company Act does not prohibit each Fund from engaging in the underwriting business or from underwriting the securities of other issuers; in fact, in the case of diversified funds, the Investment Company Act permits the Fund to have underwriting commitments of up to 25% of its assets under certain circumstances. Those circumstances currently are that the amount of each Fund’s underwriting commitments, when added to the value of the Fund’s investments in issuers where each Fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of those issuers, cannot exceed the 25% cap. A fund engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act. Although it is not believed that the application of the 1933 Act provisions described above would cause each Fund to be engaged in the business of underwriting, the policy in (5) above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities, regardless of whether the Fund may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act or is otherwise engaged in the underwriting business to the extent permitted by applicable law.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to lending set forth in (7) above, the Investment Company Act does not prohibit each Fund from making loans (including lending its securities); however, SEC staff interpretations currently prohibit funds from lending more than one-third of their total assets (including lending its securities), except through the purchase of debt obligations or the use of repurchase agreements. In addition, collateral arrangements with respect to options, forward currency and futures transactions and other derivative instruments (as applicable), as well as delays in the settlement of securities transactions, will not be considered loans.

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

Under its non-fundamental investment restrictions, which may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval, each Fund may not:

 

a.

Purchase securities of other investment companies, except to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act. As a matter of policy, however, the Fund will not purchase shares of any registered open-end investment company or registered unit investment trust, in reliance on Section 12(d)(1)(F) or (G) (the “fund of funds” provisions) of the Investment Company Act, at any time the Fund has knowledge that its shares are purchased by another investment company investor in reliance on the provisions of subparagraph (G) of Section 12(d)(1).

 

b.

Make short sales of securities or maintain a short position, except to the extent permitted by the Fund’s Prospectus and SAI, as amended from time to time, and applicable law.

Unless otherwise indicated, all limitations under each Fund’s fundamental or non-fundamental investment policies apply only at the time that a transaction is undertaken. Any change in the percentage of each Fund’s assets invested in certain securities or other instruments resulting from market fluctuations or other changes in each Fund’s total assets will not require each Fund to dispose of an investment until BFA determines that it is practicable to sell or close out the investment without undue market or tax consequences.

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 Funds on an ongoing basis, at any point a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may occur. Broker-dealers and other

 

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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 of 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(a)(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 Funds 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 Exchanges generally is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available at the Listing Exchanges 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 of Trustees (the “Board”) of the Trust consists of ten individuals (each a “Trustee”), eight of whom are not “interested persons” of the Trust as defined in the Investment Company Act (the “Independent Trustees”). The registered investment companies advised by the Manager or its affiliates (the “BlackRock-advised Funds”) are organized into one complex of closed-end funds and open-end non-index fixed-income funds (the “BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex”), one complex of open-end equity, multi-asset, index and money market funds (the “BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex”) and one complex of exchange-traded funds (each, a “BlackRock Fund Complex”). The Trust is included in the BlackRock Fund Complex referred to as the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex. The Trustees also oversee as board members the operations of the other

open-end and closed-end registered investment companies included in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex.

The Board has overall responsibility for the oversight of the Trust and the Funds. The Co-Chairs of the Board and the Chief Executive Officer are different people. Not only is each Co-Chair of the Board an Independent Trustee, but also the Chair of each Board committee (each, a “Committee”) is an Independent Trustee. The Board has five standing Committees: an Audit Committee, a Governance and Nominating Committee, a Compliance Committee, a Performance Oversight Committee and an Executive Committee. The role of each Co-Chair of the Board is to preside over all meetings of the Board and to act as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys, and other Trustees between meetings. The Chair of each Committee performs a similar role with respect to the Committee. The Co-Chairs of the Board or Chair of a Committee may also perform such other functions as may be delegated by the Board or the Committee from time to time. The Independent Trustees meet regularly

 

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outside the presence of the Funds’ management, in executive sessions or with other service providers to the Funds. The Board has regular meetings five times a year, including a meeting to consider the approval of the Funds investment management agreement, and, if necessary, may hold special meetings before its next regular meeting. Each Committee meets regularly to conduct the oversight functions delegated to that Committee by the Board and reports its findings to the Board. 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 to allocate areas of responsibility among Committees and the Board to enhance oversight.

The Board decided to separate the roles of Chief Executive Officer from the Co-Chairs because it believes that having independent Co-Chairs:

 

   

increases the independent oversight of the Funds and enhances the Board’s objective evaluation of the Chief Executive Officer;

 

   

allows the Chief Executive Officer to focus on the Funds’ operations instead of Board administration;

 

   

provides greater opportunities for direct and independent communication between shareholders and the Board; and

 

   

provides an independent spokesman for the Funds.

The Board has engaged the Manager to manage the Funds on a day-to-day basis. The Board is responsible for overseeing the Manager, other service providers, the operations of the Funds and associated risks in accordance with the provisions of the Investment Company Act, state law, other applicable laws, the Funds’ charter, and each Fund’s investment objective(s) and strategies. The Board reviews, on an ongoing basis, each Fund’s performance, operations, and investment strategies and techniques. The Board also conducts reviews of the Manager and its role in running the operations of the Funds.

Day-to-day risk management with respect to the Funds is the responsibility of the Manager, sub-advisers or other service providers (depending on the nature of the risk), subject to the supervision of the Manager. The Funds are 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 the Manager, sub-advisers or other service providers, as applicable, it is not possible to eliminate all of the risks applicable to the Funds. Risk oversight is part of the Board’s general oversight of the Funds and is addressed as part of various Board and Committee activities. The Board, directly or through Committees, also reviews reports from, among others, management, the independent registered public accounting firm for the Funds, the Manager, sub-advisers and internal auditors for the Manager or its affiliates, as appropriate, regarding risks faced by the Funds and management’s or the service provider’s risk functions. The Committee system facilitates the timely and efficient consideration of matters by the Trustees and facilitates effective oversight of compliance with legal and regulatory requirements and of each Fund’s activities and associated risks. The Board has approved the appointment of a Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”), who oversees the implementation and testing of the Funds’ compliance program and reports regularly to the Board regarding compliance matters for the Funds and their service providers. The Independent Trustees have engaged independent legal counsel to assist them in performing their oversight responsibilities.

Audit Committee. The Board has a standing Audit Committee composed of Michael J. Castellano (Chair), Frank J. Fabozzi, Catherine A. Lynch and Karen P. Robards, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The principal responsibilities of the Audit Committee are to assist the Board in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities relating to the accounting and financial reporting policies and practices of the

 

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Funds. The Audit Committee’s responsibilities include, without limitation: (i) approving, and recommending to the full Board for approval, the selection, retention, termination and compensation of the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm (the “Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm”) and evaluating the independence and objectivity of the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm; (ii) approving all audit engagement terms and fees for the Funds; (iii) reviewing the conduct and results of each audit; (iv) reviewing any issues raised by the Funds’ Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm or management regarding the accounting or financial reporting policies and practices of the Funds, its internal controls, and, as appropriate, the internal controls of certain service providers and management’s response to any such issues; (v) reviewing and discussing the Funds’ audited and unaudited financial statements and disclosure in the Funds’ shareholder reports relating to the Funds’ performance; (vi) assisting the Board’s responsibilities with respect to the internal controls of the Funds and its service providers with respect to accounting and financial matters; and (vii) resolving any disagreements between the Funds’ management and the Funds’ Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm regarding financial reporting. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Board’s Audit Committee.

Governance and Nominating Committee. The Board has a standing Governance and Nominating Committee composed of R. Glenn Hubbard (Chair), Michael J. Castellano, Richard E. Cavanagh, Cynthia L. Egan and Karen P. Robards, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The principal responsibilities of the Governance and Nominating Committee are: (i) identifying individuals qualified to serve as Independent Trustees and recommending Board nominees that are not “interested persons” of the Funds (as defined in the Investment Company Act) for election by shareholders or appointment by the Board; (ii) advising the Board with respect to Board composition, procedures and Committees of the Board (other than the Audit Committee); (iii) overseeing periodic self-assessments of the Board and Committees of the Board (other than the Audit Committee); (iv) reviewing and making recommendations in respect to Independent Trustee compensation; (v) monitoring corporate governance matters and making recommendations in respect thereof to the Board; (vi) acting as the administrative committee with respect to Board policies and procedures, committee policies and procedures (other than the Audit Committee) and codes of ethics as they relate to the Independent Trustees; and (vii) reviewing and making recommendations to the Board in respect of Fund share ownership by the Independent Trustees. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Board’s Governance and Nominating Committee.

The Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board seeks to identify individuals to serve on the Board who have a diverse range of viewpoints, qualifications, experiences, backgrounds and skill sets so that the Board will be better suited to fulfill its responsibility of overseeing the Funds’ activities. In so doing, the Governance and Nominating Committee reviews the size of the Board, the ages of the current Trustees and their tenure on the Board, and the skills, background and experiences of the Trustees in light of the issues facing the Funds in determining whether one or more new trustees should be added to the Board. The Board as a group strives to achieve diversity in terms of gender, race and geographic location. The Governance and Nominating Committee believes that the Trustees as a group possess the array of skills, experiences and backgrounds necessary to guide the Funds. The Trustees’ biographies included herein highlight the diversity and breadth of skills, qualifications and expertise that the Trustees bring to the Funds.

Compliance Committee. The Board has a Compliance Committee composed of Cynthia L. Egan (Chair), Richard E. Cavanagh, R. Glenn Hubbard and W. Carl Kester, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The Compliance Committee’s purpose is to assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibility with respect to the oversight of regulatory and fiduciary compliance matters involving the Funds, the fund-related activities of BlackRock, and any sub-advisers and the Funds’ other third party service providers. The Compliance Committee’s responsibilities include, without limitation: (i) overseeing the compliance policies and procedures of the Funds and its service providers and recommending

 

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changes or additions to such policies and procedures; (ii) reviewing information on and, where appropriate, recommending policies concerning the Funds’ compliance with applicable law; (iii) reviewing information on any significant correspondence with or other actions by regulators or governmental agencies with respect to the Funds and any employee complaints or published reports that raise concerns regarding compliance matters; and (iv) reviewing reports from, overseeing the annual performance review of, and making certain recommendations in respect of, the Funds’ CCO, including, without limitation, determining the amount and structure of the CCO’s compensation. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Board’s Compliance Committee.

Performance Oversight Committee. The Board has a Performance Oversight Committee composed of Frank J. Fabozzi (Chair), Michael J. Castellano, Richard E. Cavanagh, Cynthia L. Egan, R. Glenn Hubbard, W. Carl Kester, Catherine A. Lynch and Karen P. Robards, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The Performance Oversight Committee’s purpose is to assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibility to oversee each Fund’s investment performance relative to the Fund’s investment objective(s), policies and practices. The Performance Oversight Committee’s responsibilities include, without limitation: (i) reviewing the Funds’ investment objectives, policies and practices; (ii) recommending to the Board any required action in respect of changes in fundamental and non-fundamental investment restrictions; (iii) reviewing information on appropriate benchmarks and competitive universes; (iv) reviewing the Funds’ investment performance relative to such benchmarks; (v) reviewing information on unusual or exceptional investment matters; (vi) reviewing whether each Fund has complied with its investment policies and restrictions; and (vii) overseeing policies, procedures and controls regarding valuation of the Funds investments. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Board’s Performance Oversight Committee.

Executive Committee. The Board has an Executive Committee composed of Richard E. Cavanagh (Chair) and Karen P. Robards, both of whom are Independent Trustees, and John M. Perlowski, who serves as an interested Trustee. The principal responsibilities of the Executive Committee include, without limitation: (i) acting on routine matters between meetings of the Board; (ii) acting on such matters as may require urgent action between meetings of the Board; and (iii) exercising such other authority as may from time to time be delegated to the Executive Committee by the Board. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Board’s Executive Committee.

The Independent Trustees have adopted a statement of policy that describes the experiences, qualifications, skills and attributes that are necessary and desirable for potential Independent Trustee candidates (the “Statement of Policy”). The Board believes that each Independent Trustee satisfied, at the time he or she was initially elected or appointed a Trustee, and continues to satisfy, the standards contemplated by the Statement of Policy as well as the standards set forth in the Trust’s Bylaws. Furthermore, in determining that a particular Trustee was and continues to be qualified to serve as a Trustee, the Board has considered a variety of criteria, none of which, in isolation, was controlling. The Board believes that, collectively, the Trustees have balanced and diverse experiences, skills, attributes and qualifications, which will allow the Board to operate effectively in governing the Funds and protecting the interests of shareholders. Among the attributes common to all Trustees is their ability to review critically, evaluate, question and discuss information provided to them, to interact effectively with the Manager, sub-advisers, other service providers, counsel and independent auditors, and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties as Trustees. Each Trustee’s ability to perform his or her duties effectively is evidenced by his or her educational background or professional training; business, consulting, public service or academic positions; experience from service as a board member of the Trust or the other funds in the BlackRock Fund Complexes (and any predecessor funds), other investment funds, public companies, or not-for-profit entities or other organizations; ongoing commitment and participation in Board and Committee meetings, as well as his or her leadership of standing and other committees throughout the years; or other relevant life experiences.

 

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The table below discusses some of the experiences, qualifications and skills of each Trustee that support the conclusion that he or she should serve on the Board.

Independent Trustees

 

Trustees

 

Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Richard E. Cavanagh   Richard E. Cavanagh brings to the Board a wealth of practical business knowledge and leadership as an experienced director/trustee of various public and private companies. In particular, because Mr. Cavanagh served for over a decade as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Conference Board, Inc., a global business research organization, he is able to provide the Board with expertise about business and economic trends and governance practices. Mr. Cavanagh created the “blue ribbon” Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise in 2002, which recommended corporate governance enhancements. Mr. Cavanagh’s service as a director of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and as a senior advisor and director of The Fremont Group provides added insight into investment trends and conditions. Mr. Cavanagh’s long-standing service as a director/trustee/chair of the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex also provides him with a specific understanding of the Funds, their operations, and the business and regulatory issues facing the Funds. Mr. Cavanagh is also an experienced board leader, having served as the lead independent director of a NYSE public company (Arch Chemicals) and as the Board Chairman of the Educational Testing Service. Mr. Cavanagh’s independence from the Funds and the Manager enhances his service as Co-Chair of the Board, Chair of the Executive Committee, and a member of the Compliance Committee, the Governance and Nominating Committee and the Performance Oversight Committee.
Karen P. Robards   The Board benefits from Karen P. Robards’s many years of experience in investment banking and the financial advisory industry where she obtained extensive knowledge of the capital markets and advised clients on corporate finance transactions, including mergers and acquisitions and the issuance of debt and equity securities. Ms. Robards’s prior position as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley provides useful oversight of the Funds’ investment decisions and investment valuation processes. Additionally, Ms. Robards’s experience as a director of publicly held and private companies allows her to provide the Board with insight into the management and governance practices of other companies. Ms. Robards’s long-standing service on the boards of directors/trustees of closed-end funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex also provides her with a specific understanding of the Funds, their operations, and the business and regulatory issues facing the Funds. Ms. Robards’s knowledge of financial and accounting matters qualifies her to serve as Co-Chair of the Board and a member of the Audit Committee. Ms. Robards’s independence from the Funds and the Manager enhances her service as a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee, the Performance Oversight Committee and the Executive Committee.

 

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Trustees

 

Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Michael J. Castellano   The Board benefits from Michael J. Castellano’s career in accounting which spans over forty years. Mr. Castellano has served as Chief Financial Officer of Lazard Ltd. and as a Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of Lazard Group. Prior to joining Lazard, Mr. Castellano held various senior management positions at Merrill Lynch & Co., including Senior Vice President — Chief Control Officer for Merrill Lynch’s capital markets businesses, Chairman of Merrill Lynch International Bank and Senior Vice President — Corporate Controller. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch & Co., Mr. Castellano was a partner with Deloitte & Touche where he served a number of investment banking clients over the course of his 24 years with the firm. Mr. Castellano currently serves as a director for CircleBlack Inc. Mr. Castellano’s knowledge of financial and accounting matters qualifies him to serve as Chair of the Audit Committee. Mr. Castellano’s independence from the Funds and the Manager enhances his service as a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee and the Performance Oversight Committee.
Cynthia L. Egan   Cynthia L. Egan brings to the Board a broad and diverse knowledge of investment companies and the retirement industry as a result of her many years of experience as President, Retirement Plan Services, for T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. and her various senior operating officer positions at Fidelity Investments, including her service as Executive Vice President of FMR Co., President of Fidelity Institutional Services Company and President of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. Ms. Egan has also served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Treasury as an expert in domestic retirement security. Ms. Egan began her professional career at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Ms. Egan is also a director of UNUM Corporation, a publicly traded insurance company providing personal risk reinsurance, and of The Hanover Group, a public property casualty insurance company. Ms. Egan’s independence from the Funds and the Manager enhances her service as Chair of the Compliance Committee, and a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee and the Performance Oversight Committee.
Frank J. Fabozzi   Frank J. Fabozzi has served for over 25 years on the boards of registered investment companies. Dr. Fabozzi holds the designations of Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Public Accountant. Dr. Fabozzi was inducted into the Fixed Income Analysts Society’s Hall of Fame and is the 2007 recipient of the C. Stewart Sheppard Award and the 2015 recipient of the James R. Vertin Award, both given by the CFA Institute. The Board benefits from Dr. Fabozzi’s experiences as a professor and author in the field of finance. Dr. Fabozzi’s experience as a professor at various institutions, including EDHEC Business School, Yale, MIT, and Princeton, as well as Dr. Fabozzi’s experience as a Professor in the Practice of Finance and Becton Fellow at the Yale University School of Management and as editor of the Journal of Portfolio Management demonstrates his wealth of expertise in the investment management and structured finance areas. Dr. Fabozzi has authored and edited numerous books and research papers on topics in investment management and financial econometrics, and his writings have focused on fixed income securities and portfolio management, many of which are considered standard references in the investment management industry. Dr. Fabozzi’s long-standing service on the boards of directors/trustees of the closed-end funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex also provides him with a specific understanding of the Funds, their operations and the business and regulatory issues facing the Funds. Moreover, Dr. Fabozzi’s knowledge of financial and accounting matters qualifies him to serve as a member of the Audit Committee. Dr. Fabozzi’s independence from the Funds and the Manager enhances his service as Chair of the Performance Oversight Committee.

 

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Table of Contents

Trustees

 

Experience, Qualifications and Skills

R. Glenn Hubbard   R. Glenn Hubbard has served in numerous roles in the field of economics, including as the Chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers of the President of the United States. Dr. Hubbard has served as the Dean of Columbia Business School, as a member of the Columbia Faculty and as a Visiting Professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Harvard Business School and the University of Chicago. Dr. Hubbard’s experience as an adviser to the President of the United States adds a dimension of balance to the Funds’ governance and provides perspective on economic issues. Dr. Hubbard’s service on the boards of ADP and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company provides the Board with the benefit of his experience with the management practices of other financial companies. Dr. Hubbard’s long-standing service on the boards of directors/trustees of the closed-end funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex also provides him with a specific understanding of the Funds, its operations, and the business and regulatory issues facing the Funds. Dr. Hubbard’s independence from the Funds and the Manager enhances his service as Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee and a member of the Compliance Committee and the Performance Oversight Committee.
W. Carl Kester   The Board benefits from W. Carl Kester’s experiences as a professor and author in finance, and his experience as the George Fisher Baker Jr. Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and as Deputy Dean of Academic Affairs at Harvard Business School from 2006 through 2010 adds to the Board a wealth of expertise in corporate finance and corporate governance. Dr. Kester has authored and edited numerous books and research papers on both subject matters, including co-editing a leading volume of finance case studies used worldwide. Dr. Kester’s long-standing service on the boards of directors/trustees of the closed-end funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex also provides him with a specific understanding of the Funds, their operations, and the business and regulatory issues facing the Funds. Dr. Kester’s independence from the Funds and the Manager enhances his service as a member of the Compliance Committee and the Performance Oversight Committee.
Catherine A. Lynch   Catherine A. Lynch, who served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust, benefits the Board by providing business leadership and experience and a diverse knowledge of pensions and endowments. Ms. Lynch also holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst. Ms. Lynch’s knowledge of financial and accounting matters qualifies her to serve as a member of the Audit Committee. Ms. Lynch’s independence from the Funds and the Manager enhances her service as a member of the Performance Oversight Committee.

 

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Table of Contents

Interested Trustees

 

Trustees

 

Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Robert Fairbairn   Robert Fairbairn has more than 25 years of experience with BlackRock, Inc. and over 30 years of experience in finance and asset management. In particular, Mr. Fairbairn’s positions as Vice Chairman of BlackRock, Inc., Member of BlackRock’s Global Executive and Global Operating Committees and Co-Chair of BlackRock’s Human Capital Committee provide the Board with a wealth of practical business knowledge and leadership. In addition, Mr. Fairbairn has global investment management and oversight experience through his former positions as Global Head of BlackRock’s Retail and iShares® businesses, Head of BlackRock’s Global Client Group, Chairman of BlackRock’s international businesses and his previous oversight over BlackRock’s Strategic Partner Program and Strategic Product Management Group. Mr. Fairbairn also serves as a board member for the funds in the BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex.
John M. Perlowski   John M. Perlowski’s experience as Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2009, as the Head of BlackRock Global Accounting and Product Services since 2009, and as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Funds provides him with a strong understanding of the Funds, their operations, and the business and regulatory issues facing the Funds. Mr. Perlowski’s prior position as Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Global Product Group at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and his former service as Treasurer and Senior Vice President of the Goldman Sachs Mutual Funds and as Director of the Goldman Sachs Offshore Funds provides the Board with the benefit of his experience with the management practices of other financial companies. Mr. Perlowski also serves as a board member for the funds in the BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex. Mr. Perlowski’s experience with BlackRock enhances his service as a member of the Executive Committee. President of the Goldman Sachs Mutual Funds and as Director of the Goldman Sachs Offshore Funds provides the Board with the benefit of his experience with the management practices of other financial companies. Mr. Perlowski also serves as a board member for the funds in the BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex. Mr. Perlowski’s experience with BlackRock enhances his service as a member of the Executive Committee.

Biographical Information

Certain biographical and other information relating to the Trustees is set forth below, including their address and year of birth, principal occupations for at least the last five years, length of time served, total number of registered investment companies and investment portfolios overseen in the BlackRock-advised Funds and any currently held public company and other investment company directorships.

 

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Table of Contents

Independent Trustees

 

Name and

Year of Birth1,2

 

Position(s)

Held (Length

of Service)3

 

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years

 

Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered
Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting
of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen

 

Public Company and
Other Investment
Company Directorships
Held During Past Five
Years

Richard E. Cavanagh

1946

  Co-Chair of the Board and Trustee (Since 2020)   Director, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America since 1998; Board Chair, Volunteers of America (a not-for-profit organization) from 2015 to 2018 (board member since 2009); Director, Arch Chemicals (chemical and allied products) from 1999 to 2011; Trustee, Educational Testing Service from 1997 to 2009 and Chairman thereof from 2005 to 2009; Senior Advisor, The Fremont Group since 2008 and Director thereof since 1996; Faculty Member/Adjunct Lecturer, Harvard University since 2007 and Executive Dean from 1987 to 1995; President and Chief Executive Officer, The Conference Board, Inc. (global business research organization) from 1995 to 2007.   81 RICs consisting of 106 Portfolios   None

Karen P. Robards

1950

  Co-Chair of the Board and Trustee (Since 2020)   Principal of Robards & Company, LLC (consulting and private investing) since 1987; Co-founder and Director of the Cooke Center for Learning and Development (a not-for-profit organization) since 1987; Director of Enable Injections, LLC (medical devices) since 2019; Investment Banker at Morgan Stanley from 1976 to 1987.   81 RICs consisting of 106 Portfolios   Greenhill & Co., Inc.; AtriCure, Inc. (medical devices) from 2000 until 2017

 

28


Table of Contents

Name and

Year of Birth1,2

 

Position(s)

Held (Length

of Service)3

 

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years

 

Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered
Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting
of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen

 

Public Company and
Other Investment
Company Directorships
Held During Past Five
Years

Michael J. Castellano

1946

  Trustee (Since 2020)   Chief Financial Officer of Lazard Group LLC from 2001 to 2011; Chief Financial Officer of Lazard Ltd from 2004 to 2011; Director, Support Our Aging Religious (non-profit) from 2009 to June 2015 and from 2017 to September 2020; Director, National Advisory Board of Church Management at Villanova University since 2010; Trustee, Domestic Church Media Foundation since 2012; Director, CircleBlack Inc. (financial technology company) from 2015 to July 2020.   81 RICs consisting of 106 Portfolios   None

Cynthia L. Egan

1955

  Trustee (Since 2020)   Advisor, U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2014 to 2015; President, Retirement Plan Services, for T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. from 2007 to 2012; executive positions within Fidelity Investments from 1989 to 2007.   81 RICs consisting of 106 Portfolios   Unum (insurance); The Hanover Insurance Group (Board Chair) (insurance); Huntsman Corporation (chemical products); Envestnet (investment platform) from 2013 until 2016

 

29


Table of Contents

Name and

Year of Birth1,2

 

Position(s)

Held (Length

of Service)3

 

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years

 

Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered
Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting
of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen

 

Public Company and
Other Investment
Company Directorships
Held During Past Five
Years

Frank J. Fabozzi4

1948

  Trustee (Since 2020)   Editor of The Journal of Portfolio Management since 1986; Professor of Finance, EDHEC Business School (France) since 2011; Visiting Professor, Princeton University for the 2013 to 2014 academic year and Spring 2017 semester; Professor in the Practice of Finance, Yale University School of Management from 1994 to 2011 and currently a Teaching Fellow in Yale’s Executive Programs; Board Member, BlackRock Equity-Liquidity Funds from 2014 to 2016; affiliated professor Karlsruhe Institute of Technology from 2008 to 2011; Visiting Professor, Rutgers University for the Spring 2019 semester; Visiting Professor, New York University for the 2019 academic year; Adjunct Professor of Finance, Carnegie Mellon University in fall 2020 semester.   83 RICs consisting of 108 Portfolios   None
R. Glenn Hubbard
1958
  Trustee
(Since 2020)
  Dean, Columbia Business School from 2004 to 2019; Faculty member, Columbia Business School since 1988.   81 RICs consisting of 106 Portfolios   ADP (data and information services) from 2004 to 2020; Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (insurance); KKR Financial Corporation (finance) from 2004 until 2014
W. Carl Kester4
1951
  Trustee
(Since 2020)
  George Fisher Baker Jr. Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School since 2008; Deputy Dean for Academic Affairs from 2006 to 2010; Chairman of the Finance Unit, from 2005 to 2006; Senior Associate Dean and Chairman of the MBA Program from 1999 to 2005; Member of the faculty of Harvard Business School since 1981.   83 RICs consisting of 108 Portfolios   None

 

30


Table of Contents

Name and

Year of Birth1,2

 

Position(s)

Held (Length

of Service)3

 

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years

 

Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered
Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting
of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen

 

Public Company and
Other Investment
Company Directorships
Held During Past Five
Years

Catherine A. Lynch4
1961
  Trustee
(Since 2020)
  Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer and various other positions, National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust from 2003 to 2016; Associate Vice President for Treasury Management, The George Washington University from 1999 to 2003; Assistant Treasurer, Episcopal Church of America from 1995 to 1999.   83 RICs consisting of 108 Portfolios   None

 

Name and
Year of Birth1,2

 

Position(s)

Held (Length

of Service)3

 

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years

 

Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered
Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting
of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen

 

Public Company and
Other Investment
Company Directorships
Held During Past Five
Years

Interested Trustees5  
Robert Fairbairn
1965
  Trustee
(Since 2020)
  Vice Chairman of BlackRock, Inc. since 2019; Member of BlackRock’s Global Executive and Global Operating Committees; Co-Chair of BlackRock’s Human Capital Committee; Senior Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. from 2010 to 2019; oversaw BlackRock’s Strategic Partner Program and Strategic Product Management Group from 2012 to 2019; Member of the Board of Managers of BlackRock Investments, LLC from 2011 to 2018; Global Head of BlackRock’s Retail and iShares® businesses from 2012 to 2016.   111 RICs consisting of 256 Portfolios   None

 

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Table of Contents

Name and
Year of Birth1,2

 

Position(s)

Held (Length

of Service)3

 

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years

 

Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered
Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting
of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen

 

Public Company and
Other Investment
Company Directorships
Held During Past Five
Years

John M. Perlowski4
1964
 

Trustee
(Since 2020)

President and Chief Executive Officer (Since 2020)

  Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2009; Head of BlackRock Global Accounting and Product Services since 2009; Advisory Director of Family Resource Network (charitable foundation) since 2009.   113 RICs consisting of 258 Portfolios   None

 

 

 

  1 

The address of each Trustee is c/o BlackRock, Inc., 55 East 52nd Street, New York, New York 10055.

 

  2 

Each Independent Trustee holds office until his or her successor is duly elected and qualifies or until his or her earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal as provided by the Trust’s by-laws or charter or statute, or until December 31 of the year in which he or she turns 75. Trustees who are “interested persons,” as defined in the Investment Company Act, serve until their successor is duly elected and qualifies or until their earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal as provided by the Trust’s by-laws or statute, or until December 31 of the year in which they turn 72. The Board may determine to extend the terms of Independent Trustees on a case-by-case basis, as appropriate.

 

  3 

Following the combination of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, L.P. (“MLIM”) and BlackRock, Inc. in September 2006, the various legacy MLIM and legacy BlackRock fund boards were realigned and consolidated into three new fund boards in 2007. Certain Independent Trustees first became members of the boards of other legacy MLIM or legacy BlackRock funds as follows: Richard E. Cavanagh, 1994; Frank J. Fabozzi, 1988; R. Glenn Hubbard, 2004; W. Carl Kester, 1995; and Karen P. Robards, 1998. Certain other Independent Trustees became members of the boards of the closed-end funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex as follows: Michael J. Castellano, 2011; Cynthia L. Egan, 2016; and Catherine A. Lynch, 2016.

 

  4 

Dr. Fabozzi, Dr. Kester, Ms. Lynch and Mr. Perlowski are also trustees of the BlackRock Credit Strategies Fund and BlackRock Private Investments Fund.

 

  5 

Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. Perlowski are both “interested persons,” as defined in the Investment Company Act, of the Trust based on their positions with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates. Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. Perlowski are also board members of the BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex.

Officers Who Are Not Trustees

Certain biographical and other information relating to the officers of the Trust who are not Trustees is set forth below, including their address and year of birth, principal occupations for at least the last five years and length of time served.

 

Name and

Year of Birth1,2

  

Position(s)

Held (Length

of Service)

  

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past Five Years

Officers Who Are Not Trustees   
Jennifer McGovern
1977
   Vice President (Since 2020)    Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2016; Director of BlackRock, Inc. from 2011 to 2015; Head of Americas Product Development and Governance for BlackRock’s Global Product Group since 2019; Head of Product Structure and Oversight for BlackRock’s U.S. Wealth Advisory Group from 2013 to 2019.

 

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Table of Contents

Name and

Year of Birth1,2

  

Position(s)

Held (Length

of Service)

  

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past Five Years

Trent Walker
1974
   Chief Financial Officer (Since 2021)    Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since September 2019; Executive Vice President of PIMCO from 2016 to 2019; Senior Vice President of PIMCO from 2008 to 2015; Treasurer from 2013 to 2019 and Assistant Treasurer from 2007 to 2017 of PIMCO Funds, PIMCO Variable Insurance Trust, PIMCO ETF Trust, PIMCO Equity Series, PIMCO Equity Series VIT, PIMCO Managed Accounts Trust, 2 PIMCO-sponsored interval funds and 21 PIMCO-sponsored closed-end funds.
Jay M. Fife
1970
   Treasurer (Since 2020)    Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2007.
Charles Park
1967
   Chief Compliance Officer (Since 2020)    Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer for certain BlackRock-advised Funds from 2014 to 2015; Chief Compliance Officer of BlackRock Advisors, LLC and the BlackRock-advised Funds in the BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex and the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex since 2014; Principal of and Chief Compliance Officer for iShares® Delaware Trust Sponsor LLC since 2012 and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) since 2006; Chief Compliance Officer for the BFA-advised iShares® exchange traded funds since 2006; Chief Compliance Officer for BlackRock Asset Management International Inc. since 2012.
Lisa Belle
1968
   Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer (Since 2020)    Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2019; Global Financial Crime Head for Asset and Wealth Management of JP Morgan from 2013 to 2019; Managing Director of RBS Securities from 2012 to 2013; Head of Financial Crimes for Barclays Wealth Americas from 2010 to 2012.
Janey Ahn
1975
   Secretary (Since 2020)    Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2018; Director of BlackRock, Inc. from 2009 to 2017.

 

 

 

  1 

The address of each Officer is c/o BlackRock, Inc., 55 East 52nd Street, New York, New York 10055.

 

  2 

Officers of the Trust serve at the pleasure of the Board.

Share Ownership

Information relating to each Trustee’s share ownership in all BlackRock-advised Funds that are currently overseen by the respective Trustee (“Supervised Funds”) as of December 31, 2020 is set forth in the chart below.

 

Name

    

Aggregate Dollar
Range of Equity
Securities in
Supervised Funds*

Independent Trustees:

    

Michael J. Castellano

     Over $100,000

Richard E. Cavanagh

     Over $100,000

Cynthia L. Egan

     Over $100,000

 

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Table of Contents

Name

    

Aggregate Dollar
Range of Equity
Securities in
Supervised Funds*

Frank J. Fabozzi

     Over $100,000

R. Glenn Hubbard

     Over $100,000

W. Carl Kester

     Over $100,000

Catherine A. Lynch

     Over $100,000

Karen P. Robards

     Over $100,000

Interested Trustees:

    

Robert Fairbairn

     Over $100,000

John M. Perlowski

     Over $100,000

 

 

 

  *

Includes share equivalents owned under the deferred compensation plan in the Supervised Funds by certain Independent Trustees who have participated in the deferred compensation plan of the Supervised Funds.

As of the date of this SAI, the Trustees and officers of the Trust as a group owned an aggregate of less than 1% of the outstanding shares of the Funds. As of December 31, 2020, none of the Independent Trustees of the Trust or their immediate family members owned beneficially or of record any securities of the Funds investment adviser, principal underwriter, or any person directly or indirectly controlling, controlled by or under common control with such entities.

Compensation of Trustees

Each Trustee who is an Independent Trustee is paid an annual retainer of $370,000 per year for his or her services as a Board member of the BlackRock-advised Funds, including the Funds, and each Independent Trustee may also receive a $10,000 Board meeting fee for special unscheduled meetings or meetings in excess of six Board meetings held in a calendar year, together with out-of-pocket expenses in accordance with a Board policy on travel and other business expenses relating to attendance at meetings. In addition, each Co-Chair of the Board is paid an additional annual retainer of $100,000. The Chairs of the Audit Committee, Performance Oversight Committee, Compliance Committee, and Governance and Nominating Committee are paid an additional annual retainer of $45,000, $37,500, $45,000 and $37,500, respectively. Each of the members of the Audit Committee and Compliance Committee are paid an additional annual retainer of $30,000 and $25,000, respectively, for his or her service on such committee. The Funds will pay a pro rata portion quarterly (based on relative net assets) of the foregoing Trustee fees paid by the funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex. Prior to January 1, 2021, each Independent Trustee was subject to a different compensation arrangement with respect to his or her services as a member of the board of directors/trustees to the funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex.

The Independent Trustees have agreed that a maximum of 50% of each Independent Trustee’s total compensation paid by funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex may be deferred pursuant to the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex’s deferred compensation plan. Under the deferred compensation plan, deferred amounts earn a return for the Independent Trustees as though equivalent dollar amounts had been invested in shares of certain funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex selected by the Independent Trustees. This has approximately the same economic effect for the Independent Trustees as if they had invested the deferred amounts in such funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex. The deferred compensation plan is not funded and obligations thereunder represent general unsecured claims against the general assets of a fund and are recorded as a liability for accounting purposes.

 

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The following table sets forth the estimated compensation the Trust expects to pay to the Trustees, on behalf of the Funds, for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2021, and the aggregate compensation, including deferred compensation amounts, paid to them by all BlackRock-advised Funds for the calendar year ended December 31, 2020.

 

Name1

   Estimated
Compensation from
the BlackRock High
Yield Muni Income
Bond ETF
   Estimated
Compensation
from
BlackRock
Intermediate
Muni Income
Bond ETF
   Estimated Annual
Benefits upon
Retirement
   Aggregate
Compensation from
the Fund and
Other BlackRock-
Advised Funds2

Independent Trustees:

           

Michael J. Castellano

   $293    $293    None    $405,000

Richard E. Cavanagh

   $320    $320    None    $455,000

Cynthia L. Egan

   $290    $290    None    $400,000

Frank J. Fabozzi

   $289    $289    None    $420,000

R. Glenn Hubbard

   $286    $286    None    $375,000

W. Carl Kester

   $266    $266    None    $385,000

Catherine A. Lynch

   $268    $268    None    $390,000

Karen P. Robards

   $322    $322    None    $460,000

Interested Trustees:

           

Robert Fairbairn

   None    None    None    None

John M. Perlowski

   None    None    None    None

 

 

 

  1 

For the number of BlackRock-advised Funds from which each Trustee receives compensation see the Biographical Information Chart beginning on page 28.

 

  2 

For the Independent Trustees, this amount represents the aggregate compensation earned from the funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex during the calendar year ended December 31, 2020. Of this amount, Mr. Castellano, Mr. Cavanagh, Dr. Fabozzi, Dr. Hubbard, Dr. Kester, Ms. Lynch and Ms. Robards deferred $121,500, $150,150, $84,000, $187,500, $50,000, $58,500 and $23,000, respectively, pursuant to the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex’s deferred compensation plan.

 

  3 

Total amount of deferred compensation payable by the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex to Mr. Castellano, Mr. Cavanagh, Dr. Fabozzi, Dr. Hubbard, Dr. Kester, Ms. Lynch and Ms. Robards is $1,219,536, $1,833,807, $1,005,663, $2,999,679, $1,481,108, $283,963 and $1,068,129, respectively, as of December 31, 2020. Ms. Egan did not participate in the deferred compensation plan as of December 31, 2020.

Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities.

BlackRock Financial Management, Inc. (“BFM”), a Delaware corporation, has provided an initial investment in each Fund. For so long as BFM has a greater than 25% interest in a Fund, BFM may be deemed be a “control person” of the Fund for purposes of the 1940 Act. The address of BFM is 40 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022.

As of the date of this SAI, no other person owned beneficially or of record 5% or more of the outstanding shares of a Fund or class of a Fund.

Potential Conflicts of Interest. Certain activities of BFA, BlackRock, Inc. and the other subsidiaries of BlackRock, Inc. (collectively referred to in this section as “BlackRock”) and their respective directors, officers or employees, with respect to the Funds and/or other accounts managed by BlackRock, 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. BlackRock, its subsidiaries and their respective directors, officers and employees, including the business units or entities and personnel who may be involved in the investment activities and business operations of a Fund, are engaged worldwide in businesses, including managing equities, fixed- income securities, cash and alternative

 

35


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investments, and other financial services, and have interests other than that of managing the Funds. These are considerations of which investors in a Fund should be aware, and which may cause conflicts of interest that could disadvantage a Fund and its shareholders. These businesses and interests include potential multiple advisory, transactional, financial and other relationships with, or interests in companies and interests in securities or other instruments that may be purchased or sold by a Fund.

BlackRock has 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 a Fund and/or that engage in transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and instruments as the Fund. BlackRock is also a major participant in the global currency, equities, swap and fixed income markets, in each case, for the accounts of clients and, in some cases, on a proprietary basis. As such, BlackRock is or may be actively engaged in transactions in the same securities, currencies, and instruments in which a Fund invests. Such activities could affect the prices and availability of the securities, currencies, and instruments in which a Fund invests, which could have an adverse impact on a Fund’s performance. Such transactions, particularly in respect of most proprietary accounts or client accounts, will be executed independently of a Fund’s transactions and thus at prices or rates that may be more or less favorable than those obtained by the Fund.

When BlackRock seeks to purchase or sell the same assets for client accounts, including a Fund, the assets actually purchased or sold may be allocated among the accounts on a basis determined in its 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 a Fund. In addition, transactions in investments by one or more other accounts managed by BlackRock may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of a Fund, particularly, but not limited to, with respect to small-capitalization, emerging market or less liquid strategies. This may occur with respect to BlackRock-advised accounts when investment decisions regarding a Fund are based on research or other information that is also used to support decisions for other accounts. When BlackRock implements a portfolio decision or strategy on behalf of another account ahead of, or contemporaneously with, similar decisions or strategies for a 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 may, in certain cases, elect to implement internal policies and procedures designed to limit such consequences, which may cause a 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 a Fund may benefit other accounts managed by BlackRock. For example, the sale of a long position or establishment of a short position by a Fund may impair the price of the same security sold short by (and therefore benefit) BlackRock or its other accounts or funds, and the purchase of a security or covering of a short position in a security by a Fund may increase the price of the same security held by (and therefore benefit) BlackRock or its other accounts or funds.

BlackRock, on behalf of other client accounts, on the one hand, and a Fund, on the other hand, may invest in or extend credit to different parts of the capital structure of a single issuer. BlackRock may pursue rights, provide advice or engage in other activities, or refrain from pursuing rights, providing advice or engaging in other activities, on behalf of other clients with respect to an issuer in which a Fund has invested, and such actions (or refraining from action) may have a material adverse effect on the Fund. In situations in which clients of BlackRock (including the Funds) hold positions in multiple parts of the capital structure of an issuer, BlackRock may not pursue certain actions or remedies that may be available to a Fund, as a result of legal and regulatory requirements or otherwise. BlackRock addresses these and other potential conflicts of interest based on the facts and circumstances of particular situations. For example, BlackRock may determine to rely on information barriers between

 

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different business units or portfolio management teams. BlackRock may also determine to rely on the actions of similarly situated holders of loans or securities rather than, or in connection with, taking such actions itself on behalf of the Funds.

In addition, to the extent permitted by applicable law, certain Funds may invest their assets in other funds advised by BlackRock, including funds that are managed by one or more of the same portfolio managers, which could result in conflicts of interest relating to asset allocation, timing of Fund purchases and redemptions, and increased remuneration and profitability for BlackRock and/or its personnel, including portfolio managers.

In certain circumstances, BlackRock, on behalf of the Funds, may seek to buy from or sell securities to another fund or account advised by BlackRock. BlackRock may (but is not required to) effect purchases and sales between BlackRock clients (“cross trades”), including the Funds, if BlackRock believes such transactions are appropriate based on each party’s investment objectives and guidelines, subject to applicable law and regulation. There may be potential conflicts of interest or regulatory issues relating to these transactions which could limit BlackRock’s decision to engage in these transactions for the Funds. BlackRock may have a potentially conflicting division of loyalties and responsibilities to the parties in such transactions. On any occasion when a Fund participates in a cross trade, BlackRock will comply with procedures adopted under applicable rules and SEC guidance.

BlackRock and its clients may pursue or enforce rights with respect to an issuer in which a 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 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 a Fund’s investment activities may differ significantly from the results achieved by BlackRock for its proprietary accounts or other accounts (including investment companies or collective investment vehicles) that it manages or advises. It is possible that one or more accounts managed or advised by BlackRock and such other accounts will achieve investment results that are substantially more or less favorable than the results achieved by a Fund. Moreover, it is possible that a Fund will sustain losses during periods in which one or more proprietary or other accounts managed or advised by BlackRock achieve significant profits. The opposite result is also possible.

From time to time, a Fund may be restricted from purchasing or selling securities, or from engaging in other investment activities because of regulatory, legal or contractual requirements applicable to BlackRock or other accounts managed or advised by BlackRock, and/or the internal policies of BlackRock designed to comply with such requirements. As a result, there may be periods, for example, when BlackRock will not initiate or recommend certain types of transactions in certain securities or instruments with respect to which BlackRock is performing services or when position limits have been reached. For example, the investment activities of BlackRock for its proprietary accounts and accounts under its management may limit the investment opportunities for a 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.

In connection with its management of a Fund, BlackRock may have access to certain fundamental analysis and proprietary technical models developed by BlackRock. BlackRock will not be under any obligation, however, to effect transactions on behalf of a Fund in accordance with such analysis and models. In addition, BlackRock will not have any obligation to make available any information regarding its proprietary activities or strategies, or the activities or strategies used for other accounts managed by them, for the benefit of the management of a 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

 

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strategies of BlackRock, or the activities or strategies used for accounts managed by BlackRock or other client accounts could conflict with the transactions and strategies employed by BlackRock in managing a Fund.

The Funds may be included in investment models developed by BlackRock for use by clients and financial advisors. To the extent clients invest in these investment models and increase the assets under management of the Funds, the investment management fee amounts paid by the Funds to BlackRock may also increase. The price, availability and liquidity of a Fund may be impacted by purchases and redemptions of the Fund by model-driven investment portfolios.

In addition, certain principals and certain employees of a Fund’s investment adviser are also principals or employees of other business units or entities within BlackRock. As a result, these principals and employees may have obligations to such other business units or entities or their clients and such obligations to other business units or entities or their clients may be a consideration of which investors in a Fund should be aware.

BlackRock may enter into transactions and invest in securities, instruments and currencies on behalf of a Fund in which clients of BlackRock or, to the extent permitted by the SEC and applicable law, BlackRock 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 a Fund may enhance the profitability of BlackRock.

BlackRock may also create, write or issue derivatives for clients, the underlying securities, currencies or instruments of which may be those in which a Fund invests or which may be based on the performance of the Fund. BlackRock has entered into an arrangement with Markit Indices Limited, the index provider for underlying fixed-income indexes used by certain iShares funds, related to derivative fixed-income products that are based on such iShares funds. BlackRock will receive certain payments for licensing intellectual property belonging to BlackRock and for facilitating provision of data in connection with such derivative products, which may include payments based on the trading volumes of, or revenues generated by, the derivative products. The Funds and other accounts managed by BlackRock may from time to time transact in such derivative products where permitted by the Fund’s investment strategy, which could contribute to the viability of such derivative products by making them more appealing to funds and accounts managed by third parties, and in turn lead to increased payments to BlackRock. Trading activity in these derivative products could also potentially lead to greater liquidity for such products, increased purchase activity with respect to these BlackRock funds and increased assets under management for BlackRock.

A Fund may, subject to applicable law, purchase investments that are the subject of an underwriting or other distribution by BlackRock and may also enter into transactions with other clients of BlackRock where such other clients have interests adverse to those of the Fund.

At times, these activities may cause business units or entities within BlackRock to give advice to clients that may cause these clients to take actions adverse to the interests of a Fund. To the extent such transactions are permitted, a Fund will deal with BlackRock on an arm’s-length basis.

To the extent authorized by applicable law, BlackRock may act as broker, dealer, agent, lender or adviser or in other commercial capacities for a 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 BlackRock will be in its view commercially reasonable, although BlackRock, including its

 

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sales personnel, will have an interest in obtaining fees and other amounts that are favorable to BlackRock and such sales personnel, which may have an adverse effect on the Funds. Index based funds may use an index provider that is affiliated with another service provider of the Fund or BlackRock that acts as a broker, dealer, agent, lender or in other commercial capacities for a Fund or BlackRock.

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

When BlackRock acts as broker, dealer, agent, adviser or in other commercial capacities in relation to the Funds, BlackRock may take commercial steps in its own interests, which may have an adverse effect on the Funds. A Fund will be required to establish business relationships with its counterparties based on the Fund’s own credit standing. BlackRock will not have any obligation to allow its credit to be used in connection with a Fund’s establishment of its business relationships, nor is it expected that the Fund’s counterparties will rely on the credit of BlackRock in evaluating the Fund’s creditworthiness.

BTC, an affiliate of BlackRock, pursuant to SEC exemptive relief, acts as securities lending agent to, and receives a share of securities lending revenues from, the Funds. BlackRock may receive compensation for managing the reinvestment of the cash collateral from securities lending. There are potential conflicts of interests in managing a securities lending program, including but not limited to: (i) BlackRock as securities lending agent may have an incentive to increase or decrease the amount of securities on loan or to lend particular securities in order to generate additional risk-adjusted revenue for BlackRock and its affiliates; and (ii) BlackRock as securities lending agent may have an incentive to allocate loans to clients that would provide more revenue to BlackRock. As described further below, BlackRock seeks to mitigate this conflict by providing its securities lending clients with equal lending opportunities over time in order to approximate pro rata allocation.

As part of its securities lending program, BlackRock indemnifies certain clients and/or funds against a shortfall in collateral in the event of borrower default. BlackRock calculates, on a regular basis, its potential dollar exposure to the risk of collateral shortfall upon counterparty default (“shortfall risk”) under the securities lending program for both indemnified and non-indemnified clients. On a periodic basis, BlackRock also determines the maximum amount of potential indemnified shortfall risk arising from securities lending activities (“indemnification exposure limit”) and the maximum amount of counterparty-specific credit exposure (“credit limits”) BlackRock is willing to assume as well as the program’s operational complexity. BlackRock oversees the risk model that calculates projected shortfall values using loan-level factors such as loan and collateral type and market value as well as specific borrower counterparty credit characteristics. When necessary, BlackRock may further adjust other securities lending program attributes by restricting eligible collateral or reducing counterparty credit limits. As a result, the management of the indemnification exposure limit may affect the amount of securities lending activity BlackRock may conduct at any given point in time and impact indemnified and non-indemnified clients by reducing the volume of lending opportunities for certain loans (including by asset type, collateral type and/or revenue profile).

BlackRock uses a predetermined systematic process in order to approximate pro rata allocation over time. In order to allocate a loan to a portfolio: (i) BlackRock as a whole must have sufficient lending capacity pursuant to the various program limits (i.e., indemnification exposure limit and counterparty credit limits); (ii) the lending portfolio must hold the asset at the time a loan opportunity arrives; and (iii) the lending portfolio must also have enough inventory, either on its own or when aggregated with other portfolios into one single market delivery, to satisfy the loan request. In doing so, BlackRock

 

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seeks to provide equal lending opportunities for all portfolios, independent of whether BlackRock indemnifies the portfolio. Equal opportunities for lending portfolios does not guarantee equal outcomes. Specifically, short and long-term outcomes for individual clients may vary due to asset mix, asset/liability spreads on different securities, and the overall limits imposed by the firm.

Purchases and sales of securities and other assets for a Fund may be bunched or aggregated with orders for other BlackRock client accounts, including with accounts that pay different transaction costs solely due to the fact that they have different research payment arrangements. BlackRock, however, is not required to bunch or aggregate orders if portfolio management decisions for different accounts are made separately, or if they determine 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 Funds 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 Funds. In addition, under certain circumstances, the Funds will not be charged the same commission or commission equivalent rates in connection with a bunched or aggregated order.

Subject to applicable law, BlackRock may select brokers that furnish BlackRock, the Funds, other BlackRock client accounts 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 OTC 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 Funds 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 Funds based on the amount of brokerage commissions paid by the Funds 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 Funds 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 does not currently enter into arrangements to use the Funds’ assets for, or participate in, soft dollars, although 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, unless prohibited by applicable law, 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 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, unless prohibited by applicable law, may also enter into commission sharing arrangements under which BlackRock may execute

 

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transactions through a broker-dealer, 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”) (including, without limitation, ECNs in which BlackRock has an investment or other interest, to the extent permitted by applicable law) 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 Funds. In certain circumstances, ECNs may offer volume discounts that will reduce the access fees typically paid by BlackRock. BlackRock will only utilize ECNs consistent with its obligation to seek to obtain best execution in client transactions.

BlackRock owns a minority interest in, and is a member of, Members Exchange (“MEMX”), a newly created U.S. stock exchange. Transactions for a Fund may be executed on MEMX if third party brokers select MEMX as the appropriate venue for execution of orders placed by BlackRock traders on behalf of client portfolios.

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 Funds, 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, 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 may, subject to compliance with applicable law, purchase and hold shares of a Fund. Increasing a Fund’s assets may enhance liquidity, investment flexibility and diversification and may compliance with applicable law, to sell into the market or redeem in Creation Units through an Authorized Participant at any time some or all of the shares of a Fund acquired for its own accounts. A large sale or redemption of shares of a Fund by BlackRock could significantly reduce the asset size of the Fund, which might have an adverse effect on the Fund’s liquidity, investment flexibility, portfolio diversification, expense ratio or ability to comply with the listing requirements for the Fund. BlackRock seeks to consider the effect of redemptions on a Fund and other shareholders in deciding whether to redeem its shares but is not obligated to do so and may elect not to do so.

It is possible that a Fund may invest in securities of, or engage in transactions with, companies in which BlackRock has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. A Fund may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which BlackRock provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. In making investment decisions for a Fund, BlackRock is not permitted to obtain or use material non-public information acquired by any unit of BlackRock in the course of these activities. In addition, from time to time, the activities of BlackRock may limit a Fund’s flexibility in purchases and sales of securities. As indicated below, BlackRock may engage in transactions with companies in which BlackRock-advised funds or other clients of BlackRock have an investment.

 

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BlackRock and Chubb Limited (“Chubb”), a public company whose securities are held by BlackRock-advised funds and other accounts, partially funded the creation of a re-insurance company (“Re Co”) pursuant to which each has approximately a 9.9% ownership interest and each has representation on the board of directors. Certain employees and executives of BlackRock have a less than 12 of 1% ownership interest in Re Co. BlackRock manages the investment portfolio of Re Co, which is held in a wholly-owned subsidiary. Re Co participates as a reinsurer with reinsurance contracts underwritten by subsidiaries of Chubb.

BlackRock and its personnel and other financial service providers may have interests in promoting sales of the Funds. With respect to BlackRock and its personnel, the remuneration and profitability relating to services to and sales of the Funds 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 sales personnel may directly or indirectly receive a portion of the fees and commissions charged to the Funds or their 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 and such personnel resulting from transactions on behalf of or management of the Funds may be greater than the remuneration and profitability resulting from other funds or products.

Third parties, including service providers to BlackRock or a Fund, may sponsor events (including, but not limited to, marketing and promotional activities and presentations, educational training programs and conferences) for registered representatives, other professionals and individual investors. There is a potential conflict of interest as such sponsorships may defray the costs of such activities to BlackRock, and may provide an incentive to BlackRock to retain such third parties to provide services to a Fund.

BlackRock may provide valuation assistance to certain clients with respect to certain securities or other investments and the valuation recommendations made for such clients’ accounts may differ from the valuations for the same securities or investments assigned by a 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 a 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 each Fund’s Prospectus and this SAI, when market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BlackRock to be unreliable, a Fund’s investments are valued at fair value by BlackRock in accordance with procedures adopted by the Board. When determining a “fair value price,” BlackRock seeks to determine the price that a Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or liability in an arm’s-length transaction. The price generally may not be determined based on what a Fund might reasonably expect to receive for selling an asset or liability at a later time or if it holds the asset or liability to maturity. While fair value determinations will be based upon all available factors that BlackRock deems relevant at the time of the determination, and may be based on analytical values determined by BlackRock using proprietary or third-party valuation models, fair value represents only a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of one or more assets or liabilities may not, in retrospect, be the price at which those assets or liabilities could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used in determining a Fund’s NAV. As a result, a Fund’s sale or redemption of its shares at NAV, 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

 

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diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders and may affect the amount of revenue received by BlackRock with respect to services for which it receives an asset-based fee.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, a 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, a Fund, to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, may pay its share of expenses of a money market fund or other similarly-managed private fund in which it invests, which may result in a Fund bearing some additional expenses.

BlackRock and its 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 a Fund. As a result of differing trading and investment strategies or constraints, positions may be taken by directors, officers and employees of BlackRock that are the same, different from or made at different times than positions taken for the Fund. To lessen the possibility that a Fund will be adversely affected by this personal trading, the Fund, BRIL and BlackRock each have adopted a Code of Ethics in compliance with Section 17(j) of the Investment Company 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 is also available on the EDGAR Database on the Commission’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.

BlackRock will not purchase securities or other property from, or sell securities or other property to, a Fund, except that the Fund may in accordance with rules or guidance adopted under the 1940 Act engage in transactions with another Fund or 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 Funds and/or BlackRock by the SEC. These transactions would be effected 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 a Fund may be restricted because of regulatory requirements applicable to BlackRock 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 its advice in certain securities or instruments issued by or related to companies for which BlackRock is performing advisory or other services or has proprietary positions. For example, when BlackRock is engaged to provide advisory or risk management services for a company, BlackRock may be prohibited from or limited in purchasing or selling securities of that company on behalf of a Fund, particularly where such services result in BlackRock obtaining material non-public information about the company (e.g., in connection with participation in a creditors’ committee). Similar situations could arise if personnel of BlackRock serve as directors of companies the securities of which the Funds wish to purchase or sell. However, if permitted by applicable law, and where consistent with BlackRock’s policies and procedures (including the necessary implementation of appropriate information barriers), the Funds may purchase securities or instruments that are issued by such companies, are the subject of an advisory or risk management assignment by BlackRock, or where personnel of BlackRock are directors or officers of the issuer.

The investment activities of BlackRock for its proprietary accounts and for client accounts may also limit the investment strategies and rights of the Funds. For example, in certain circumstances where the Funds invest in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries, in certain emerging or international markets, or are subject to corporate or regulatory ownership restrictions, or invest in certain futures and derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate amount invested by BlackRock for its proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including

 

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the Funds) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BlackRock, the Funds or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions.

If certain aggregate ownership thresholds are reached either through the actions of BlackRock or a Fund or as a result of third-party transactions, the ability of BlackRock, on behalf of clients (including the Funds), 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 its clients (including the Funds), may limit purchases, sell existing investments, or otherwise restrict, forgo or limit the exercise of rights (including transferring, outsourcing or limiting voting rights or forgoing the right to receive dividends) when BlackRock, in its sole discretion, deems it appropriate in light of potential regulatory or other restrictions on ownership or other consequences resulting from reaching investment thresholds.

In those circumstances where ownership thresholds or limitations must be observed, BlackRock seeks to allocate limited investment opportunities equitably among clients (including the Funds), taking into consideration benchmark weight and investment strategy. BlackRock has adopted certain controls designed to prevent the occurrence of a breach of any applicable ownership threshold or limits, including, for example, when ownership in certain securities nears an applicable threshold, BlackRock may remove such securities from the list of Deposit Securities to be delivered to the Fund in connection with purchases of Creation Units of such Fund and may limit purchases in such securities to the issuer’s weighting in the applicable benchmark used by BlackRock to manage such Fund. If client (including Fund) holdings of an issuer exceed an applicable threshold and BlackRock is unable to obtain relief to enable the continued holding of such investments, it may be necessary to sell down these positions to meet the applicable limitations. In these cases, benchmark overweight positions will be sold prior to benchmark positions being reduced to meet applicable limitations.

In addition to the foregoing, other ownership thresholds may trigger reporting requirements to governmental and regulatory authorities, and such reports may entail the disclosure of the identity of a client or BlackRock’s intended strategy with respect to such security or asset.

BlackRock may not serve as an Authorized Participant in the creation and redemption of BlackRock-advised ETFs.

BlackRock may maintain securities indices. To the extent permitted by applicable laws, the Funds may seek to license and use such indices as part of their investment strategy. Index based funds that seek to track the performance of securities indices also may use the name of the index or index provider in the fund name. Index providers, including BlackRock (to the extent permitted by applicable law), may be paid licensing fees for use of their index or index name. BlackRock may benefit from the Funds using BlackRock indices by creating increasing acceptance in the marketplace for such indices. BlackRock is not obligated to license its indices to a Fund and the Funds are under no obligation to use BlackRock indices. Any Fund that enters into a license for a BlackRock index cannot be assured that the terms of any index licensing agreement with BlackRock will be as favorable as those terms offered to other licensees.

The custody arrangement described in “Investment Advisory, Administrative and Distribution Services” may lead to potential conflicts of interest with BlackRock where BlackRock has agreed to waive fees and/or reimburse ordinary operating expenses in order to cap expenses of the Funds (or where BlackRock charges a unitary management fee). This is because the custody arrangements with certain funds’ custodian may have the effect of reducing custody fees when the a funds leaves cash balances uninvested. This could be viewed as having the potential to provide BlackRock an incentive to keep high positive cash balances for such funds in order to offset fund custody fees that BlackRock might

 

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otherwise reimburse or pay. However, BlackRock’s portfolio managers do not intentionally keep uninvested balances high, but rather make investment decisions that they anticipate will be beneficial to fund performance. For funds without a unitary management fee, when a fund’s actual operating expense ratio exceeds a stated cap, a reduction in custody fees reduces the amount of waivers and/or reimbursements BlackRock would be required to make to the fund.

BlackRock may enter into contractual arrangements with third-party service providers to a Fund (e.g., custodians, administrators and index providers) pursuant to which BlackRock receives fee discounts or concessions in recognition of BlackRock’s overall relationship with such service providers. To the extent that BlackRock is responsible for paying these service providers out of its management fee, the benefits of any such fee discounts or concessions may accrue, in whole or in part, to BlackRock.

BlackRock owns or has an ownership interest in certain trading, portfolio management, operations and/or information systems used by Fund service providers. These systems are, or will be, used by a Fund service provider in connection with the provision of services to accounts managed by BlackRock and funds managed and sponsored by BlackRock, including the Funds, that engage the service provider (typically the custodian). A Fund’s service provider remunerates BlackRock for the use of the systems. A Fund service provider’s payments to BlackRock for the use of these systems may enhance the profitability of BlackRock.

BlackRock has entered into an arrangement with Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (“ICE”) to be one of ICE’s development partners in connection with ICE’s open-architecture, centralized industry platform to facilitate creation and redemption orders for ETFs (the “ICE Platform”). As a development partner, BlackRock has licensed certain of its intellectual property to ICE. BlackRock uses the ICE Platform to facilitate creations and redemptions in the Funds and certain other services provided by the ICE Platform. BlackRock may have an incentive to promote the broad adoption of the ICE Platform by the ETF marketplace because BlackRock will earn a fee, based on the total revenues earned by the ICE Platform, for licensing BlackRock’s intellectual property to ICE and for BlackRock’s role as development partner. ICE Data Indices, LLC, the underlying index provider for certain BFA managed funds, is a wholly owned subsidiary of ICE.

BlackRock’s receipt of fees from a service provider in connection with the use of systems provided by BlackRock may create an incentive for BlackRock to recommend that a Fund enter into or renew an arrangement with the service provider.

In recognition of a BlackRock client’s overall relationship with BlackRock, BlackRock may offer special pricing arrangements for certain services provided by BlackRock. Any such special pricing arrangements will not affect Fund fees and expenses applicable to such client’s investment in a Fund.

Present and future activities of BlackRock and its directors, officers and employees, 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 each Fund pursuant to an investment advisory agreement between the Trust, on behalf of each 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,

 

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subject to the supervision of the Board and in conformity with the stated investment policies of each Fund, manages and administers the Trust and the investment of each Fund’s assets. BFA is responsible for making investment decisions for each 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 a 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.

BFA is responsible, under the investment advisory agreement, for substantially all expenses of the Funds, including the cost of transfer agency, custody, fund administration, legal, audit and other services. BFA is not responsible for, and the Funds will bear the cost of, the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and extraordinary expenses (as determined by a majority of the Independent Trustees).

For its investment advisory services to the BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF, BFA will be paid a management fee by the Fund, based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at an annual rate of 0.45%.

With respect to the BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF, BlackRock has contractually agreed to waive 0.10% of the management fee through November 30, 2023. The agreement may be terminated upon 90 days’ notice by a majority of the non-interested trustees of the Trust or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.

For its investment advisory services to the BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF, BFA will be paid a management fee by the Fund, based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at an annual rate of 0.40%.

With respect to the BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF, BlackRock has contractually agreed to waive 0.10% of the management fee through June 30, 2023. The agreement may be terminated upon 90 days’ notice by a majority of the non-interested trustees of the Trust or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.

BFA has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF pays to BFA indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by BFA or its affiliates, through November 30, 2023.

BFA has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF pays to BFA indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by BFA or its affiliates, through June 30, 2023.

BFA may also from time to time voluntarily waive and/or reimburse fees or expenses in order to limit total annual fund operating expenses (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, if any). Any such voluntary waiver or reimbursement may be eliminated by BFA at any time.

As of the date of this SAI, the Funds have not made any payments to BFA for investment advisory services because the Fund has not yet commenced operations.

 

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The investment advisory agreement with respect to each 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 members 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.

The investment advisory agreement with respect to each Fund is terminable without penalty, on 60 days’ notice, by the Board or by a vote of the holders of a majority of the applicable Fund’s outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act). The investment advisory agreement is also terminable upon 60 days’ notice by BFA and will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act).

BFA also serves as the investment adviser for a large number of index-based exchange-traded funds which operate under the iShares brand. The Funds differ from these iShares products as they are actively managed and seek to outperform the investment results of an identified segment of the securities markets rather than to track the performance of a benchmark. BFA expects to continue to advise existing and newly-formed iShares products, as well as actively-managed ETFs to the extent new actively-managed ETFs are introduced.

Portfolio Managers. As of December 31, 2020, the individuals named as Portfolio Managers in the Funds’ Prospectuses were also primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of other BlackRock funds and certain other types of portfolios and/or accounts as follows:

Kevin Maloney

 

Types of Accounts

   Number      Total Assets  

Registered Investment Companies

     11      $ 4.59 Billion  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     0        0  

Other Accounts

     0        0  

James Mauro

 

Types of Accounts

   Number      Total Assets  

Registered Investment Companies

     102      $ 479.7 Billion  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     0        0  

Other Accounts

     0        0  

Michael Perilli

 

Types of Accounts

   Number      Total Assets  

Registered Investment Companies

     21      $ 7.09 Billion  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     0        0  

Other Accounts

     0        0  

Christian Romaglino

 

Types of Accounts

   Number      Total Assets  

Registered Investment Companies

     13      $ 6.11 Billion  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     0        0  

Other Accounts

     0        0  

 

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Phillip Soccio

 

Types of Accounts

   Number      Total Assets  

Registered Investment Companies

     16      $ 6.06 Billion  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     0        0  

Other Accounts

     0        0  

Pursuant to BFA’s policy, investment opportunities are allocated equitably among the Funds and other portfolios and accounts. For example, under certain circumstances, an investment opportunity may be restricted due to limited supply in the market, legal constraints or other factors, in which event the investment opportunity will be allocated equitably among those portfolios and accounts, including the Funds, 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 Funds, 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 its affiliates, as applicable, for its advisory services. One or more of those other portfolios or accounts, however, may pay BFA or its affiliates a performance-based fee in lieu of, or in addition to, an asset-based fee for its advisory services. A portfolio or account with a performance-based fee would pay BFA or its affiliates a portion of that portfolio’s or account’s gains, or would pay BFA or its affiliates more for its services than would otherwise be the case if BFA or any of its affiliates meets or exceeds specified performance targets. Performance-based fee arrangements could present an incentive for BFA or its affiliates 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 BFA and each of its affiliates have an obligation to allocate resources and opportunities equitably among portfolios and accounts and intend to do so, shareholders of the Funds 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 arrangements, including performance-based fee arrangements, there is the potential for a conflict of interest, which may result in the Portfolio Managers favoring those portfolios or accounts with performance-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 December 31, 2020:

Kevin Maloney

 

Types of Accounts

   Number of Other
Accounts
with Performance Fees
Managed by Portfolio
Manager
     Aggregate
of Total Assets
 

Registered Investment Companies

     0      $ 0  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     0        0  

Other Accounts

     0        0  

 

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James Mauro

 

Types of Accounts

   Number of Other
Accounts
with Performance Fees
Managed by Portfolio
Manager
     Aggregate
of Total Assets
 

Registered Investment Companies

     0      $ 0  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     0        0  

Other Accounts

     0        0  

Michael Perilli

 

Types of Accounts

   Number of Other
Accounts
with Performance Fees
Managed by Portfolio
Manager
     Aggregate
of Total Assets
 

Registered Investment Companies

     0      $ 0  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     0        0  

Other Accounts

     0        0  

Christian Romaglino

 

Types of Accounts

   Number of Other
Accounts
with Performance Fees
Managed by Portfolio
Manager
     Aggregate
of Total Assets
 

Registered Investment Companies

     0      $ 0  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     0        0  

Other Accounts

     0        0  

Phillip Soccio

 

Types of Accounts

   Number of Other
Accounts
with Performance Fees
Managed by Portfolio
Manager
     Aggregate
of Total Assets
 

Registered Investment Companies

     0      $ 0  

Other Pooled Investment Vehicles

     0        0  

Other Accounts

     0        0  

The discussion below describes the Portfolio Managers’ compensation as of December 31, 2020.

Portfolio Manager Compensation Overview

BlackRock, Inc.’s financial arrangements with its portfolio managers, its competitive compensation and its career path emphasis at all levels reflect the value senior management places on key resources. Compensation may include a variety of components and may vary from year to year based on a number of factors. The principal components of compensation include a base salary, a performance-based discretionary bonus, participation in various benefits programs and one or more of the incentive compensation programs established by BlackRock, Inc.

Base compensation. Generally, portfolio managers receive base compensation based on their position with the firm.

 

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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, and the individual’s performance and contribution to the overall performance of these portfolios and BlackRock. Among other things, BlackRock’s Chief Investment Officers make a subjective determination with respect to each portfolio manager’s compensation based on the performance of the Funds and other accounts managed by each portfolio manager. Performance of multi-asset class funds is generally measured on a pre-tax basis over various time periods including 1-, 3- and 5- year periods, as applicable. With respect to these portfolio managers, such benchmarks for the Fund and other accounts are:

 

Portfolio Manager

  

Benchmarks

Kevin Maloney

Michael Perilli

Christian Romaglino

Phil Soccio

   A combination of market-based indices (e.g., Standard & Poor’s Municipal Bond Index), certain customized indices and certain fund industry peer groups.

James Mauro

   A combination of market-based indices (e.g., Bloomberg Barclays MBS Index and the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. TIPS 0-5 Years Index).

Distribution of Discretionary Incentive Compensation. Discretionary incentive compensation is distributed to portfolio managers in a combination of cash, deferred BlackRock, Inc. stock awards, and/or deferred cash awards that notionally track the return of certain BlackRock investment products.

Portfolio managers receive their annual discretionary incentive compensation in the form of cash. Portfolio managers whose total compensation is above a specified threshold also receive deferred BlackRock, Inc. stock awards annually as part of their discretionary incentive compensation. Paying a portion of discretionary incentive compensation in the form of deferred BlackRock, Inc. 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. In some cases, additional deferred BlackRock, Inc. stock may be granted to certain key employees as part of a long-term incentive award to aid in retention, align interests with long-term shareholders and motivate performance. Deferred BlackRock, Inc. stock awards are generally granted in the form of BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units that vest pursuant to the terms of the applicable plan and, once vested, settle in BlackRock, Inc. common stock. The portfolio managers of this Fund have deferred BlackRock, Inc. stock awards.

For certain portfolio managers, a portion of the discretionary incentive compensation is also distributed in the form of deferred cash awards that notionally track the returns of select BlackRock investment products they manage, which provides direct alignment of portfolio manager discretionary incentive compensation with investment product results. Deferred cash awards vest ratably over a number of years and, once vested, settle in the form of cash. Only portfolio managers who manage specified products and whose total compensation is above a specified threshold are eligible to participate in the deferred cash award program.

Other Compensation Benefits. In addition to base compensation and discretionary incentive compensation, portfolio managers may be eligible to receive or participate in one or more of the following:

Incentive Savings Plans — BlackRock, Inc. has created a variety of incentive savings plans in which BlackRock, Inc. employees are eligible to participate, including a 401(k) plan, the BlackRock Retirement Savings Plan (“RSP”), and the BlackRock Employee Stock Purchase Plan (“ESPP”). The employer

 

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contribution components of the RSP include a company match equal to 50% of the first 8% of eligible pay contributed to the plan capped at $5,000 per year, and a company retirement contribution equal to 3-5% of eligible compensation up to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) limit ($285,000 for 2020). The RSP offers a range of investment options, including registered investment companies and collective investment funds managed by the firm. BlackRock, Inc. contributions follow the investment direction set by participants for their own contributions or, absent participant investment direction, are invested into an index target date fund that corresponds to, or is closest to, the year in which the participant attains age 65. The ESPP allows for investment in BlackRock, Inc. common stock at a 5% discount on the fair market value of the stock on the purchase date. Annual participation in the ESPP is limited to the purchase of 1,000 shares of common stock or a dollar value of $25,000 based on its fair market value on the Purchase Date. All of the eligible portfolio managers are eligible to participate in these plans.

As of December 31, 2020, the Portfolio Managers did not beneficially own shares of the Fund.

Codes of Ethics. The Trust, BFA and the Distributor have adopted codes of ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under 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 Funds. Each code of ethics is available by contacting BlackRock at the telephone number on the back cover of each Fund’s Prospectus or by accessing 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.

Anti-Money Laundering Requirements. The Funds are 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, a 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 Funds reserve the right to reject purchase orders from persons who have not submitted information sufficient to allow the Fund to verify their identity. Each Fund also reserves the right to redeem any amounts in a Fund from persons whose identity it is unable to verify on a timely basis. It is the Funds’ 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 Funds. State Street’s principal address is 1 Lincoln Street, Boston, MA 02111. Pursuant to the Administration and Fund Accounting Services Agreement 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 Funds. In addition, State Street makes available the office space, equipment, personnel and facilities required to provide such services. Pursuant to the Master Custodian Agreement with the Trust, State Street maintains, in separate accounts, cash, securities and other assets of the Trust and the Funds, 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 Funds. State Street is authorized to appoint certain foreign custodians or foreign custody managers for Fund investments outside the U.S. Pursuant to the Transfer Agency and Service Agreement with the Trust, State Street acts as a transfer agent for the Funds’ 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.

 

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As of the date of this SAI, the Funds have not made any payments to State Street for its services as administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Funds because the Funds have not yet commenced operations.

Distributor. The Distributor’s principal address is 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540. Shares are continuously offered for sale by the Funds through the Distributor or its agent only in Creation Units, as described in the applicable Prospectus and below in the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI. Fund shares in amounts less than Creation Units are generally not distributed by the Distributor or its agent. The Distributor or its agent will arrange for the delivery of the applicable Prospectus and, upon request, this SAI to persons purchasing Creation Units and will maintain records of both orders placed with it or its agents and confirmations of acceptance furnished by it or its agents. 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 Distributor is also licensed as a broker-dealer in all 50 U.S. states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

The Distribution Agreement for each 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) 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 described below), Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) participants and/or investor services organizations.

BFA or its affiliates 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.

Securities Lending. To the extent that a Fund engages in securities lending, each Fund conducts its securities lending pursuant to SEC exemptive relief, and BTC acts as securities lending agent for the Funds, subject to the overall supervision of BFA, pursuant to a written agreement (the “Securities Lending Agency Agreement”).

To the extent a Fund engages in securities lending, the Fund retains a portion of securities lending income and remits a remaining portion to BTC as compensation for its services as securities lending agent. Securities lending income is generally equal to the total of income earned from the reinvestment of cash collateral (and excludes collateral investment fees as defined below), and any fees or other payments to and from borrowers of securities. As securities lending agent, BTC bears all operational costs directly related to securities lending. Each Fund is responsible for fees in connection with the investment of cash collateral received for securities on loan in money market funds advised by BFA or its affiliates and such fees will not be subject to any waivers. However, BTC has agreed to reduce the amount of securities lending income it receives in order to effectively limit the collateral investment fees each Fund bears to an annual rate of 0.04% (the “collateral investment fees”). Such money market fund shares will not be subject to a sales load, distribution fee or service fee. If the money market fund’s weekly liquid assets fall below 30% of its total assets, the board of directors of the money market fund, including the majority of the non-interested directors of the money market fund, is permitted at any time, if it determines it to be in the best interests of the money market fund, to impose a liquidity fee of up to 2% on all redemptions or impose a redemption gate that temporarily suspends the right of redemption out of the money market fund. In addition, if the money market fund’s weekly

 

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liquid assets fall below 10% of its total assets at the end of any business day, the board of directors of the money market fund, including the majority of the non-interested directors of the money market fund, will impose a liquidity fee in the default amount of 1% on all redemptions, generally effective as of the next business day, unless the board of directors of the money market fund, including the majority of the non-interested directors of the money market fund, determines that a higher (not to exceed 2%) or lower fee level or not imposing a liquidity fee is in the best interests of the money market fund. The shares of the money market fund purchased by the Fund would be subject to any such liquidity fee or redemption gate imposed.

Under the securities lending program, each Fund is categorized into a specific asset class. The determination of a Fund’s asset class category (fixed-income, domestic equity, international equity, or fund-of-funds), each of which may be subject to a different fee arrangement, is based on a methodology agreed to between the Trust and BTC.

Pursuant to the securities lending agreement: (i) if the Funds were to engage in securities lending, each Fund retains 82% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment fees), and (ii) this amount can never be less than 70% of the sum of securities lending income plus collateral investment fees.

In addition, commencing the business day following the date that the aggregate securities lending income earned across the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex in a calendar year exceeds a specified threshold, each Fund, pursuant to the securities lending agreement, will receive for the remainder of that calendar year securities lending income as follows: if the Funds were to engage in securities lending, (i) 85% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment fees); and (ii) this amount can never be less than 70% of the sum of securities lending income plus collateral investment fees.

Because the Fund is newly launched, no services have been provided by BTC as the Fund’s securities lending agent, and the Fund had no income and fees/compensation related to its securities lending activities as of the date of this SAI.

Payments by BFA and its Affiliates. BFA and/or its affiliates (“BFA Entities”) may pay certain broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks and other financial intermediaries (“Intermediaries”) for certain activities related to the Funds, other BFA-advised ETFs or exchange-traded products in general. BFA Entities make these payments from their own assets and not from the assets of the Funds. Although a portion of BFA Entities’ revenue comes directly or indirectly in part from fees paid by the Funds, BFA-advised ETFs or exchange-traded products, these payments do not increase the price paid by investors for the purchase of shares of, or the cost of owning, the Funds, other BFA-advised ETFs or exchange-traded products. BFA Entities make payments for Intermediaries’ participation in activities that are designed to make registered representatives, other professionals and individual investors more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Funds and other BFA-advised ETFs, 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 or materials relating to the Funds, other BFA-advised ETFs or exchange-traded products (“Publishing Costs”). In addition, BFA Entities make payments to Intermediaries that make shares of the Funds, other BFA-advised ETFs or exchange-traded products available to their clients, develop new products that feature BlackRock or otherwise promote the Funds, other BFA-advised ETFs and exchange-traded products. BFA Entities may also reimburse expenses or make payments from their own assets to Intermediaries or other persons in consideration of services or other activities that the BFA Entities believe may benefit the BlackRock business or facilitate investment in the Funds, other BFA-advised ETFs or exchange-traded products. Payments of the type described above are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments.

 

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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, such payments may create conflicts of interest between the Intermediary and its clients and these financial incentives may cause the Intermediary to recommend the Funds, other BFA-advised ETFs or exchange-traded products over other investments. The same conflicts of interest and financial incentives exist with respect to your salesperson or other investment professional if he or she receives similar payments from his or her Intermediary firm.

In addition to the payments described above, BFA Entities have developed proprietary tools, calculators and related interactive or digital content that is made available through the www.blackrock.com website at no additional cost to Intermediaries. BlackRock may configure these tools and calculators and localize the content for Intermediaries as part of its customary digital marketing support and promotion of the Funds, other BFA-advised ETFs, exchange-traded products and BlackRock mutual funds.

As of March 1, 2013, BFA Entities have contractual arrangements to make payments (in addition to payments for Education Costs or Publishing Costs) to one Intermediary, Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC (“FBS”). Effective June 4, 2016, this relationship was expanded to include National Financial Services, LLC (“NFS”), an affiliate of FBS. Pursuant to this special, long-term and significant arrangement (the “Marketing Program”), FBS, NFS and certain of their affiliates (collectively “Fidelity”) have agreed, among other things, to actively promote iShares funds to customers, investment professionals and other intermediaries and in advertising campaigns as the preferred exchange-traded product, to offer certain iShares funds in certain Fidelity platforms and investment programs, in some cases at a waived or reduced commission rate or ticket charge, and to provide marketing data to BFA Entities. BFA Entities have agreed to facilitate the Marketing Program by, among other things, making certain payments to FBS and NFS for marketing and implementing certain brokerage and investment programs. Upon termination of the arrangement, the BFA Entities will make additional payments to FBS and/or NFS based upon a number of criteria, including the overall success of the Marketing Program and the level of services provided by FBS and NFS during the wind-down period.

In addition, BFA Entities may enter into other contractual arrangements with Intermediaries and certain other third parties that the BFA Entities believe may benefit the BlackRock business or facilitate investment in BlackRock funds. Such agreements may include payments by BFA Entities to such Intermediaries and third parties for data collection and provision, technology support, platform enhancement, or co-marketing and cross-promotional efforts. Payments made pursuant to such arrangements may vary in any year and may be different for different Intermediaries and third parties. In certain cases, the payments described in the preceding sentence may be subject to certain minimum payment levels. Such payments will not be asset- or revenue-based. As of the date of this SAI, the Intermediaries and other third parties receiving one or more types of the contractual payments described above include (in addition to FBS and NFS): Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., Dorsey Wright and Associates, LLC, Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P., Envestnet Asset Management, Inc., FDx Advisors, Inc., LPL Financial LLC, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, Orion Portfolio Solutions, LLC, Pershing LLC, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., TD Ameritrade, Inc., UBS Financial Services Inc., Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC. Any additions, modifications, or deletions to Intermediaries and other third parties listed above that have occurred since the date of this SAI 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 such payments based on any number of

 

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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 BFA-advised ETFs 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 Funds, BFA-advised ETFs 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 such payments or financial incentives his or her Intermediary firm may receive. Any payments made, or financial incentives offered, by the BFA Entities to an Intermediary may create the incentive for the Intermediary to encourage customers to buy shares of the Funds, other BFA-advised ETFs or other exchange-traded products.

The Funds may participate in certain market maker incentive programs of a national securities exchange in which an affiliate of the Funds would pay a fee to the exchange used for the purpose of incentivizing one or more market makers in the securities of a Fund to enhance the liquidity and quality of the secondary market of securities of a Fund. The fee would then be credited by the exchange to one or more market makers that meet or exceed liquidity and market quality standards with respect to the securities of a Fund. Each market maker incentive program is subject to approval from the SEC. Any such fee payments made to an exchange will be made by an affiliate of a Fund solely for the benefit of the Fund and will not be paid from any Fund assets. Other funds managed by BFA may also participate in such programs.

Determination of Net Asset Value

Valuation of Shares. The NAV for each Fund is generally calculated as of the close of business on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each business day the NYSE is open. Valuation of securities held by a Fund is as follows:

Fixed-Income Investments. Fixed-income securities for which market quotations are readily available are generally valued using such securities’ current market value. A Fund values fixed-income portfolio securities using the last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by a Fund’s approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with the Valuation Procedures. The pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values, including transaction data (e.g., recent representative bids and offers), credit quality information, perceived market movements, news, and other relevant information and by other methods, which may include consideration of: yields or prices of securities of comparable quality, coupon, maturity and type; indications as to values from dealers; general market conditions; and/or other factors and assumptions. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but a Fund may hold or transact in such securities in smaller, odd lot sizes. Odd lots may trade at lower prices than institutional round lots. The amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless BlackRock determines in good faith that such method does not represent fair value. Loan participation notes are generally valued at the mean of the last available bid prices from one or more brokers or dealers as obtained from independent third-party pricing services. Certain fixed-income investments, including asset-backed and mortgage-related securities, may be valued based on valuation models that consider the estimated cash flows of each tranche of the entity, establish a benchmark yield and develop an estimated tranche-specific spread to the benchmark yield based on the unique attributes of the tranche.

 

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Underlying Funds. Shares of underlying ETFs will be valued at their most recent closing price on an Exchange. Shares of underlying money market funds will be valued at their NAV.

General Valuation Information. The price a Fund could receive upon the sale of any particular portfolio investment may differ from a Fund’s valuation of the investment, particularly for securities that trade in thin or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair valuation methodology or a price provided by an independent pricing service. As a result, the price received upon the sale of an investment may be less than the value ascribed by a Fund, and a Fund could realize a greater than expected loss or lesser than expected gain upon the sale of the investment. A Fund’s ability to value its investment may also be impacted by technological issues and/or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers.

All cash, receivables and current payables are carried on a Fund’s books at their fair value.

Prices obtained from independent third-party pricing services, broker-dealers or market makers to value a Fund’s securities and other assets and liabilities are based on information available at the time a Fund values its assets and liabilities. In the event that a pricing service quotation is revised or updated subsequent to the day on which a Fund valued such security or other asset or liability, the revised pricing service quotation generally will be applied prospectively. Such determination will be made considering pertinent facts and circumstances surrounding the revision.

In the event that application of the methods of valuation discussed above result in a price for a security which is deemed not to be representative of the fair market value of such security, the security will be valued by, under the direction of or in accordance with a method approved by the Board as reflecting fair value. All other assets and liabilities (including securities for which market quotations are not readily available) held by a Fund (including restricted securities) are valued at fair value as determined in good faith by the Board or by BlackRock (its delegate) pursuant to the Valuation Procedures. Any assets and liabilities that are denominated in a foreign currency are converted into U.S. dollars using prevailing market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more data service providers.

Certain of the securities acquired by a Fund may be traded on foreign exchanges or OTC markets on days on which a Fund’s NAV is not calculated. In such cases, the NAV of a Fund’s shares may be significantly affected on days when Authorized Participants can neither purchase nor redeem shares of a Fund.

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 a Fund are determined as of such times.

Fair Value. When market quotations are not readily available or are believed in good faith by BlackRock to be unreliable, a Fund’s investments are valued at fair value (“Fair Value Assets”). Fair Value Assets are valued by BlackRock in accordance with the Valuation Procedures. BlackRock may reasonably conclude that a market quotation is not readily available or is unreliable if, among other things, a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source due to its complete lack of trading, if BlackRock believes in good faith that a market quotation from a broker-dealer or other source is unreliable (e.g., where it varies significantly from a recent trade, or no longer reflects the fair value of the security or other asset or liability subsequent to the most recent market quotation), or where the security or other asset or liability is only thinly traded or due to the occurrence of a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation. For this purpose, a “significant event” is deemed to occur if BlackRock determines, in its reasonable business judgment, that an event has occurred after the close of trading for an asset or liability but prior to or at the time of pricing a Fund’s

 

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assets or liabilities, and that the event is likely to cause a material change to the closing market price of the assets or liabilities held by a Fund. Non-U.S. securities whose values are affected by volatility that occurs in global markets or in related or highly correlated assets (e.g., American Depositary Receipts, Global Depositary Receipts or substantially identical ETFs) on a trading day after the close of non-U.S. securities markets may be fair valued. On any day the NYSE is open and a foreign market or the primary exchange on which a foreign asset or liability is traded is closed, such asset or liability will be valued using the prior day’s price, provided that BlackRock is not aware of any significant event or other information that would cause such price to no longer reflect the fair value of the asset or liability, in which case such asset or liability would be treated as a Fair Value Asset. In all cases, on days where non-U.S. securities markets are closed, BlackRock will determine the fair value of stocks traded on that local market, in accordance with the Valuation Procedures. Fair value adjustments may be calculated by referring to instruments and markets that have continued to trade, such as ETFs, correlated stock market indices or index futures.

BlackRock, with input from the BlackRock Investment Strategy Group, will submit its recommendations regarding the valuation and/or valuation methodologies for Fair Value Assets to BlackRock’s Valuation Committee. The BlackRock Valuation Committee may accept, modify or reject any recommendations. In addition, a Fund’s accounting agent periodically endeavors to confirm the prices it receives from all third-party pricing services, index providers and broker-dealers, and, with the assistance of BlackRock, to regularly evaluate the values assigned to the securities and other assets and liabilities of a Fund. The pricing of all Fair Value Assets is subsequently reported to and, where appropriate, ratified by the Board.

When determining the price for a Fair Value Asset, the BlackRock Valuation Committee (or BlackRock’s Pricing Group) will seek to determine the price that a Fund might reasonably expect to receive upon the current sale of that asset or liability in an arm’s-length transaction on the date on which the assets or liabilities are being valued, and does not seek to determine the price that a Fund might expect to receive for selling the asset, or the cost of extinguishing a liability, at a later time or if it holds the asset or liability to maturity. Fair value determinations will be based upon all available factors that the BlackRock Valuation Committee (or BlackRock’s Pricing Group) deems relevant at the time of the determination, and may be based on analytical values determined by BlackRock using proprietary or third-party valuation models.

Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. When determining the fair value of an asset, one or more of a variety of fair valuation methodologies may be used (depending on certain factors, including the asset type). For example, the asset may be priced on the basis of the original cost of the investment or, alternatively, using proprietary or third-party models (including models that rely upon direct portfolio management pricing inputs and which reflect the significance attributed to the various factors and assumptions being considered). Prices of actual, executed or historical transactions in the relevant asset and/or liability (or related or comparable assets and/or liabilities) or, where appropriate, an appraisal by a third-party experienced in the valuation of similar assets and/or liabilities, may also be used as a basis for establishing the fair value of an asset or liability. The fair value of one or more assets or liabilities may not, in retrospect, be the price at which those assets or liabilities could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used in determining a Fund’s NAV. As a result, a Fund’s sale or redemption of its shares at NAV, at a time when a holding or holdings are valued at fair value, may have the effect of diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders.

Each Fund’s annual audited financial statements, which are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“US GAAP”), follow the requirements for valuation set forth in Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 820, “Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures” (“ASC 820”), which defines and establishes a framework for measuring fair value under US GAAP and expands financial statement disclosure

 

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requirements relating to fair value measurements. Generally, ASC 820 and other accounting rules applicable to funds and various assets in which they invest are evolving. Such changes may adversely affect a Fund. For example, the evolution of rules governing the determination of the fair market value of assets or liabilities to the extent such rules become more stringent would tend to increase the cost and/or reduce the availability of third-party determinations of fair market value. This may in turn increase the costs associated with selling assets or affect their liquidity due to a Fund’s inability to obtain a third-party determination of fair market value.

Brokerage Transactions

Subject to policies established by the Board, BFA is primarily responsible for the execution of a Fund’s portfolio transactions and the allocation of brokerage. BFA does not execute transactions through any particular broker or dealer, but seeks to obtain the best net results for the Funds, taking into account such factors as price (including the applicable brokerage commission or dealer spread), size of order, difficulty of execution, operational facilities of the firm and the firm’s risk and skill in positioning blocks of securities. While BFA generally seeks reasonable trade execution costs, a Fund does not necessarily pay the lowest spread or commission available, and payment of the lowest commission or spread is not necessarily consistent with obtaining the best price and execution in particular transactions. Subject to applicable legal requirements, BFA may select a broker based partly upon brokerage or research services provided to BFA and its clients, including a Fund. In return for such services, BFA may cause a Fund to pay a higher commission than other brokers would charge if BFA determines in good faith that the commission is reasonable in relation to the services provided.

In selecting brokers or dealers to execute portfolio transactions, BFA seeks to obtain the best price and most favorable execution for a Fund and may take into account a variety of factors including: (i) the size, nature and character of the security or instrument being traded and the markets in which it is purchased or sold; (ii) the desired timing of the transaction; (iii) BFA’s knowledge of the expected commission rates and spreads currently available; (iv) the activity existing and expected in the market for the particular security or instrument, including any anticipated execution difficulties; (v) the full range of brokerage services provided; (vi) the broker’s or dealer’s capital; (vii) the quality of research and research services provided; (viii) the reasonableness of the commission, dealer spread or its equivalent for the specific transaction; and (ix) BFA’s knowledge of any actual or apparent operational problems of a broker or dealer. Brokers may also be selected because of their ability to handle special or difficult executions, such as may be involved in large block trades, thinly traded securities, or other circumstances.

Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act (“Section 28(e)”) permits a U.S. investment adviser, under certain circumstances, to cause an account to pay a broker or dealer a commission for effecting a transaction in securities that exceeds the amount another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting the same transaction in recognition of the value of brokerage and research services provided by that broker or dealer. This includes commissions paid on riskless principal transactions in securities under certain conditions.

From time to time, a Fund may purchase new issues of securities in a fixed price offering. In these situations, the broker may be a member of the selling group that will, in addition to selling securities, provide BFA with research services. FINRA has adopted rules expressly permitting these types of arrangements under certain circumstances. Generally, the broker will provide research “credits” in these situations at a rate that is higher than that available for typical secondary market transactions. These arrangements may not fall within the safe harbor of Section 28(e).

 

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OTC issues, including most fixed-income securities such as corporate debt and U.S. Government securities, are normally traded on a “net” basis without a stated commission, through dealers acting for their own account and not as brokers. The Funds will primarily engage in transactions with these dealers or deal directly with the issuer unless a better price or execution could be obtained by using a broker. Prices paid to a dealer with respect to both foreign and domestic securities will generally include a “spread,” which is the difference between the prices at which the dealer is willing to purchase and sell the specific security at the time, and includes the dealer’s normal profit.

Under the 1940 Act, persons affiliated with a Fund and persons who are affiliated with such affiliated persons are prohibited from dealing with the Fund as principal in the purchase and sale of securities unless a permissive order allowing such transactions is obtained from the SEC. Since transactions in the OTC market usually involve transactions with the dealers acting as principal for their own accounts, the Funds will not deal with affiliated persons and affiliated persons of such affiliated persons in connection with such transactions. The Funds will not purchase securities during the existence of any underwriting or selling group relating to such securities of which BFA, BRIL or any affiliated person (as defined in the 1940 Act) thereof is a member except pursuant to procedures adopted by the Board in accordance with Rule 10f-3 under the 1940 Act.

Purchases of money market instruments by the Funds are made from dealers, underwriters and issuers. The Funds do not currently expect to incur any brokerage commission expense on such transactions because money market instruments are generally traded on a “net” basis with dealers acting as principal for their own accounts without a stated commission. The price of the security, however, usually includes a profit to the dealer.

BFA may, from time to time, effect trades on behalf of and for the account of the Funds with brokers or dealers that are affiliated with BFA, in conformity with Rule 17e-1 under 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.

Securities purchased in underwritten offerings include a fixed amount of compensation to the underwriter, generally referred to as the underwriter’s concession or discount. When securities are purchased or sold directly from or to an issuer, no commissions or discounts are paid.

Investment decisions for the Funds and for other investment accounts managed by BFA and the other Affiliates are made independently of each other in light of differing conditions. A variety of factors will be considered in making investment allocations. These factors include: (i) investment objectives or strategies for particular accounts, including sector, industry, country or region and capitalization weightings; (ii) tax considerations of an account; (iii) risk or investment concentration parameters for an account; (iv) supply or demand for a security at a given price level; (v) size of available investment; (vi) cash availability and liquidity requirements for accounts; (vii) regulatory restrictions; (viii) minimum investment size of an account; (ix) relative size of account; and (x) such other factors as may be approved by BlackRock’s general counsel. Moreover, investments may not be allocated to one client account over another based on any of the following considerations: (i) to favor one client account at the expense of another; (ii) to generate higher fees paid by one client account over another or to produce greater performance compensation to BlackRock; (iii) to develop or enhance a relationship with a client or prospective client; (iv) to compensate a client for past services or benefits rendered to BlackRock or to induce future services or benefits to be rendered to BlackRock; or (v) to manage or equalize investment performance among different client accounts. BFA and the other Affiliates may deal, trade and invest for their own respective accounts in the types of securities in which the Funds may invest.

Initial public offerings (“IPOs”) of securities may be over-subscribed and subsequently trade at a premium in the secondary market. When BFA is given an opportunity to invest in such an initial offering

 

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or “new” or “hot” issue, the supply of securities available for client accounts is often less than the amount of securities the accounts would otherwise take. In order to allocate these investments fairly and equitably among client accounts over time, each portfolio manager or a member of his or her respective investment team will indicate to BFA’s trading desk their level of interest in a particular offering with respect to eligible clients’ accounts for which that team is responsible. IPOs of U.S. equity securities will be identified as eligible for particular client accounts that are managed by portfolio teams who have indicated interest in the offering based on market capitalization of the issuer of the security and the investment mandate of the client account and in the case of international equity securities, the country where the offering is taking place and the investment mandate of the client account. Generally, shares received during the IPO will be allocated among participating client accounts within each investment mandate on a pro rata basis. This pro rata allocation may result in a Fund receiving less of a particular security than if pro-rating had not occurred. All allocations of securities will be subject, where relevant, to share minimums established for accounts and compliance constraints. In situations where supply is too limited to be allocated among all accounts for which the investment is eligible, portfolio managers may rotate such investment opportunities among one or more accounts so long as the rotation system provides for fair access for all client accounts over time. Other allocation methodologies that are considered by BFA to be fair and equitable to clients may be used as well.

Because different accounts may have differing investment objectives and policies, BFA may buy and sell the same securities at the same time for different clients based on the particular investment objective, guidelines and strategies of those accounts. For example, BFA may decide that it may be entirely appropriate for a growth fund to sell a security at the same time a value fund is buying that security. To the extent that transactions on behalf of more than one client of BFA or the other Affiliates during the same period increase the demand for securities being purchased or the supply of securities being sold, there may be an adverse effect on price. For example, sales of a security by BlackRock on behalf of one or more of its clients may decrease the market price of such security, adversely impacting other BlackRock clients that still hold the security. If purchases or sales of securities arise for consideration at or about the same time that would involve the Funds or other clients or funds for which BFA or another Affiliate act as investment manager, transactions in such securities will be made, insofar as feasible, for the respective funds and clients in a manner deemed equitable to all.

In certain instances, BFA may find it efficient for purposes of seeking to obtain best execution, to aggregate or “bunch” certain contemporaneous purchases or sale orders of its advisory accounts and advisory accounts of affiliates. In general, all contemporaneous trades for client accounts under management by the same portfolio manager or investment team will be bunched in a single order if the trader believes the bunched trade would provide each client with an opportunity to achieve a more favorable execution at a potentially lower execution cost. The costs associated with a bunched order will be shared pro rata among the clients in the bunched order. Generally, if an order for a particular portfolio manager or management team is filled at several different prices through multiple trades, all accounts participating in the order will receive the average price (except in the case of certain international markets where average pricing is not permitted). While in some cases this practice could have a detrimental effect upon the price or value of the security as far as the Funds are concerned, in other cases it could be beneficial to the Funds. Transactions effected by BFA or the other Affiliates on behalf of more than one of its clients during the same period may increase the demand for securities being purchased or the supply of securities being sold, causing an adverse effect on price. The trader will give the bunched order to the broker-dealer that the trader has identified as being able to provide the best execution of the order. Orders for purchase or sale of securities will be placed within a reasonable amount of time of the order receipt and bunched orders will be kept bunched only long enough to execute the order.

As of the date of this SAI, the Funds have not paid any brokerage commissions because the Fund has not yet commenced operations.

 

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As of the date of this SAI, each Fund has not held any securities of its regular broker-dealers (as defined in Rule 10b-1 under the 1940 Act) or their parent entities because the Fund has not yet commenced operations.

The Funds’ purchase and sale orders for securities may be combined with those of other investment companies, clients or accounts that BlackRock manages or advises. If purchases or sales of portfolio securities of the Funds and one or more other accounts managed or advised by BlackRock are considered at or about the same time, transactions in such securities are allocated among the Funds and the other accounts in a manner deemed equitable to all by BlackRock. In some cases, this procedure could have a detrimental effect on the price or volume of the security as far as the Funds are 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 Funds. BlackRock may deal, trade and invest for its own account in the types of securities in which the Funds may invest. BlackRock may, from time to time, effect trades on behalf of and for the account of the Funds 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 Funds 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. High turnover rates may result in comparatively greater brokerage expenses.

Additional Information Concerning the Trust

Shares. The Trust currently consists of 2 investment series or portfolios called funds. The Trust issues shares of beneficial interests in the funds with no par value. The Board may establish and designate additional 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: (i) required by the 1940 Act, or (ii) the Trustees determine that the matter affects the interests of more than one fund.

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. All shares (regardless of the fund) have noncumulative voting rights in the election of members of the Board. 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 such fund’s shares, a holder of shares may be a “control person” of the

 

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fund, as defined in Rule 0-1 under the 1940 Act. A fund cannot predict the length of time for which one or more shareholders may remain a control person of the fund.

Shareholders may make inquiries by writing to BlackRock ETF Trust II, c/o BlackRock Investments, LLC, 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.

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 a fund and beneficial owners of 10% of the shares of a 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 and existing guidance provided by the SEC staff.

In accordance with the Trust’s current Agreement and Declaration of Trust (the “Declaration of Trust”), the Board may, without shareholder approval (unless such shareholder approval is required by applicable law, including the 1940 Act), authorize certain funds to merge, reorganize, consolidate, sell all or substantially all of their assets, or take other similar actions with, to or into another fund. The Trust or a fund may be terminated by a majority vote of the Board. Although the shares are not automatically redeemable upon the occurrence of any specific event, the Declaration of Trust provides that the Board will have the unrestricted power to alter the number of shares in a Creation Unit. Therefore, in the event of a termination of the Trust or a 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 or a fund may make redemptions, for cash or for a combination of cash and securities. Further, in the event of a termination of the Trust or a fund, the Trust or a fund might elect to pay cash redemptions to all shareholders, with an in-kind election for shareholders owning in excess of a certain stated minimum amount.

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

DTC was created in 1973 to enable electronic movement of securities between its participants (“DTC Participants”), and NSCC was established in 1976 to provide a single settlement system for securities clearing and to serve as central counterparty for securities trades among DTC Participants. In 1999, DTC and NSCC were consolidated within The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (“DTCC”) and became wholly-owned subsidiaries of DTCC. The common stock of DTCC is owned by the DTC Participants, but NYSE and FINRA, through subsidiaries, hold preferred shares in DTCC that provide them with the right to elect one member each to the DTCC board of directors. Access to the DTC system is available to entities, 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 of the Fund.

 

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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 each 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 each 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.

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.

Distribution of Shares. In connection with each Fund’s launch, each Fund will be seeded through the sale of one or more Creation Units by each Fund to one or more initial investors. Initial investors participating in the seeding may be Authorized Participants, a lead market maker or other third party investor or an affiliate of each Fund or each Fund’s adviser. Each such initial investor may sell some or all of the shares underlying the Creation Unit(s) held by them pursuant to the registration statement for each Fund (each, a “Selling Shareholder”), which shares have been registered to permit the resale from time to time after purchase. Each Fund will not receive any of the proceeds from the resale by the Selling Shareholders of these shares.

Selling Shareholders may sell shares owned by them directly or through broker-dealers, in accordance with applicable law, on any national securities exchange on which the shares may be listed or quoted at the time of sale, through trading systems, in the OTC market or in transactions other than on these exchanges or systems at fixed prices, at prevailing market prices at the time of the sale, at varying prices determined at the time of sale, or at negotiated prices. These sales may be effected through brokerage transactions, privately negotiated trades, block sales, entry into options or other derivatives transactions or through any other means authorized by applicable law. Selling Shareholders may redeem the shares held in Creation Unit size by them through an Authorized Participant.

Any Selling Shareholder and any broker-dealer or agents participating in the distribution of shares may be deemed to be “underwriters” within the meaning of Section 2(a)(11) of the 1933 Act, in connection with such sales.

 

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Any Selling Shareholder and any other person participating in such distribution will be subject to applicable provisions of the 1934 Act and the rules and regulations thereunder.

Creation and Redemption of Creation Units

General. The Trust issues and sells shares of each Fund only in Creation Units on a continuous basis through the Distributor or its agent, 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 or its agent in proper form. On days when the Listing Exchanges or the bond markets close earlier than normal, the Funds may require orders to be placed earlier in the day. The following table sets forth the number of shares of a Fund that constitute a Creation Unit for the Fund and the approximate value of such Creation Unit as of March 9, 2021:

 

Fund

   Shares Per
Creation Unit
     Approximate
Value Per
Creation
Unit (U.S.$)
 

BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF

     100,000      $ 25  

BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF

     100,000      $ 25  

In its discretion, the Trust reserves the right to increase or decrease the number of a Fund’s shares that constitute a Creation Unit. The Board reserves the right to declare a split or a consolidation in the number of shares outstanding of any 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 each Fund is any day the Fund is open for business, including any day when it satisfies redemption requests as required by Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act. Each Fund is open for business 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, each 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 each Fund is generally cash. However, in some cases the consideration consists of a designated portfolio of securities, assets or other positions (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) (“Deposit Securities” or “Creation Basket”) and the Cash Component computed as described below. Together, the Deposit Securities and the Cash Component constitute the “Fund Deposit,” which will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to creation requests received in proper form. The Fund Deposit represents the minimum initial and subsequent investment amount for a Creation Unit of each applicable Fund. Such Fund Deposit is applicable, subject to any adjustments as described below, to purchases of Creation Units of shares of a given Fund until such time as the next-announced Fund Deposit is made available.

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 a Creation Unit.

 

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Each Fund’s current policy is to accept cash in substitution for the Deposit Securities it might otherwise accept as in-kind consideration for the purchase of Creation Units. A Fund may, at times, elect to receive Deposit Securities (i.e., the in-kind deposit of a designated portfolio of securities) and a Cash Component as consideration for the purchase of Creation Units. If a Fund elects to accept Deposit Securities, a purchaser’s delivery of the Deposit Securities together with the Cash Component will constitute the “Fund Deposit,” which will represent the consideration for a Creation Unit of the Fund. Please see the Cash Purchase Method section below and the following discussion summarizing the Deposit Security method for further information on purchasing Creation Units of the Funds.

The identity and number or par value of the Deposit Securities change pursuant to changes in the composition of a Fund’s portfolio and as rebalancing adjustments and corporate action events are reflected from time to time by BFA with a view to the investment objective(s) 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 Fund’s portfolio.

The Fund Deposit may also be modified to minimize the Cash Component by redistributing the cash to the Deposit Securities portion of the Fund Deposit through “systematic rounding.” The rounding methodology “rounds up” position sizes of securities in the Deposit Securities (which in turn reduces the cash portion). However, the methodology limits the maximum allowed percentage change in weight and share quantity of any given security in the Fund Deposit.

The Trust may, in its sole discretion, substitute a “cash in lieu” amount to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security in certain circumstances, including: (i) when instruments are not available in sufficient quantity for delivery; (ii) when instruments are not eligible for transfer through DTC or the clearing process (as discussed below); (iii) when instruments that the Authorized Participant (or an investor on whose behalf the Authorized Participant is acting) are not able to be traded due to a trading restriction; (iv) when delivery of the Deposit Security by the Authorized Participant (or by an investor on whose behalf the Authorized Participant is acting) would be restricted under applicable securities or other local laws; (v) in connection with distribution payments to be made by a Fund; or (vi) in certain other situations.

Cash Purchase Method. Although the Trust does not generally permit partial or full cash purchases of Creation Units of its funds, when partial or full cash purchases of Creation Units are available or specified (Creation Units of the Funds are generally offered solely for 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 Funds, 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 Funds, 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 member or participant of a clearing agency registered with the SEC, which has a written agreement with the Funds or one of their service providers that allows such member or participant to place orders for the

 

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purchase and redemption of Creation Units. 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 fees described below. An Authorized Participant, acting on behalf of an investor, 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. The Distributor has adopted guidelines regarding Authorized Participants’ transactions in Creation Units that are made available to all Authorized Participants. These guidelines set forth the processes and standards for Authorized Participants to transact with the Distributor and its agents in connection with creation and redemption transactions. In addition, the Distributor may be appointed as the proxy of the Authorized Participant and may be granted a power of attorney under its Authorized Participant Agreement.

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 Funds 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 Funds 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 all funds is generally the second 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 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 by 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 the Fund Deposit as newly constituted to reflect the then current NAV of the Funds. The delivery of Creation Units so created generally will occur no later than the second 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 Funds prior to such time.

Purchase Orders. To initiate an order for a Creation Unit, an Authorized Participant must submit to the Distributor or its agent an irrevocable order to purchase shares of a Fund, in proper form, generally before 4:00 p.m., Eastern time on any Business Day to receive that day’s NAV. The Distributor or its

 

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agent 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. Investors, other than Authorized Participants, are responsible for making arrangements for a creation request to be made through an Authorized Participant. The Distributor or its agent will provide a list of current Authorized Participants upon request. 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 or its agent 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 Funds, immediately available or same day funds estimated by the Funds to be sufficient to pay the Cash Component next determined after acceptance of the purchase order, together with the applicable purchase transaction fees. Those placing orders should ascertain the applicable 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 Funds. 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.

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

Timing of Submission of Purchase Orders. An Authorized Participant must submit an irrevocable order to purchase shares of a 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 in the form required by the Funds to the Distributor or its agent pursuant to procedures set forth in the Authorized Participant Agreement. Economic or market disruptions or changes, or telephone or other communication failure, may impede the ability to reach the Distributor or its agent or an Authorized Participant. Orders to create shares of a Fund that are submitted on the Business Day immediately preceding a holiday or a day (other than a weekend) when the equity markets in the relevant non-U.S. market are closed may not be accepted. Each Fund’s deadline specified above for the submission of purchase orders is referred to as the Fund’s “Cutoff Time.” The Distributor or its agent, in their discretion, may permit the submission of such orders and requests by or through an Authorized Participant at any time (including on days on which a Listing Exchange is not open for business) via communication through the facilities of the Distributor’s or its agent’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 Fund’s 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 Funds are in place for payment of the Cash Component and any other cash amounts which may be due, the Funds will accept the order, subject to each Fund’s right (and the right of the Distributor and BFA) to reject any order until acceptance, as set forth below.

Once a 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 or its agent will then transmit a confirmation of acceptance to the Authorized Participant that placed the order.

Each Fund reserves the absolute right to reject or revoke a creation order transmitted to it by the Distributor or its agent if (i) the order is not in proper form; (ii) the investor(s), upon obtaining the shares

 

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ordered, would own 80% or more of the 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 the Trust, be unlawful; (vi) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the discretion of the Fund or the Distributor, have an adverse effect on the Fund or the rights of beneficial owners; or (vii) circumstances outside the control of the Fund, the Distributor or its agent and BFA make it impracticable to process purchase orders. The Distributor or its agent 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 Funds, State Street, the sub-custodian and the Distributor or its agent are under no duty, however, to give notification of any defects or irregularities in the delivery of 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 applicable 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 or its agent and BFA shall be notified of such delivery and the applicable Fund will issue and cause the delivery of the Creation Unit. Creation Units are generally issued on a “T+2 basis” (i.e., two Business Days after trade date). Each Fund reserves the right to settle Creation Unit transactions on a basis other than T+2, including a shorter settlement period, if necessary or appropriate under the circumstances and compliant with applicable law.

To the extent contemplated by an Authorized Participant Agreement with the Distributor, each 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 as set forth in the handbook for Authorized Participants. The Trust may use such collateral at any time to buy Deposit Securities for the Funds. Such collateral must be delivered no later than the time specified by a Fund or its custodian on the contractual settlement date. Information concerning the Funds’ current procedures for collateralization of missing Deposit Securities is available from the Distributor or its agent. The Authorized Participant Agreement will permit the Funds 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 Funds of purchasing such securities and the collateral including, without limitation, liability for related brokerage, borrowings and other charges.

In certain cases, Authorized Participants may create and redeem Creation Units on the same trade date and in these instances, the Funds reserve 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 each 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. If a purchase consists solely or partially of cash, the Authorized Participant may also be required to cover (up to the maximum amount shown below) certain brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, price movement and other

 

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costs and expenses related to the execution of trades resulting from such transaction (which may, in certain instances, be based on a good faith estimate of transaction costs). Authorized Participants will also bear the costs of transferring the Deposit Securities to the Funds. Certain fees/costs associated with creation transactions may be waived in certain circumstances. Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary to acquire Fund shares may be charged a fee for such services.

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

 

Fund

   Standard
Creation
Transaction Fee
     Maximum Additional
Charge
for Creations*
 

BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF

   $ 210        2

BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF

   $ 105        2

 

 

 

  *

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

Redemption of Creation Units. Shares of a 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 or its agent and only on a Business Day. The Funds 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 Funds generally redeem Creation Units solely for cash. However, the Funds reserve the right to distribute securities in-kind as payment for Creation Units being redeemed at any time. For example, the Funds may determine to offer in-kind redemptions instead of cash redemptions in response to changing market conditions or during periods of volatility. The Funds are permitted to offer either cash or in-kind redemptions, which may vary throughout the trading day, in the discretion of the Funds. 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 Funds.

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” or “Redemption Basket”), and an amount of cash (the “Cash Amount,” as described below) (each subject to possible amendment or correction) are applicable, in order to effect redemptions of Creation Units of a Fund until such time as the next announced composition of the Fund Securities and Cash Amount is made available.

Procedures and requirements governing redemption transactions are set forth in the handbook for Authorized Participants and may change from time to time.

Unless cash redemptions are available or specified for a Fund, 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).

 

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The Trust may, in its sole discretion, substitute a “cash in lieu” amount to replace any Fund Security in certain circumstances, including: (i) when the delivery of a Fund Security to the Authorized Participant (or to an investor on whose behalf the Authorized Participant is acting) would be restricted under applicable securities or other local laws or due to a trading restriction; (ii) when the delivery of a Fund Security to the Authorized Participant would result in the disposition of the Fund Security by the Authorized Participant due to restrictions under applicable securities or other local laws; (iii) when the delivery of a Fund Security to the Authorized Participant would result in unfavorable tax treatment; (iv) when a Fund Security cannot be settled or otherwise delivered in time to facilitate an in-kind redemption; or (v) in certain other situations. The amount of cash paid out in such cases will be equivalent to the value of the substituted security listed as a 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. 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. Each Fund generally redeems Creation Units for cash and/or in-kind. The Redemption Basket may also be modified to minimize the Cash Component by redistributing the cash to the Fund Securities portion of the Redemption Basket through systematically rounding. The rounding methodology allows position sizes of securities in the Fund Securities to be “rounded up,” while limiting the maximum allowed percentage change in weight and share quantity of any given security in the Redemption Basket. Redemption Baskets may also be modified to position a fund towards a forward index rebalance to reflect revisions that account for index additions, deletions, and re-weights.

Cash Redemption Method. Partial or full cash redemptions 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. If a redemption consists solely or partially of cash, the Authorized Participant may also be required to cover (up to the maximum amount shown below) certain brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, price movement and other costs and expenses related to the execution of trades resulting from such transaction (which may, in certain instances, be based on a good faith estimate of transaction costs). Authorized Participants will also bear the costs of transferring the Fund Securities from a Fund to their account on their order. Certain fees/costs associated with redemption transactions may be waived in certain circumstances. Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary to dispose of Fund shares may be charged a fee for such services.

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

 

Fund

   Standard
Redemption
Transaction Fee
     Maximum Additional
Charge
for Redemptions*

BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF

   $ 210      2%

BlackRock Intermediate Muni Income Bond ETF

   $ 105      2%

 

 

 

  *

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

 

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Placement of Redemption Orders. Redemption requests for Creation Units of the Funds must be submitted to the Distributor or its agent by or through an Authorized Participant. An Authorized Participant must submit an irrevocable request to redeem shares of a Fund generally before 4:00 p.m., Eastern time on any Business Day, in order to receive that day’s NAV. 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 or its agent 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 Funds to the Distributor or its agent 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 a 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 Funds’ transfer agent the Creation Unit redeemed through the book-entry system of DTC so as to be effective by the applicable Listing Exchange closing time on any Business Day on which the redemption request is submitted; (ii) a request in form satisfactory to the applicable Fund is received by the Distributor or its agent 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.

Upon receiving a redemption request, the Distributor or its agent shall notify the applicable 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 Authorized Participant, whether on its own account or acting on behalf of a 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 a Fund are generally made within two Business Days (i.e.,”T+2”). Each Fund reserves the right to settle redemption transactions on a basis other than T+2, including a shorter settlement period, if necessary or appropriate under the circumstances and compliant with applicable law. For example, each Fund reserves the right to settle redemption transactions on a basis other than T+2 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 consistent with applicable law.

 

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Proceeds of a redemption request will be paid to the Authorized Participant redeeming shares as soon as practicable after the date of redemption (within seven calendar days thereafter).

To the extent contemplated by an Authorized Participant’s agreement with the Distributor or its agent, 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 a Fund, at or prior to the time specified by a Fund or its custodian on the Business Day after the date of submission of such redemption request, the Distributor or its agent 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 as set forth in the handbook for Authorized Participants. Such collateral must be delivered no later than the time specified by a Fund or its custodian on the Business 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 collateral shall be payable by the Authorized Participant. The Authorized Participant Agreement permits the Funds to acquire shares of the Funds at any time and subjects the Authorized Participant to liability for any shortfall between the aggregate of the cost to the Funds of purchasing such shares, plus the value of the Cash Amount, and the value of the collateral together with liability for related brokerage and other charges.

Because the portfolio securities of a Fund may trade on exchange(s) on days that a Listing Exchange is closed or are otherwise not Business Days for such Fund, shareholders may not be able to redeem their shares of such Fund, or purchase or sell shares of such Fund on the Listing Exchange on days when the NAV of such a 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 any Fund: (i) for any period during which a Listing Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (ii) for any period during which trading on a 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.

Custom Baskets. Creation and Redemption baskets may differ and each Fund will accept “custom baskets.” A custom basket may include any of the following: (i) a basket that is composed of a non-representative selection of a Fund’s portfolio holdings; (ii) a representative basket that is different from the initial basket used in transactions on the same business day; or (iii) a basket that contains bespoke cash substitutions for a single Authorized Participant. Each Fund has adopted policies and procedures that govern the construction and acceptance of baskets, including heightened requirements for certain types of custom baskets. Such policies and procedures provide the parameters for the construction and acceptance of custom baskets that are in the best interests of a Fund and its shareholders, establish processes for revisions to, or deviations from, such parameters, and specify the titles and roles of the employees of BFA who are required to review each custom basket for compliance with those parameters. In addition, when constructing custom baskets for redemptions, the tax efficiency of a Fund may be taken into account. The policies and procedures distinguish among different types of custom baskets that may be used and impose different requirements for different types of custom baskets in order to seek to mitigate against potential risks of conflicts and/or overreaching by an Authorized Participant. BlackRock has established a governance process to oversee basket compliance for the Funds, as set forth in each Fund’s policies and procedures.

Taxation on Creations 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

 

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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 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 income 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.

Taxes

The following is a summary of certain material U.S. federal income tax considerations regarding the purchase, ownership and disposition of shares of the Fund. This summary does not address all of the potential U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be applicable to the Fund or to all categories of investors, some of which may be subject to special tax rules. Current and prospective shareholders are urged to consult their own tax advisors with respect to the specific U.S. federal, state, local and non-U.S. tax consequences of investing in the Fund. The summary is based on the laws and judicial and administrative interpretations thereof in effect on the date of this SAI, all of which are subject to change, possibly with retroactive effect.

Regulated Investment Company Qualifications. The Fund intends to qualify for treatment as a separate RIC under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code. To qualify for treatment as a RIC, the Fund must annually distribute at least 90% of its investment company taxable income (which includes dividends, interest and net short-term capital gains) and meet several other requirements. Among such other requirements are the following: (i) at least 90% of the Fund’s annual gross income must be derived from dividends, interest, payments with respect to securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock or securities or non-U.S. currencies, other income (including, but not limited to, gains from options, futures or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, and net income derived from interests in qualified publicly-traded partnerships (i.e., partnerships that are traded on an established securities market or tradable on a secondary market, other than partnerships that derive at least 90% of their income from interest, dividends, capital gains and other traditionally permitted RIC income); and (ii) at the close of each quarter of the Fund’s taxable year, (a) at least 50% of the market value of the Fund’s total assets must be represented by cash and cash items, U.S. government securities, securities of other RICs and other securities, with such other securities limited for purposes of this calculation in respect of any one issuer to an amount not greater than 5% of the value of the Fund’s assets and not greater than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and (b) not more than 25% of the value of the Fund’s total assets may be invested in the securities (other than U.S. government securities or the securities of other RICs) of any one issuer, of two or more issuers of which 20% or more of the voting stock is held by the Fund and that are engaged in the same or similar trades or businesses or related trades or businesses, or the securities of one or more qualified publicly-traded partnerships.

The Fund may be able to cure a failure to derive at least 90% of its income from the sources specified above or a failure to diversify its holdings in the manner described above by paying a tax and/or by disposing of certain assets. If, in any taxable year, the Fund fails one of these tests and does not timely cure the failure, the Fund will be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation and distributions to its shareholders will not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income.

 

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Although, in general, the passive loss rules of the Internal Revenue Code do not apply to RICs, such rules do apply to a RIC with respect to items attributable to interests in qualified publicly-traded partnerships. The Fund’s investments in partnerships, including in qualified publicly-traded partnerships, may result in the Fund being subject to state, local, or non-U.S. income, franchise or withholding tax liabilities.

Taxation of RICs. As a RIC, the Fund will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of its taxable investment income and capital gains that it distributes to its shareholders, provided that it satisfies a minimum distribution requirement. To satisfy the minimum distribution requirement, the Fund must distribute to its shareholders at least the sum of (i) 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (i.e., income other than its net realized long-term capital gain over its net realized short-term capital loss), plus or minus certain adjustments, and (ii) 90% of its net tax-exempt income for the taxable year. The Fund will be subject to income tax at regular corporate rate on any taxable income or gains that it does not distribute to its shareholders. If the Fund fails to qualify for any taxable year as a RIC or fails to meet the distribution requirement, all of its taxable income will be subject to tax at regular corporate income tax rate without any deduction for distributions to shareholders, and such distributions generally will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary dividends to the extent of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits. In such event, distributions to individuals should be eligible to be treated as qualified dividend income and distributions to corporate shareholders generally should be eligible for the dividends received deduction. Although the Fund intends to distribute substantially all of its net investment income and its capital gains for each taxable year, the Fund will be subject to U.S. federal income taxation to the extent any such income or gains are not distributed. If the Fund fails to qualify as a RIC in any year, it must pay out its earnings and profits accumulated in that year in order to qualify again as a RIC. If the Fund fails to qualify as a RIC for a period greater than two taxable years, the Fund may be required to recognize any net built-in gains with respect to certain of its assets (i.e., the excess of the aggregate gains, including items of income, over aggregate losses that would have been realized with respect to such assets if the Fund had been liquidated) if it qualifies as a RIC in a subsequent year.

Excise Tax. The Fund will be subject to a 4% excise tax on certain undistributed income if it does not distribute to its shareholders in each calendar year at least 98% of its ordinary income for the calendar year plus at least 98.2% of its capital gain net income for the 12 months ended October 31 of such year. For this purpose, however, any ordinary income or capital gain net income retained by the Fund that is subject to corporate income tax will be considered to have been distributed by year-end. In addition, the minimum amounts that must be distributed in any year to avoid the excise tax will be increased or decreased to reflect any underdistribution or overdistribution, as the case may be, from the previous year. The Fund intends to declare and distribute dividends and distributions in the amounts and at the times necessary to avoid the application of this 4% excise tax.

Net Capital Loss Carryforwards. Net capital loss carryforwards may be applied against any net realized capital gains in each succeeding year, until they have been reduced to zero.

In the event that the Fund were to experience an ownership change as defined under the Internal Revenue Code, the loss carryforwards and other favorable tax attributes of the Fund, if any, may be subject to limitation.

Taxation of U.S. Shareholders. Dividends and other distributions by the Fund are generally treated under the Internal Revenue Code as received by the shareholders at the time the dividend or distribution is made. However, any dividend or distribution declared by the Fund in October, November or December of any calendar year and payable to shareholders of record on a specified date in such a month shall be deemed to have been received by each shareholder on December 31 of such calendar

 

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year and to have been paid by the Fund not later than such December 31, provided such dividend is actually paid by the Fund during January of the following calendar year.

The Fund intends to distribute annually to its shareholders substantially all of its investment company taxable income and any net realized long-term capital gains in excess of net realized short-term capital losses (including any capital loss carryovers). However, if the Fund retains for investment an amount equal to all or a portion of its net long-term capital gains in excess of its net short-term capital losses (including any capital loss carryovers), it will be subject to a corporate tax (at a flat rate of 21%) on the amount retained. In that event, the Fund will designate such retained amounts as undistributed capital gains in a notice to its shareholders who (a) will be required to include in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gains, their proportionate shares of the undistributed amount, (b) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the tax paid by the Fund on the undistributed amount against their U.S. federal income tax liabilities, if any, and to claim refunds to the extent their credits exceed their liabilities, if any, and (c) will be entitled to increase their tax basis, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, in their shares by an amount equal to the excess of the amount in clause (a) over the amount in clause (b). Organizations or persons not subject to U.S. federal income tax on such capital gains will be entitled to a refund of their pro rata share of such taxes paid by the Fund upon filing appropriate returns or claims for refund with the IRS.

Distributions of net realized long-term capital gains, if any, that the Fund reports as capital gains dividends are taxable as long-term capital gains, whether paid in cash or in shares and regardless of how long a shareholder has held shares of the Fund. All other dividends of the Fund (including dividends from short-term capital gains) from its current and accumulated earnings and profits (“regular dividends”) are generally subject to tax as ordinary income, subject to the discussion of qualified dividend income below. Long-term capital gains are eligible for taxation at a maximum rate of 15% or 20% for non-corporate shareholders, depending on whether their income exceeds certain threshold amounts.

If an individual receives a regular dividend qualifying for the long-term capital gains rates and such dividend constitutes an “extraordinary dividend,” and the individual subsequently recognizes a loss on the sale or exchange of stock in respect of which the extraordinary dividend was paid, then the loss will be long-term capital loss to the extent of such extraordinary dividend. An “extraordinary dividend” on common stock for this purpose is generally a dividend (i) in an amount greater than or equal to 10% of the taxpayer’s tax basis (or trading value) in a share of stock, aggregating dividends with ex-dividend dates within an 85-day period, or (ii) in an amount greater than 20% of the taxpayer’s tax basis (or trading value) in a share of stock, aggregating dividends with ex-dividend dates within a 365-day period.

Distributions in excess of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will, as to each shareholder, be treated as a tax-free return of capital to the extent of a shareholder’s basis in shares of the Fund, and as a capital gain thereafter (if the shareholder holds shares of the Fund as capital assets). Distributions in excess of the Fund’s minimum distribution requirements, but not in excess of the Fund’s earnings and profits, will be taxable to shareholders and will not constitute nontaxable returns of capital. Shareholders receiving dividends or distributions in the form of additional shares should be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as receiving a distribution in an amount equal to the amount of money that the shareholders receiving cash dividends or distributions will receive and should have a cost basis in the shares received equal to such amount.

A 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax is imposed on net investment income, including, but not limited to, interest, dividends, and net gain from investments, of U.S. individuals with income exceeding $200,000 (or $250,000 if married and filing jointly) and of estates and trusts.

 

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Investors considering buying shares just prior to a dividend or capital gain distribution should be aware that, although the price of shares purchased at that time may reflect the amount of the forthcoming distribution, such dividend or distribution may nevertheless be taxable to them. If the Fund is the holder of record of any security on the record date for any dividends payable with respect to such security, such dividends will be included in the Fund’s gross income not as of the date received but as of the later of (a) the date such security became ex-dividend with respect to such dividends (i.e., the date on which a buyer of the security would not be entitled to receive the declared, but unpaid, dividends); or (b) the date the Fund acquired such security. Accordingly, in order to satisfy its income distribution requirements, the Fund may be required to pay dividends based on anticipated earnings, and shareholders may receive dividends in an earlier year than would otherwise be the case.

In certain situations, the Fund may, for a taxable year, defer all or a portion of its net capital loss (or if there is no net capital loss, then any net long-term or short-term capital loss) realized after October and its late-year ordinary loss (defined as the sum of (i) the excess of post-October foreign currency and passive foreign investment company (“PFIC”) losses over post-October foreign currency and PFIC gains and (ii) the excess of post-December ordinary losses over post-December ordinary income) until the next taxable year in computing its investment company taxable income and net capital gain, which will defer the recognition of such realized losses. Such deferrals and other rules regarding gains and losses realized after October (or December) may affect the tax character of shareholder distributions.

Sales of Shares. Upon the sale or exchange of shares of the Fund, a shareholder will realize a taxable gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized and the shareholder’s basis in shares of the Fund. A redemption of shares by the Fund will be treated as a sale for this purpose. Such gain or loss will be treated as capital gain or loss if the shares are capital assets in the shareholder’s hands and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the shares are held for more than one year and short-term capital gain or loss if the shares are held for one year or less. Any loss realized on a sale or exchange will be disallowed to the extent the shares disposed of are replaced, including replacement through the reinvesting of dividends or capital gains distributions, or by an option or contract to acquire substantially identical shares, within a 61-day period beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the disposition of the shares. In such a case, the basis of the shares acquired will be increased to reflect the disallowed loss. Any loss realized by a shareholder on the sale of Fund shares held by the shareholder for six months or less will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any distributions or deemed distributions of long-term capital gains received by the shareholder with respect to such share. The Medicare contribution tax described above will apply to the sale of Fund shares.

If a shareholder incurs a sales charge in acquiring shares of the Fund, disposes of those shares within 90 days and then, on or before January 31 of the following calendar year, acquires shares in a mutual fund for which the otherwise applicable sales charge is reduced by reason of a reinvestment right (e.g., an exchange privilege), the original sales charge will not be taken into account in computing gain/loss on the original shares to the extent the subsequent sales charge is reduced. Instead, the disregarded portion of the original sales charge will be added to the tax basis of the newly acquired shares. Furthermore, the same rule also applies to a disposition of the newly acquired shares made within 90 days of the second acquisition. This provision prevents shareholders from immediately deducting the sales charge by shifting their investments within a family of mutual funds.

Backup Withholding. In certain cases, the Fund will be required to withhold at a 24% rate and remit to the U.S. Treasury such amounts withheld from any distributions paid to a shareholder who: (i) has failed to provide a correct taxpayer identification number; (ii) is subject to backup withholding by the IRS; (iii) has failed to certify to the Fund that such shareholder is not subject to backup withholding; or (iv) has not certified that such shareholder is a U.S. person (including a U.S. resident alien). Backup withholding is not an additional tax and any amount withheld may be credited against a shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability.

 

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Sections 351 and 362. The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has the right to reject an order for a purchase of shares of the Fund if the purchaser (or group of purchasers) would, upon obtaining the shares so ordered, own 80% or more of the outstanding shares of the Fund and if, pursuant to Sections 351 and 362 of the Internal Revenue Code, the Fund would have a basis in the securities different from the market value of such securities on the date of deposit. If the Fund’s basis in such securities on the date of deposit was less than market value on such date, the Fund, upon disposition of the securities, would recognize more taxable gain or less taxable loss than if its basis in the securities had been equal to market value. It is not anticipated that the Trust will exercise the right of rejection except in a case where the Trust determines that accepting the order could result in material adverse tax consequences to the Fund or its shareholders. The Trust also has the right to require information necessary to determine beneficial share ownership for purposes of the 80% determination.

Tax-Exempt Interest Income. Dividends paid by the Fund that are properly reported as exempt-interest dividends will not be subject to regular federal income tax. Dividends paid on Fund shares that are loaned out pursuant to securities lending arrangements will not be exempt from income tax. The Fund intends to invest its assets in a manner such that dividend distributions to its shareholders will generally be exempt from U.S. federal income taxation, but not necessarily free from federal AMT. The 3.8% Medicare contribution tax (discussed above) will not apply to exempt-interest dividends paid by a Fund. Dividends paid by the Fund will be exempt from federal income tax (though not necessarily exempt from state and local taxation) to the extent of the Fund’s tax-exempt interest income as long as 50% or more of the value of the Fund’s assets at the end of each quarter is invested in state, municipal and other bonds that are excluded from gross income for federal income tax purposes and as long as the Fund properly reports such dividends as exempt-interest dividends. The receipt of exempt-interest dividends may require a shareholder to recharacterize a portion of certain non-taxable social security and railroad retirement benefit payments as taxable income. Shareholders should consult their own tax advisors. The Fund may engage in derivative transactions with respect to obligations producing tax-exempt interest that may cause the Fund to not be treated as the owner of such obligations for purposes of the 50% threshold described above.

Qualified Dividend Income. Distributions by the Fund of investment company taxable income (including any short-term capital gains), whether received in cash or shares, will be taxable either as ordinary income or as qualified dividend income, which is eligible to be taxed at long-term capital gain rates to the extent the Fund receives qualified dividend income on the securities it holds and the Fund reports the distribution as qualified dividend income. Qualified dividend income is, in general, dividend income from taxable U.S. corporations (but generally not from U.S. REITs) and certain non-U.S. corporations (e.g., non-U.S. corporations that are not PFICs and which are incorporated in a possession of the U.S. or in certain countries with a comprehensive tax treaty with the U.S., or the stock of which is readily tradable on an established securities market in the U.S. (where the dividends are paid with respect to such stock)). Under current IRS guidance, the U.S. has appropriate comprehensive income tax treaties with the following countries: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China (but not with Hong Kong, which is treated as a separate jurisdiction for U.S. tax purposes), Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Substitute payments received by the Fund for securities lent out by the Fund will not be qualified dividend income.

A dividend from the Fund will not be treated as qualified dividend income to the extent that: (i) the shareholder has not held the shares on which the dividend was paid for 61 days during the 121-day period that begins on the date that is 60 days before the date on which the shares become ex-dividend

 

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with respect to such dividend or the Fund fails to satisfy those holding period requirements with respect to the securities it holds that paid the dividends distributed to the shareholder (or, in the case of certain preferred stocks, the holding requirement of 91 days during the 181-day period beginning on the date that is 90 days before the date on which the stock becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend); (ii) the Fund or the shareholder is under an obligation (whether pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to substantially similar or related property; or (iii) the shareholder elects to treat such dividend as investment income under Section 163(d)(4)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code. Dividends received by the Fund from a REIT or another RIC may be treated as qualified dividend income only to the extent the dividend distributions are attributable to qualified dividend income received by such REIT or other RIC. It is expected that dividends received by the Fund from a REIT and distributed to a shareholder generally will be taxable to the shareholder as ordinary income. However, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026, a non-corporate taxpayer who is a direct REIT shareholder may claim a 20% “qualified business income” deduction for ordinary REIT dividends, and proposed regulations issued in January 2019, on which taxpayers may currently rely, permit a RIC to report dividends as eligible for this deduction to the extent the RIC’s income is derived from ordinary REIT dividends (reduced by allocable RIC expenses). A shareholder may treat the dividends as such provided the RIC and the shareholder satisfy applicable holding period requirements, provided such shareholders satisfy the applicable holding period requirement. Distributions by the Fund of its net short-term capital gains will be taxable as ordinary income.

Excess Inclusion Income. Under current law, the Fund serves to block unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) from being realized by its tax-exempt shareholders. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a tax-exempt shareholder could realize UBTI by virtue of its investment in the Fund if shares in the Fund constitute debt-financed property in the hands of the tax-exempt shareholder within the meaning of Section 514(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. Certain types of income received by the Fund from REITs, real estate mortgage investment conduits, taxable mortgage pools or other investments may cause the Fund to report some or all of its distributions as “excess inclusion income.” To Fund shareholders, such excess inclusion income may: (i) constitute taxable income, as UBTI for those shareholders who would otherwise be tax-exempt such as individual retirement accounts, 401(k) accounts, Keogh plans, pension plans and certain charitable entities; (ii) not be offset by otherwise allowable deductions for tax purposes; (iii) not be eligible for reduced U.S. withholding for non-U.S. shareholders even from tax treaty countries; and (iv) cause the Fund to be subject to tax if certain “disqualified organizations,” as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, are Fund shareholders. If a charitable remainder annuity trust or a charitable remainder unitrust (each as defined in Section 664 of the Internal Revenue Code) has UBTI for a taxable year, a 100% excise tax on the UBTI is imposed on the trust.

The Fund tries to avoid investing in REITs that are expected to generate excess inclusion income, but the Fund may not always be successful in doing so. Because information about a REIT’s investments may be inadequate or inaccurate, or because a REIT may change its investment program, the Fund may not be successful in avoiding the consequences described above. Avoidance of investments in REITs that generate excess inclusion income may require the Fund to forego otherwise attractive investment opportunities.

Reporting. If a shareholder recognizes a loss with respect to the Fund’s shares of $2 million or more for an individual shareholder or $10 million or more for a corporate shareholder, the Shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on IRS Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases exempted from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a RIC are not exempted. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper. Shareholders should consult their tax advisors to determine the applicability of these regulations in light of their individual circumstances.

 

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Other Taxes. Dividends, distributions and redemption proceeds may also be subject to additional state, local and non-U.S. taxes depending on each shareholder’s particular situation.

Original Issue Discount. Original Issue Discount (“OID”) on tax-exempt bonds is recognized over the term of the bond and is tax-exempt to the holder of the bond. Special U.S. federal income tax rules apply to inflation-indexed bonds. Generally, all stated interest on such bonds is taken into income by a Fund under its regular method of accounting for interest income. The amount of a positive inflation adjustment, which results in an increase in the inflation-adjusted principal amount of the bond, is treated as original issue discount. The OID is included in the Fund’s gross income ratably during the period ending with the maturity of the bond, under the general OID inclusion rules. The amount of the Fund’s OID in a taxable year with respect to a bond will increase the Fund’s taxable income for such year without a corresponding receipt of cash, until the bond matures. As a result, the Fund may need to use other sources of cash to satisfy its distributions for such year. The amount of negative inflation adjustment, which results in a decrease in the inflation-adjusted principal amount of the bond, reduces the amount of interest (including stated, interest, OID, and market discount, if any) otherwise includible in the Fund’s income with respect to the bond for the taxable year.

Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders. Dividends paid by the Fund to non-U.S. shareholders are generally subject to withholding tax at a 30% rate or a reduced rate specified by an applicable income tax treaty to the extent derived from investment income and short-term capital gains. Dividends paid by the Fund from net tax-exempt income or long-term capital gains are generally not subject to such withholding tax. In order to obtain a reduced rate of withholding, a non-U.S. shareholder will be required to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN or IRS Form W-8BEN-E certifying its entitlement to benefits under a treaty. The withholding tax does not apply to regular dividends paid to a non-U.S. shareholder who provides an IRS Form W-8ECI, certifying that the dividends are effectively connected with the non-U.S. shareholder’s conduct of a trade or business within the U.S. Instead, the effectively connected dividends will be subject to regular U.S. income tax as if the non-U.S. shareholder were a U.S. shareholder. A non-U.S. corporation receiving effectively connected dividends may also be subject to additional “branch profits tax” imposed at a rate of 30% (or lower treaty rate). A non-U.S. shareholder who fails to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN, IRS Form W-8BEN-E or other applicable form may be subject to backup withholding at the appropriate rate.

Properly-reported dividends are generally exempt from U.S. federal withholding tax where they (i) are paid in respect of the Fund’s “qualified net interest income” (generally, the Fund’s U.S. source interest income, other than certain contingent interest and interest from obligations of a corporation or partnership in which the Fund is at least a 10% shareholder or partner, reduced by expenses that are allocable to such income) or (ii) are paid in respect of the Fund’s “qualified short-term capital gains” (generally, the excess of the Fund’s net short-term capital gain over the Fund’s long-term capital loss for such taxable year). However, depending on its circumstances, the Fund may report all, some or none of its potentially eligible dividends as such qualified net interest income or as qualified short-term capital gains and/or treat such dividends, in whole or in part, as ineligible for this exemption from withholding. In order to qualify for this exemption from withholding, a non-U.S. shareholder will need to comply with applicable certification requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing an IRS Form W-8BEN, IRS Form W-8BEN-E or substitute Form). In the case of shares held through an intermediary, the intermediary may withhold even if the Fund reports the payment as qualified net interest income or qualified short-term capital gain. Non-U.S. shareholders should contact their intermediaries with respect to the application of these rules to their accounts.

Special rules may apply to a foreign shareholder receiving a Fund distribution if at least 50% of the Fund’s assets consist of interests in U.S. real property, including shares of certain REITs and U.S. real property holding corporations (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code and Treasury regulations). Fund distributions that are attributable to gain from the disposition of a U.S. real property interest will

 

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be taxable as ordinary dividends and subject to withholding at a 30% or lower treaty rate if the foreign shareholder held no more than 5% of the Fund’s shares at any time during the one-year period ending on the date of the distribution. If the foreign shareholder held at least 5% of the Fund’s shares, the distribution would be treated as income effectively connected with a trade or business within the U.S. and the foreign shareholder would be subject to withholding tax at a rate of 21% and would generally be required to file a U.S. federal income tax return.

Similar consequences would generally apply to a foreign shareholder’s gain on the sale of Fund shares unless the Fund is domestically controlled (meaning that more than 50% of the value of the Fund’s shares is held by U.S. shareholders) or the foreign shareholder owns no more than 5% of the Fund’s shares at any time during the five-year period ending on the date of sale. Finally, a domestically controlled Fund may be required to recognize a portion of its gain on the in-kind distribution of certain U.S. real property interests. Shareholders that are nonresident aliens or foreign entities are urged to consult their own tax advisors concerning the particular tax consequences to them of an investment in the Fund.

Shareholders that are nonresident aliens or foreign entities are urged to consult their own tax advisors concerning the particular tax consequences to them of an investment in the Fund.

Separately, a 30% withholding tax is currently imposed on U.S.-source dividends, interest and other income items paid to: (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the 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: (i) enter into agreements with the IRS that state that they will provide the IRS information, including the names, addresses and taxpayer identification numbers 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 concerning their account holders, or (ii) in the event an intergovernmental agreement and implementing legislation are adopted, provide local revenue authorities with similar account holder information. Other foreign entities may need to report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner or provide certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership unless certain exceptions apply.

Shares of the Fund held by a non-U.S. shareholder at death will be considered situated within the U.S. and subject to the U.S. estate tax.

The foregoing discussion is a summary of certain material U.S. federal income tax considerations only and is not intended as a substitute for careful tax planning. Purchasers of shares should consult their own tax advisors as to the tax consequences of investing in such shares, including consequences under state, local and non-U.S. tax laws. Finally, the foregoing discussion is based on applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, judicial authority and administrative interpretations in effect on the date of this SAI. Changes in applicable authority could materially affect the conclusions discussed above, and such changes often occur.

Miscellaneous Information

Counsel. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, located at 787 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019, is counsel to the Trust.

 

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Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, located at Two Commerce Square, 2001 Market Street, Suite 1800, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, serves as the Trust’s independent registered public accounting firm, audits the Fund’s financial statements, and may perform other services.

Investors Rights. Each Fund relies on the services of BFA and its other service providers, including the Distributor, administrator, custodian and transfer agent. Further information about the duties and roles of these service providers is set out in this SAI. Investors who acquire shares of a Fund are not parties to the relevant agreement with these service providers and do not have express contractual rights against the Fund or its service providers, except certain institutional investors that are Authorized Participants may have certain express contractual rights with respect to the Distributor under the terms of the relevant Authorized Participant Agreement. Investors may have certain legal rights under federal or state law against a Fund or its service providers. In the event that an investor considers that it may have a claim against a Fund, or against any service provider in connection with its investment in a Fund, such investor should consult its own legal advisor.

By contract, Authorized Participants irrevocably submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of any New York State or U.S. federal court sitting in New York City over any suit, action or proceeding arising out of or relating to the Authorized Participant Agreement. Jurisdiction over other claims, whether by investors or Authorized Participants, will turn on the facts of the particular case and the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceeding is brought.

Financial Statements

A copy of each Fund’s first Annual Report, when available, may be obtained upon request and at no charge by calling 1-800-441-7762 between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern time on any business day. The audited financial statements and the independent registered public accounting firm’s report for the Trust appear herein.

 

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Board of Trustees of BlackRock ETF Trust II and Shareholder of BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF

Opinion on the Financial Statement

We have audited the accompanying statement of assets and liabilities of BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF (a series of BlackRock ETF Trust II, referred to hereafter as the “Fund”) as of February 11, 2021, including the related notes (collectively referred to as the “financial statement”). In our opinion, the financial statement presents fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Fund as of February 11, 2021 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Basis for Opinion

This financial statement is the responsibility of the Fund’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Fund’s financial statement based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Fund in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audit of this financial statement in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statement is free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud.

Our audit included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statement, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statement. Our audit also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statement. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

March 5, 2021

We have served as the auditor of one or more BlackRock investment companies since 2000.

 

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BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF

Statement of Assets and Liabilities

February 11, 2021

 

ASSETS:

  

Cash

   $ 100,000  

NET ASSETS:

   $ 100,000  
  

 

 

 

NET ASSETS CONSIST OF:

  

Paid-in capital

   $ 100,000  
  

 

 

 

Net Assets, February 11, 2021

   $ 100,000  
  

 

 

 

Net asset value per common share:

  

Equivalent to 4,000 shares of common stock issued and outstanding, No Par Value, unlimited shares authorized

   $ 25.00  
  

 

 

 

See Notes to Financial Statements.

 

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Notes to Financial Statements

Note 1. Organization:

BlackRock ETF Trust II (the “Trust”) was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on February 19, 2020, and is registered as a non-diversified, open-end management investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended. BlackRock High Yield Muni Income Bond ETF (the “Fund”) is a series of the Trust and is classified as non-diversified. The Fund had no operations other than a sale to BlackRock Financial Management, Inc. of 4,000 shares of common stock for $100,000 ($25.00 per share).

The Fund is an exchange-traded fund (“ETF”). Individual shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange. Investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer.

Note 2. Significant Accounting Policies:

The financial statements are prepared in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”), which may require management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities in the financial statements, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of increases and decreases in net assets from operations during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates. The Fund is considered an investment company under U.S. GAAP and follows the accounting and reporting guidance applicable to investment companies. Below is a summary of significant accounting policies:

Distributions: Distributions from net investment income are declared and paid quarterly. Distributions of capital gains are recorded on the ex-dividend date and made at least annually. The character and timing of distributions are determined in accordance with federal income tax regulations, which may differ from U.S. GAAP.

Indemnifications: In the normal course of business, the Fund enters into contracts that contain a variety of representations that provide general indemnification. The Fund’s maximum exposure under these arrangements is unknown because it involves future potential claims against the Fund, which cannot be predicted with any certainty.

Note 3. Investment Valuation and Fair Value Measurements:

Investment Valuation Policies: The Fund’s investments are valued at fair value (also referred to as “market value” within the financial statements) each day that the Fund’s listing exchange is open and, for financial reporting purposes, as of the report date should the reporting period end on a day that the Fund’s listing exchange is not open. U.S. GAAP defines fair value as the price a fund would receive to sell an asset or pay to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. A fund determines the fair values of its financial instruments using various independent dealers or pricing services under policies approved by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”). If a security’s market price is not readily available or does not otherwise accurately represent the fair value of the security, the security will be valued in accordance with a policy approved by the Board as reflecting fair value. The BlackRock Global Valuation Methodologies Committee (the “Global Valuation Committee”) is the committee formed by management to develop global pricing policies and procedures and to oversee the pricing function for all financial instruments.

 

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Fair Value Inputs and Methodologies: The following methods and inputs are used to establish the fair value of the Fund’s assets and liabilities:

 

   

Equity investments traded on a recognized securities exchange are valued at that day’s official closing price, as applicable, on the exchange where the stock is primarily traded. Equity investments traded on a recognized exchange for which there were no sales on that day may be valued at the last available bid (long positions) or ask (short positions) price.

 

   

Fixed-income investments for which market quotations are readily available are generally valued using the last available bid price or current market quotations provided by independent dealers or third party pricing services. Floating rate loan interests are valued at the mean of the bid prices from one or more independent brokers or dealers as obtained from a third party pricing service. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but a fund may hold or transact in such securities in smaller, odd lot sizes. Odd lots may trade at lower prices than institutional round lots. The pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values, including transaction data (e.g., recent representative bids and offers), market data, credit quality information, perceived market movements, news, and other relevant information. Certain fixed-income securities, including asset-backed and mortgage related securities may be valued based on valuation models that consider the estimated cash flows of each tranche of the entity, establish a benchmark yield and develop an estimated tranche specific spread to the benchmark yield based on the unique attributes of the tranche. The amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless the Manager determines such method does not represent fair value.

 

   

Exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and closed-end funds traded on a recognized securities exchange are valued at that day’s official closing price, as applicable, on the exchange where the stock is primarily traded. ETFs and closed-end funds traded on a recognized exchange for which there were no sales on that day may be valued at the last available bid (long positions) or ask (short positions) price.

 

   

Investments in open-end U.S. mutual funds (including money market funds) are valued at that day’s published net asset value (“NAV”).

If events (e.g., a market closure, market volatility, company announcement or a natural disaster) occur that are expected to materially affect the value of such investment, or in the event that application of these methods of valuation results in a price for an investment that is deemed not to be representative of the market value of such investment, or if a price is not available, the investment will be valued by the Global Valuation Committee, or its delegate, in accordance with a policy approved by the Board as reflecting fair value (“Fair Valued Investments”). The fair valuation approaches that may be used by the Global Valuation Committee include market approach, income approach and cost approach. Valuation techniques such as discounted cash flow, use of market comparables and matrix pricing are types of valuation approaches and are typically used in determining fair value. When determining the price for Fair Valued Investments, the Global Valuation Committee, or its delegate, seeks to determine the price that the Fund might reasonably expect to receive or pay from the current sale or purchase of that asset or liability in an arm’s-length transaction. Fair value determinations shall be based upon all available factors that the Global Valuation Committee, or its delegate, deems relevant and consistent with the principles of fair value measurement.

The pricing of all Fair Valued Investments is subsequently reported to the Board or a committee thereof on a quarterly basis.

 

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Fair Value Hierarchy: Various inputs are used in determining the fair value of financial instruments. These inputs to valuation techniques are categorized into a fair value hierarchy consisting of three broad levels for financial reporting purposes as follows:

 

   

Level 1 – unadjusted price quotations in active markets/exchanges for identical assets or liabilities that the Fund has the ability to access;

 

   

Level 2 – other observable inputs (including, but not limited to, quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities in markets that are active, quoted prices for identical or similar assets or liabilities in markets that are not active, inputs other than quoted prices that are observable for the assets or liabilities (such as interest rates, yield curves, volatilities, prepayment speeds, loss severities, credit risks and default rates) or other market–corroborated inputs); and

 

   

Level 3 – unobservable inputs based on the best information available in the circumstances, to the extent observable inputs are not available (including the Global Valuation Committee’s assumptions used in determining the fair value of financial instruments).

The hierarchy gives the highest priority to unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities (Level 1 measurements) and the lowest priority to unobservable inputs (Level 3 measurements). Accordingly, the degree of judgment exercised in determining fair value is greatest for instruments categorized in Level 3. The inputs used to measure fair value may fall into different levels of the fair value hierarchy. In such cases, for disclosure purposes, the fair value hierarchy classification is determined based on the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement in its entirety. Investments classified within Level 3 have significant unobservable inputs used by the Global Valuation Committee in determining the price for Fair Valued Investments. Level 3 investments include equity or debt issued by privately-held companies that may not have a secondary market and/or may have a limited number of investors. The categorization of a value determined for financial instruments is based on the pricing transparency of the financial instruments and is not necessarily an indication of the risks associated with investing in those securities.

Note 4. Investment Advisory Agreement and Other Transactions with Affiliates:

Investment Advisory: The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, entered into an Investment Advisory Agreement with BlackRock Fund Advisors (the “Manager”), the Fund’s investment adviser, an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, to provide investment advisory and administration services. The Manager is responsible for the management of the Fund’s portfolio and provides the personnel, facilities, equipment and certain other services necessary to the operations of the Fund.

For such services, the Fund pays the Manager a monthly fee at an annual rate equal to 0.45% of the Fund’s average daily net assets.

Waivers: The Trust and the Manager entered in a fee waiver agreement, pursuant to which the Manager has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its investment advisory fee through November 30, 2023 in order to limit the Fund’s total annual operating expenses after fee waiver to 0.35% of the Fund’s average daily net assets.

Officers and Trustees: Certain officers and/or Trustees of the Trust are officers and/or Trustees of BlackRock or its affiliates. The Fund reimburses the Manager for a portion of the compensation paid to the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer.

Note 5. Income Tax Information:

It is the policy of the Fund to qualify as a regulated investment company by complying with the provisions applicable to regulated investment companies, as defined under Subchapter M of the

 

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Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and to annually distribute substantially all of its ordinary income and any net capital gains (taking into account any capital loss carryforwards) sufficient to relieve it from all, or substantially all, federal income and excise taxes. Accordingly, no provision for federal income taxes is required.

Note 6. Organization Expenses and Offering Costs:

Expenses related to the organization and initial registration of the Fund will be borne by the Manager.

Note 7. Subsequent Events:

Management has evaluated the impact of all subsequent events on the Fund through the date the financial statements were issued and has determined that there were no subsequent events requiring adjustment or additional disclosure in the financial statements.

 

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Appendix A1

Open-End Fund Proxy Voting Policy

Procedures Governing Delegation of Proxy Voting to Fund Advisers

Effective Date: October 1, 2020

Open-End Mutual Funds (including money market funds)

iShares ETFs and BlackRock ETFs

The Boards of Trustees/Directors (“Directors”) of open-end funds (the “Funds”) advised by BlackRock Fund Advisors or BlackRock Advisors, LLC (“BlackRock”), have the responsibility for the oversight of voting proxies relating to portfolio securities of the Funds, and have determined that it is in the best interests of the Funds and their shareholders to delegate the responsibility to vote proxies to BlackRock, subject to the principles outlined in this Policy, as part of BlackRock’s authority to manage, acquire and dispose of account assets, all as contemplated by the Funds’ respective investment management agreements.

BlackRock has adopted guidelines and procedures (together and as from time to time amended, the “BlackRock Proxy Voting Guidelines”) governing proxy voting by accounts managed by BlackRock.

BlackRock will cast votes on behalf of each of the Funds on specific proxy issues in respect of securities held by each such Fund (or may refrain from voting) in accordance with the BlackRock Proxy Voting Guidelines.

BlackRock will report on an annual basis to the Directors on (1) a summary of all proxy votes that BlackRock has made on behalf of the Funds in the preceding year together with a representation that all votes were in accordance with the BlackRock Proxy Voting Guidelines, and (2) any changes to the BlackRock Proxy Voting Guidelines that have not previously been reported.

 

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Appendix A2

BlackRock Investment Stewardship

Global Corporate Governance & Engagement Principles

January 2020

BlackRock

 

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Contents

Introduction to BlackRock

    A-4  

Philosophy on corporate governance

    A-4  

Corporate governance, engagement and voting

    A-5  

- Boards and directors

    A-6  

- Auditors and audit-related issues

    A-7  

- Capital structure, mergers, asset sales and other special transactions

    A-7  

- Compensation and benefits

    A-8  

- Environmental and social issues

    A-9  

- Climate risk

    A-10  

- General corporate governance matters and shareholder protections

    A-10  

BlackRock’s oversight of its investment stewardship activities

    A-11  

- Oversight

    A-11  

- Vote execution

    A-11  

- Conflicts management policies and procedures

    A-12  

- Voting guidelines

    A-14  

- Reporting and vote transparency

    A-14  

If you would like additional information, please contact:

ContactStewardship@blackrock.com

 

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INTRODUCTION TO BLACKROCK

BlackRocks purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. As a fiduciary to our clients, we provide the investment and technology solutions they need when planning for their most important goals. We manage assets on behalf of institutional and individual clients, across a full spectrum of investment strategies, asset classes and regions. Our client base includes pension plans, endowments, foundations, charities, official institutions, insurers and other financial institutions, as well as individuals around the world.

PHILOSOPHY ON CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

BlackRock Investment Stewardship (“BIS”) activities are focused on maximizing long-term value for our clients. BIS does this through engagement with boards and management of investee companies and, for those clients who have given us authority, through voting at shareholder meetings.

We believe that there are certain fundamental rights attached to shareholding. Companies and their boards should be accountable to shareholders and structured with appropriate checks and balances to ensure that they operate in shareholders’ best interests. Effective voting rights are central to the rights of ownership and there should be one vote for one share. Shareholders should have the right to elect, remove and nominate directors, approve the appointment of the auditor and to amend the corporate charter or by-laws. Shareholders should be able to vote on matters that are material to the protection of their investment, including but not limited to, changes to the purpose of the business, dilution levels and pre-emptive rights, and the distribution of income and capital structure. In order to make informed decisions, we believe that shareholders have the right to sufficient and timely information.

Our primary focus is on the performance of the board of directors. As the agent of shareholders, the board should set the company’s strategic aims within a framework of prudent and effective controls, which enables risk to be assessed and managed. The board should provide direction and leadership to management and oversee management’s performance. Our starting position is to be supportive of boards in their oversight efforts on shareholders’ behalf and we would generally expect to support the items of business they put to a vote at shareholder meetings. Votes cast against or withheld from resolutions proposed by the board are a signal that we are concerned that the directors or management have either not acted in the best interests of shareholders or have not responded adequately to shareholder concerns. We assess voting matters on a case-by-case basis and in light of each company’s unique circumstances taking into consideration regional best practices and long-term value creation.

These principles set out our approach to engaging with companies, provide guidance on our position on corporate governance and outline how our views might be reflected in our voting decisions. Corporate governance practices can vary internationally, so our expectations in relation to individual companies are based on the legal and regulatory framework of each local market. However, we believe there are overarching principles of corporate governance that apply globally and provide a framework for more detailed, market-specific assessments.

We believe BlackRock has a responsibility in relation to monitoring and providing feedback to companies, sometimes known as “stewardship.” These ownership responsibilities include engaging with management or board members on corporate governance matters, voting proxies in the best long-term economic interests of our clients, and engaging with regulatory bodies to ensure a sound policy framework consistent with promoting long-term shareholder value creation. We also believe in the responsibility to our clients to have appropriate resources and oversight structures. Our approach is set out in the section below titled “BlackRock’s oversight of its investment stewardship activities” and is further detailed in a team profile on our website.

 

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CORPORATE GOVERNANCE, ENGAGEMENT AND VOTING

We recognize that accepted standards of corporate governance differ between markets, but we believe there are sufficient common threads globally to identify an overarching set of principles. The objective of our investment stewardship activities is the protection and enhancement of the value of our clients’ investments in public corporations. Thus, these principles focus on practices and structures that we consider to be supportive of long-term value creation. We discuss below the principles under six key themes. In our regional and market-specific voting guidelines we explain how these principles inform our voting decisions in relation to specific resolutions that may appear on the agenda of a shareholder meeting in the relevant market.

The six key themes are:

 

 

Boards and directors

 

 

Auditors and audit-related issues

 

 

Capital structure, mergers, asset sales and other special transactions

 

 

Compensation and benefits

 

 

Environmental and social issues

 

 

General corporate governance matters and shareholder protections

At a minimum, we expect companies to observe the accepted corporate governance standards in their domestic market or to explain why doing so is not in the interests of shareholders. Where company reporting and disclosure is inadequate or the approach taken is inconsistent with our view of what is in the best interests of shareholders, we will engage with the company and/or use our vote to encourage a change in practice. In making voting decisions, we perform independent research and analysis, such as reviewing relevant information published by the company and apply our voting guidelines to achieve the outcome we believe best protects our clients’ long-term economic interests. We also work closely with our active portfolio managers, and may take into account internal and external research.

BlackRock views engagement as an important activity; engagement provides us with the opportunity to improve our understanding of the challenges and opportunities that investee companies are facing and their governance structures. Engagement also allows us to share our philosophy and approach to investment and corporate governance with companies to enhance their understanding of our objectives. Our engagements often focus on providing our feedback on company disclosures, particularly where we believe they could be enhanced. There are a range of approaches we may take in engaging companies depending on the nature of the issue under consideration, the company and the market.

BlackRocks engagements emphasize direct dialogue with corporate leadership on the governance issues identified in these principles that have a material impact on financial performance. These engagements enable us to cast informed votes aligned with clients long-term economic interests. We generally prefer to engage in the first instance where we have concerns and give management time to address or resolve the issue. As a long-term investor, we are patient and persistent in working with our portfolio companies to have an open dialogue and develop mutual understanding of governance matters, to promote the adoption of best practices and to assess the merits of a company’s approach to its governance. We monitor the companies in which we invest and engage with them constructively and privately where we believe doing so helps protect shareholders’ interests. We do not try to micro-manage companies, or tell management and boards what to do. We present our views as a long-term shareholder and listen to companies’ responses. The materiality and immediacy of a given issue will

 

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generally determine the level of our engagement and whom we seek to engage at the company, which could be management representatives or board directors.

Boards and directors

The performance of the board is critical to the economic success of the company and to the protection of shareholders’ interests. Board members serve as agents of shareholders in overseeing the strategic direction and operation of the company. For this reason, BlackRock focuses on directors in many of our engagements and sees the election of directors as one of our most important responsibilities in the proxy voting context.

We expect the board of directors to promote and protect shareholder interests by:

 

 

establishing an appropriate corporate governance structure

 

 

supporting and overseeing management in setting long-term strategic goals, applicable measures of value-creation and milestones that will demonstrate progress, and steps taken if any obstacles are anticipated or incurred

 

 

ensuring the integrity of financial statements

 

 

making independent decisions regarding mergers, acquisitions and disposals

 

 

establishing appropriate executive compensation structures

 

 

addressing business issues, including environmental and social issues, when they have the potential to materially impact company reputation and performance

There should be clear definitions of the role of the board, the committees of the board and senior management such that the responsibilities of each are well understood and accepted. Companies should report publicly the approach taken to governance (including in relation to board structure) and why this approach is in the best interest of shareholders. We will seek to engage with the appropriate directors where we have concerns about the performance of the board or the company, the broad strategy of the company, or the performance of individual board members. We believe that when a company is not effectively addressing a material issue, its directors should be held accountable.

BlackRock believes that directors should stand for re-election on a regular basis. We assess directors nominated for election or re-election in the context of the composition of the board as a whole. There should be detailed disclosure of the relevant credentials of the individual directors in order for shareholders to assess the caliber of an individual nominee. We expect there to be a sufficient number of independent directors on the board to ensure the protection of the interests of all shareholders. Common impediments to independence may include but are not limited to:

 

 

current or former employment at the company or a subsidiary within the past several years

 

 

being, or representing, a shareholder with a substantial shareholding in the company

 

 

interlocking directorships

 

 

having any other interest, business or other relationship which could, or could reasonably be perceived to, materially interfere with the director’s ability to act in the best interests of the company

BlackRock believes that the operation of the board is enhanced when there is a clearly independent, senior non-executive director to chair it or, where the chairman is also the CEO (or is otherwise not independent), an independent lead director. The role of this director is to enhance the effectiveness of

 

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the independent members of the board through shaping the agenda, ensuring adequate information is provided to the board and encouraging independent participation in board deliberations. The lead independent board director should be available to shareholders in those situations where a director is best placed to explain and justify a company’s approach.

To ensure that the board remains effective, regular reviews of board performance should be carried out and assessments made of gaps in skills or experience amongst the members. BlackRock believes it is beneficial for new directors to be brought onto the board periodically to refresh the group’s thinking and to ensure both continuity and adequate succession planning. In identifying potential candidates, boards should take into consideration the multiple dimensions of diversity, including personal factors such as gender, ethnicity, and age; as well as professional characteristics, such as a director’s industry, area of expertise, and geographic location. The board should review these dimensions of the current directors and how they might be augmented by incoming directors. We believe that directors are in the best position to assess the optimal size for the board, but we would be concerned if a board seemed too small to have an appropriate balance of directors or too large to be effective.

There are matters for which the board has responsibility that may involve a conflict of interest for executives or for affiliated directors. BlackRock believes that shareholders’ interests are best served when the board forms committees of fully independent directors to deal with such matters. In many markets, these committees of the board specialize in audit, director nominations and compensation matters. An ad hoc committee might also be formed to decide on a special transaction, particularly one with a related party or to investigate a significant adverse event.

Auditors and audit-related issues

Comprehensive disclosure provides investors with a sense of the company’s long-term operational risk management practices and, more broadly, the quality of the board’s oversight. In the absence of robust disclosures, we may reasonably conclude that companies are not adequately managing risk.

BlackRock recognizes the critical importance of financial statements, which should provide a true and fair picture of a company’s financial condition. We will hold the members of the audit committee or equivalent responsible for overseeing the management of the audit function. We take particular note of cases involving significant financial restatements or ad hoc notifications of material financial weakness.

The integrity of financial statements depends on the auditor being free of any impediments to being an effective check on management. To that end, we believe it is important that auditors are, and are seen to be, independent. Where the audit firm provides services to the company in addition to the audit, the fees earned should be disclosed and explained. Audit committees should have in place a procedure for assessing annually the independence of the auditor.

Capital structure, mergers, asset sales and other special transactions

The capital structure of a company is critical to its owners, the shareholders, as it impacts the value of their investment and the priority of their interest in the company relative to that of other equity or debt investors. Pre-emptive rights are a key protection for shareholders against the dilution of their interests.

Effective voting rights are central to the rights of ownership and we believe strongly in one vote for one share as a guiding principle that supports good corporate governance. Shareholders, as the residual claimants, have the strongest interest in protecting company value, and voting power should match economic exposure.

 

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We are concerned that the creation of a dual share class may result in an over-concentration of power in the hands of a few shareholders, thus disenfranchising other shareholders and amplifying the potential conflict of interest, which the one share, one vote principle is designed to mitigate. However, we recognize that in certain circumstances, companies may have a valid argument for dual-class listings, at least for a limited period of time. We believe that such companies should review these dual-class structures on a regular basis or as company circumstances change. Additionally, they should receive shareholder approval of their capital structure on a periodic basis via a management proposal in the company’s proxy. The proposal should give unaffiliated shareholders the opportunity to affirm the current structure or establish mechanisms to end or phase out controlling structures at the appropriate time, while minimizing costs to shareholders.

In assessing mergers, asset sales or other special transactions, BlackRock’s primary consideration is the long-term economic interests of shareholders. Boards proposing a transaction need to clearly explain the economic and strategic rationale behind it. We will review a proposed transaction to determine the degree to which it enhances long-term shareholder value. We would prefer that proposed transactions have the unanimous support of the board and have been negotiated at arm’s length. We may seek reassurance from the board that executives’ and/or board members’ financial interests in a given transaction have not adversely affected their ability to place shareholders’ interests before their own. Where the transaction involves related parties, we would expect the recommendation to support it to come from the independent directors and it is good practice to be approved by a separate vote of the non-conflicted shareholders.

BlackRock believes that shareholders have a right to dispose of company shares in the open market without unnecessary restriction. In our view, corporate mechanisms designed to limit shareholders’ ability to sell their shares are contrary to basic property rights. Such mechanisms can serve to protect and entrench interests other than those of the shareholders. We believe that shareholders are broadly capable of making decisions in their own best interests. We expect any so-called ‘shareholder rights plans’ proposed by a board to be subject to shareholder approval upon introduction and periodically thereafter for continuation.

Compensation and benefits

BlackRock expects a company’s board of directors to put in place a compensation structure that incentivizes and rewards executives appropriately and is aligned with shareholder interests, particularly generating sustainable long-term shareholder returns. We would expect the compensation committee to take into account the specific circumstances of the company and the key individuals the board is trying to incentivize. We encourage companies to ensure that their compensation plans incorporate appropriate and challenging performance conditions consistent with corporate strategy and market practice. We use third party research, in addition to our own analysis, to evaluate existing and proposed compensation structures. We hold members of the compensation committee or equivalent board members accountable for poor compensation practices or structures.

BlackRock believes that there should be a clear link between variable pay and company performance that drives shareholder returns. We are not supportive of one-off or special bonuses unrelated to company or individual performance. We acknowledge that the use of peer group evaluation by compensation committees can help ensure competitive pay; however, we are concerned when increases in total compensation at a company are justified solely on peer benchmarking rather than outperformance. We support incentive plans that foster the sustainable achievement of results relative to competitors. The vesting timeframes associated with incentive plans should facilitate a focus on long-term value creation. We believe consideration should be given to building claw back provisions into incentive plans such that executives would be required to forgo rewards when they are not justified by actual performance. Compensation committees should guard against contractual arrangements that

 

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would entitle executives to material compensation for early termination of their contract. Finally, pension contributions and other deferred compensation arrangements should be reasonable in light of market practice.

Non-executive directors should be compensated in a manner that is commensurate with the time and effort expended in fulfilling their professional responsibilities. Additionally, these compensation arrangements should not risk compromising their independence or aligning their interests too closely with those of the management, whom they are charged with overseeing.

Environmental and social issues

Our fiduciary duty to clients is to protect and enhance their economic interest in the companies in which we invest on their behalf. It is within this context that we undertake our corporate governance activities. We believe that well-managed companies will deal effectively with the material environmental and social (“E&S”) factors relevant to their businesses. Robust disclosure is essential for investors to effectively gauge companies’ business practices and planning related to E&S risks and opportunities.

BlackRock expects companies to issue reports aligned with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the standards put forward by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). We view the SASB and TCFD frameworks as complementary in achieving the goal of disclosing more financially material information, particularly as it relates to industry-specific metrics and target setting. TCFD’s recommendations provide an overarching framework for disclosure on the business implications of climate change, and potentially other E&S factors. We find SASB’s industry-specific guidance (as identified in its materiality map) beneficial in helping companies identify and discuss their governance, risk assessments, and performance against these key performance indicators (KPIs). Any global standards adopted, peer group benchmarking undertaken, and verification processes in place should also be disclosed and discussed in this context.

BlackRock has been engaging with companies for several years on disclosure of material E&S factors. Given the increased understanding of sustainability risks and opportunities, and the need for better information to assess them, we specifically ask companies to:

 

  1)

publish a disclosure in line with industry-specific SASB guidelines by year-end, if they have not already done so, or disclose a similar set of data in a way that is relevant to their particular business; and

 

  2)

disclose climate-related risks in line with the TCFD’s recommendations, if they have not already done so. This should include the company’s plan for operating under a scenario where the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees is fully realized, as expressed by the TCFD guidelines.

See our commentary on our approach to engagement on TCFD and SASB aligned reporting for greater detail of our expectations.

We will use these disclosures and our engagements to ascertain whether companies are properly managing and overseeing these risks within their business and adequately planning for the future. In the absence of robust disclosures, investors, including BlackRock, will increasingly conclude that companies are not adequately managing risk.

We believe that when a company is not effectively addressing a material issue, its directors should be held accountable. We will generally engage directly with the board or management of a company when we identify issues. We may vote against the election of directors where we have concerns that a company might not be dealing with E&S factors appropriately. Sometimes we may reflect such

 

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concerns by supporting a shareholder proposal on the issue, where there seems to be either a significant potential threat or realized harm to shareholders’ interests caused by poor management of material E&S factors.

In deciding our course of action, we will assess the companys disclosures and the nature of our engagement with the company on the issue over time, including whether:

 

   

The company has already taken sufficient steps to address the concern

 

   

The company is in the process of actively implementing a response

 

   

There is a clear and material economic disadvantage to the company in the near-term if the issue is not addressed in the manner requested by the shareholder proposal

We do not see it as our role to make social or political judgments on behalf of clients. Our consideration of these E&S factors is consistent with protecting the long-term economic interest of our clients’ assets. We expect investee companies to comply, at a minimum, with the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which they operate. They should explain how they manage situations where local laws or regulations that significantly impact the company’s operations are contradictory or ambiguous to global norms.

Climate risk

Within the framework laid out above, as well as our guidance on “How BlackRock Investment Stewardship engages on climate risk,” we believe that climate presents significant investment risks and opportunities that may impact the long-term financial sustainability of companies. We believe that the reporting frameworks developed by TCFD and SASB provide useful guidance to companies on identifying, managing, and reporting on climate-related risks and opportunities.

We expect companies to help their investors understand how the company may be impacted by climate risk, in the context of its ability to realize a long-term strategy and generate value over time. We expect companies to convey their governance around this issue through their corporate disclosures aligned with TCFD and SASB. For companies in sectors that are significantly exposed to climate-related risk, we expect the whole board to have demonstrable fluency in how climate risk affects the business and how management approaches assessing, adapting to, and mitigating that risk.

Where a company receives a shareholder proposal related to climate risk, in addition to the factors laid out above, our assessment will take into account the robustness of the company’s existing disclosures as well as our understanding of its management of the issues as revealed through our engagements with the company and board members over time. In certain instances, we may disagree with the details of a climate-related shareholder proposal but agree that the company in question has not made sufficient progress on climate-related disclosures. In these instances, we may not support the proposal, but may vote against the election of relevant directors.

General corporate governance matters and shareholder protections

BlackRock believes that shareholders have a right to timely and detailed information on the financial performance and viability of the companies in which they invest. In addition, companies should also publish information on the governance structures in place and the rights of shareholders to influence these. The reporting and disclosure provided by companies help shareholders assess whether their economic interests have been protected and the quality of the board’s oversight of management. We believe shareholders should have the right to vote on key corporate governance matters, including changes to governance mechanisms, to submit proposals to the shareholders’ meeting and to call special meetings of shareholders.

 

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BLACKROCK’S OVERSIGHT OF ITS INVESTMENT STEWARDSHIP ACTIVITIES

Oversight

We hold ourselves to a very high standard in our investment stewardship activities, including proxy voting. This function is executed by a team called BlackRock Investment Stewardship (“BIS”) which is comprised of BlackRock employees who do not have other responsibilities other than their roles in BIS. BIS is considered an investment function. The team does not have sales responsibilities.

BlackRock maintains three regional advisory committees (“Stewardship Advisory Committees”) for (a) the Americas; (b) Europe, the Middle East and Africa (“EMEA”); and (c) Asia-Pacific, generally consisting of senior BlackRock investment professionals and/or senior employees with practical boardroom experience. The regional Stewardship Advisory Committees review and advise on amendments to the proxy voting guidelines covering markets within each respective region (“Guidelines”).

In addition to the regional Stewardship Advisory Committees, the Investment Stewardship Global Oversight Committee (“Global Committee”) is a risk-focused committee, comprised of senior representatives from various BlackRock investment teams, BlackRock’s Deputy General Counsel, the Global Head of Investment Stewardship (“Global Head”), and other senior executives with relevant experience and team oversight.

The Global Head has primary oversight of the activities of BIS, including voting in accordance with the Guidelines, which require the application of professional judgment and consideration of each company’s unique circumstances. The Global Committee reviews and approves amendments to these Global Corporate Governance & Engagement Principles. The Global Committee also reviews and approves amendments to the regional Guidelines, as proposed by the regional Stewardship Advisory Committees.

In addition, the Global Committee receives and reviews periodic reports regarding the votes cast by BIS, as well as regular updates on material process issues, procedural changes and other risk oversight considerations. The Global Committee reviews these reports in an oversight capacity as informed by the BIS corporate governance engagement program and Guidelines.

BIS carries out engagement with companies, monitors and executes proxy votes, and conducts vote operations (including maintaining records of votes cast) in a manner consistent with the relevant Guidelines. BIS also conducts research on corporate governance issues and participates in industry discussions to keep abreast of important developments in the corporate governance field. BIS may utilize third parties for certain of the foregoing activities and performs oversight of those third parties. BIS may raise complicated or particularly controversial matters for internal discussion with the relevant investment teams and/or refer such matters to the appropriate regional Stewardship Advisory Committees for review, discussion and guidance prior to making a voting decision.

Vote execution

We carefully consider proxies submitted to funds and other fiduciary account(s) (“Fund” or “Funds”) for which we have voting authority. BlackRock votes (or refrains from voting) proxies for each Fund for which we have voting authority based on our evaluation of the best long-term economic interests of shareholders, in the exercise of our independent business judgment, and without regard to the relationship of the issuer of the proxy (or any shareholder proponent or dissident shareholder) to the Fund, the Fund’s affiliates (if any), BlackRock or BlackRock’s affiliates, or BlackRock employees (see “Conflicts management policies and procedures”, below).

 

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When exercising voting rights, BlackRock will normally vote on specific proxy issues in accordance with the Guidelines for the relevant market. The Guidelines are reviewed regularly and are amended consistent with changes in the local market practice, as developments in corporate governance occur, or as otherwise deemed advisable by BlackRock’s Stewardship Advisory Committees. BIS may, in the exercise of their professional judgment, conclude that the Guidelines do not cover the specific matter upon which a proxy vote is required or that an exception to the Guidelines would be in the best long-term economic interests of BlackRock’s clients.

In the uncommon circumstance of there being a vote with respect to fixed income securities or the securities of privately held issuers, the decision generally will be made by a Fund’s portfolio managers and/or BIS based on their assessment of the particular transactions or other matters at issue.

In certain markets, proxy voting involves logistical issues which can affect BlackRock’s ability to vote such proxies, as well as the desirability of voting such proxies. These issues include but are not limited to: (i) untimely notice of shareholder meetings; (ii) restrictions on a foreigner’s ability to exercise votes; (iii) requirements to vote proxies in person; (iv) “share-blocking” (requirements that investors who exercise their voting rights surrender the right to dispose of their holdings for some specified period in proximity to the shareholder meeting); (v) potential difficulties in translating the proxy; (vi) regulatory constraints; and (vii) requirements to provide local agents with unrestricted powers of attorney to facilitate voting instructions. We are not supportive of impediments to the exercise of voting rights such as shareblocking or overly burdensome administrative requirements.

As a consequence, BlackRock votes proxies on a “best-efforts” basis. In addition, BIS may determine that it is generally in the best interests of BlackRock’s clients not to vote proxies if the costs (including but not limited to opportunity costs associated with shareblocking constraints) associated with exercising a vote are expected to outweigh the benefit the client would derive by voting on the proposal.

Portfolio managers have full discretion to vote the shares in the Funds they manage based on their analysis of the economic impact of a particular ballot item. Portfolio managers may from time to time reach differing views on how best to maximize economic value with respect to a particular investment. Therefore, portfolio managers may, and sometimes do, vote shares in the Funds under their management differently from one another. However, because BlackRock’s clients are mostly long-term investors with long-term economic goals, ballots are frequently cast in a uniform manner.

Conflicts management policies and procedures

BIS maintains the following policies and procedures that seek to prevent undue influence on BlackRock’s proxy voting activity. Such influence might stem from any relationship between the investee company (or any shareholder proponent or dissident shareholder) and BlackRock, BlackRock’s affiliates, a Fund or a Fund’s affiliates, or BlackRock employees. The following are examples of sources of perceived or potential conflicts of interest:

 

 

BlackRock clients who may be issuers of securities or proponents of shareholder resolutions

 

 

BlackRock business partners or third parties who may be issuers of securities or proponents of shareholder resolutions

 

 

BlackRock employees who may sit on the boards of public companies held in Funds managed by BlackRock

 

 

Significant BlackRock, Inc. investors who may be issuers of securities held in Funds managed by BlackRock

 

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Securities of BlackRock, Inc. or BlackRock investment funds held in Funds managed by BlackRock

 

 

BlackRock, Inc. board members who serve as senior executives of public companies held in Funds managed by BlackRock

BlackRock has taken certain steps to mitigate perceived or potential conflicts including, but not limited to, the following:

 

 

Adopted the Guidelines which are designed to protect and enhance the economic value of the companies in which BlackRock invests on behalf of clients.

 

 

Established a reporting structure that separates BIS from employees with sales, vendor management or business partnership roles. In addition, BlackRock seeks to ensure that all engagements with corporate issuers, dissident shareholders or shareholder proponents are managed consistently and without regard to BlackRock’s relationship with such parties. Clients or business partners are not given special treatment or differentiated access to BIS. BIS prioritizes engagements based on factors including but not limited to our need for additional information to make a voting decision or our view on the likelihood that an engagement could lead to positive outcome(s) over time for the economic value of the company. Within the normal course of business, BIS may engage directly with BlackRock clients, business partners and/or third parties, and/or with employees with sales, vendor management or business partnership roles, in discussions regarding our approach to stewardship, general corporate governance matters, client reporting needs, and/or to otherwise ensure that proxy-related client service levels are met.

 

 

Determined to engage, in certain instances, an independent fiduciary to vote proxies as a further safeguard to avoid potential conflicts of interest, to satisfy regulatory compliance requirements, or as may be otherwise required by applicable law. In such circumstances, the independent fiduciary provides BlackRock’s proxy voting agent with instructions, in accordance with the Guidelines, as to how to vote such proxies, and BlackRock’s proxy voting agent votes the proxy in accordance with the independent fiduciary’s determination. BlackRock uses an independent fiduciary to vote proxies of (i) any company that is affiliated with BlackRock, Inc., (ii) any public company that includes BlackRock employees on its board of directors, (iii) The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., (iv) any public company of which a BlackRock, Inc. board member serves as a senior executive, and (v) companies when legal or regulatory requirements compel BlackRock to use an independent fiduciary. In selecting an independent fiduciary, we assess several characteristics, including but not limited to: independence, an ability to analyze proxy issues and vote in the best economic interest of our clients, reputation for reliability and integrity, and operational capacity to accurately deliver the assigned votes in a timely manner. We may engage more than one independent fiduciary, in part in order to mitigate potential or perceived conflicts of interest at an independent fiduciary. The Global Committee appoints and reviews the performance of the independent fiduciar(ies), generally on an annual basis.

When so authorized, BlackRock acts as a securities lending agent on behalf of Funds. With regard to the relationship between securities lending and proxy voting, BlackRock’s approach is driven by our clients’ economic interests. The decision whether to recall securities on loan to vote is based on a formal analysis of the revenue producing value to clients of loans, against the assessed economic value of casting votes. Generally, we expect that the likely economic value to clients of casting votes would be less than the securities lending income, either because, in our assessment, the resolutions being voted on will not have significant economic consequences or because the outcome would not be affected by BlackRock recalling loaned securities in order to vote. BlackRock also may, in our discretion, determine that the value of voting outweighs the cost of recalling shares, and thus recall shares to vote in that instance.

 

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Periodically, BlackRock reviews our process for determining whether to recall securities on loan in order to vote and may modify it as necessary.

Voting guidelines

The issue-specific Guidelines published for each region/country in which we vote are intended to summarize BlackRock’s general philosophy and approach to issues that may commonly arise in the proxy voting context in each market where we invest. These Guidelines are not intended to be exhaustive. BIS applies the Guidelines on a case-by-case basis, in the context of the individual circumstances of each company and the specific issue under review. As such, these Guidelines do not indicate how BIS will vote in every instance. Rather, they share our view about corporate governance issues generally, and provide insight into how we typically approach issues that commonly arise on corporate ballots.

Reporting and vote transparency

We inform clients about our engagement and voting policies and activities through direct communication and through disclosure on our website. Each year we publish an annual report, an annual engagement and voting statistics report, and our full voting record to our website. On a quarterly basis, we publish regional reports which provide an overview of our investment stewardship engagement and voting activities during the quarter, including market developments, speaking engagements, and engagement and voting statistics. Additionally, we make public our market-specific voting guidelines for the benefit of clients and companies with whom we engage.

This document is provided for information purposes only and must not be relied upon as a forecast, research, or investment advice. BlackRock is not making any recommendation or soliciting any action based upon the information contained herein and nothing in this document should be construed as constituting an offer to sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy, securities in any jurisdiction to any person. This information provided herein does not constitute financial, tax, legal or accounting advice, you should consult your own advisers on such matters.

The information and opinions contained in this document are as of January 2020 unless it is stated otherwise and may change as subsequent conditions vary. The information and opinions contained in this material are derived from proprietary and non-proprietary sources deemed by BlackRock to be reliable, are not necessarily all-inclusive and are not guaranteed as to accuracy. Although such information is believed to be reliable for the purposes used herein, BlackRock does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of such information. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader. Certain information contained herein represents or is based upon forward-looking statements or information. BlackRock and its affiliates believe that such statements and information are based upon reasonable estimates and assumptions. However, forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain, and factors may cause events or results to differ from those projected. Therefore, undue reliance should not be placed on such forward-looking statements and information.

Prepared by BlackRock, Inc.

©2020 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

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Appendix A3

BlackRock Investment Stewardship

Corporate governance and proxy voting guidelines for U.S. securities

January 2020

BlackRock

 

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Contents

Introduction

    A-17  

Voting guidelines

    A-17  

Boards and directors

    A-17  

Auditors and audit-related issues

    A-23  

Capital structure proposals

    A-23  

Mergers, asset sales, and other special transactions

    A-24  

Executive Compensation

    A-25  

Environmental and social issues

    A-28  

General corporate governance matters

    A-30  

Shareholder Protections

    A-32  

If you would like additional information, please contact:

ContactStewardship@blackrock.com

 

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These guidelines should be read in conjunction with the BlackRock Investment Stewardship Global Corporate Governance Guidelines & Engagement Principles.

INTRODUCTION

BlackRock, Inc. and its subsidiaries (collectively, “BlackRock”) seek to make proxy voting decisions in the manner most likely to protect and enhance the economic value of the securities held in client accounts. The following issue-specific proxy voting guidelines (the “Guidelines”) are intended to summarize BlackRock Investment Stewardship’s general philosophy and approach to corporate governance issues that most commonly arise in proxy voting for U.S. securities. These Guidelines are not intended to limit the analysis of individual issues at specific companies and are not intended to provide a guide to how BlackRock will vote in every instance. Rather, they share our view about corporate governance issues generally, and provide insight into how we typically approach issues that commonly arise on corporate ballots , as well as our expectations of boards of directors. They are applied with discre