485BPOS 1 d708661d485bpos.htm FORM 485BPOS FOR ISHARES TRUST Form 485BPOS for iShares Trust
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As filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on May 16, 2014

File Nos. 333-92935 and 811-09729

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM N-1A

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933   x
Post-Effective Amendment No. 1,124   x

and/or

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

   THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940   x
   Amendment No. 1,124   x

(Check appropriate box or boxes)

 

 

iShares Trust

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

 

 

c/o State Street Bank and Trust Company

200 Clarendon Street

Boston, MA 02116

(Address of Principal Executive Office)(Zip Code)

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

 

 

The Corporation Trust Company

1209 Orange Street

Wilmington, DE 19801

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

 

With Copies to:

 

MARGERY K. NEALE, ESQ.

WILLKIE FARR &

GALLAGHER LLP

787 SEVENTH AVENUE

NEW YORK, NY 10019-6099

 

P. JAY SPINOLA, ESQ.

WILLKIE FARR &

GALLAGHER LLP

787 SEVENTH AVENUE

NEW YORK, NY 10019-6099

 

EDWARD BAER, ESQ.

BLACKROCK FUND

ADVISORS

400 HOWARD STREET

SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94105

 

 

It is proposed that this filing will become effective (check appropriate box):

 

  ¨ Immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)
  x On May 16, 2014 pursuant to paragraph (b)
  ¨ 60 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)
  ¨ On (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)
  ¨ 75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)
  ¨ On (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)

If appropriate, check the following box:

 

  ¨ This post-effective amendment designates a new effective date for a previously filed post-effective amendment.

 

 

 


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May 16, 2014
2014 Prospectus
iShares MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility ETF | EUMV |  NYSE ARCA
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.


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“MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility (USD) Index” is a servicemark of MSCI Inc. and has been licensed for use for certain purposes by BlackRock Fund Advisors or its affiliates. iShares® and BlackRock® are registered trademarks of BlackRock, Inc. or its affiliates. The Fund is not sponsored, endorsed, sold, or promoted by MSCI Inc., nor does MSCI Inc. make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in the Fund.
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iSHARES® MSCI EUROPE MINIMUM VOLATILITY ETF
Ticker: EUMV Stock Exchange: NYSE Arca
Investment Objective
The iShares MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track the investment results of an index composed of European developed market equities that, in the aggregate, have lower volatility characteristics relative to the broader European developed equity markets.
Fees and Expenses
The following table describes the fees and expenses that you will incur if you own shares of the Fund. The investment advisory agreement between iShares Trust (the “Trust”) and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”) provides that BFA will pay all operating expenses of the Fund, except interest expenses, taxes, brokerage expenses, future distribution fees or expenses, and extraordinary expenses.
You may also incur usual and customary brokerage commissions when buying or selling shares of the Fund, which are not reflected in the Example that follows:
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(ongoing expenses that you pay each year as a
percentage of the value of your investments)
Management
Fees
  Distribution and
Service (12b-1)
Fees
  Other
Expenses
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
0.25%   None   None   0.25%
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    
  $26   $80    
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Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may pay transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund's performance.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund seeks to track the investment results of the MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility (USD) Index (the “Underlying Index”), which has been developed by MSCI Inc. (“MSCI”) to measure the performance of European developed market equity securities that, in the aggregate, have lower volatility characteristics relative to the broader European developed equity markets. The Underlying Index begins with the MSCI Europe Index, which is a capitalization-weighted index, and then follows a rules-based methodology to determine weights for securities in the index that seeks to minimize total risk of the MSCI Europe Index. As of April 30, 2014, the Underlying Index included the following 14 developed market countries or regions: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The Underlying Index may include
large-, mid- or small-capitalization companies, and components primarily include consumer staples, financials and healthcare companies. The components of the Underlying Index, and the degree to which these
components represent certain industries, may change over time.
BFA uses a “passive” or indexing approach to try to achieve the Fund’s investment objective. Unlike many investment companies, the Fund does not try to “beat” the index it tracks and does not seek temporary defensive positions when markets decline or appear overvalued.
Indexing may eliminate the chance that the Fund will substantially outperform the Underlying Index but also may reduce some of the risks of active management, such as poor security selection. Indexing seeks to achieve lower costs and better after-tax performance by keeping portfolio turnover low in comparison to actively managed investment companies.
BFA uses a representative sampling indexing strategy to manage the Fund. “Representative sampling” is an indexing strategy that involves investing in a representative sample of securities that collectively has an investment profile similar to that of the Underlying Index. The securities selected are expected to have, in the aggregate, investment characteristics (based on factors such as market capitalization and industry weightings), fundamental characteristics (such as return variability and yield) and liquidity measures similar to those of the Underlying Index. The Fund may or may not hold all of the securities in the Underlying Index.
The Fund generally invests at least 80% of its assets in securities of the Underlying Index and in depositary receipts representing securities of the Underlying Index. The Fund may invest the remainder of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts,
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cash and cash equivalents, including shares of money market funds advised by BFA or its affiliates, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. The Fund seeks to track the investment results of the Underlying Index before the fees and expenses of the Fund.
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).
The Underlying Index is sponsored by an organization (the “Index Provider”) that is independent of the Fund and BFA. The Index Provider determines the composition and relative weightings of the securities in the Underlying Index and publishes information regarding the market value of the Underlying Index. The Fund’s Index Provider is MSCI.
Industry Concentration Policy. The Fund will concentrate its investments (i.e., hold 25% or more of its total assets) in a particular industry or group of industries to approximately the same extent that the Underlying Index is concentrated. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities) and repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
Summary of Principal Risks
As with any investment, you could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund's performance could trail that of other investments. The Fund is subject to the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely
affect the Fund's net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective.
Asset Class Risk. Securities in the Underlying Index or in the Fund's portfolio may underperform in comparison to the general securities markets, a particular securities market, or other asset classes.
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss due to adverse occurrences to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class.
Consumer Staples Sector Risk. The consumer staples sector may be affected by marketing campaigns, changes in consumer demands, government regulations and changes in commodity prices.
Currency Risk. Because the Fund's NAV is determined in U.S. dollars, the Fund's NAV could decline if the currency of a non-U.S. market in which the Fund invests depreciates against the U.S. dollar.
Equity Securities Risk. Equity securities are subject to changes in value and their values may be more volatile than those of other asset classes.
Financials Sector Risk. Performance of companies in the financials sector may be adversely impacted by many factors, including, among others, government regulations, economic conditions, credit rating downgrades, changes in interest rates, and decreased liquidity in credit markets. This sector has experienced significant losses in the recent past, and
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the impact of more stringent capital requirements and of recent or future regulation on any individual financial company or on the sector as a whole cannot be predicted.
Geographic Risk. A natural or other disaster could occur in a geographic region in which the Fund invests, which could affect the economy or particular business operations of companies in the specific geographic region, causing an adverse impact on the Fund's investments in the affected region.
Healthcare Sector Risk. The healthcare sector may be affected by government regulations and government healthcare programs, increases or decreases in the cost of medical products and services and product liability claims, among other factors. Many healthcare companies are heavily dependent on patent protection, and the expiration of a patent may adversely affect their profitability. Healthcare companies are subject to competitive forces that may result in price discounting, and may be thinly capitalized and susceptible to product obsolescence.
Index-Related Risk. There is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve a high degree of correlation to the Underlying Index and therefore achieve its investment objective. Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Underlying Index. Errors in index data may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected for a period of time, and may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders.
Issuer Risk. Fund performance depends on the performance of
individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. 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. As the Fund may not fully replicate the Underlying Index, it is subject to the risk that BFA's investment strategy may not produce the intended results.
Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during market downturns.
Market Trading Risk. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares, losses from trading in secondary markets, periods of high volatility and disruption in the creation/redemption process of the Fund. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV.
Mid-Capitalization Companies Risk. Compared to large-capitalization companies, mid-capitalization companies may be less stable and more susceptible to adverse developments, and their securities may be more volatile and less liquid.
Non-Diversification Risk. The Fund may invest a large percentage of its assets in securities issued by or representing a small number of issuers. As a result, the Fund's performance may depend on the performance of a small number of issuers.
Non-U.S. Securities Risk. Investments in the securities of non-U.S. issuers are subject to the risks associated with investing in those non-U.S. markets,
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such as heightened risks of inflation or nationalization. The Fund may lose money due to political, economic and geographic events affecting issuers of non-U.S. securities or non-U.S. markets. The Fund is specifically exposed to European Economic Risk.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed and BFA does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets.
Reliance on Trading Partners Risk. The Fund invests in countries whose economies are heavily dependent upon trading with key partners. Any reduction in this trading may have an adverse impact on the Fund's investments. Through its trading partners, the Fund is specifically exposed to Asian Economic Risk and U.S. Economic Risk.
Risk of Investing in Europe. The Economic and Monetary Union (the “EMU”) of the European Union (the “EU”) requires compliance with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels and fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe. Decreasing imports or exports, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro, the default or threat of default by an EU member country on its sovereign debt, and/or an economic recession in an EU member country may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of EU member countries and their trading partners. The European financial markets have recently experienced volatility and adverse trends due to concerns about economic downturns in, or rising government debt levels in
several European countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. These events have adversely affected the exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect every country in Europe, including countries that do not use the euro.
Risk of Investing in the United Kingdom. Investments in British issuers may subject the Fund to regulatory, political, currency, security, and economic risk specific to the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has one of the largest economies in Europe, and the United States and other European countries are substantial trading partners of the United Kingdom. As a result, the British economy may be impacted by changes to the economic condition of the United States and other European countries. The British economy, along with certain other EU economies, experienced a significant economic slowdown during the recent financial crisis; certain British financial institutions suffered significant losses, were severely under-capitalized and required government intervention to survive.
Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of the collateral provided for loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund.
Security Risk. Some countries and regions in which the Fund invests have experienced security concerns.
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Incidents involving a country's or region's security may cause uncertainty in these markets and may adversely affect their economies and the Fund's investments.
Tracking Error Risk. Tracking error is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences, transaction costs, the Fund’s holding of cash, differences in timing of the accrual of dividends, changes to the Underlying Index or the need to meet various new or existing regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because the Fund incurs fees and expenses, while the Underlying Index does not.
Valuation Risk. The sale price the Fund could receive for a security may differ from the Fund's valuation of the security  and may differ from the value used by the Underlying Index, particularly for securities that trade in low volume or
volatile markets or that are valued using a fair value methodology. In addition, the value of the securities in the Fund's portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund's shares.
Volatility Risk. Although the Underlying Index was created by the Index Provider to seek lower volatility than the MSCI Europe Index, there is no guarantee that these strategies will be successful. The Fund's name reflects the name of the Underlying Index as provided by the Index Provider. However, the Index Provider may be unsuccessful in creating an index that minimizes volatility, and there is a risk that the Fund may experience more than minimum volatility. Securities in the Fund's portfolio may be subject to price volatility and the prices may not be any less volatile than the market as a whole, and could be more volatile.
Performance Information
As of the date of the Fund's prospectus (the “Prospectus”), the Fund has been in operation for less than one full calendar year and therefore does not report its performance information.
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Management
Investment Adviser. BlackRock Fund Advisors.
Portfolio Managers. Matthew Goff, Diane Hsiung, Jennifer Hsui and Greg Savage (the “Portfolio Managers”) are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager supervises a portfolio management team. Mr. Goff, Ms. Hsiung, Ms. Hsui and Mr. Savage have been Portfolio Managers of the Fund since its inception.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund is an exchange-traded fund (commonly referred to as an “ETF”). Individual Fund shares may only be purchased and sold on a national securities exchange through a broker-dealer. The price of Fund shares is based on market price, and because ETF shares trade at market prices rather than at NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (a premium) or less than NAV (a discount). The Fund will only issue or redeem shares that have been aggregated into blocks of 50,000 shares or multiples thereof (“Creation Units”) to authorized participants who have entered into agreements with the Fund's distributor. The Fund generally will issue or redeem Creation Units in return for a designated portfolio of securities (and an amount of cash) that the Fund specifies each day.
Tax Information
The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (“IRA”).
Payments to Broker-Dealers and other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), BFA or other related companies may pay the intermediary for marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems or other services related to the sale or promotion of the Fund. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
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More Information About the Fund
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.iShares.com.
BFA is the investment adviser to the Fund. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca”). The market price for a share of the Fund may be different from the Fund’s most recent NAV.
ETFs are funds that trade like other publicly traded securities. The Fund is designed to track an index. Similar to shares of an index mutual fund, each share of the Fund represents a partial ownership in an underlying portfolio of securities intended to track a market index. 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 (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus). 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 invests in a particular segment of the securities markets and seeks to track the performance of a securities index that generally is not representative of the market as a whole. The Fund is designed to be used as part of broader asset allocation strategies. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund should not constitute a complete investment program.
An index is a theoretical financial calculation while the Fund is an actual investment portfolio. The performance of the Fund and the Underlying Index may vary due to transaction costs, non-U.S. currency valuations, asset valuations, corporate actions (such as mergers and spin-offs), timing variances and differences between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index resulting from legal restrictions (such as diversification requirements) that apply to the Fund but not to the Underlying Index or to the use of representative sampling. “Tracking error” is the divergence of the performance (return) of the Fund's portfolio from that of the Underlying Index. BFA expects that, over time, the Fund’s tracking error will not exceed 5%. Because the Fund uses a representative sampling indexing strategy, it can be expected to have a larger tracking error than if it used a replication indexing strategy. “Replication” is an indexing strategy in which a fund invests in substantially all of the securities in its underlying index in approximately the same proportions as in the underlying index.
An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit and it is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency, BFA or any of its affiliates.
The Fund's investment objective and the Underlying Index may be changed without shareholder approval.
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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.
Asian Economic Risk. Certain Asian economies have experienced high inflation, high unemployment, currency devaluations and restrictions, and over-extension of credit. Many Asian economies have experienced rapid growth and industrialization, and there is no assurance that this growth rate will be maintained. During the recent global recession, many of the export-driven Asian economies experienced the effects of the economic slowdown in the United States and Europe, and certain Asian governments implemented stimulus plans, low-rate monetary policies and currency devaluations. Economic events in any one Asian country may have a significant economic effect on the entire Asian region, as well as on major trading partners outside Asia. Any adverse event in the Asian markets may have a significant adverse effect on some or all of the economies of the countries in which the Fund invests. Many Asian countries are subject to political risk, including corruption and regional conflict with neighboring countries. In addition, many Asian countries are subject to social and labor risks associated with demands for improved political, economic and social conditions. These risks, among others, may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments.
Asset Class Risk. The securities in the Underlying Index or in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform the returns of other securities or indexes that track other countries, groups of countries, regions, industries, groups of industries, markets, asset classes or sectors. Various types of securities or indexes tend to experience cycles of outperformance and underperformance in comparison to the general securities markets.
Concentration Risk. To the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities of a particular issuer or issuers, 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, may be subject to increased price volatility and may be more susceptible to adverse economic, market, political or regulatory occurrences affecting those securities than a fund that does not concentrate its investments.
Consumer Staples Sector Risk. The consumer staples sector may be affected by the permissibility of using various product components and production methods, marketing campaigns and other factors affecting consumer demand. Tobacco companies, in particular, may be adversely affected by new laws, regulations and litigation. The consumer staples sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced or characterized by unpredictable factors.
Currency Risk. Because the Fund’s NAV is determined on the basis of the U.S. dollar, investors may lose money if the currency of a non-U.S. market in which the Fund invests depreciates against the U.S. dollar, even if the local currency value of the Fund's holdings in that market increases.
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Equity Securities Risk. The Fund invests in equity securities, which are subject to changes in value that may be attributable to market perception of a particular issuer or to general stock market fluctuations that affect all issuers. Investments in equity securities may be more volatile than investments in other asset classes.
European Economic Risk. The EMU of the EU requires compliance with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels and fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe. Decreasing imports or exports, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro (the common currency of certain EU countries), the default or threat of default by an EU member country on its sovereign debt, and/or an economic recession in an EU member country may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of EU member countries and their trading partners. The European financial markets have recently experienced volatility and adverse trends due to concerns about economic downturns or rising government debt levels in several European countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. These events have adversely affected the exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect every country in Europe, including countries that do not use the euro.
Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not produce the desired results, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and other entities of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world. In addition, one or more countries may abandon the euro and/or withdraw from the EU. The impact of these actions, especially if they occur in a disorderly fashion, is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching.
Financials Sector Risk. Companies in the financials sector of an economy are often subject to extensive governmental regulation and intervention, which may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and the amount of capital they must maintain. Governmental regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for companies in the financials sector, including effects not intended by such regulation. The impact of recent or future regulation in various countries on any individual financial company or on the sector as a whole cannot be predicted. Certain risks may impact the value of investments in the financials sector more severely than those of investments outside this sector, including the risks associated with companies that operate with substantial financial leverage. Companies in the financials sector may also be adversely affected by increases in interest rates and loan losses, decreases in the availability of money or asset valuations, credit rating downgrades and adverse conditions in other related markets. Insurance companies, in particular, may be subject to severe price competition and/or rate regulation, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability. In the recent past, deterioration of the credit markets impacted a broad range of mortgage, asset-backed, auction rate, sovereign debt and other markets, including U.S. and non-U.S. credit and interbank money markets, thereby affecting a wide range of financial institutions and markets. A number of large financial institutions have failed, merged
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with stronger institutions or have had significant government infusions of capital. Instability in the financial markets has caused certain financial companies to incur large losses. Some financial companies experienced declines in the valuations of their assets, took actions to raise capital (such as the issuance of debt or equity securities), or even ceased operations. Some financial companies borrowed significant amounts of capital from government sources and may face future government-imposed restrictions on their businesses or increased government intervention. Those actions caused the securities of many financial companies to decline in value. The financials sector is particularly sensitive to fluctuations in interest rates.
Geographic Risk. Some of the markets in which the Fund invests are located near the center of Europe's transportation network, which makes them vulnerable to environmental events (such as pollution, oil spills, etc.) that may have an adverse impact on these economies. Some of the markets in which the Fund invests are located in parts of the world that have historically been prone to natural disasters, such as droughts, earthquakes, flooding or volcanoes, and are economically sensitive to environmental events. Any such event may adversely impact the economies of these geographic areas, causing an adverse impact on the value of the Fund.
Healthcare Sector Risk. The profitability of companies in the healthcare sector may be affected by extensive government regulations, restrictions on government reimbursement for medical expenses, rising costs of medical products and services, pricing pressure, an increased emphasis on outpatient services, limited number of products, industry innovation, changes in technologies and other market developments. Many healthcare companies are heavily dependent on patent protection. The expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies. Many healthcare companies are subject to extensive litigation based on product liability and similar claims. Healthcare companies are subject to competitive forces that may make it difficult to raise prices and, in fact, may result in price discounting. Many new products in the healthcare sector may be subject to regulatory approvals. The process of obtaining such approvals may be long and costly and may be ultimately unsuccessful. Companies in the healthcare sector may be thinly capitalized and may be susceptible to product obsolescence.
Index-Related Risk. The Fund seeks to achieve a return which corresponds generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Underlying Index as published by the Index Provider. There is no assurance that the Index Provider will compile the Underlying Index accurately, or that the Underlying Index will be determined, composed or calculated accurately. While the Index Provider provides descriptions of what the Underlying Index is designed to achieve, the Index Provider does not provide any warranty or accept any liability in relation to the quality, accuracy or completeness of data in respect of its indices, and does not guarantee that the Underlying Index will be in line with the Index Provider’s methodology. BFA’s mandate as described in this Prospectus is to manage the Fund consistently with the Underlying Index provided to BFA. Consequently, BFA does not provide any warranty or guarantee for Index Provider errors. Errors in respect of the quality, accuracy and completeness of the data may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected for a period of time, particularly where the indices are less commonly used. Therefore,
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gains, losses or costs associated with Index Provider errors will generally be borne by the Fund and its shareholders. For example, during a period where the Fund’s Underlying Index contains incorrect constituents, the Fund would have market exposure to such constituents and would be underexposed to the Underlying Index’s other constituents. As such, errors may result in a negative or positive performance impact to the Fund and its shareholders. Any gains from Index Provider errors will be kept by the Fund and its shareholders and any losses resulting from Index Provider errors will be borne by the Fund and its shareholders.
Apart from scheduled rebalances, the Index Provider may carry out additional ad hoc rebalances to the Underlying Index in order, for example, to correct an error in the selection of index constituents. Where the Underlying Index of the Fund is rebalanced and the Fund in turn rebalances its portfolio to bring it in line with the Underlying Index, any transaction costs and market exposure arising from such portfolio rebalancing will be borne directly by the Fund and its shareholders. Unscheduled rebalances to the Underlying Index may also expose the Fund to tracking error risk, which is the risk that the Fund’s returns may not track those of the Underlying Index. Therefore, errors and additional ad hoc rebalances carried out by the Index Provider to the Underlying Index may increase the costs and market exposure risk of the Fund.
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. Any issuer of these securities may perform poorly, causing the value of its securities to decline. Poor performance may be caused by poor management decisions, competitive pressures, changes in technology, expiration of patent protection, disruptions in supply, labor problems or shortages, corporate restructurings, fraudulent disclosures or other factors. Issuers may, in times of distress or at their own discretion, decide to reduce or eliminate dividends, which may also cause their stock prices to decline.
Management Risk. The Fund may not fully replicate the Underlying Index and may hold securities not included in the Underlying Index. As a result, the Fund is subject to the risk that BFA’s investment strategy, the implementation of which is subject to a number of constraints, may not produce the intended results.
Market Risk. The Fund could lose money due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during market downturns. Securities may decline in value due to factors affecting securities markets generally or particular asset classes or industries represented in the markets. The value of a security may decline due to general market conditions, economic trends or events that are not specifically related to the issuer of the security or to factors that affect a particular industry or group of industries. During a general downturn in the securities markets, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected.
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.
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Risk of Secondary Listings. The Fund's shares may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the U.S. stock exchange where the Fund's primary listing is maintained. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s shares will continue to trade on any such stock exchange or in any market or that the Fund’s shares will continue to meet the requirements for listing or trading on any exchange or in any market. The Fund's shares may be less actively traded in certain markets than 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. There can be no assurance that the requirements necessary to maintain the listing or trading of Fund shares will continue to be met or will remain unchanged.
Shares of the Fund, similar to shares of other issuers listed on a stock exchange, may be sold short and are therefore subject to the risk of increased volatility associated with short selling.
Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. Shares of the Fund trade on stock exchanges at prices at, above or below 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. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at NAV (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their NAVs), BFA believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of the Fund are not likely to be sustained over the long term. While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it 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
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market makers or Authorized Participants, or to market participants or during periods of significant market volatility, may result in trading prices for shares of the Fund that differ significantly from its NAV.
Costs of Buying or Selling Fund Shares. Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange involves two types of costs that apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you will likely incur a brokerage commission or other charges imposed by brokers as determined by that broker. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread,” that is, the difference between what investors are willing to pay for Fund shares (the “bid” price) and the price at which they are willing to sell Fund shares (the “ask” price). Because of the costs inherent in buying or selling Fund shares, frequent trading may detract significantly from investment results and an investment in Fund shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments.
Mid-Capitalization Companies Risk. Stock prices of mid-capitalization companies may be more volatile than those of large-capitalization companies and, therefore, the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than those of funds that invest a larger percentage of their assets in stocks issued by large-capitalization companies. Stock prices of mid-capitalization companies are also more vulnerable than those of large-capitalization companies to adverse business or economic developments, and the stocks of mid-capitalization companies may be less liquid, making it difficult for the Fund to buy and sell them. In addition, mid-capitalization companies generally have less diverse product lines than large-capitalization companies have and are more susceptible to adverse developments related to their products.
Non-Diversification Risk. The Fund is classified as “non-diversified.” This means that the Fund may invest a large percentage of its assets in securities issued by or representing a small number of issuers. As a result, the Fund may be more susceptible to the risks associated with these particular issuers, or to a single economic, political or regulatory occurrence affecting these issuers.
Non-U.S. Securities Risk. Investments in the securities of non-U.S. issuers are subject to the risks of investing in the markets where such issuers are located, including heightened risks of inflation or nationalization and market fluctuations caused by economic and political developments. As a result of investing in non-U.S. securities, the Fund may be subject to increased risk of loss caused by any of the factors listed below:
Lower levels of liquidity and market efficiency;
Greater securities price volatility;
Exchange rate fluctuations and exchange controls;
Less availability of public information about issuers;
Limitations on foreign ownership of securities;
Imposition of withholding or other taxes;
Imposition of restrictions on the expatriation of the funds or other assets of the Fund;
Higher transaction and custody costs and delays in settlement procedures;
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Difficulties in enforcing contractual obligations;
Lower levels of regulation of the securities market;
Weaker accounting, disclosure and reporting requirements; and
Legal principles relating to corporate governance, directors’ fiduciary duties and liabilities and stockholders’ rights in markets in which the Fund invests may differ and/or may not be as extensive or protective as those that apply in the United States.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed and may be affected by a general decline in market segments related to the Underlying Index. The Fund invests in securities included in, or representative of, the Underlying Index, regardless of their investment merits. BFA generally does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets.
Reliance on Trading Partners Risk. The economies of the EMU are dependent on certain national economies of Europe, both as key trading partners and as fellow members maintaining the euro, and the United States. Reduction in trading activity among EMU member countries may cause an adverse impact on the EMU and each nation's individual economies. Certain established EU states are greatly invested in Eastern European countries. Eastern European markets remain relatively undeveloped and can be particularly sensitive to political and economic developments and adverse events in these Eastern European countries may greatly impact the economies of Western Europe.
Risk of Investing in the United Kingdom. Investment in British issuers may subject the Fund to regulatory, political, currency, security, and economic risks specific to the United Kingdom. The British economy relies heavily on the export of financial services to the United States and other European countries. A prolonged slowdown in the financial services sector may have a negative impact on the British economy. In the past, the United Kingdom has been a target of terrorism. Acts of terrorism in the United Kingdom or against British interests abroad may cause uncertainty in the British financial markets and adversely affect the performance of the issuers to which the Fund has exposure. The British economy, along with the United States and certain other EU economies, experienced a significant economic slowdown during the recent financial crisis.
Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of the collateral provided for the loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. In addition, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. (“BTC”), the Fund’s securities lending agent, will take into account the tax impact to shareholders of substitute payments for dividends when managing the Fund’s securities lending program.
Security Risk. Some geographic areas in which the Fund invests have experienced acts of terrorism or strained international relations due to territorial disputes, historical
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animosities or other defense concerns. These situations may cause uncertainty in the markets of these geographic areas and may adversely affect their economies.
Tracking Error Risk. Tracking error is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences, transaction costs, the Fund holding uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of dividends, changes to the Underlying Index or the costs of complying with various new or existing regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because the Fund incurs fees and expenses, while the Underlying Index does not.
U.S. Economic Risk. The United States is a significant, and in some cases the most significant, trading partner of, or foreign investor in certain EMU markets, and the economies of these countries may be particularly affected by adverse changes in the U.S. economy. A decrease in U.S. imports, new trade regulations, changes in the U.S. dollar exchange rates or an economic slowdown in the United States may have an adverse impact on these markets and, as a result, securities to which the Fund has exposure.
Valuation Risk. The sale price the Fund could receive for a security may differ from the Fund's valuation of the security  and may differ from the value used by the Underlying Index, particularly for securities that trade in low volume or volatile markets, or that are valued using a fair value methodology. Because non-U.S. exchanges may be open on days when the Fund does not price its shares, the value of the securities in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s shares. In addition, for purposes of calculating the Fund's NAV, the value of assets denominated in non-U.S. currencies is converted into U.S. dollars using exchange rates deemed appropriate by BFA. This conversion may result in a difference between the prices used to calculate the Fund's NAV and the prices used by the Underlying Index, which, in turn, could result in a difference between the Fund's performance and the performance of the Underlying Index.
Volatility Risk. The value of the securities in the Fund’s portfolio may fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably. The value of a security may fluctuate due to factors affecting markets generally or particular industries. This volatility may affect the Fund’s NAV. Although the Underlying Index was created to seek lower volatility than the MSCI Europe Index, there is no guarantee that these strategies will be successful. The Fund's name reflects the name of the Underlying Index as provided by the Index Provider. However, the Index Provider may be unsuccessful in creating an index that minimizes volatility, and there is a risk that the Fund may experience more than minimum volatility. Securities in the Fund's portfolio may be subject to price volatility and the prices may not be any less volatile than the market as a whole, and could be more volatile. Events or financial circumstances affecting individual securities or sectors may increase the volatility of the Fund.
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A Further Discussion of Other Risks
The Fund may also be subject to certain other risks associated with its investments and investment strategies.
Consumer Discretionary Sector Risk. The success of consumer product manufacturers and retailers is tied closely to the performance of domestic and international economies, interest rates, exchange rates, competition, consumer confidence, changes in demographics and consumer preferences. Companies in the consumer discretionary sector depend heavily on disposable household income and consumer spending, and may be strongly affected by social trends and marketing campaigns. These companies may be subject to severe competition, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability.
Energy Sector Risk. The energy sector of an economy is cyclical and highly dependent on energy prices. The market value of companies in the energy sector are strongly affected by the levels and volatility of global energy prices, energy supply and demand, capital expenditures on exploration and production of energy sources, energy conservation efforts, exchange rates, interest rates, economic conditions, tax treatment, increased competition and technological advances, among other factors. Companies in this sector may be subject to substantial government regulation and contractual fixed pricing, which may increase the cost of doing business and limit the earnings of these companies. A significant portion of revenues of these companies depends on a relatively small number of customers, including governmental entities and utilities. As a result, governmental budget constraints may have a material adverse effect on the stock prices of companies in this sector. Energy companies may also operate in or engage in transactions involving countries with less developed regulatory regimes or a history of expropriation, nationalization or other adverse policies. Energy companies also face a significant risk of liability from accidents resulting in injury or loss of life or property, pollution or other environmental problems, equipment malfunctions or mishandling of materials and a risk of loss from terrorism, political strife and natural disasters. Any such event could have serious consequences for the general population of the area impacted and could have an adverse impact on the Fund’s portfolio and the performance of the Fund. Energy companies can be significantly affected by the supply of, and demand for, specific products (e.g., oil and natural gas) and services, exploration and production spending, government subsidization, world events and general economic conditions.
Industrials Sector Risk. The value of securities issued by companies in the industrials sector may be affected by supply and demand, both for their specific product or service and for industrials sector products in general. The products of manufacturing companies may face obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction. Government regulations, world events, economic conditions and exchange rates may adversely affect the performance of companies in the industrials sector. Companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by liability for environmental damage and product liability claims. The industrials sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced by unpredictable factors.
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Materials Sector Risk. Companies in the materials sector may be adversely affected by commodity price volatility, exchange rates, import controls, increased competition, depletion of resources, technical progress, labor relations and government regulations, among other factors. Also, companies in the materials sector are at risk of liability for environmental damage and product liability claims. Production of materials may exceed demand as a result of market imbalances or economic downturns, leading to poor investment returns.
Telecommunications Sector Risk. The telecommunications sector of a country's economy is often subject to extensive government regulation. The costs of complying with governmental regulations, delays or failure to receive required regulatory approvals, or the enactment of new regulatory requirements may negatively affect the business of telecommunications companies. Government actions around the world, specifically in the area of pre-marketing clearance of products and prices, can be arbitrary and unpredictable. Companies in the telecommunications sector may encounter distressed cash flows due to the need to commit substantial capital to meet increasing competition, particularly in formulating new products and services using new technology. Technological innovations may make the products and services of certain telecommunications companies obsolete.
Utilities Sector Risk. Deregulation is subjecting utility companies to greater competition and may adversely affect profitability. As deregulation allows utility companies to diversify outside of their original geographic regions and their traditional lines of business, utility companies may engage in riskier ventures. Companies in the utilities industry may have difficulty obtaining an adequate return on invested capital, raising capital, and financing large construction programs during periods of inflation or unsettled capital markets; face restrictions on operations and increased cost and delays attributable to environmental considerations and regulation; find that existing plants, equipment or products have been rendered obsolete by technological innovations; and be subject to increased costs because of the scarcity of certain fuels or the effects of man-made disasters. Existing and possible future regulations or legislation may make it difficult for utility companies to operate profitably. Government regulators monitor and control utility revenues and costs, and therefore may limit utility profits. In certain countries, regulatory authorities may also restrict utility companies’ access to new markets, thereby diminishing these companies’ long-term prospects. There is no assurance that regulatory authorities will, in the future, grant rate increases, or that such increases will be adequate to permit the payment of dividends on stocks issued by a utility company. The deregulation of certain utility companies may eliminate restrictions on profits, but may also subject these companies to greater risks of loss. Energy conservation and changes in climate policy may also have a significant adverse impact on the revenues and expenses of utility companies.
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 top holdings of the Fund can be found at www.iShares.com.
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Fund fact sheets provide information regarding the Fund's top holdings and may be requested by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737).
Management
Investment Adviser. As investment adviser, BFA has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Trust. BFA provides an investment program for the Fund and manages the investment of the Fund’s assets. In managing the Fund, BFA may draw upon the research and expertise of its asset management affiliates with respect to certain portfolio securities. In seeking to achieve the Fund's investment objective, BFA uses teams of portfolio managers, investment strategists and other investment specialists. This team approach brings together many disciplines and leverages BFA’s extensive resources.
Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement between BFA and the Trust (entered into on behalf of the Fund), BFA is responsible for substantially all expenses of the Fund, except interest expenses, taxes, brokerage expenses, future distribution fees or expenses and extraordinary expenses.
For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA 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 0.25%. Because the Fund has been in operation for less than one full fiscal year, this percentage reflects the rate at which BFA will be paid.
BFA is located at 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. It is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). As of March 31, 2014, BFA and its affiliates provided investment advisory services for assets in excess of $4.40 trillion. BFA and its affiliates deal, trade and invest for their own accounts in the types of securities in which the Fund may also invest.
A discussion regarding the basis for the Trust's Board of Trustees' (the “Board”) approval of the Investment Advisory Agreement with BFA will be available in the Fund's annual report for the period ending July 31.
Portfolio Managers. Matthew Goff, Diane Hsiung, Jennifer Hsui and Greg Savage are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager is responsible for various functions related to portfolio management, including, but not limited to, investing cash inflows, coordinating with members of his or her portfolio management team to focus on certain asset classes, implementing investment strategy, researching and reviewing investment strategy and overseeing members of his or her portfolio management team that have more limited responsibilities.
Matthew Goff has been employed by BFA (formerly, Barclays Global Fund Advisors (“BGFA”)) and BTC (formerly, Barclays Global Investors, N.A. (“BGI”)) as a portfolio manager since 2008. Prior to that, Mr. Goff was a portfolio manager from 2007 to 2008 at US Trust, a product manager from 2006 to 2007 at Iris Financial Solutions and a product manager from 2003 to 2006 at MSCI Barra. Mr. Goff has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since its inception.
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Diane Hsiung has been employed by BFA and BTC as a senior portfolio manager since 2007. Prior to that, Ms. Hsiung was a portfolio manager from 2002 to 2006 for BGFA and BGI. Ms. Hsiung has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since its inception.
Jennifer Hsui has been employed by BFA and BTC as a senior portfolio manager since 2007. Prior to that, Ms. Hsui was a portfolio manager from 2006 to 2007 for BGFA and BGI. Ms. Hsui has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since its inception.
Greg Savage has been employed by BFA and BTC as a senior portfolio manager since 2006. Prior to that, Mr. Savage was a portfolio manager from 2001 to 2006 for BGFA and BGI. Mr. Savage has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since its inception.
The Fund's SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Managers' compensation, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Managers' ownership (if any) of shares in the Fund.
Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent. State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) is the administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund.
Conflicts of Interest. BFA wants you to know that it has relationships with certain entities that may give rise to conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest. These entities are BFA’s affiliates, including BlackRock and the PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., and each of their affiliates, directors, partners, trustees, managing members, officers and employees (collectively, the “Affiliates”).
The activities of BFA and the Affiliates 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 the Affiliates provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow an investment program similar to that of the Fund. BFA and the 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 of the Affiliates acts, or may act, as an investor, investment banker, research provider, investment manager, financier, underwriter, adviser, market maker, trader, prime broker, lender, agent or principal, and have other direct and indirect interests, in securities, currencies and other instruments in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. Thus, it is likely that the Fund will have multiple business relationships with and will invest in, engage in transactions with, make voting decisions with respect to, or obtain services from, entities for which BFA or an Affiliate seeks to perform investment banking or other 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, including in securities issued by other open-end and closed-end investment management companies, including investment companies that are affiliated with the Fund and BFA, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The trading activities of BFA and these Affiliates are carried out without reference to positions held directly or indirectly
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by the Fund and may result in BFA or an Affiliate having positions that are adverse to those of the Fund.
No 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. As a result of this and several other factors, the results of the Fund's investment activities may differ from those of an Affiliate and of other accounts managed by 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.
The Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which BFA’s or an Affiliate’s clients have an interest adverse to the Fund. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by Affiliate-advised clients may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more Affiliate-advised clients or BFA 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 one or more Affiliates, and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions. In addition, the Fund may invest in securities of companies with which an Affiliate has developed or is trying to develop investment banking relationships or in which an Affiliate has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Fund also may invest in securities of companies for which an Affiliate provides or may in the future provide research coverage. An Affiliate may have business relationships with, and purchase, distribute or sell services or products from or to, distributors, consultants or others who recommend the Fund or who engage in transactions with or for the Fund, and may receive compensation for such services. The Fund may also make brokerage and other payments to Affiliates in connection with the Fund's portfolio investment transactions.
Pursuant to a securities lending program approved by the Board, the Fund has retained an Affiliate of BFA to serve as the securities lending agent for the Fund to the extent that the Fund participates in the securities lending program. For these services, the lending agent may receive a fee from the Fund, including a fee based on the returns earned on the Fund’s investment of the cash received as collateral for any loaned securities. BFA may receive compensation for managing the reinvestment of cash collateral. 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 or the Affiliates may give rise to other conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA has adopted policies and procedures designed to address these potential conflicts of interest. See the Fund's SAI for further information.
Shareholder Information
Additional shareholder information, including how to buy and sell shares of the Fund, is available free of charge by calling toll-free: 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting our website at www.iShares.com.
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Buying and Selling Shares. Shares of the Fund may be acquired or redeemed directly from the Fund only in Creation Units or multiples thereof, as discussed in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus. Only an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section) may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. Once created, shares of the Fund generally trade in the secondary market in amounts less than a Creation Unit.
Shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange for trading during the trading day. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like shares of other publicly traded companies. The Trust does not impose any minimum investment for shares of the Fund purchased on an exchange. The Fund's shares trade under the trading symbol “EUMV.”
Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange involves two types of costs that may apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you will likely incur a brokerage commission or other charges determined by your broker. The commission is frequently a fixed amount and may be a significant proportional cost for investors seeking to buy or sell small amounts of shares. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread,” that is, any difference between the bid price and the ask price. The spread varies over time for shares of the Fund based on the Fund’s trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund has a lot of trading volume and market liquidity, and higher if the Fund has little trading volume and market liquidity (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 of the underlying securities held by the Fund, particularly for newly launched or smaller iShares 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 generally sells and redeems its shares directly through transactions that are in-kind and/or for cash, subject to the conditions described below under Creations and Redemptions. The Board has not adopted a policy of monitoring for other frequent trading activity because shares of the Fund are listed for trading on a national securities exchange.
The national securities exchange on which the Fund's shares are listed is open for trading Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The Fund’s primary Listing Exchange is NYSE Arca.
Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by investment companies in the securities of other investment companies. Registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in SEC rules or in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust. In order for a registered investment company to invest in shares of the Fund beyond the limitations of Section 12(d)(1) pursuant to the exemptive relief
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obtained by the Trust, the registered investment company must enter into an agreement with the Trust.
Book Entry. Shares of the Fund are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding shares of the Fund and is recognized as the owner of all shares for all purposes.
Investors owning shares of the Fund are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for shares of the Fund. DTC participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of stock certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other securities that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Prices. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares in the secondary market generally differ from the Fund’s daily NAV and are affected by market forces such as supply of and demand for ETF shares and underlying securities held by the Fund, economic conditions and other factors. Information regarding the intraday value of shares of the Fund, also known as the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (“IOPV”), is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout the trading day by the national securities exchange on which the Fund's shares are listed or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IOPV is based on the current market value of the securities and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a Creation Unit. The IOPV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities held by the Fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, the IOPV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the Fund's NAV, which is computed only once a day. The IOPV is generally determined by using both current market quotations and/or price quotations obtained from broker-dealers that may trade in the portfolio securities held by the Fund. The quotations of certain Fund holdings may not be updated during U.S. trading hours if such holdings do not trade in the United States. The Fund is not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV and makes no representation or warranty as to its accuracy.
Determination of Net Asset Value. The NAV of the Fund normally is determined once daily Monday through Friday, generally as of the regularly scheduled close of business of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day that the NYSE is open for trading, based on prices at the time of closing provided that (a) any Fund assets or liabilities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar are translated into U.S. dollars at the prevailing market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more data service providers (as detailed below) and (b) U.S. fixed-income assets may be valued as 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
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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's assets and liabilities are valued on the basis of market quotations, when readily available.
Equity investments are valued at market value, which is generally determined using the last reported official closing price or last trading price on the exchange or market on which the security is primarily traded at the time of valuation.
The Fund invests in non-U.S. securities. Foreign currency exchange rates are generally determined as of 4:00 p.m., London time. Non-U.S. securities held by the Fund may trade on weekends or other days when the Fund does not price its shares. As a result, the Fund’s NAV may change on days when Authorized Participants will not be able to purchase or redeem Fund shares.
Generally, trading in non-U.S. securities, U.S. government securities, money market instruments and certain fixed-income securities is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of business on the NYSE. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of the Fund are determined as of such times.
When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BFA to be unreliable, the Fund’s investments are valued at fair value. Fair value determinations are made by BFA in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Trust's Board. BFA may conclude that a market quotation is not readily available or is unreliable if a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source due to its lack of liquidity, if a market quotation differs significantly from recent price quotations or otherwise no longer appears to reflect fair value, where the security or other asset or liability is thinly traded, or where there is a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation. A “significant event” is an event that, in the judgment of BFA, is likely to cause a material change to the closing market price of the asset or liability held by the Fund. Non-U.S. securities whose values are affected by volatility that occurs in U.S. markets for related or highly correlated assets (e.g., American Depositary Receipts, Global Depositary Receipts or ETFs) on a trading day after the close of non-U.S. securities markets may be fair valued.
Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of an asset or liability held by the Fund is the amount the Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or the cost to extinguish that liability in an arm’s-length transaction. Valuing the Fund’s investments using fair value pricing will result in prices that may differ from current market valuations and that may not be the prices at which those investments could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used. Use of fair value prices and certain current market valuations could result in a difference between the prices used to calculate the Fund’s NAV and the prices used by the Underlying Index, which, in turn, could result in a difference between the Fund’s performance and the performance of the Underlying Index.
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The value of assets or liabilities denominated in non-U.S. currencies will be converted into U.S. dollars using exchange rates deemed appropriate by BFA as investment adviser. Use of a rate different from the rate used by the Index Provider may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to track the Underlying Index.
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 (“RIC”) or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income or realized gains.
Dividends and other distributions on shares of the Fund are distributed on a pro rata basis to beneficial owners of such shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC participants and indirect participants to beneficial owners then of record with proceeds received from the Fund.
Dividend Reinvestment Service. No dividend reinvestment service is provided by the Trust. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by beneficial owners of the Fund for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Beneficial owners should contact their broker to determine the availability and costs of the service and the details of participation therein. Brokers may require beneficial owners to adhere to specific procedures and timetables. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole shares of the Fund purchased in the secondary market.
Taxes. As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in shares of the Fund will be taxed. The tax information in this Prospectus is provided as general information, 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, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Fund shares.
Taxes on Distributions. Distributions from the Fund’s net investment income (other than qualified dividend income), including distributions of income from securities lending and distributions out of the Fund’s net short-term capital gains, if any, are taxable to you as ordinary income. Distributions by the Fund of net long-term capital gains 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. Distributions by the Fund that qualify as qualified dividend income are taxable to you at long-term capital gain rates. Long-term capital gains and qualified dividend income are generally eligible for taxation at a maximum rate of 15% for non-corporate shareholders with incomes below approximately $400,000 ($450,000 if married and filing jointly), adjusted annually for inflation, and 20% for individuals with any income above these amounts that is net long-term capital gain or qualified dividend income. In
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addition, 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, of U.S. individuals with income exceeding $200,000 (or $250,000 if married and filing jointly) and of estates and trusts.
Dividends will be qualified dividend income to you if they are attributable to qualified dividend income received by the Fund. Generally, qualified dividend income includes dividend income from taxable U.S. corporations and qualified non-U.S. corporations, provided that the Fund satisfies certain holding period requirements in respect of the stock of such corporations and has not hedged its position in the stock in certain ways. Substitute dividends received by the Fund with respect to dividends paid on securities lent out will not be qualified dividend income. For this purpose, a qualified non-U.S. corporation means any non-U.S. corporation that is eligible for benefits under a comprehensive income tax treaty with the United States, which includes an exchange of information program, or if the stock with respect to which the dividend was paid is readily tradable on an established United States securities market. The term excludes a corporation that is a passive foreign investment company.
Dividends received by the Fund from a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) or another RIC generally are qualified dividend income only to the extent the dividend distributions are made out of qualified dividend income received by such REIT or 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.
For a dividend to be treated as qualified dividend income, the dividend must be received with respect to a share of stock held without being hedged by the Fund, and with respect to a share of the Fund held without being hedged by you, for 61 days during the 121-day period beginning at the date which is 60 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend or, in the case of certain preferred stock, 91 days during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date.
If your Fund shares are loaned out pursuant to a securities lending arrangement, you may lose the ability to use foreign tax credits passed through by the Fund or to treat Fund dividends paid while the shares are held by the borrower as qualified dividend income.
In general, your distributions are subject to U.S. federal income tax for the year when they are paid. Certain distributions paid in January, however, may be treated as paid on December 31 of the prior year.
If the Fund’s distributions exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, all or a portion of the distributions made in the taxable year may be recharacterized as a return of capital to shareholders. 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. The Fund’s capital loss carryforwards, if any, carried from taxable years beginning before 2011 do not reduce current earnings and profits, even if such carryforwards offset current year realized gains. A return of capital distribution generally will not be taxable but will reduce the shareholder’s cost basis and result in a higher capital gain or lower
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capital loss when those shares on which the distribution was received are sold. Once a shareholder's cost basis is reduced to zero, further distributions will be treated as capital gain, if the shareholder holds shares of the Fund as capital assets.
If you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the United States or if you are a non-U.S. entity, the Fund’s ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gains) will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. 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 long-term capital gains or upon the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund.
A 30% withholding tax will be imposed on U.S.-source dividends, interest and other income items paid after June 30, 2014, and proceeds from the sale of property producing U.S.-source dividends and interest paid after December 31, 2016, to (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. account holders and (ii) certain other foreign entities, unless they certify certain information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. owners. To avoid withholding, foreign financial institutions will need to (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 certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership unless certain exceptions apply.
Dividends, interest and capital gains earned by the Fund with respect to non-U.S. securities may give rise to withholding and other taxes imposed by non-U.S. countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes. If more than 50% of the total assets of the Fund at the close of a year consists of non-U.S. stocks or securities, the Fund may “pass through” to you certain non-U.S. income taxes (including withholding taxes) paid by the Fund. This means that you would be considered to have received as an additional dividend your share of such non-U.S. taxes, but you may be entitled to either a corresponding tax deduction in calculating your taxable income, or, subject to certain limitations, a credit in calculating your U.S. federal income tax.
For purposes of foreign tax credits for U.S. shareholders of the Fund, foreign capital gains taxes may not produce associated foreign source income, thereby limiting a U.S. person's ability to use such credits.
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If you are a resident or a citizen of the United States, by law, back-up withholding at a 28% 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 of 50,000 shares or multiples thereof. Each “creator” or “Authorized Participant” enters into an authorized participant agreement with the Fund's distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of BFA.
A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the transfer agent, generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits into the Fund a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) and a specified amount of cash approximating the holdings of the Fund in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units. To the extent practicable, the composition of such portfolio generally corresponds pro rata to the holdings of the Fund. However, creation and redemption baskets may differ.
Similarly, shares can be redeemed only in Creation Units, generally for a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) held by the Fund and a specified amount of cash. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares are not redeemable by the Fund.
The prices at which creations and redemptions occur are based on the next calculation of NAV after a creation or redemption order is received in an acceptable form under the authorized participant agreement.
Only an Authorized Participant may create or redeem Creation Units directly with the Fund.
As a result of any 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 Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined under Rule 144A of the 1933 Act, will not be able to receive securities that are restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A.
Creations and redemptions must be made through a firm that is either a member of the Continuous Net Settlement System of the National Securities Clearing Corporation or a DTC participant and has executed an agreement with the Distributor with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Unit aggregations. Information about the procedures regarding creation and redemption of Creation Units (including the cut-off times for receipt of creation and redemption orders) is included in the Fund's SAI.
Because new shares may be created and issued on an ongoing basis, at any point during the life of the Fund a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may be occurring. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters and subject to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. Any determination of whether one is an underwriter must take into account all the relevant facts and circumstances of each particular case.
Broker-dealers should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to ordinary secondary transactions), and thus dealing with shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(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.
Costs Associated with Creations and Redemptions. Authorized Participants are charged standard creation and redemption transaction fees to offset transfer and other transaction costs associated with the issuance and redemption of Creation Units. The standard creation and redemption transaction fees are set forth in the table below. The standard creation transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant creates a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased by the Authorized Participant on the applicable business day. Similarly, the standard redemption transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant redeems a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units redeemed by the Authorized Participant on the applicable business day. Creations and redemptions for cash (when cash creations and redemptions (in whole or in part) are available or specified) are also subject to an additional charge (up to the maximum amounts shown in the table below). This charge is intended to compensate for
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brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, market impact and other costs and expenses related to cash transactions. Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary to acquire or dispose of Fund shares may pay fees for such services.
The following table shows, as of May 16, 2014, the approximate value of one Creation Unit, standard fees and maximum additional charges for creations and redemptions (as described above):
Approximate
Value of a
Creation Unit
  Creation
Unit Size
  Standard
Creation/
Redemption
Transaction Fee
  Maximum Additional
Charge for
Creations*
  Maximum Additional
Charge for
Redemptions*
$1,250,000   50,000   $2,200   3.0%   2.0%

* As a percentage of the net asset value per Creation Unit, inclusive, in the case of redemptions, of the standard redemption transaction fee.
Householding. Householding is an option available to certain Fund investors. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Please contact your broker-dealer if you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, or if you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status.
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, or their making shares of the Fund and certain other iShares funds 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 iShares funds complex. Payments of this type are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments. A financial intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it recommends or makes available, or the level of services provided, to its customers based on the payments it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments to an intermediary create conflicts of interest between the intermediary and its customers and may cause the intermediary to recommend the Fund or other iShares funds over another investment. More information regarding
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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.
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.
Index Provider
MSCI is a leading provider of investment decision support tools to investors globally. MSCI products and services include indices, portfolio risk and performance analytics, and governance tools. MSCI is not affiliated with the Trust, BFA, State Street, the Distributor or any of their respective affiliates.
BFA or its affiliates have entered into a license agreement with the Index Provider to use the Underlying Index. BFA or its affiliates sublicense rights in the Underlying Index to the Trust at no charge.
Disclaimers
The Fund is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by MSCI or any affiliate of MSCI. Neither MSCI nor any other party makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the shares of the Fund or any member of the public regarding advisability of investing in funds generally or in the Fund particularly or the ability of the Underlying Index to track general stock market performance. MSCI is the licensor of certain trademarks, service marks and trade names of MSCI and of the Underlying Index which is determined, composed and calculated by MSCI without regard to the Trust, BFA or its affiliates or the Fund. MSCI has no obligation to take the needs of the BFA or its affiliates or the owners of the shares of the Fund into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Underlying Index. MSCI is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices at, or quantities of the Fund to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Fund is redeemable for cash. Neither MSCI nor any other party has any obligation or liability to owners of the shares of the Fund in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Fund.
ALTHOUGH MSCI SHALL OBTAIN INFORMATION FOR INCLUSION IN OR FOR USE IN THE CALCULATION OF THE INDEXES FROM SOURCES WHICH MSCI CONSIDERS RELIABLE, NEITHER MSCI NOR ANY OTHER PARTY GUARANTEES THE ACCURACY AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE INDEXES OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. NEITHER MSCI NOR ANY OTHER PARTY MAKES ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY LICENSEE, LICENSEE'S CUSTOMERS AND COUNTERPARTIES, OWNERS OF THE SHARES OF THE FUND, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE INDEXES OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN IN CONNECTION WITH THE
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RIGHTS LICENSED BY MSCI FOR USE HEREIN OR FOR ANY OTHER USE. NEITHER MSCI NOR ANY OTHER PARTY MAKES ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND MSCI HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE WITH RESPECT TO THE INDEXES OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, IN NO EVENT SHALL MSCI OR ANY OTHER PARTY HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, CONSEQUENTIAL OR ANY OTHER DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS) EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
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 track the total return performance of the Underlying Index or the ability of the Underlying Index to track stock market performance. NYSE Arca is not responsible for, nor has it participated in, the determination of the compilation or the calculation of the Underlying Index, 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.
NYSE Arca does not guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. NYSE Arca makes no warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by the Trust on behalf of the Fund as licensee, licensee’s customers and counterparties, owners of the shares of the Fund, or any other person or entity from the use of the subject index or any data included therein in connection with the rights licensed as described herein or for any other use. NYSE Arca makes no express or implied warranties and hereby expressly disclaims all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to the Underlying Index or any data included therein. 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.
The past performance of the Underlying Index is not a guide to future performance. BFA does not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein and BFA shall have no liability for any errors, omissions or interruptions therein. BFA makes no warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of the Fund or to any other person or entity, as to results to be obtained by the Fund from the use of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall BFA have any liability for any special, punitive, direct, indirect or consequential damages (including lost profits), even if notified of the possibility of such damages.
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For more information visit www.iShares.com or call 1-800-474-2737
Copies of the Prospectus, SAI and other information can be found on our website at www.iShares.com. For more information about the Fund, you may request a copy of the SAI. The SAI provides detailed information about the Fund and is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. This means that the SAI, for legal purposes, is a part of this Prospectus.
If you have any questions about the Trust or shares of the Fund or you wish to obtain the SAI free of charge, please:
Call: 1-800-iShares or 1-800-474-2737 (toll free)
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Eastern time)
Email: iSharesETFs@blackrock.com
Write: c/o BlackRock Investments, LLC
1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540
Information about the Fund (including the SAI) can be reviewed and copied at the SEC's Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C., and information on the operation of the Public Reference Room may be obtained by calling the SEC at 1-202-551-8090. Reports and other information about the Fund are available on the EDGAR database on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov, and copies of this information may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov, or by writing to the SEC's Public Reference Section, Washington, D.C. 20549-1520.
No person is authorized to give any information or to make any representations about the Fund and its shares not contained in this Prospectus and you should not rely on any other information. Read and keep this Prospectus for future reference.
©2014 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved. iSHARES and BLACKROCK are registered trademarks of BlackRock, Inc. or its affiliates. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
Investment Company Act File No.: 811-09729
IS-P-EUMV-0514


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iShares® Trust
Statement of Additional Information
Dated May 16, 2014
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the current prospectus (the “Prospectus”) for the following fund of iShares Trust (the “Trust”):
Fund   Ticker   Stock Exchange
iShares MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility ETF (the “Fund”)   EUMV   NYSE Arca
The Prospectus for the Fund is dated May 16, 2014, as amended and supplemented from time to time. Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined have the same meaning as in the Prospectus, unless otherwise noted. A copy of the Prospectus may be obtained without charge by writing to the Trust’s distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor” or “BRIL”), 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540, calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting www.iShares.com. The 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.
iShares® is a registered trademark of BlackRock, Inc. or 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 of the Fund 2
Borrowing 2
Currency Transactions 2
Diversification Status 3
Futures and Options 3
Illiquid Securities 4
Lending Portfolio Securities 4
Non-U.S. Securities 5
Options on Futures Contracts 5
Regulation Regarding Derivatives 6
Repurchase Agreements 6
Reverse Repurchase Agreements 7
Securities of Investment Companies 7
Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments 7
Swap Agreements 7
Tracking Stocks 8
Future Developments 8
General Considerations and Risks 8
Borrowing Risk 8
Cyber Security Issues 8
Dividend Risk 8
Operational Risk 8
Volatility Risk 8
Risk of Derivatives 9
Risk of Equity Securities 9
Risk of Futures and Options Transactions 9
Risk of Investing in Non-U.S. Equity Securities 10
Risk of Swap Agreements 10
Risk of Investing in Mid-Capitalization Companies 10
Asian Economic Trading Partners Risk 10
Risk of Investing in Europe 11
Risk of Investing in the United Kingdom 11
U.S. Economic Trading Partners Risk 12
Risk of Investing in the Capital Goods Industry Group 12
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  Page
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Discretionary Sector 12
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Staples Sector 12
Risk of Investing in the Energy Sector 12
Risk of Investing in the Financials Sector 13
Risk of Investing in the Healthcare Sector 14
Risk of Investing in the Industrials Sector 14
Risk of Investing in the Information Technology Sector 14
Risk of Investing in the Materials Sector 15
Risk of Investing in the Technology Sector 15
Risk of Investing in the Telecommunications Sector 15
Risk of Investing in the Utilities Sector 15
Proxy Voting Policy 16
Portfolio Holdings Information 17
Construction and Maintenance of the Underlying Index 18
The MSCI Indexes 18
MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility (USD) Index 21
Investment Restrictions 21
Continuous Offering 23
Management 24
Trustees and Officers 24
Committees of the Board of Trustees 31
Remuneration of Trustees 35
Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities 36
Potential Conflicts of Interest 36
Investment Advisory, Administrative and Distribution Services 42
Investment Adviser 42
Portfolio Managers 43
Codes of Ethics 45
Anti-Money Laundering Requirements 45
Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent 46
Distributor 46
Payments by BFA and its Affiliates 46
Determination of Net Asset Value 47
Brokerage Transactions 50
Additional Information Concerning the Trust 52
Shares 52
Termination of the Trust or the Fund 53
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  Page
DTC as Securities Depository for Shares of the Fund 53
Creation and Redemption of Creation Units 54
General 54
Fund Deposit 54
Cash Purchase Method 55
Role of the Authorized Participant 55
Purchase Orders 55
Timing of Submission of Purchase Orders 56
Acceptance of Orders for Creation Units 56
Issuance of a Creation Unit 56
Costs Associated with Creation Transactions 57
Redemption of Creation Units 57
Cash Redemption Method 58
Costs Associated with Redemption Transactions 58
Placement of Redemption Orders 58
Taxation on Creations and Redemptions of Creation Units 60
Regular Holidays 60
Redemptions 62
Taxes 64
Regulated Investment Company Qualifications 64
Taxation of RICs 65
Excise Tax 65
Net Capital Loss Carryforwards 65
Taxation of U.S. Shareholders 65
Sales of Shares 66
Back-Up Withholding 67
Sections 351 and 362 67
Taxation of Certain Derivatives 67
Qualified Dividend Income 68
Corporate Dividends Received Deduction 68
Excess Inclusion Income 68
Non-U.S. Investments 69
Passive Foreign Investment Companies 69
Reporting 70
Other Taxes 70
Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders 70
Financial Statements 71
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General Description of the Trust and the Fund
The Trust currently consists of more than 235 investment series or portfolios. The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on December 16, 1999 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”). This SAI relates solely to the Fund.
The Fund is managed by BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc., and generally seeks to track the investment results of the specific benchmark index identified in the Fund's Prospectus (the “Underlying Index”).
The Fund offers and issues shares at their net asset value per share (“NAV”) only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (“Creation Unit”), generally in exchange for a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) included in its Underlying Index (the “Deposit Securities”), together with the deposit of a specified cash payment (the “Cash Component”). Shares of the Fund are listed and trade on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca” or the “Listing Exchange”), a national securities exchange. Shares of the Fund are traded in the secondary market and elsewhere at market prices that may be at, above or below the Fund's NAV. Shares are redeemable only in Creation Units, and, generally, in exchange for portfolio securities and a Cash Component. Creation Units typically are a specified number of shares, generally 50,000 or multiples thereof.
The Trust reserves the right to permit or require that creations and redemptions of shares are effected fully or partially in cash. Shares may be issued in advance of receipt of Deposit Securities, subject to various conditions, including a requirement to maintain with the Trust a cash deposit equal to at least 105% and up to 115%, which percentage BFA may change from time to time, of the market value of the omitted Deposit Securities. See the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI. Transaction fees and other charges associated with creations or redemptions that include a cash portion may be higher than the transaction fees and other charges associated with in-kind creations or redemptions. In all cases, conditions and fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of SEC rules and regulations applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities.
Exchange Listing and Trading
A discussion of exchange listing and trading matters associated with an investment in the Fund is contained in the Shareholder Information section of the Fund's Prospectus. The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, that section of the Prospectus.
Shares of the Fund are listed for trading, and trade throughout the day, on the Listing Exchange and other secondary markets. Shares of the Fund may also be listed on certain non-U.S. exchanges. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Listing Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of shares of the Fund will continue to be met. The Listing Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the shares of the Fund from listing if (i) following the initial 12-month period beginning upon the commencement of trading of Fund shares, there are fewer than 50 beneficial owners of shares of the Fund for 30 or more consecutive trading days, (ii) the value of the Underlying Index on which the Fund is based is no longer calculated or available, (iii) the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (“IOPV”) of the Fund is no longer calculated or available, or (iv) any other event shall occur or condition shall exist that, in the opinion of the Listing Exchange, makes further dealings on the Listing Exchange inadvisable. The Listing Exchange will also remove shares of the Fund from listing and trading upon termination of the Fund.
As in the case of other publicly-traded securities, when you buy or sell shares through a broker, you will incur a brokerage commission determined by that broker.
In order to provide additional information regarding the indicative value of shares of the Fund, the Listing Exchange or a market data vendor disseminates information every 15 seconds through the facilities of the Consolidated Tape Association, or through other widely disseminated means, an updated IOPV for the Fund as calculated by an information provider or
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market data vendor. The Trust is not involved in or responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IOPVs and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the IOPVs.
An IOPV has an equity securities component and a cash component. The equity securities values included in an IOPV are the values of the Deposit Securities for the Fund. While the IOPV reflects the current value of the Deposit Securities required to be deposited in connection with the purchase of a Creation Unit, it does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities held by the Fund at a particular point in time because the current portfolio of the Fund may include securities that are not a part of the current Deposit Securities. Therefore, the Fund’s IOPV disseminated during the Listing Exchange trading hours should not be viewed as a real-time update of the Fund’s NAV, which is calculated only once a day.
The cash component included in an IOPV consists of estimated accrued interest, dividends and other income, less expenses. If applicable, each IOPV also reflects changes in currency exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the applicable currency.
The Trust reserves the right to adjust the share prices of the Fund in the future to maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of the Fund or an investor's equity interest in the Fund.
Investment Strategies and Risks of the Fund
The Fund seeks to achieve its objective by investing primarily in securities issued by issuers that comprise its Underlying Index and through transactions that provide substantially similar exposure to securities in the Underlying Index. The Fund operates as an index fund and will not be actively managed. Adverse performance of a security in the Fund’s portfolio will ordinarily not result in the elimination of the security from the Fund’s portfolio.
The Fund engages in representative sampling, which is investing in a sample of securities selected by BFA to have a collective investment profile similar to that of the Fund's Underlying Index. Securities selected have aggregate investment characteristics (based on market capitalization and industry weightings), fundamental characteristics (such as return variability, earnings valuation and yield) and liquidity measures similar to those of the Underlying Index. A fund that uses representative sampling generally does not hold all of the securities that are in its underlying index.
Borrowing. The Fund may borrow for temporary or emergency purposes, including to meet 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 the Fund. The incurrence of leverage increases the 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 net asset value of Fund shares and in the yield on the Fund’s portfolio. In addition, the interest expenses from borrowings may exceed the income generated by the 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 the Fund’s shareholders will outweigh the current reduced return.
Certain types of borrowings by the Fund may result in the 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 from managing the Fund’s portfolio in accordance with the Fund’s investment objectives 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 the Fund to dispose of portfolio investments at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so.
Currency Transactions. The Fund does not expect to engage in currency transactions for the purpose of hedging against declines in the value of the Fund's assets that are denominated in a non-U.S. currency. The Fund may enter into non-U.S. currency forward and non-U.S. currency futures contracts to facilitate local securities settlements or to protect against currency exposure in connection with its distributions to shareholders, but may not enter into such contracts for speculative purposes.
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A forward currency contract is an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract.
A currency futures contract is a contract involving an obligation to deliver or acquire the specified amount of a specific currency, at a specified price and at a specified future time. Currency futures contracts may be settled on a net cash payment basis rather than by the sale and delivery of the underlying currency. To the extent required by law, liquid assets committed to futures contracts will be maintained.
Foreign exchange transactions involve a significant degree of risk and the markets in which foreign exchange transactions are effected are highly volatile, highly specialized and highly technical. Significant changes, including changes in liquidity and prices, can occur in such markets within very short periods of time, often within minutes. Foreign exchange trading risks include, but are not limited to, exchange rate risk, counterparty risk, maturity gap, interest rate risk, and potential interference by foreign governments through regulation of local exchange markets, foreign investment or particular transactions in non-U.S. currency. If BFA utilizes foreign exchange transactions at an inappropriate time or judges market conditions, trends or correlations incorrectly, foreign exchange transactions may not serve their intended purpose of improving the correlation of the Fund's return with the performance of the Underlying Index and may lower the Fund’s return. The Fund could experience losses if the value of its currency forwards, options or futures positions were poorly correlated with its other investments or if it could not close out its positions because of an illiquid market. In addition, the Fund could incur transaction costs, including trading commissions, in connection with certain non-U.S. currency transactions.
Diversification Status. The Fund is classified as “non-diversified.” A “non-diversified” fund is a fund that is not limited by the 1940 Act with regard to the percentage of its assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer. The securities of a particular issuer (or securities of issuers in particular industries) may dominate the underlying index of such a fund and, consequently, the fund’s investment portfolio. This may adversely affect the Fund’s performance or subject the Fund’s shares to greater price volatility than that experienced by more diversified investment companies.
The Fund intends to maintain the required level of diversification and otherwise conduct its operations so as to qualify as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) for purposes of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Internal Revenue Code”) and to relieve the Fund of any liability for U.S. federal income tax to the extent that its earnings are distributed to shareholders, provided that the Fund satisfies a minimum distribution requirement. Compliance with the diversification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code may limit the investment flexibility of the Fund and may make it less likely that the Fund will meet its investment objective.
Futures and Options. Futures contracts and options may be used by the Fund to simulate investment in its Underlying Index, to facilitate trading or to reduce transaction costs. The Fund may enter into futures contracts and options that are traded on a U.S. or non-U.S. exchange. The Fund will not use futures or options for speculative purposes. The Fund intends to use futures and options in accordance with Rule 4.5 of the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”). BFA, with respect to the Fund, has claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” in accordance with Rule 4.5 so that BFA, with respect to the Fund, is not subject to registration or regulation as a commodity pool operator under the CEA.
Futures contracts provide for the future sale by one party and purchase by another party of a specified amount of a specific instrument or index at a specified future time and at a specified price. Stock index contracts are based on investments that reflect the market value of common stock of the firms included in the investments. The Fund may enter into futures contracts to purchase securities indexes when BFA anticipates purchasing the underlying securities and believes prices will rise before the purchase will be made. To the extent required by law, liquid assets committed to futures contracts will be maintained.
A call option gives a holder the right to purchase a specific security at a specified price (“exercise price”) within a specified period of time. A put option gives a holder the right to sell a specific security at an exercise price within a specified period of time. The initial purchaser of a call option pays the “writer” a premium, which is paid at the time of purchase and is retained by the writer whether or not such option is exercised. The Fund may purchase put options to hedge its portfolio against the risk of a decline in the market value of securities held and may purchase call options to hedge against an increase in the price of securities it is committed to purchase. The Fund may write put and call options along with a long position in options to increase its ability to hedge against a change in the market value of the securities it holds or is committed to purchase. Investments in futures contracts and other investments that contain leverage may require the Fund to maintain liquid assets. Generally, the Fund maintains an amount of liquid assets equal to its obligations relative to the position involved, adjusted daily on a marked-to-market basis. With respect to futures contracts that are contractually required to “cash-settle,” the Fund
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maintains liquid assets in an amount at least equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market obligation (i.e., the Fund’s daily net liability, if any), rather than the contracts’ notional value (i.e., the value of the underlying asset). By maintaining assets equal to its net obligation under cash-settled futures contracts, the Fund may employ leverage to a greater extent than if the Fund set aside assets equal to the futures contracts’ full notional value. The Fund bases its asset maintenance policies on methods permitted by the staff of the SEC and may modify these policies in the future to comply with any changes in the guidance articulated from time to time by the SEC or its staff.
Illiquid Securities. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities (calculated at the time of investment). Illiquid securities may include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets, as determined in accordance with SEC staff guidance. The liquidity of a security relates to the ability to readily dispose of the security and the price to be obtained upon disposition of the security, which may be lower than would be obtained for a comparable, more liquid security. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount to comparable, more liquid investments and may impair the Fund’s ability to dispose of investments in a timely fashion at their expected price.
Lending Portfolio Securities. The Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain borrowers determined to be creditworthy by BFA, including to borrowers affiliated with BFA. The borrowers provide collateral that is maintained in an amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities loaned. No securities loan shall be made on behalf of the Fund if, as a result, the aggregate value of all securities loans of the Fund exceeds one-third of the value of the Fund's total assets (including the value of the collateral received). The Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. The Fund receives the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities.
With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower may be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. The Fund is compensated by the difference between the amount earned on the reinvestment of cash collateral and the fee paid to the borrower. In the case of collateral other than cash, the Fund is compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. Any cash collateral may be reinvested in certain short-term instruments either directly on behalf of the 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.
The 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 as lending agent. To the extent that the Fund engages in securities lending, BTC acts as securities lending agent for the Fund, subject to the overall supervision of BFA. BTC administers the lending program in accordance with guidelines approved by the Trust's Board of Trustees (the “Board” or the “Trustees”).
The Fund retains a portion of the securities lending income and remits a remaining portion to BTC as compensation for its services as securities lending agent. Securities lending income is 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. The Fund is responsible for fees in connection with the investment of cash collateral received for securities on loan in a money market fund managed by BFA, however, BTC has agreed to reduce the amount of securities lending income it receives in order to effectively limit the collateral investment fees the Fund bears to an annual rate of 0.04% until December 31, 2014 and 0.05% thereafter (the “collateral investment fees”). Such money market fund shares will not be subject to a sales load, redemption fee, distribution fee or service fee.
Pursuant to the current securities lending agreement:
(i) International Equity Funds retain 75% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment fees); however, commencing January 1, 2015 International Equity Funds will retain 70% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment fees); and (ii) these amounts can never be less than 65% of the sum of securities lending income plus collateral investment fees.
Under the securities lending program the Fund is categorized into specific asset classes. The determination of the 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.
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In addition, commencing the business day following the date that the aggregate securities lending income earned across the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex (as defined under “ManagementTrustees and Officers”) in a calendar year exceeds the aggregate securities lending income earned across the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex in calendar year 2013 (the “Hurdle Date”) (or lesser amount as may be agreed to by the Fund and BTC), each International Equity Fund, pursuant to the securities lending agreement, will receive for the remainder of that calendar year securities lending income as follows:
(i) 80% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment fees); however, for the remainder of the calendar year following any Hurdle Date after January 1, 2015, International Equity Funds will retain 75% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment fees) and (ii) these amounts can never be less than 65% of the sum of securities lending income plus collateral investment fees.
Securities lending involves exposure to certain risks, including operational risk (i.e., the risk of losses resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process), “gap” risk (i.e., the risk of a mismatch between the return on cash collateral reinvestments and the fees the Fund has agreed to pay a borrower), and credit, legal, counterparty and market risk. If a securities lending counterparty were to default, the Fund would be subject to the risk of a possible delay in receiving collateral or in recovering the loaned securities, or to a possible loss of rights in the collateral. In the event a borrower does not return the Fund’s securities as agreed, the Fund may experience losses if the proceeds received from liquidating the collateral do not at least equal the value of the loaned security at the time the collateral is liquidated, plus the transaction costs incurred in purchasing replacement securities. This event could trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. The Fund could lose money if its short-term investment of the collateral declines in value over the period of the loan. Substitute payments for dividends received by the Fund for securities loaned out by the Fund will not be considered qualified dividend income. BTC will take into account the tax effects on shareholders of this difference in connection with the Fund’s securities lending program. Substitute payments received on tax-exempt securities loaned out will not be tax-exempt income.
Non-U.S. Securities. The Fund intends to purchase publicly-traded common stocks of non-U.S. issuers. To the extent the Fund invests in stocks of non-U.S. issuers, the Fund's investment in such stocks may be in the form of American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) and European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) (collectively, “Depositary Receipts”). Depositary Receipts are receipts, typically issued by a bank or trust issuer, which evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a non-U.S. issuer. For ADRs, the depository is typically a U.S. financial institution and the underlying securities are issued by a non-U.S. issuer. For other forms of Depositary Receipts, the depository may be a non-U.S. or a U.S. entity, and the underlying securities may be issued by a non-U.S. or a U.S. issuer. Depositary Receipts are not necessarily denominated in the same currency as their underlying securities. Generally, ADRs, issued in registered form, are designed for use in the U.S. securities markets, and EDRs, issued in bearer form, are designed for use in European securities markets. GDRs are tradable both in the United States and in Europe and are designed for use throughout the world.
The Fund will not invest in any unlisted Depositary Receipt or any Depositary Receipt that BFA deems illiquid at the time of purchase or for which pricing information is not readily available. In general, Depositary Receipts must be sponsored, but the Fund may invest in unsponsored Depositary Receipts under certain limited circumstances. The issuers of unsponsored Depositary Receipts are not obligated to disclose material information in the United States. Therefore, there may be less information available regarding such issuers and there may be no correlation between available information and the market value of the Depositary Receipts.
Investing in the securities of non-U.S. issuers involves special risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in U.S. issuers. These include differences in accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, the possibility of expropriation or confiscatory taxation, adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations, political instability which could affect U.S. investments in non-U.S. countries, and potential restrictions on the flow of international capital. Non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less governmental regulation than U.S. issuers. Moreover, individual non-U.S. economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product (“GDP”), rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and balance of payment positions.
Options on Futures Contracts. An option on a futures contract, as contrasted with the direct investment in such a contract, gives the purchaser the right, in return for the premium paid, to assume a position in the underlying futures contract at a specified exercise price at any time prior to the expiration date of the option. Upon exercise of an option, the delivery of the futures position by the writer of the option to the holder of the option will be accompanied by delivery of the accumulated balance in the writer’s futures margin account that represents the amount by which the market price of the futures contract exceeds (in the case of a call) or is less than (in the case of a put) the exercise price of the option on the futures contract. The
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potential for loss related to the purchase of an option on a futures contract is limited to the premium paid for the option plus transaction costs. Because the value of the option is fixed at the point of sale, there are no daily cash payments by the purchaser to reflect changes in the value of the underlying contract; however, the value of the option changes daily and that change would be reflected in the NAV of the Fund. The potential for loss related to writing call options is unlimited. The potential for loss related to writing put options is limited to the agreed upon price per share, also known as the “strike price,” less the premium received from writing the put.
The Fund may purchase and write put and call options on futures contracts that are traded on an exchange as a hedge against changes in value of its portfolio securities, or in anticipation of the purchase of securities, and may enter into closing transactions with respect to such options to terminate existing positions. There is no guarantee that such closing transactions can be effected.
Upon entering into a futures contract, the Fund will be required to deposit with the broker an amount of cash or cash equivalents known as “initial margin,” which is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the contract and is returned to the Fund upon termination of the futures contract, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments, known as “variation margin,” to and from the broker will be made daily as the price of the instrument or index underlying the futures contract fluctuates, making the long and short positions in the futures contract more or less valuable, a process known as “marking-to-market.” At any time prior to the expiration of a futures contract, the Fund may elect to close the position by taking an opposite position, which will operate to terminate the Fund’s existing position in the contract.
Regulation Regarding Derivatives. Effective December 31, 2012, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) adopted certain regulatory changes that subject registered investment companies and advisers to registered investment companies to regulation by the CFTC if funds that are registered investment companies, such as the Fund, invest more than a prescribed level of their liquidation value in CFTC-regulated futures, options and swaps (“CFTC Derivatives”), or if such funds market themselves as providing investment exposure to such instruments. To the extent the Fund uses CFTC Derivatives, it intends to do so below such prescribed levels and will not market itself as a “commodity pool” or a vehicle for trading such instruments. Accordingly, BFA has claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” under the CEA pursuant to Rule 4.5 under the CEA. BFA is not, therefore, subject to registration or regulation as a “commodity pool operator” under the CEA in respect of the Fund.
Repurchase Agreements. A repurchase agreement is an instrument under which the purchaser (i.e., the Fund) acquires the 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 the Fund but only to constitute collateral for the seller’s obligation to pay the repurchase price, and, in the event of a default by the seller, the Fund may suffer time delays and incur costs or losses in connection with the disposition of the collateral.
In any repurchase transaction, the collateral for a repurchase agreement may include: (i) cash items; (ii) obligations issued by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities; or (iii) obligations that, at the time the repurchase agreement is entered into, are rated in the highest rating category generally by at least two nationally-recognized statistical rating organizations (“NRSROs”), or, if unrated, determined to be of comparable quality by BFA. Collateral, however, is not limited to the foregoing and may include, for example, obligations rated below the highest category by NRSROs. Collateral for a repurchase agreement may also include securities that the Fund could not hold directly without the repurchase obligation. Irrespective of the type of collateral underlying the repurchase agreement, in the case of a repurchase agreement entered into by a non-money market fund, the repurchase obligation of a seller must be of comparable credit quality to securities that are rated in the highest two short-term credit rating categories by at least one NRSRO or, if unrated, deemed by BFA to be of equivalent quality.
Repurchase agreements pose certain risks for the Fund, should it decide to utilize them. Such risks are not unique to the Fund, but are inherent in repurchase agreements. The Fund seeks to minimize such risks, but because of the inherent legal uncertainties involved in repurchase agreements, such risks cannot be eliminated. Lower quality collateral and collateral with longer maturities may be subject to greater price fluctuations than higher quality collateral and collateral with shorter maturities. If the repurchase agreement counterparty were to default, lower quality collateral may be more difficult to liquidate than higher quality collateral. Should the counterparty default and the amount of collateral not be sufficient to cover
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the counterparty’s repurchase obligation, the Fund would retain the status of an unsecured creditor of the counterparty (i.e., the position the Fund would normally be in if it were to hold, pursuant to its investment policies, other unsecured debt securities of the defaulting counterparty) with respect to the amount of the shortfall. As an unsecured creditor, the Fund would be at risk of losing some or all of the principal and income involved in the transaction.
Reverse Repurchase Agreements. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the sale of securities with an agreement to repurchase the securities at an agreed-upon price, date and interest payment and have the characteristics of borrowing. Generally, the effect of such transactions is that the Fund can recover all or most of the cash invested in the portfolio securities involved during the term of the reverse repurchase agreement, while in many cases the Fund is able to keep some of the interest income associated with those securities. Such transactions are advantageous only if the Fund has an opportunity to earn a rate of interest on the cash derived from these transactions that is greater than the interest cost of obtaining the same amount of cash. Opportunities to realize earnings from the use of the proceeds equal to or greater than the interest required to be paid may not always be available and the Fund intends to use the reverse repurchase technique only when BFA believes it will be advantageous to the Fund. The use of reverse repurchase agreements may exaggerate any increase or decrease in the value of the Fund’s assets. The Fund’s exposure to reverse repurchase agreements will be covered by liquid assets having a value equal to or greater than such commitments. The use of reverse repurchase agreements is a form of leverage because the proceeds derived from reverse repurchase agreements may be invested in additional securities.
Securities of Investment Companies. The Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies (including money market funds) to the extent allowed by law. Pursuant to the 1940 Act, the Fund’s investment in registered investment companies is generally 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 Fund intends from time to time to invest its assets in the securities of investment companies, including, but not limited to, money market funds, including those advised by or otherwise affiliated with BFA, in excess of the general limits discussed above. Other investment companies in which the Fund may invest 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 the Fund.
Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments. The 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 (“CDs”), bankers’ acceptances, fixed-time deposits and other obligations of U.S. and non-U.S. banks (including non-U.S. branches) and similar institutions; (iv) commercial paper rated, at the date of purchase, “Prime-1” by Moody's® Investors Service, Inc., “F-1” by Fitch Ratings, Inc., or “A-1” by Standard & Poor's® Financial Services LLC, a subsidiary of McGraw Hill Financial, Inc. (“Standard & Poor's Ratings Services”), or if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by BFA; (v) non-convertible corporate debt securities (e.g., bonds and debentures) with remaining maturities at the date of purchase of not more than 397 days and that satisfy the rating requirements set forth in Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act; (vi) repurchase agreements; and (vii) short-term U.S. dollar-denominated obligations of non-U.S. banks (including U.S. branches) that, in the opinion of BFA, are of comparable quality to obligations of U.S. banks which may be purchased by the Fund. Any of these instruments may be purchased on a current or forward-settled basis. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Bankers’ acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers, usually in connection with international transactions.
Swap Agreements. Swap agreements are contracts between parties in which one party agrees to make periodic payments to the other party based on the change in market value or level of a specified rate, index or asset. In return, the other party agrees to make periodic payments to the first party based on the return of a different specified rate, index or asset. Swap agreements will usually be performed on a net basis, with the Fund receiving or paying only the net amount of the two payments. The net amount of the excess, if any, of the Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each swap is accrued on a daily basis and an amount of liquid assets having an aggregate value at least equal to the accrued excess will be maintained by the Fund.
The use of interest rate and index swaps is a highly specialized activity that involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio security transactions. These transactions generally do not involve the delivery of securities or other underlying assets or principal.
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Tracking Stocks. A tracking stock is a separate class of common stock whose value is linked to a specific business unit or operating division within a larger company and is designed to “track” the performance of such business unit or division. The tracking stock may pay dividends to shareholders independent of the parent company. The parent company, rather than the business unit or division, generally is the issuer of tracking stock. However, holders of the tracking stock may not have the same rights as holders of the company’s common stock.
Future Developments. The Board may, in the future, authorize the Fund to invest in securities contracts and investments, other than those listed in this SAI and in the Prospectus, provided they are consistent with the Fund's investment objective and do not violate any of its investment restrictions or policies.
General Considerations and Risks
A discussion of some of the principal risks associated with an investment in the Fund is contained in the Prospectus.
An investment in the Fund should be made with an understanding that the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of the issuers of the portfolio securities, the value of stocks in general, and other factors that affect the market.
Borrowing Risk. Borrowing may exaggerate changes in the net asset value of Fund shares and in the return on the Fund’s portfolio. Borrowing will cost the Fund interest expense and other fees. The costs of borrowing may reduce the Fund’s return. Borrowing may cause the Fund to liquidate positions when it may not be advantageous to do so to satisfy its obligations.
Cyber Security Issues. With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet to conduct business, the Fund is susceptible to operational, information security and related risks. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber attacks include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites. Cyber security failures or breaches by the Fund’s third party service providers (including, but not limited to, index providers, fund accountants and transfer agents), market makers, Authorized Participants (as defined in the Portfolio Holdings Information section of this SAI) and the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations potentially resulting in financial losses, the inability of Fund shareholders 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, substantial costs may be incurred in order to prevent any 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 attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by issuers in which the Fund invests, market makers or Authorized Participants. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
Dividend Risk. There is no guarantee that issuers of the stocks held by the Fund will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, they will either remain at certain levels or increase over time.
Operational Risk. BFA and the Fund’s other service providers may experience disruptions or operating errors that could negatively impact the Fund. While service providers are required to have appropriate operational risk management policies and procedures, their methods of operational risk management may differ from the Fund's in the setting of priorities, the personnel and resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. BlackRock, 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 BlackRock or the other Fund service providers to identify all of the operational risks that may affect the Fund or to develop processes and controls to completely eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects.
Volatility Risk. The value of a security may fluctuate due to factors affecting markets generally or particular industries. This volatility may affect the Fund's NAV. Although the Underlying Index was created to seek lower volatility than the MSCI Europe Index, there is no guarantee that these strategies will be successful. The Fund's name reflects the name of the Underlying Index as provided by the Index Provider. However, the Index Provider may be unsuccessful in creating an index that minimizes
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volatility, and there is a risk that the Fund may experience more than minimum volatility. Securities in the Fund's portfolios may be subject to price volatility and the prices may not be any less volatile than the market as a whole and could be more volatile. Events or financial circumstances affecting individual securities or sectors may increase the volatility of the Fund.
Risk of Derivatives. A derivative is a financial contract the value of which depends on, or is derived from, the value of an underlying asset, a commodity (such as gold or silver), a currency or an index (a measure of value or rates, such as the S&P 500® or the prime lending rate). The Fund may invest in stock index futures contracts and other derivatives. Compared to conventional securities, derivatives can be more sensitive to changes in interest rates or to sudden fluctuations in market prices and thus the Fund’s losses may be greater if it invests in derivatives than if it invests only in conventional securities. Derivatives are also subject to counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party in the transaction will not fulfill its contractual obligations.
Risk of Equity Securities. An investment in the Fund should be made with an understanding of the risks inherent in an investment in equity securities, including the risk that the financial condition of issuers may become impaired or that the general condition of stock markets may deteriorate (either of which may cause a decrease in the value of the portfolio securities and thus in the value of shares of the Fund). Common stocks are susceptible to general stock market fluctuations and to increases and decreases in value as market confidence and perceptions of their issuers change. These investor perceptions are based on various and unpredictable factors, including expectations regarding government, economic, monetary and fiscal policies, inflation and interest rates, economic expansion or contraction, and global or regional political, economic or banking crises. Holders of common stocks incur more risks than holders of preferred stocks and debt obligations because common stockholders generally have rights to receive payments from stock issuers that are inferior to the rights of creditors, or holders of debt obligations or preferred stocks. Further, unlike debt securities, which typically have a stated principal amount payable at maturity (the value of which, however, is subject to market fluctuations prior to maturity), or preferred stocks, which typically have a liquidation preference and which may have stated optional or mandatory redemption provisions, common stocks have neither a fixed principal amount nor a maturity.
Although most of the securities in the Underlying Index are listed on a national securities exchange, the principal trading market for some of the securities may be in the over-the-counter market. The existence of a liquid trading market for certain securities may depend on whether dealers will make a market in such securities. There can be no assurance that a market will be made or maintained or that any such market will be or remain liquid. The price at which securities may be sold and the value of the Fund’s shares will be adversely affected if trading markets for the Fund’s portfolio securities are limited or absent, or if bid/ask spreads are wide.
Risk of Futures and Options Transactions. There are several risks accompanying the utilization of futures contracts and options on futures contracts. A position in futures contracts and options on futures contracts may be closed only on the exchange on which the contract was made (or a linked exchange). While the Fund plans to utilize futures contracts only if an active market exists for such contracts, there is no guarantee that a liquid market will exist for the contract at a specified time. Futures contracts, by definition, project price levels in the future and not current levels of valuation; therefore, market circumstances may result in a discrepancy between the price of the stock index future and the movement in the Fund's Underlying Index. In the event of adverse price movements, the Fund would continue to be required to make daily cash payments to maintain its required margin. In such situations, if the Fund has insufficient cash, it may have to sell portfolio securities to meet daily margin requirements at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. In addition, the Fund may be required to deliver the instruments underlying the futures contracts it has sold.
The risk of loss in trading futures contracts or uncovered call options in some strategies (e.g., selling uncovered stock index futures contracts) is potentially unlimited. The Fund does not plan to use futures and options contracts in this way. The risk of a futures position may still be large as traditionally measured due to the low margin deposits required. In many cases, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss or gain to the investor relative to the size of a required margin deposit. The Fund, however, intends to utilize futures and options contracts in a manner designed to limit the risk exposure to levels comparable to a direct investment in the types of stocks in which it invests.
Utilization of futures and options on futures by the Fund involves the risk of imperfect or even negative correlation to the Underlying Index if the index underlying the futures contract differs from the Underlying Index. There is also the risk of loss of margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with whom the Fund has an open position in the futures contract or
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option. The purchase of put or call options will be based upon predictions by BFA as to anticipated trends, which predictions could prove to be incorrect.
Because the futures market generally imposes less burdensome margin requirements than the securities market, an increased amount of participation by speculators in the futures market could result in price fluctuations. Certain financial futures exchanges limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. The daily limit establishes the maximum amount by which the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price at the end of a trading session. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular type of contract, no trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. It is possible that futures contract prices could move to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of futures positions and subjecting the Fund to substantial losses. In the event of adverse price movements, the Fund would be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin.
Risk of Investing in Non-U.S. Equity Securities. An investment in the Fund involves risks similar to those of investing in portfolios of equity securities traded on non-U.S. exchanges. These risks include market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic and political developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in stock prices. Investing in securities issued by issuers domiciled in countries other than the domicile of the investor and denominated in currencies other than an investor’s local currency entails certain considerations and risks not typically encountered by the investor in making investments in its home country and in that country’s currency. These considerations include favorable or unfavorable changes in interest rates, currency exchange rates, exchange control regulations and the costs that may be incurred in connection with conversions between various currencies. Investing in the Fund also involves certain risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in a fund whose portfolio contains exclusively securities of U.S. issuers. These risks include generally less liquid and less efficient securities markets; generally greater price volatility; less publicly available information about issuers; the imposition of withholding or other taxes; the imposition of restrictions on the expatriation of funds or other assets of the Fund; higher transaction and custody costs; delays and risks attendant in settlement procedures; difficulties in enforcing contractual obligations; lower liquidity and significantly smaller market capitalization; different accounting and disclosure standards; lower levels of regulation of the securities markets; more substantial government interference with the economy; higher rates of inflation; greater social, economic, and political uncertainty; the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets; and the risk of war.
Risk of Swap Agreements. The risk of loss with respect to swaps generally is limited to the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually obligated to make. Swap agreements are subject to the risk that the swap counterparty will default on its obligations. If such a default occurs, the Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction. However, such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws which could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor (e.g., the Fund may not receive the net amount of payments that it is contractually entitled to receive).
Risk of Investing in Mid-Capitalization Companies. Stock prices of mid-capitalization companies may be more volatile than those of large-capitalization companies and, therefore, the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than those of funds that invest a larger percentage of their assets in stocks issued by large-capitalization companies. Stock prices of mid-capitalization companies are also more vulnerable than those of large-capitalization companies to adverse business or economic developments, and the stocks of mid-capitalization companies may be less liquid, making it more difficult for the Fund to buy and sell them. In addition, mid-capitalization companies generally have less diverse product lines than large-capitalization companies have and are more susceptible to adverse developments related to their products.
Asian Economic Trading Partners Risk.  Certain Asian countries have experienced expropriation and/or nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation, political instability, including authoritarian and/or military involvement in governmental decision-making, armed conflict and social instability as a result of religious, ethnic and/or socio-economic unrest. Many Asian economies have experienced rapid rates of economic growth and industrialization in recent years, and there is no assurance that these rates of economic growth and industrialization will be maintained.
Certain Asian countries have democracies with relatively short histories, which may increase the risk of political instability. These countries have faced political and military unrest, and further unrest could present a risk to their local economies and securities markets. Indonesia and the Philippines have each experienced violence and terrorism, which has negatively impacted their economies. North Korea and South Korea each have substantial military capabilities, and historical tensions between the two countries present the risk of war; in the recent past, these tensions have escalated. Any outbreak of
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hostilities between the two countries could have a severe adverse effect on the South Korean economy and securities market. Increased political and social unrest in these geographic areas could adversely affect the performance of investments in this region.
Certain governments in this region administer prices on several basic goods, including fuel and electricity, within their respective countries. Certain governments may exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector in their respective countries and may own or control many companies. Future government actions could have a significant effect on the economic conditions in this region, which in turn could have a negative impact on private sector companies. There is also the possibility of diplomatic developments adversely affecting investments in the region.
Corruption and the perceived lack of a rule of law in dealings with international companies in certain Asian countries may discourage foreign investment and could negatively impact the long-term growth of certain economies in this region. In addition, certain countries in the region are experiencing high unemployment and corruption, and have fragile banking sectors.
Some economies in this region are dependent on a range of commodities, including oil, natural gas and coal. Accordingly, they are strongly affected by international commodity prices and particularly vulnerable to any weakening in global demand for these products. The market for securities in this region may also be directly influenced by the flow of international capital, and by the economic and market conditions of neighboring countries. Adverse economic conditions or developments in neighboring countries may increase investors' perception of the risk of investing in the region as a whole, which may adversely impact the market value of the securities issued by companies in the region.
Risk of Investing in Europe. The Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (the “EU”) requires member countries to comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels and fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe. Decreasing imports or exports, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro (the common currency of certain EU countries), the default or threat of default by an EU member country on its sovereign debt, and/or an economic recession in an EU member country may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of EU member countries and their trading partners. Although certain European countries do not use the euro, many of these countries are obliged to meet the criteria for joining the euro zone. Consequently, these countries must comply with many of the restrictions noted above. The European financial markets have recently experienced volatility and adverse trends due to concerns about economic downturns, rising government debt levels and the possible default of government debt in several European countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. In order to prevent further economic deterioration, certain countries, without prior warning, can institute “capital controls.” Countries may use these controls to restrict volatile movements of capital entering and exiting their country. Such controls may negatively affect the Fund’s investments. A default or debt restructuring by any European country would adversely impact holders of that country's debt and sellers of credit default swaps linked to that country's creditworthiness, which may be located in countries other than those listed above. In addition, the credit ratings of certain European countries were recently downgraded. These downgrades may result in further deterioration of investor confidence. These events have adversely affected the value and exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect the economies of every country in Europe, including countries that do not use the euro and non-EU member countries. Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not produce the desired results, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and other entities of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world. In addition, one or more countries may abandon the euro and/or withdraw from the EU. The impact of these actions, especially if they occur in a disorderly fashion, is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching.
Risk of Investing in the United Kingdom. Investment in British issuers may subject the Fund to regulatory, political, currency, security, and economic risks specific to the United Kingdom. The British economy relies heavily on export of financial services to the United States and other European countries. A prolonged slowdown in the financial services sector may have a negative impact on the British economy. In the past, the United Kingdom has been a target of terrorism. Acts of terrorism in the United Kingdom or against British interests abroad may cause uncertainty in the British financial markets and adversely affect the performance of the issuers to which a Fund has exposure. The British economy, along with the United States and certain other European economies, experienced a significant economic slowdown during the recent financial crisis.
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U.S. Economic Trading Partners Risk. The United States is a significant, and in some cases the most significant, trading partner of, or foreign investor in certain Economic and Monetary Union markets, and the economies of these countries may be particularly affected by adverse changes in the U.S. economy. A decrease in U.S. imports, new trade regulations, changes in the U.S. dollar exchange rates or an economic slowdown in the United States may have an adverse impact on these markets and, as a result, securities to which the Fund has exposure.
Risk of Investing in the Capital Goods Industry Group. The capital goods industry group may be affected by fluctuations in the business cycle and by other factors affecting manufacturing demands. The capital goods industry group depends heavily on corporate spending. The capital goods industry group may perform well during times of economic expansion, and as economic conditions worsen, the demand for capital goods may decrease due to weakening demand, worsening business cash flows, tighter credit controls and deteriorating profitability. During times of economic volatility, corporate spending may fall and adversely affect the capital goods industry group. This industry group may also be affected by changes in interest rates, corporate tax rates and other government policies. Many capital goods are sold internationally and such companies are subject to market conditions in other countries and regions.
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Discretionary Sector. Companies engaged in the design, production or distribution of products or services for the consumer discretionary sector (including, without limitation, television and radio broadcasting, manufacturing, publishing, recording and musical instruments, motion pictures, photography, amusement and theme parks, gaming casinos, sporting goods and sports arenas, camping and recreational equipment, toys and games, apparel, travel-related services, automobiles, hotels and motels, and fast food and other restaurants) are subject to the risk that their products or services may become obsolete quickly. The success of these companies can depend heavily on disposable household income and consumer spending. During periods of an expanding economy, the consumer discretionary sector may outperform the consumer staples sector, but may underperform when economic conditions worsen. Moreover, the consumer discretionary sector can be significantly affected by several factors, including, without limitation, the performance of domestic and international economies, exchange rates, changing consumer preferences, demographics, marketing campaigns, cyclical revenue generation, consumer confidence, commodity price volatility, labor relations, interest rates, import and export controls, intense competition, technological developments and government regulation.
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Staples Sector. Companies in the consumer staples sector may be adversely affected by changes in the global economy, consumer spending, competition, demographics and consumer preferences, and production spending. Companies in the consumer staples sector may also be affected by changes in global economic, environmental and political events, economic conditions, the depletion of resources, and government regulation. For instance, government regulations may affect the permissibility of using various food additives and production methods of companies that make food products, which could affect company profitability. In addition, tobacco companies may be adversely affected by the adoption of proposed legislation and/or by litigation. Companies in the consumer staples sector also may be subject to risks pertaining to the supply of, demand for and prices of raw materials. The prices of raw materials fluctuate in response to a number of factors, including, without limitation, changes in government agricultural support programs, exchange rates, import and export controls, changes in international agricultural and trading policies, and seasonal and weather conditions. Companies in the consumer staples sector may be subject to severe competition, which may also have an adverse impact on their profitability.
Risk of Investing in the Energy Sector. Companies in the energy sector are strongly affected by the levels and volatility of global energy prices, energy supply and demand, government regulations and policies, energy production and conservation efforts, technological change, and other factors that a company cannot control. These companies may also lack resources and have limited business lines. The energy sector is cyclical and is highly dependent on commodity prices; prices and supplies of energy may fluctuate significantly over short and long periods of time due to, among other things, national and international political changes, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”) policies, changes in relationships among OPEC members and between OPEC and oil-importing nations, the regulatory environment, taxation policies, and the economy of the key energy-consuming countries.
Companies in the energy sector may be adversely affected by terrorism, natural disasters or other catastrophes. Companies in the energy sector are at risk of civil liability from accidents resulting in injury, loss of life or property, pollution or other environmental damage claims. Disruptions in the oil industry or shifts in fuel consumption may significantly impact companies in this sector. Significant oil and gas deposits are located in emerging markets countries where corruption and
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security may raise significant risks, in addition to the other risks of investing in emerging markets. Additionally, the Middle East, where many companies in the energy sector may operate, has historically and recently experienced widespread social unrest.
Companies in the energy sector may also be adversely affected by changes in exchange rates, interest rates, economic conditions, tax treatment, government regulation and intervention, negative perception, efforts at energy conservation and world events in the regions in which the companies operate (e.g., expropriation, nationalization, confiscation of assets and property or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investments and repatriation of capital, military coups, social unrest, violence or labor unrest). Because a significant portion of revenues of companies in this sector is derived from a relatively small number of customers that are largely composed of governmental entities and utilities, governmental budget constraints may have a significant impact on the stock prices of companies in this sector. The energy sector is highly regulated. Entities operating in the energy sector are subject to significant regulation of nearly every aspect of their operations by federal, state and local governmental agencies. Such regulation can change rapidly or over time in both scope and intensity. Stricter laws, regulations or enforcement policies could be enacted in the future which would likely increase compliance costs and may materially adversely affect the financial performance of companies in the energy sector.
Risk of Investing in the Financials Sector. Companies in the financials sector include regional and money center banks, securities brokerage firms, asset management companies, savings banks and thrift institutions, specialty finance companies (e.g., credit card, mortgage providers), insurance and insurance brokerage firms, financial conglomerates and foreign banking and financial companies. The global financial markets have experienced very difficult conditions and volatility as well as significant adverse trends. The conditions in these markets have resulted in a decrease in availability of corporate credit, capital and liquidity and have led indirectly to the insolvency, closure or acquisition of a number of financial institutions. These conditions have also contributed to consolidation within the financial industry. In addition, the global financial industry has been materially and adversely affected by a significant decline in the value of mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, and by the sovereign debt crisis. The prospects of many financial companies are questionable and continue to evolve as financial companies revise their outlooks and write down assets that they hold.
Most financial companies are subject to extensive governmental regulation, which limits their activities and may affect their ability to earn a profit from a given line of business. Government regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for companies in the financials sector, including effects not intended by the regulation. Direct governmental intervention in the operations of financial companies and financial markets may materially and adversely affect the companies in which the Fund invests, including legislation in many countries that may increase government regulation, repatriation and other intervention. The impact of governmental intervention and legislative changes on any individual financial company or on the financials sector as a whole cannot be predicted. The valuation of financial companies has been and continues to be subject to unprecedented volatility and may be influenced by unpredictable factors, including interest rate risk and sovereign debt default. Certain financial businesses are subject to intense competitive pressures, including market share and price competition. Financial companies in foreign countries are subject to market specific and general regulatory and interest rate concerns. In particular, government regulation in certain foreign countries may include taxes and controls on interest rates, credit availability, minimum capital requirements, ban on short sales, prices and currency transfers.
The profitability of banks, savings and loan associations and financial companies is largely dependent on the availability and cost of capital funds and can fluctuate significantly when interest rates change; for instance, when interest rates go up, the value of securities issued by many types of companies in the financials sector generally goes down. In other words, financial companies may be adversely affected in certain market cycles, including, without limitation, during periods of rising interest rates, which may restrict the availability and increase the cost of capital, and during periods of declining economic conditions, which may cause, among other things, credit losses due to financial difficulties of borrowers.
In addition, general economic conditions are important to the operations of these companies, and financial difficulties of borrowers may have an adverse effect on the profitability of financial companies. Financial companies can be highly dependent upon access to capital markets and any impediments to such access, such as adverse overall economic conditions or a negative perception in the capital markets of a financial company’s financial condition or prospects, could adversely affect its business. Deterioration of credit markets, as experienced in 2008 and 2009, can have an adverse impact on a broad range of financial markets, causing certain financial companies to incur large losses. In these conditions, companies in the financials sector may experience significant declines in the valuation of their assets, take actions to raise capital and even cease operations. Some financial companies may also be required to accept or borrow significant amounts of capital from government sources and may face future government-imposed restrictions on their businesses or increased
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government intervention. In addition, there is no guarantee that governments will provide any such relief in the future. These actions may cause the securities of many companies in the financials sector to decline in value.
Risk of Investing in the Healthcare Sector. Companies in the healthcare sector are often issuers whose profitability may be affected by extensive government regulation, restrictions on government reimbursement for medical expenses, rising or falling costs of medical products and services, pricing pressure, an increased emphasis on outpatient services, limited number of products, industry innovation, changes in technologies and other market developments. Many healthcare companies are heavily dependent on patent protection and the actual or perceived safety and efficiency of their products.
Patents have a limited duration and, upon expiration, other companies may market substantially similar “generic” products that are typically sold at a lower price than the patented product, causing the original developer of the product to lose market share and/or reduce the price charged for the product, resulting in lower profits for the original developer. As a result, the expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies.
In addition, because the products and services of many companies in the healthcare sector affect the health and well-being of many individuals, these companies are especially susceptible to extensive litigation based on product liability and similar claims. Healthcare companies are subject to competitive forces that may make it difficult to raise prices and, in fact, may result in price discounting. Many new products in the healthcare sector may be subject to regulatory approvals. The process of obtaining such approvals may be long and costly, resulting in increased development costs, delayed cost recovery and loss of competitive advantage to the extent that rival companies have developed competing products or procedures, adversely affecting the company’s revenues and profitability. In other words, delays in the regulatory approval process may diminish the opportunity for a company to profit from a new product or to bring a new product to market, which could have a material adverse effect on a company’s business. Healthcare companies may also be strongly affected by scientific biotechnology or technological developments and their products may quickly become obsolete. Also, many healthcare companies offer products and services that are subject to governmental regulation and may be adversely affected by changes in governmental policies or laws. Legislation introduced or considered by certain governments on any individual healthcare company or on the healthcare sector as a whole cannot be predicted. These laws and proposals span a wide range of topics, including cost control, national health insurance, incentives for compensation in the provision of healthcare services, tax incentives and penalties related to healthcare insurance premiums, and promotion of prepaid healthcare plans. No one can predict what proposals will be enacted or what potentially adverse effect they may have on healthcare-related or biotechnology-related companies.
Additionally, the expansion of facilities by healthcare related providers is subject to “determinations of need” by certain government authorities. This process not only increases the time and costs involved in these expansions, but also makes expansion plans uncertain, limiting the revenue and profitability growth potential of healthcare related facilities operators and negatively affecting the prices of their securities. Moreover, in recent years both local and national governmental budgets have come under pressure to reduce spending and control healthcare costs, which could both adversely affect regulatory processes and public funding available for healthcare products, services and facilities.
Risk of Investing in the Industrials Sector. The value of securities issued by companies in the industrials sector may be affected by supply and demand both for their specific products or services and for industrials sector products in general. The products of manufacturing companies may face obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction. Government regulations, world events and economic conditions affect the performance of companies in the industrials sector. The industrials sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced by unpredictable factors For example, commodity price declines and unit volume reductions resulting from an over-supply of materials used in the industrials sector can adversely affect the sector. Furthermore, companies in the industrials sector may be subject to liability for environmental damage, product liability claims, depletion of resources, and mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control.
Risk of Investing in the Information Technology Sector. Information technology companies face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Like other technology companies, information technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of information technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. Technology companies and companies that rely heavily on technology, especially those of smaller, less-seasoned companies, tend to be more volatile than the overall market. Companies in the information technology sector are heavily dependent on
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patent and intellectual property rights. The loss or impairment of these rights may adversely affect the profitability of these companies. Finally, while all companies may be susceptible to network security breaches, certain companies in the information technology sector may be particular targets of hacking and potential theft of proprietary or consumer information or disruptions in service, which could have a material adverse effect on their businesses. These risks are heightened for information technology companies in foreign markets.
Risk of Investing in the Materials Sector. Companies in the materials sector may be adversely affected by commodity price volatility, exchange rates, import controls, increased competition, depletion of resources, technical progress, labor relations and government regulations, and mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control, among other factors. Also, companies in the materials sector are at risk of liability for environmental damage and product liability claims. Production of materials may exceed demand as a result of market imbalances or economic downturns, leading to poor investment returns. These risks are heightened for companies in the materials sector located in foreign markets.
Risk of Investing in the Technology Sector. Technology companies are characterized by periodic new product introductions, innovations and evolving industry standards, and, as a result, face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Companies in the technology sector are often smaller and less experienced companies and may be subject to greater risks than larger companies; these risks may be heightened for technology companies in foreign markets. Technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction, changes in consumer and business purchasing patterns, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. In addition, a rising interest rate environment tends to negatively affect companies in the technology sector because, in such an environment, those companies with high market valuations may appear less attractive to investors, which may cause sharp decreases in the companies’ market prices. Companies in the technology sector are heavily dependent on patent and intellectual property rights. The loss or impairment of these rights may adversely affect the profitability of these companies. The technology sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced or characterized by unpredictable factors. Finally, while all companies may be susceptible to network security breaches, certain companies in the technology sector may be particular targets of hacking and potential theft of proprietary or consumer information or disruptions in service, which could have a material adverse effect on their businesses.
Risk of Investing in the Telecommunications Sector. The telecommunications sector of a country’s economy is often subject to extensive government regulation. The costs of complying with governmental regulations, delays or failure to receive required regulatory approvals, or the enactment of new regulatory requirements may negatively affect the business of telecommunications companies. Government actions around the world, specifically in the area of pre-marketing clearance of products and prices, can be arbitrary and unpredictable. Companies in the telecommunications sector may experience distressed cash flows due to the need to commit substantial capital to meet increasing competition, particularly in formulating new products and services using new technology. Technological innovations may make the products and services of certain telecommunications companies obsolete. Finally, while all companies may be susceptible to network security breaches, certain companies in the telecommunications sector may be particular targets of hacking and potential theft of proprietary or consumer information or disruptions in service, which could have a material adverse effect on their businesses.
Risk of Investing in the Utilities Sector. Investments in utility companies involve special considerations, including the risk of changing commodity prices, government regulation stipulating rates charged by utilities, increased tariffs, changes in tax laws, interest rate fluctuations and changes in the cost of providing specific utility services. The utilities industry is also subject to potential terrorist attacks, natural disasters and severe weather conditions, as well as regulatory and operational burdens associated with the operation and maintenance of nuclear facilities. Government regulators monitor and control utility revenues and costs, and therefore may limit utility profits. In certain countries, regulatory authorities may also restrict a company’s access to new markets, thereby diminishing the company’s long-term prospects.
There are substantial differences among the regulatory practices and policies of various jurisdictions, and any regulatory agency may make major shifts in policy from time to time. There is no assurance that regulatory authorities will, in the future, grant rate increases or that such increases will be adequate to permit the payment of dividends on common stocks issued by a utility company. Additionally, existing and possible future regulatory legislation may make it even more difficult for utilities to obtain adequate relief. Certain of the issuers of securities held in the Fund's portfolio may own or operate nuclear generating facilities. Governmental authorities may from time to time review existing policies and impose additional
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requirements governing the licensing, construction and operation of nuclear power plants. Prolonged changes in climate conditions can also have a significant impact on both the revenues of an electric and gas utility as well as the expenses of a utility, particularly a hydro-based electric utility.
The rates that traditional regulated utility companies may charge their customers generally are subject to review and limitation by governmental regulatory commissions. Rate changes may occur only after a prolonged approval period or may not occur at all, which could adversely affect earnings and dividends when costs are rising. The value of regulated utility debt securities (and, to a lesser extent, equity securities) tends to have an inverse relationship to the movement of interest rates. Certain utility companies have experienced full or partial deregulation in recent years. These utility companies are frequently more similar to industrial companies in that they are subject to greater competition and have been permitted by regulators to diversify outside of their original geographic regions and their traditional lines of business. As a result, some companies may be forced to defend their core business and may be less profitable.
Proxy Voting Policy
The Trust has adopted proxy voting policies for the Fund that incorporate and amplify the proxy voting guidelines of BFA, the investment adviser to the Fund. The Trust has delegated to BFA the responsibility for voting proxies on the portfolio securities held by the Fund. The remainder of this section discusses the Fund’s proxy voting guidelines and BFA’s role in implementing such guidelines.
BFA votes (or refrains from voting) proxies for the Fund in a manner that BFA, in the exercise of its independent business judgment, concludes is in the best economic interests of the Fund. In some cases, BFA may determine that it is in the best economic interests of the Fund to refrain from exercising the Fund’s proxy voting rights (such as, for example, proxies on certain non-U.S. securities that might impose costly or time-consuming in-person voting requirements). With regard to the relationship between securities lending and proxy voting, BFA’s approach is also driven by the Fund's economic interests. The evaluation of the economic desirability of recalling loans involves balancing the revenue-producing value of loans against the likely economic value of casting votes. Based on our evaluation of this relationship, we believe that the likely economic value of casting a vote generally is less than the securities lending income, either because the votes will not have significant economic consequences or because the outcome of the vote would not be affected by BFA recalling loaned securities in order to ensure they are voted. Periodically, BFA analyzes the process and benefits of voting proxies for securities on loan, and will consider whether any modification of its proxy voting policies or procedures are necessary in light of any regulatory changes. BFA will normally vote on specific proxy issues in accordance with its proxy voting guidelines. BFA’s proxy voting guidelines provide detailed guidance as to how to vote proxies on certain important or commonly raised issues. BFA may, in the exercise of its business judgment, conclude that the proxy voting guidelines do not cover the specific matter upon which a proxy vote is requested, or that an exception to the proxy voting guidelines would be in the best economic interests of the Fund. BFA votes (or refrains from voting) proxies without regard to the relationship of the issuer of the proxy (or any shareholder of such issuer) to the Fund, the Fund’s affiliates (if any), BFA or BFA’s affiliates, or the Distributor or the Distributor’s affiliates. When voting proxies, BFA attempts to encourage issuers to follow practices that enhance shareholder value and increase transparency and allow the market to place a proper value on their assets. With respect to certain specific issues:
The Fund generally supports the board’s nominees in the election of directors and generally supports proposals that strengthen the independence of boards of directors;
When a director has committed himself or herself to service on more than four public company boards (but no more than six public company boards in most circumstances), the Fund will consider such director’s individual circumstances in determining whether the director will be able to commit sufficient focus and time to a particular company;
The Fund generally defers to an issuer’s choice of auditors so long as the corporate auditors represent the interests of shareholders and provide an independent view of the propriety of financial reporting decisions of management;
The Fund generally favors disclosure of a company’s compensation and benefits policies and opposes excessive compensation, but believes that compensation matters are normally best determined by a company’s board of directors;
The Fund generally expects to support capital structure requests that it believes enhance the rights of common shareholders and oppose requests that appear to be unreasonably dilutive;
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The Fund generally does not support proposals on social issues that lack a demonstrable economic benefit to the issuer and the Fund investing in such issuer; and
The Fund generally votes against anti-takeover proposals and proposals that would create additional barriers or costs to corporate transactions that are likely to deliver a premium to shareholders.
BFA maintains institutional policies and procedures that are designed to prevent any relationship between the issuer of the proxy (or any shareholder of the issuer) and the Fund, the Fund’s affiliates (if any), BFA or BFA’s affiliates (if any) or the Distributor or the Distributor’s affiliates, from having undue influence on BFA’s proxy voting activity. In certain instances, BFA may determine to engage an independent fiduciary to vote proxies as a further safeguard against potential conflicts of interest or as otherwise required by applicable law. The independent fiduciary may either vote such proxies or provide BFA with instructions as to how to vote such proxies. In the latter case, BFA votes the proxy in accordance with the independent fiduciary’s determination.
Information with respect to how BFA voted proxies relating to the Fund's portfolio securities during the 12-month period ending June 30 will be available: (i) without charge, upon request, by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or through the Fund's website at www.iShares.com; and (ii) on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Portfolio Holdings Information
The Board has adopted a policy regarding the disclosure of the Fund's portfolio holdings information that requires that such information be disclosed in a manner that: (i) is consistent with applicable legal requirements and in the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders; (ii) does not put the interests of BFA, the Distributor or any affiliated person of BFA or the Distributor, above those of Fund shareholders; (iii) does not advantage any current or prospective Fund shareholders over any other current or prospective Fund shareholders, except to the extent that certain Entities (as described below) may receive portfolio holdings information not available to other current or prospective Fund shareholders in connection with the dissemination of information necessary for transactions in Creation Units, as discussed below, and certain information may be provided to personnel of BFA and its affiliates who manage funds that invest a significant percentage of their assets in shares of the Fund for the purpose of facilitating risk management and hedging activities; and (iv) does not provide selective access to portfolio holdings information except pursuant to the procedures outlined below and to the extent appropriate confidentiality arrangements limiting the use of such information are in effect. The “Entities” referred to in sub-section (iii) above are generally limited to National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) members, subscribers to various fee-based subscription services, large institutional investors (known as “Authorized Participants”) that have been authorized by the Distributor to purchase and redeem large blocks of shares pursuant to legal requirements and market makers and other institutional market participants and entities that provide information or transactional services.
Each business day, the Fund's portfolio holdings information will be provided to the Distributor or other agent for dissemination through the facilities of the NSCC and/or other fee-based subscription services to NSCC members and/or subscribers to those other fee-based subscription services, including market makers and Authorized Participants, and to entities that publish and/or analyze such information in connection with the process of purchasing or redeeming Creation Units or trading shares of the Fund in the secondary market or evaluating such potential transactions. This information typically reflects the Fund’s anticipated holdings on the following business day.
Daily access to information concerning the Fund's portfolio holdings is permitted (i) to certain personnel of those service providers that are involved in portfolio management and providing administrative, operational, risk management, or other support to portfolio management; and (ii) to other personnel of BFA, the Distributor and their affiliates, and the administrator, custodian and fund accountant who deal directly with or assist in, functions related to investment management, distribution, administration, custody, securities lending and fund accounting, as may be necessary to conduct business in the ordinary course in a manner consistent with agreements with the Fund and the terms of the Fund's current registration statement. In addition, the Fund discloses its portfolio holdings and the percentages they represent of the Fund's net assets at least monthly, and as often as each day the Fund is open for business, at www.iShares.com. More information about this disclosure is available at www.iShares.com.
Portfolio holdings information made available in connection with the creation/redemption process may be provided to other entities that provide services to the Fund in the ordinary course of business after it has been disseminated to the NSCC. From time to time, information concerning portfolio holdings other than portfolio holdings information made available in
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connection with the creation/redemption process, as discussed above, may be provided to other entities that provide services to the Fund, including rating or ranking organizations, in the ordinary course of business, no earlier than one business day following the date of the information.
The Fund will disclose its complete portfolio holdings schedule in public filings with the SEC within 70 days after the end of each fiscal quarter and will provide that information to shareholders as required by federal securities laws and regulations thereunder. The Fund may, however, voluntarily disclose all or part of its portfolio holdings other than in connection with the creation/redemption process, as discussed above, in advance of required filings with the SEC, provided that such information is made generally available to all shareholders and other interested parties in a manner that is consistent with the above policy for disclosure of portfolio holdings information. Such information may be made available through a publicly-available website or other means that make the information available to all likely interested parties contemporaneously.
The Trust's Chief Compliance Officer may authorize disclosure of portfolio holdings information pursuant to the above policy and procedures.
The Board reviews the policy and procedures for disclosure of portfolio holdings information at least annually.
Construction and Maintenance of the Underlying Index
A description of the Underlying Index is provided below.
The MSCI Indexes
The MSCI indexes were founded in 1969 by Capital International S.A. as the first international performance benchmarks constructed to facilitate accurate comparison of world markets. The MSCI single country standard equity indexes have covered the world's developed markets since 1969 and in 1987 MSCI commenced coverage of emerging markets.
Local stock exchanges traditionally calculated their own indexes, which were generally not comparable with one another due to differences in the representation of the local market, mathematical formulas, base dates and methods of adjusting for capital changes. MSCI, however, applies the same calculation methodology to all markets for all single country standard equity indexes, both developed and emerging.
MSCI's Global Investable Market Indexes (the “MSCI GIMI”) provide exhaustive coverage and non-overlapping market segmentation by market capitalization size and by style. The MSCI GIMI intends to target approximately 99% coverage of the free float-adjusted market capitalization in each market of large-, mid- and small-cap securities.
MSCI Global Standard Indexes cover all investable large- and mid-cap securities by including approximately 85% of each market's free float-adjusted market capitalization.
MSCI Global Small Cap Indexes provide coverage to all companies with a market capitalization below that of the companies in the MSCI Global Standard Indexes by including above and beyond the coverage of the MSCI Global Standard Indexes.
MSCI Global Investable Market Indexes
Selection Criteria. MSCI's index construction process involves: (i) defining the equity universe; (ii) determining the market investable equity universe for each market; (iii) determining market capitalization size segments for each market; (iv) applying final size segment investability requirements; and (v) applying index continuity rules for the MSCI Global Standard Index.
Defining the Equity Universe. MSCI begins with securities listed in countries in the MSCI GIMI. Of these countries, as of November 27, 2013, 23 are classified as developed markets, 21 as emerging markets, and 26 as frontier markets. All listed equity securities and listed securities that exhibit characteristics of equity securities, except mutual funds, ETFs, equity derivatives, limited partnerships and most investment trusts, are eligible for inclusion in the equity universe. Real estate
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investment trusts (“REITs”) in some countries and certain income trusts in Canada are also eligible for inclusion. Each company and its securities (i.e., share classes) are classified in only one country.
Determining the Market Investable Equity Universe for Each Market. The equity universe in any market is derived by applying investability screens to individual companies and securities in the equity universe of that market. Some investability requirements are applied at the individual security level and some at the overall company level, represented by the aggregation of individual securities of the company. As a result, the inclusion or exclusion of one security does not imply the automatic inclusion or exclusion of other securities of the same company.
Determining Market Capitalization Size Segments for Each Market. In each market, MSCI creates an Investable Market Index, Standard Index, Large Cap Index, Mid Cap Index and Small Cap Index. The MSCI Global Standard Index is the aggregation of the Large Cap Index and Mid Cap Index. The MSCI GIMI is the aggregation of the MSCI Global Standard Index and MSCI Global Small Cap Index. In order to create size components that can be meaningfully aggregated into composites, individual market size segments balance the following two objectives:
Achieving global size integrity by ensuring that companies of comparable and relevant sizes are included in a given size segment across all markets in a composite index; and
Achieving consistent market coverage by ensuring that each market's size segment is represented in its proportional weight in the composite universe.
Applying Final Size Segment Investability Requirements. In order to enhance replicability of the indexes, additional size segment investability requirements are set for the MSCI GIMI and MSCI Global Standard Index. These investability requirements include minimum free float-adjusted market capitalization, minimum liquidity, minimum foreign limits and minimum length of trading.
Applying Index Continuity Rules for the Standard Index. In order to achieve index continuity as well as provide some basic level of diversification within a market index, notwithstanding the effect of other index construction rules contained herein, a minimum number of five constituents will be maintained for a developed market Standard Index and a minimum number of three constituents will be maintained for an emerging market Standard Index.
Weighting. All indexes of the MSCI GIMI are free float weighted, i.e., companies are included in the indexes at the value of their free public float (free float multiplied by security price).
Regional Weights. Market capitalization weighting, combined with a consistent target of approximately 99% of free float-adjusted market capitalization, helps ensure that each country's weight in regional and international indexes approximates its weight in the total universe of developing and emerging markets. A market is equivalent to a single country except for developed Europe, where all markets are aggregated into a single market for index construction purposes. Individual country indexes of the European developed markets are derived from the constituents of the MSCI GIMI Europe Index.
Free Float. MSCI defines the free float of a security as the proportion of shares outstanding that are deemed to be available for purchase in the public equity markets by international investors. In practice, limitations on free float available to international investors include: (i) strategic and other shareholdings not considered part of available free float; and (ii) limits on share ownership for foreigners.
Under MSCI's free float-adjustment methodology, a constituent's inclusion factor is equal to its estimated free float rounded-up to the closest 5% for constituents with free float equal to or exceeding 15%. For example, a constituent security with a free float of 23.2% will be included in the index at 25% of its market capitalization. For securities with a free float of less than 15%, the estimated free float is adjusted to the nearest 1%.
Price and Exchange Rates
Prices. The prices used to calculate all MSCI indexes are the official exchange closing prices or those figures accepted as such. MSCI reserves the right to use an alternative pricing source on any given day.
Exchange Rates. Since July 2000, MSCI uses the WM/Reuters Closing Spot Rates taken at 4:00 p.m. London time. In case WM/Reuters does not provide rates for specific markets on given days (for example, Christmas Day and New Year's Day), the previous business day's rates are normally used. MSCI independently monitors the exchange rates on all its indexes. MSCI may under exceptional circumstances elect to use alternative sources of exchange rates if the WM/Reuters rates are not
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available, or if MSCI determines that the WM/Reuters rates are not reflective of market circumstances for a given currency on a particular day. In such circumstances, an announcement would be sent to clients with the related information. If appropriate, MSCI may conduct a consultation with the investment community to gather feedback on the most relevant exchange rate.
Changes to the Indexes. The MSCI GIMI is maintained with the objective of reflecting, on a timely basis, the evolution of the underlying equity markets. In maintaining the MSCI indexes, emphasis is also placed on continuity, replicability and minimizing turnover in the indexes. Maintaining the MSCI indexes involves many aspects, including (i) additions to, and deletions from, the indexes; (ii) changes in number of shares; and (iii) changes in inclusion factors as a result of updated free float estimates.
Index maintenance can be described by three broad categories of changes:
Semi-Annual Index Reviews (“SAIRs”), conducted on a fixed semi-annual timetable that systematically reassess the various dimensions of the equity universe for all markets;
Quarterly Index Reviews (“QIRs”), aimed at promptly reflecting other significant market events; and
Ongoing event-related changes, such as mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, bankruptcies, reorganizations and other similar corporate events, which generally are implemented in the indexes as they occur.
Potential changes in the status of countries (stand-alone, frontier, emerging and developed) follow their own implementation time tables.
MSCI conducts SAIRs generally as of the close of the last business day of May and November. During the SAIRs, MSCI updates the investable equity universe and reassesses size segmentation investability requirements. MSCI also conducts QIRs generally as of the close of the last business day of February and August. During the QIRs, MSCI reflects changes in the index that were not captured at the time of their actual occurrence, but are significant enough to be included before the next SAIR. The results of the SAIR and QIR are generally announced at least ten business days in advance of implementation.
MSCI 25/50 Indexes
Each of the MSCI 25/50 Indexes (the “25/50 Indexes”) is a sub-index of either an MSCI Global Standard Index or an MSCI GIMI. Their construction reflects the diversification requirements applicable to RICs pursuant to Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code. The 25/50 Indexes are free float-adjusted market capitalization-weighted indexes with a capping methodology applied to issuer weights so that no single issuer of a component exceeds 25% of index weight and all issuers with a weight above 5% do not exceed 50% of the index weight. A software application called the Barra Optimizer is utilized to calculate the capped index weights through an optimization function which is aimed at minimizing index turnover, tracking error and extreme deviation from the uncapped index.
MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes
MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes are designed to reflect lower volatility or lower risk than the capitalization-weighted indexes on which they are based. The indexes aim to reflect the performance of equity portfolios that have the lowest absolute volatility for a given set of investment constraints. Each MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Index seeks lower volatility than the comparable capitalization-weighted MSCI Global Standard Index.
Historically, relative to the MSCI Global Standard Index, the MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes have demonstrated (i) lower portfolio beta; (ii) lower portfolio volatility; (iii) lower market capitalization bias; and (iv) bias towards securities with lower distinctive risk.
The MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes begin with an existing capitalization-weighted MSCI Global Standard Index for a geographic region, which will serve as the universe of eligible securities for performing total risk optimization. After identifying the investor’s base currency, the optimization is performed by applying a security covariance matrix estimated from Barra’s multi-factor risk model to determine weights for securities in the index that minimizes total risk of the MSCI Global Standard Index for a given set of constraints. The following investment constraints apply in constructing the MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes:
The maximum weight of an index constituent will be the lower of 1.5% or 20 times its weight in the MSCI Global Standard Index;
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The minimum weight of an index constituent will be 0.05%;
For countries in the MSCI Global Standard Index with weight greater than or equal to 2.5%, the MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes weight will not deviate by more than ±5% of its weight in the MSCI Global Standard Index;
For countries in the MSCI Global Standard Index with weight less than 2.5%, the maximum MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes weight will be three times its weight in the MSCI Global Standard Index;
Sector weights will not deviate by more than ±5% from its weight in the MSCI Global Standard Index;
Exposure to risk indices from Barra’s multi-factor risk model, including (i) Momentum; (ii) Value; (iii) Size; (iv) Size Nonlinearity; (v) Growth; (vi) Liquidity; and (vii) Financial Leverage will be limited to ±0.25 standard deviations relative to the MSCI Global Standard Index; exposure to the volatility risk index will be unlimited; and
The maximum one-way turnover will be 10%.
MSCI conducts SAIRs of the MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes at the end of May and November, coinciding with the semi-annual reviews of the MSCI Global Standard Indexes. The security covariance matrix used in the optimization for MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes is taken as of the end of April and October. Generally, the MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes will follow the event maintenance of the MSCI Global Standard Index. Initial public offerings (IPOs) and other newly listed securities will only be considered for inclusion in the MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes at the next semi-annual index review, even if they qualify for early inclusion in the MSCI Global Standard Index. There will be no early inclusion of new securities in the MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes, except when a new security is the result of an event affecting an existing index constituent, such as a merger or spin-off. An index constituent will be deleted from the MSCI Global Minimum Volatility Indexes following a corporate event or following a quarterly review of the MSCI Global Standard Index in which the index constituent is simultaneously deleted from the MSCI Global Standard Index.
MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility (USD) Index
Number of Components: approximately 117
Index Description. The MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility (USD) Index aims to reflect the performance characteristics of a minimum variance strategy applied to the large and mid cap equity universe across the European Developed Markets (“DM”) countries. DM countries in Europe include: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The index is calculated by optimizing the MSCI Europe Index, its parent index, in USD for the lowest absolute risk (within a given set of constraints). Historically, the index has shown lower beta and volatility characteristics relative to the MSCI Europe Index.
Calculation Methodology. The Fund utilizes the Underlying Index calculated with net dividends reinvested. MSCI uses the index constituent companies’ country of incorporation to determine the relevant dividend withholding tax rates in calculating the net dividends. Effective December 1, 2009, the regular cash dividend is reinvested after deduction of withholding tax by applying the maximum rate of the company’s country of incorporation applicable to institutional investors. Net dividends means dividends after taxes withheld at the rate applicable to non-resident institutional investors who do not benefit from double taxation treaties. Such withholding rates may differ from those applicable to U.S. residents.
Investment Restrictions
The Fund has adopted its investment objective as a non-fundamental investment policy. Therefore, the Fund may change its investment objective without shareholder approval. The Board has adopted restrictions and policies relating to the investment of the Fund’s assets and its activities. Certain of the restrictions are fundamental policies of the Fund and may not be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities (which, for this purpose and under the Investment Company Act, means the lesser of (i) 67% or more of the shares represented at a meeting at which more than 50% of the outstanding shares are represented or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares).
Under these fundamental investment restrictions, the Fund may not:
1. Concentrate its investments in a particular industry, as that term is used in the Investment Company Act, except that the Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its Underlying Index concentrates in the securities of a particular industry or group of industries.
2. Borrow money, except as permitted under the Investment Company Act.
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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 real estate investment trusts, 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.
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 Restrictions
The following notations are not considered to be part of the Fund’s fundamental investment restrictions 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 the Fund’s industry classifications, the 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 the 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 the 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. (The Fund’s total assets include the amounts being borrowed.) To limit the risks attendant to borrowing, the Investment Company Act requires the 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 the 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.
With respect to the fundamental policy relating to underwriting set forth in (5) above, the Investment Company Act does not prohibit the 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 the Fund’s underwriting commitments, when added to the value of the Fund’s investments in issuers where the Fund owns more than
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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 the 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 the 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.
Under its non-fundamental investment restrictions, which may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval, the 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 Statement of Additional Information, as amended from time to time, and applicable law.
Unless otherwise indicated, all limitations under the Fund’s fundamental or non-fundamental investment restrictions apply only at the time that a transaction is undertaken. Any change in the percentage of the Fund’s assets invested in certain securities or other instruments resulting from market fluctuations or other changes in the Fund’s total assets will not require the Fund to dispose of an investment until the Adviser determines that it is practicable to sell or close out the investment without undue market or tax consequences.
The Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy in accordance with Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in securities of the Underlying Index or in Depositary Receipts representing securities in the Underlying Index. The Fund also has adopted a policy to provide its shareholders with at least 60 days’ prior written notice of any change in such policy. If, subsequent to an investment, the 80% requirement is no longer met, the Fund’s future investments will be made in a manner that will bring the Fund into compliance with this policy.
The Fund has adopted a non-fundamental limitation such that, under normal market conditions, any borrowings by the Fund will not exceed 10% of the Fund’s net assets.
Continuous Offering
The method by which Creation Units are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Units are issued and sold by the Fund on an ongoing basis, at any point a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may occur. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the 1933 Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Units after placing an order with the Distributor, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers or if it chooses to couple the creation of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the 1933 Act must take into account all of the
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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 Fund are reminded that, pursuant to Rule 153 under the 1933 Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the 1933 Act owed to an exchange member in connection with a sale on the Listing Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available at the Listing Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available only with respect to transactions on an exchange.
Management
Trustees and Officers. The Board has responsibility for the overall management and operations of the Fund, including general supervision of the duties performed by BFA and other service providers. Each Trustee serves until he or she resigns, is removed, dies, retires or becomes incapacitated. The President, Chief Compliance Officer, Treasurer and Secretary shall each hold office until their successors are chosen and qualified, and all other officers shall hold office until he or she resigns or is removed. Trustees who are not “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust are referred to as independent trustees (“Independent Trustees”).
The registered investment companies advised by BFA or its affiliates are organized into one complex of closed-end funds, two complexes of open-end funds and one complex of exchange-traded funds (“Exchange-Traded Fund Complex”) (each, a “BlackRock Fund Complex”). The Fund is included in the BlackRock Fund Complex referred to as the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex. Each Trustee also serves as a Director of iShares, Inc., a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust and, as a result, oversees a total of 304 funds within the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex. With the exception of Robert S. Kapito, Mark Wiedman and Warren Collier, the address of each Trustee and officer is c/o BlackRock, Inc., 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. The address of Mr. Kapito, Mr. Wiedman and Mr. Collier is c/o BlackRock, Inc., Park Avenue Plaza, 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055. The Board has designated Robert H. Silver as its Independent Chairman. Additional information about the Fund's Trustees and officers may be found in this SAI, which is available without charge, upon request, by calling toll-free 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737).
Interested Trustees
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
  Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Robert S. Kapito1
(57)
  Trustee
(since 2009).
  President and Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2006); Vice Chairman of BlackRock, Inc. and Head of BlackRock’s Portfolio Management Group (since its formation in 1998) and BlackRock’s predecessor entities (since 1988); Trustee, University of Pennsylvania (since 2009); President of Board of Directors, Hope & Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund (since 2002); President of the Board of Directors, Periwinkle Theatre for Youth (since 1983).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2009); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. (since 2010); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011); Director of BlackRock, Inc. (since 2006).
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Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
  Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Mark Wiedman2
(43)
  Trustee (since 2013).   Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2007); Global Head of iShares (since 2011); Head of Corporate Strategy, BlackRock, Inc. (2009-2011).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2013); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. (since 2013);Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2013); Director of PennyMac Financial Services, Inc. (since 2008).

1 Robert S. Kapito is deemed to be an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust due to his affiliations with BlackRock, Inc.
2 Mark Wiedman is deemed to be an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust due to his affiliations with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates.
Independent Trustees
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
  Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Robert H. Silver
(59)
  Trustee
(since 2007); Independent Chairman
(since 2012).
  President and Co-Founder of The Bravitas Group, Inc. (since 2006); Director and Vice Chairman of the YMCA of Greater NYC (2001-2011); Broadway Producer (2006-2011); Co-Founder and Vice President of Parentgiving Inc. (since 2008); Director and Member of the Audit and Compensation Committee of EPAM Systems, Inc. (2006-2009); President and Chief Operating Officer of UBS Financial Services Inc. (formerly Paine Webber Inc.) (2003-2005) and various executive positions with UBS and its affiliates (1988-2005); CPA and Audit Manager of KPMG, LLP (formerly Peat Marwick Mitchell) (1977-1983).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2007); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. (since 2010); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011); Independent Chairman of iShares, Inc., iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. and iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2012).
George G.C. Parker
(75)
  Trustee
(since 2000).
  Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, Emeritus, Stanford University Graduate School of Business (Professor since 1973; Emeritus since 2006).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2002); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. (since 2010); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011); Director of Tejon Ranch Company (since 1999); Director of Threshold Pharmaceuticals (since 2004); Director of Colony Financial, Inc. (since 2009); Director of First Republic Bank (since 2010).
John E. Martinez
(52)
  Trustee
(since 2003);
Securities Lending Committee Chair
(since 2012).
  Director of FirstREX Agreement Corp. (formerly EquityRock, Inc.) (since 2005).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2003); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. (since 2010); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011).
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Table of Contents
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
  Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Cecilia H. Herbert
(65)
  Trustee
(since 2005); Nominating and Governance Committee Chair and Equity Plus Committee Chair
(since 2012).
  Director (1998-2013) and President (2007-2011) of the Board of Directors, Catholic Charities CYO; Trustee (2002-2011) and Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee (2006-2010) of the Thacher School; Member (since 1992) and Chair (1994-2005) of the Investment Committee, Archdiocese of San Francisco; Trustee and Member of the Investment Committee, WNET, the New York public broadcasting/media company (since 2011).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. (since 2010); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011); Director of Forward Funds (34 portfolios) (since 2009).
Charles A. Hurty
(70)
  Trustee
(since 2005);
Audit Committee Chair
(since 2006).
  Retired; Partner, KPMG LLP (1968-2001).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. (since 2010); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011); Director of GMAM Absolute Return Strategy Fund (1 portfolio) (since 2002); Director of SkyBridge Alternative Investments Multi-Adviser Hedge Fund Portfolios LLC (2 portfolios) (since 2002).
John E. Kerrigan
(58)
  Trustee
(since 2005);
Fixed Income Plus Committee Chair
(since 2012).
  Chief Investment Officer, Santa Clara University (since 2002).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005); Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. (since 2010); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011).
Madhav V. Rajan
(49)
  Trustee
(since 2011);
15(c) Committee Chair
(since 2012).
  Robert K. Jaedicke Professor of Accounting and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Head of MBA Program, Stanford University Graduate School of Business (since 2001); Professor of Law (by courtesy), Stanford Law School (since 2005); Visiting Professor, University of Chicago (2007-2008).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2011);
Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. (since 2011); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011); Director, Cavium, Inc. (since 2013).
Officers
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Manish Mehta
(43)
  President (since 2013).   Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2009); Chief Operating Officer for iShares (since 2009); Head of Strategy and Corporate Development, BGI (2005-2009); Chief of Staff to the CEO, BGI (2005-2009).
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Table of Contents
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Jack Gee
(54)
  Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer
(since 2008).
  Managing Director, BlackRock (since 2009); Senior Director of Fund Administration of Intermediary Investor Business, BGI (2009); Director of Fund Administration of Intermediary Investor Business, BGI (2004-2009).
Eilleen M. Clavere
(61)
  Secretary
(since 2007).
  Director of Global Fund Administration, BlackRock (since 2009); Director of Legal Administration of Intermediary Investor Business, BGI (2006-2009); Legal Counsel and Vice President of Atlas Funds, Atlas Advisers, Inc. and Atlas Securities, Inc. (2005-2006); Counsel at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP (2001-2005).
Edward B. Baer
(45)
  Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
(since 2012).
  Managing Director of Legal & Compliance, BlackRock (since 2006); Director of Legal & Compliance, BlackRock (2004-2006).
Warren Collier
(49)
  Executive Vice President (since 2013).   Managing Director, BlackRock (since 2009); COO, BlackRock Latin America and Iberia (2009-2012); COO, Barclays Global Investors, N.A. and BGI Canada Limited (2007-2009).
Scott Radell
(45)
  Executive Vice President
(since 2012).
  Managing Director, BlackRock (since 2009); Head of Portfolio Solutions, BlackRock (since 2009); Head of Portfolio Solutions, BGI (2007-2009); Credit Portfolio Manager, BGI (2005-2007); Credit Research Analyst, BGI (2003-2005).
Amy Schioldager
(51)
  Executive Vice President
(since 2007).
  Senior Managing Director, BlackRock (since 2009); Global Head of Index Equity, BGI (2008-2009); Global Head of U.S. Indexing, BGI (2006-2008); Head of Domestic Equity Portfolio Management, BGI (2001-2006).
Ira P. Shapiro
(51)
  Vice President
(since 2007).
  Managing Director, BlackRock (since 2009); Head of Strategic Product Initiatives for iShares (since 2012); Chief Legal Officer, Exchange-Traded Fund Complex (2007-2012); Associate General Counsel, BGI (2004-2009).
The Board has concluded that, based on each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes or skills on an individual basis and in combination with those of the other Trustees, each Trustee should serve as a Trustee of the Board. Among the attributes common to all Trustees are their ability to review critically, evaluate, question and discuss information provided to
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them, to interact effectively with the Fund's investment adviser, other service providers, counsel and the independent registered public accounting firm, and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties as Trustees. A Trustee’s ability to perform his or her duties effectively may have been attained through the Trustee’s educational background or professional training; business, consulting, public service or academic positions; experience from service as a Board member of the Fund and the other funds in the Trust (and any predecessor funds), other investment funds, public companies, or non-profit entities or other organizations; and/or other life experiences. Also, set forth below is a brief discussion of the specific experience, qualifications, attributes or skills of each Trustee that led the Board to conclude that he or she should serve as a Trustee.
Robert Kapito has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2009. Mr. Kapito has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2009, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2010, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011 and a Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2006. In addition, he has over 20 years of experience as part of BlackRock, Inc. and BlackRock’s predecessor entities. Mr. Kapito serves as President and Director of BlackRock, Inc., and is the Chairman of the Operating Committee, a member of the Office of the Chairman, the Leadership Committee and the Corporate Council. He is responsible for day-to-day oversight of BlackRock's key operating units, including the Account Management and Portfolio Management Groups, Real Estate Group and BlackRock Solutions®. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in 2007, Mr. Kapito served as Head of BlackRock's Portfolio Management Group. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing all portfolio management within BlackRock, including the Fixed Income, Equity, Liquidity, and Alternative Investment Groups. Mr. Kapito serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. He has also been President of the Board of Directors for the Hope & Heroes Children's Cancer Fund since 2002 and President of the Board of Directors for Periwinkle Theatre for Youth, a national non-profit arts-in-education organization, since 1983. Mr. Kapito earned a BS degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1979, and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School in 1983.
Mark Wiedman has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2013. Mr. Wiedman has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2013, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2013 and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2013. Mr. Wiedman is the Global Head and Managing Director of iShares. In addition, he is a member of BlackRock's Global Executive Committee and Global Operating Committee. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in 2011, Mr. Wiedman was the head of Corporate Strategy for BlackRock. Mr. Wiedman joined BlackRock in 2004 to help start the advisory business, which evolved into the Financial Markets Advisory Group in BlackRock Solutions. This group advises financial institutions and governments on managing their capital markets exposures and businesses. Prior to BlackRock, he served as senior advisor and chief of staff for the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and also was a management consultant at McKinsey & Co., advising financial institutions in the United States, Europe, and Japan. He has taught as an adjunct associate professor of law at Fordham University in New York and Renmin University in Beijing. Mr. Wiedman serves on the board of PennyMac Financial Services, Inc., a publicly-traded U.S. mortgage banking and investment management firm started in 2008, with BlackRock as a sponsor. Mr. Wiedman earned an AB degree, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, in social studies from Harvard College in 1992 and a JD degree from Yale Law School in 1996.
Robert H. Silver has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2007 and Chairman of the Trust's Board since 2012. Mr. Silver has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2007, Chairman of iShares, Inc.'s Board since 2012, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2010, Chairman of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc.'s Board since 2012, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011 and Chairman of iShares U.S. ETF Trust's Board since 2012. Mr. Silver is President and a Co-Founder of The Bravitas Group Inc., a firm dedicated to advising and investing in emerging business enterprises and to supporting philanthropic activities that benefit under-served urban youth. Previously, Mr. Silver served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of UBS Financial Services Inc. (formerly Paine Webber Inc.), the registered broker dealer comprising the Wealth Management USA business unit of UBS AG, including the following responsibilities: President of Paine Webber Services, Director of Retail Products and Marketing, Director of Private Client Group Branch Offices, Director of Finance and Controls for Paine Webber, Inc. and Chief Administrative Officer for Paine Webber Private Client Group. Mr. Silver also served on the Board of Directors of EPAM Systems, Inc., a provider of software engineering outsourcing services in Central and Eastern Europe, served on the Board and Executive Committee of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), chaired the National Securities Clearing Corporations’ Membership and Risk Committee and served as Governor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. In addition, Mr. Silver was a Vice Chairman and a Member of the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Greater New York and chaired its Fund Development Committee from 2001 until 2011 and Co-Founder and Vice President of Parentgiving Inc. since 2008. Mr. Silver began his career as a CPA and Audit Manager at KPMG LLP (formerly Peat Marwick Mitchell) from 1977 until 1983. Mr. Silver has a BS degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina.
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George G.C. Parker has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2000. Mr. Parker served as Chair of the Trust's Board from 2010 until 2012, Lead Independent Trustee of the Trust from 2006 until 2010 and Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Trust from 2002 until 2010. Mr. Parker has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2002, Chair of iShares, Inc.'s Board from 2010 until 2012, Lead Independent Director of iShares, Inc. from 2006 until 2010, Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee of iShares, Inc. from 2002 until 2010, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2010, Chair of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc.'s Board from 2010 until 2012, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011 and Chair of iShares U.S. ETF Trust's Board from 2011 until 2012. Mr. Parker also serves as Director on four other boards. Mr. Parker is the Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance, Emeritus, at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He teaches courses in Corporate Finance in the MBA Program, Stanford Sloan Program for Executives, and in various other Executive Education Programs at Stanford University. Mr. Parker's teaching and research interests are primarily in the field of corporate finance, management of financial institutions, and corporate governance, and he has written numerous case studies related to these subjects. He has also authored several articles on capital structure, risk management, and corporate valuation. Mr. Parker previously served as a Director of Continental Airlines and a Director of NETGEAR, Inc. Mr. Parker holds MBA and Ph.D. degrees from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
John E. Martinez has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2003 and Chair of the Securities Lending Committee of the Trust since 2012. Mr. Martinez has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2003, Chair of the Securities Lending Committee of iShares, Inc. since 2012, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2010, Chair of the Securities Lending Committee of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2012, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011 and Chair of the Securities Lending Committee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2012. Mr. Martinez is a Director of FirstREX Agreement Corp. (formerly EquityRock, Inc.), providing governance oversight and consulting services to this privately held firm that develops products and strategies for homeowners in managing the equity in their homes. Mr. Martinez previously served as Director of Barclays Global Investors (BGI) UK Holdings, where he provided governance oversight representing BGI’s shareholders (Barclays PLC, BGI management shareholders) through oversight of BGI’s worldwide activities. Mr. Martinez also previously served as Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Global Index and Markets Group of BGI, Chairman of Barclays Global Investor Services and Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Markets Group of BGI. From 2003-2012, he was a Director and Executive Committee Member for Larkin Street Youth Services, providing governance oversight and strategy development to an agency that provides emergency and transitional housing, healthcare, education, job and life skills training to homeless youth. He now serves on the Larkin Street Honorary Board. Since 2012, Mr. Martinez has served as a Director for Reading Partners, an organization committed to making all children literate through one-on-one tutoring of students in grades K-4 who are not yet reading at grade level. Mr. Martinez has an AB degree in economics from The University of California, Berkeley and holds an MBA degree in finance and statistics from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Cecilia H. Herbert has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2005 and Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Equity Plus Committee of the Trust since 2012. Ms. Herbert has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Equity Plus Committee of iShares, Inc. since 2012, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2010, Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Equity Plus Committee of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2012, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011 and Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Equity Plus Committee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2012. From 1998-2013, she served as Director of the Board of the Catholic Charities CYO, one of the Bay Area’s largest private social services organizations serving the homeless, poor, aged, families, children and AIDS/HIV victims. Ms. Herbert is a member of the Investment Committee of the Archdiocese of San Francisco since 1992, which she chaired from 1994 to 2005. She has served on numerous non-profit boards. Ms. Herbert is also a Director and Advisory Board Member since 2009 of the Forward Funds. Ms. Herbert previously served as a Trustee for the Pacific Select Funds and The Montgomery Funds. Ms. Herbert previously served as Managing Director of J.P. Morgan/Morgan Guaranty Trust Company responsible for product development, marketing and credit for U.S. multinational corporations and as head of its San Francisco office. Ms. Herbert has a BA degree in economics and communications from Stanford University and an MBA degree in finance from Harvard Business School.
Charles A. Hurty has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2005 and Chair of the Audit Committee of the Trust since 2006. Mr. Hurty has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, Chair of the Audit Committee of iShares, Inc. since 2006, a Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2010 and a Trustee and Chair of the Audit Committee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011. In addition, Mr. Hurty serves as Director of the GMAM Absolute Return Strategy Fund since 2002, Director of the SkyBridge Alternative Investments Multi-Adviser Hedge Fund Portfolios LLC (formerly, Citigroup Alternative Investments Multi-Adviser Hedge Fund Portfolios LLC) since 2002 and was a Director of the CSFB Alternative Investment Funds from 2005 to December 2009, when the funds were liquidated. Mr. Hurty was formerly a Partner at KPMG, LLP from 1968 to 2001. Mr. Hurty has a BS degree in accounting from the University of Kansas.
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John E. Kerrigan has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2005 and Chair of the Fixed Income Plus Committee of the Trust since 2012. Mr. Kerrigan served as Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Trust from 2010 until 2012. Mr. Kerrigan has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, Chair of the Fixed Income Plus Committee of iShares, Inc. since 2012, Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee of iShares, Inc. from 2010 until 2012, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2010, Chair of the Fixed Income Plus Committee of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2012, Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 until 2012, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, Chair of the Fixed Income Plus Committee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2012 and Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust from 2011 until 2012. Mr. Kerrigan serves as Chief Investment Officer, Santa Clara University since 2002. Mr. Kerrigan was formerly a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch & Co., including the following responsibilities: Global Manager of Institutional Client Division eCommerce, Global Manager of Technology Specialists Sales and Chair. Mr. Kerrigan is a Trustee, since 2008, of Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, CA, and Director, since 1999, of The BASIC Fund (Bay Area Scholarships for Inner City Children). Mr. Kerrigan has a BA degree from Boston College and is a Chartered Financial Analyst Charterholder.
Madhav V. Rajan has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011 and Chair of the 15(c) Committee of the Trust since 2012. Mr. Rajan has served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2011, Chair of the 15(c) Committee of iShares, Inc. since 2012, a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2011, Chair of the 15(c) Committee of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. since 2012, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011 and Chair of the 15(c) Committee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2012. Mr. Rajan is the Robert K. Jaedicke Professor of Accounting at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He has taught accounting for over 20 years to undergraduate, MBA and law students, as well as to senior executives. Mr. Rajan serves as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and head of the MBA Program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Mr. Rajan served as editor of “The Accounting Review” from 2002 to 2008 and is co-author of “Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis,” a leading cost accounting textbook. Mr. Rajan holds MS, MBA and Ph.D. degrees in accounting from Carnegie Mellon University.
Board – Leadership Structure and Oversight Responsibilities
Overall responsibility for oversight of the Fund rests with the Board. The Board has engaged BFA to manage the Fund on a day-to-day basis. The Board is responsible for overseeing BFA and other service providers in the operations of the Fund in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act, applicable provisions of state and other laws and the Trust’s charter. The Board is currently composed of nine members, seven of whom are Independent Trustees. The Board currently conducts regular meetings five times a year. In addition, the Board frequently holds special in-person or telephonic meetings or informal conference calls to discuss specific matters that may arise or require action between regular meetings. The Independent Trustees meet regularly outside the presence of management, in executive session or with other service providers to the Trust.
The Board has appointed an Independent Trustee to serve in the role of Chairman. The Chairman’s role is to preside at all meetings of the Board and to act as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys, and other Trustees generally between meetings. The Chairman may also perform such other functions as may be delegated by the Board from time to time. The Board has established six standing Committees: a Nominating and Governance Committee, an Audit Committee, a 15(c) Committee, a Securities Lending Committee, an Equity Plus Committee and a Fixed Income Plus Committee to assist the Board in the oversight and direction of the business and affairs of the Fund, and from time to time may establish ad-hoc committees or informal working groups to review and address the policies and practices of the Fund with respect to certain specified matters. The Chair of each standing Committee is an Independent Trustee. The role of the Chair of each Committee is to preside at all meetings of the Committee and to act as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys and other Trustees between meetings. Each Committee meets regularly to conduct the oversight functions delegated to the Committee by the Board and reports its finding 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 it allocates areas of responsibility among committees of Independent Trustees and the full Board to enhance effective oversight.
Day-to-day risk management with respect to the Fund is the responsibility of BFA or other service providers (depending on the nature of the risk), subject to the supervision of BFA. The Fund is subject to a number of risks, including investment, compliance, operational, counterparty and valuation risks, among others. While there are a number of risk management functions performed by BFA and other service providers, as applicable, it is not possible to eliminate all of the risks applicable to the Fund. The Trustees have an oversight role in this area, satisfying themselves that risk management processes and
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controls are in place and operating effectively. Risk oversight forms part of the Board’s general oversight of the Fund and is addressed as part of various Board and committee activities. The Board, directly or through a committee, also reviews reports from, among others, management and the independent registered public accounting firm for the Trust, as appropriate, regarding risks faced by the Fund and management’s risk functions. The Board has appointed a Chief Compliance Officer who oversees the implementation and testing of the Trust's compliance program, including assessments by independent third parties, and reports to the Board regarding compliance matters for the Trust and its principal service providers. In testing and maintaining the compliance program, the Chief Compliance Officer (and his or her delegates) assesses key compliance risks affecting the Fund, and addresses them in periodic reports to the Board. The Independent Trustees have engaged independent legal counsel to assist them in performing their oversight responsibilities.
Committees of the Board of Trustees. Each Independent Trustee, with the exception of George G.C. Parker, serves on the Audit Committee. The Chair of the Audit Committee is Charles A. Hurty. The purposes of the Audit Committee are to assist the Board (i) in its oversight of the Trust's accounting and financial reporting principles and policies and related controls and procedures maintained by or on behalf of the Trust; (ii) in its oversight of the Trust's financial statements and the independent audit thereof; (iii) in selecting, evaluating and, where deemed appropriate, replacing the independent accountants (or nominating the independent accountants to be proposed for shareholder approval in any proxy statement); (iv) in evaluating the independence of the independent accountants; (v) in complying with legal and regulatory requirements that relate to the Trust's accounting and financial reporting, internal controls, compliance controls and independent audits; and (vi) to assume such other responsibilities as may be delegated by the Board. The Audit Committee met four times during the fiscal year ended July 31, 2013.
The members of the Nominating and Governance Committee are Cecilia H. Herbert (Chair), Charles A. Hurty, Madhav V. Rajan and John E. Kerrigan, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The Nominating and Governance Committee nominates individuals for Independent Trustee membership on the Board. The Nominating and Governance Committee functions include, but are not limited to, the following: (i) reviewing the qualifications of any person properly identified or nominated to serve as an Independent Trustee; (ii) recommending to the Board and current Independent Trustees the nominee(s) for appointment as an Independent Trustee by the Board and current Independent Trustees and/or for election as Independent Trustees by shareholders to fill any vacancy for a position of Independent Trustee(s) on the Board; (iii) recommending to the Board and current Independent Trustees the size and composition of the Board and Board committees and whether they comply with applicable laws and regulations; (iv) recommending a current Independent Trustee to the Board and current Independent Trustees to serve as Lead Independent Trustee; (v) periodic review of the Board's retirement policy; and (vi) recommending an appropriate level of compensation for the Independent Trustees for their services as Trustees, members or chairpersons of committees of the Board, Lead Independent Trustee, Chairperson of the Board and any other positions as the Nominating and Governance Committee considers appropriate. The Nominating and Governance Committee does not consider Board nominations recommended by shareholders (acting solely in their capacity as a shareholder and not in any other capacity). The Nominating and Governance Committee met one time during the fiscal year ended July 31, 2013.
The members of the 15(c) Committee are Madhav V. Rajan (Chair), Cecilia H. Herbert, Charles A. Hurty and John E. Martinez, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The principal responsibilities of the 15(c) Committee are to support, oversee and organize on behalf of the Board the process for the annual review and renewal of the Trust's advisory and sub-advisory agreements. These responsibilities include: (i) meeting with BlackRock, Inc. in advance of the Board meeting at which the Trust's advisory and sub-advisory agreements are to be considered to discuss generally the process for providing requested information to the Board and the format in which information will be provided; and (ii) considering and discussing with BlackRock, Inc. such other matters and information as may be necessary and appropriate for the Board to evaluate the investment advisory and sub-advisory agreements of the Trust. The 15(c) Committee met four times during the fiscal year ended July 31, 2013.
The members of the Securities Lending Committee are John E. Martinez (Chair), John E. Kerrigan and George G.C. Parker, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The principal responsibilities of the Securities Lending Committee are to support, oversee and organize on behalf of the Board the process for oversight of the Trust's securities lending activities. These responsibilities include: (i) requesting that certain information be provided to the Committee for its review and consideration prior to such information being provided to the Board; (ii) considering and discussing with BlackRock, Inc. such other matters and information as may be necessary and appropriate for the Board to oversee the Trust's securities lending activities and make required findings and approvals; and (iii) providing a recommendation to the Board regarding the annual approval of the Trust's Securities Lending Guidelines and the required findings with respect to, and annual approval of, the Trust's agreement with the lending agent. The Securities Lending Committee met four times during the fiscal year ended July 31, 2013.
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The members of the Equity Plus Committee are Cecilia H. Herbert (Chair), John E. Martinez and George G.C. Parker, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The principal responsibilities of the Equity Plus Committee are to support, oversee and organize on behalf of the Board the process for oversight of Trust performance and related matters for equity funds. These responsibilities include: (i) reviewing quarterly reports regarding Trust performance, secondary market trading and changes in net assets to identify any matters that should be brought to the attention of the Board; and (ii) considering any performance or investment related matters as may be delegated to the Committee by the Board from time to time and providing a report or recommendation to the Board as appropriate. The Equity Plus Committee met four times during the fiscal year ended July 31, 2013.
The members of the Fixed Income Plus Committee are John E. Kerrigan (Chair), Charles A. Hurty and Madhav V. Rajan, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The principal responsibilities of the Fixed Income Plus Committee are to support, oversee and organize on behalf of the Board the process for oversight of Trust performance and related matters for fixed income or multi-asset funds. These responsibilities include: (i) reviewing quarterly reports regarding Trust performance, secondary market trading and changes in net assets to identify any matters that should be brought to the attention of the Board; and (ii) considering any performance or investment related matters as may be delegated to the Committee by the Board from time to time and providing a report or recommendation to the Board as appropriate. The Fixed Income Plus Committee met five times during the fiscal year ended July 31, 2013.
As the Chairman of the Board, Robert H. Silver may participate in each Committee's meetings.
The following table sets forth, as of December 31, 2013, the dollar range of equity securities beneficially owned by each Trustee in the Fund and in other registered investment companies overseen by the Trustee within the same family of investment companies as the Trust. If a fund is not listed below, the Trustee did not own any securities in that fund as of the date indicated above:
Name of Trustee   Fund   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in the Fund
  Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies
Robert S. Kapito   None   None   None
             
Mark Wiedman1   iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
             
Robert H. Silver   iShares 2015 AMT-Free Muni Term ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares 2016 AMT-Free Muni Term ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares 2017 AMT-Free Muni Term ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares 2018 AMT-Free Muni Term ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares High Dividend ETF   Over $100,000    
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Name of Trustee   Fund   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in the Fund
  Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies
    iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares MSCI ACWI ex U.S. ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares MSCI BRIC ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares National AMT-Free Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 2000 ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 3000 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell Mid-Cap Growth ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Russell Mid-Cap Value ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Select Dividend ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares U.S. Broker-Dealers ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares U.S. Preferred Stock ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares U.S. Regional Banks ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares U.S. Technology ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
             
George G.C. Parker   iShares California AMT-Free Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core Total U.S. Bond Market ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares MSCI EAFE ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares S&P 100 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Select Dividend ETF   Over $100,000    
             
John E. Martinez   iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $50,001-$100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Emerging Markets Infrastructure ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan ETF   Over $100,000    
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Name of Trustee   Fund   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in the Fund
  Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies
    iShares MSCI EAFE ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 1000 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 2000 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares TIPS Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
             
Cecilia H. Herbert   iShares China Large-Cap ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares International Select Dividend ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares MSCI EAFE ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares MSCI Japan ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares National AMT-Free Muni Bond ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares U.S. Preferred Stock ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
             
Charles A. Hurty   iShares China Large-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Global Energy ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Global Tech ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares High Dividend ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares MSCI EAFE ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares MSCI Japan ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares North American Tech-Multimedia Networking ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares U.S. Energy ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares U.S. Financials ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares U.S. Technology ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
             
John E. Kerrigan   iShares MSCI ACWI ex U.S. ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Short-Term National AMT-Free Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
             
Madhav V. Rajan   iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   Over $100,000    
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Name of Trustee   Fund   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in the Fund
  Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies
    iShares High Dividend ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Select Dividend ETF   Over $100,000    

1 Appointed to serve as an Interested Trustee effective December 31, 2013.
As of December 31, 2013, none of the Independent Trustees or their immediate family members owned beneficially or of record any securities of BFA (the Fund's investment adviser), the Distributor or any person controlling, controlled by or under common control with BFA or the Distributor.
Remuneration of Trustees. Each current Independent Trustee is paid an annual retainer of $300,000 for his or her services as a Board member to the BlackRock-advised Funds in the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex, together with out-of-pocket expenses in accordance with the Board's policy on travel and other business expenses relating to attendance at meetings. For the period from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013, each current Independent Trustee was paid an annual retainer of $275,000 for his or her services as a Board member to the BlackRock-advised Funds in the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex, together with out-of-pocket expenses in accordance with the Board’s policy on travel and other business expenses relating to attendance at meetings. The Independent Chairman of the Boards is paid an additional annual retainer of $50,000. The Chair of the Audit Committees is paid an additional annual retainer of $40,000. The Chair of each of the Nominating and Governance Committees, Equity Plus Committees, Fixed Income Plus Committees, Securities Lending Committees and 15(c) Committees is paid an additional annual retainer of $15,000. Each Independent Trustee that serves as a director of subsidiaries of the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex is paid an additional annual retainer of $10,000 (plus an additional $1,765 paid annually to compensate for taxes due in the Republic of Mauritius in connection with such Trustee’s service on the boards of certain Mauritius-based subsidiaries). Additionally, any Independent Trustee who travels to the Republic of Mauritius to attend board meetings is paid an additional $12,000 (plus an additional $2,117 paid annually to compensate for taxes due in the Republic of Mauritius in connection with such Trustee’s service on the boards of certain Mauritius-based subsidiaries).
The table below sets forth the compensation earned by each Independent Trustee and Interested Trustee from the Fund for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2013 and the aggregate compensation paid to them by the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex for the calendar year ended December 31, 2013.
Name of Trustee   iShares MSCI
Europe Minimum
Volatility ETF
  Pension or
Retirement Benefits Accrued As
Part of Trust
Expenses1
  Estimated Annual
Benefits Upon
Retirement1
  Total
Compensation
From the Fund
and Fund Complex2
Independent Trustee:                
                 
Robert H. Silver   $0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   $ 325,000
George G.C. Parker   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   275,000
John E. Kerrigan   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   315,882
Charles A. Hurty   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   315,000
Cecilia H. Herbert   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   305,000
John E. Martinez   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   290,000
Madhav V. Rajan   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   301,765
                 
Interested Trustee:                
                 
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Name of Trustee   iShares MSCI
Europe Minimum
Volatility ETF
  Pension or
Retirement Benefits Accrued As
Part of Trust
Expenses1
  Estimated Annual
Benefits Upon
Retirement1
  Total
Compensation
From the Fund
and Fund Complex2
Robert S. Kapito   $0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   $0
Mark Wiedman3   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   0
Michael Latham4   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   0

1 No Trustee or officer is entitled to any pension or retirement benefits from the Trust.
2 Includes compensation for service on the Board of Trustees of iShares U.S. ETF Trust and the Boards of Directors of iShares, Inc. and iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc.
3 Appointed to serve as an Interested Trustee effective December 31, 2013.
4 Served as an Interested Trustee through December 31, 2013.
Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities. Ownership information is not provided for the Fund, as it has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI.
Potential Conflicts of Interest. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”) has a significant economic interest in BlackRock, Inc., the parent of BFA, the Fund's investment adviser. PNC is considered to be an affiliate of BlackRock, Inc., under the 1940 Act. Certain activities of BFA, BlackRock, Inc. and their affiliates (collectively, “BlackRock”) and PNC and its affiliates (collectively, “PNC” and together with BlackRock, “Affiliates”), with respect to the Fund and/or other accounts managed by BlackRock or PNC, may give rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest such as those described below.
BlackRock is one of the world's largest asset management firms. PNC is a diversified financial services organization spanning the retail, business and corporate markets. BlackRock and PNC are affiliates of one another under the 1940 Act. BlackRock and PNC and their respective affiliates (including, for these purposes, their directors, partners, trustees, managing members, officers and employees), including the entities and personnel who may be involved in the investment activities and business operations of the Fund, are engaged worldwide in businesses, including equity, fixed-income, cash management and alternative investments. These are considerations of which investors in the Fund should be aware, and which may cause conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. These activities and interests include potential multiple advisory, transactional, financial and other interests in securities and other instruments that may be purchased or sold by the Fund.
BlackRock and its Affiliates have proprietary interests in, and may manage or advise with respect to, accounts or funds (including separate accounts and other funds and collective investment vehicles) that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and instruments as the Fund. One or more Affiliates are also major participants in the global currency, equities, swap and fixed-income markets, in each case both on a proprietary basis and for the accounts of customers. As such, one or more Affiliates are or may be actively engaged in transactions in the same securities, currencies, and instruments in which the Fund invests. Such activities could affect the prices and availability of the securities, currencies, and instruments in which the Fund invests, which could have an adverse impact on the Fund's performance. Such transactions, particularly in respect of most proprietary accounts or customer accounts, will be executed independently of the Fund's transactions and thus at prices or rates that may be more or less favorable than those obtained by the Fund. When BlackRock and its Affiliates purchase or sell the same assets for their managed accounts, including the Fund, the assets actually purchased or sold may be allocated among the accounts on a basis determined in their good faith discretion to be equitable. In some cases, this system may adversely affect the size or price of the assets purchased or sold for the Fund. In addition, transactions in investments by one or more other accounts managed by BlackRock or its Affiliates may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund, particularly, but not limited to, with respect to small capitalization, emerging market or less liquid strategies. This may occur when investment decisions regarding the Fund are based on research or other information that is also used to support decisions for other accounts. When BlackRock or its Affiliates implements a portfolio decision or strategy on behalf of another account ahead of, or contemporaneously with, similar decisions or strategies for the Fund, market impact, liquidity constraints, or other factors could result in the Fund receiving less favorable trading results and the costs of implementing such decisions or strategies could be increased or the Fund could otherwise be disadvantaged. BlackRock or its Affiliates may, in certain cases, elect to implement internal policies and procedures designed to limit such
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consequences, which may cause the Fund to be unable to engage in certain activities, including purchasing or disposing of securities, when it might otherwise be desirable for it to do so.
Conflicts may also arise because portfolio decisions regarding the Fund may benefit other accounts managed by BlackRock or its Affiliates. For example, the sale of a long position or establishment of a short position by the Fund may impair the price of the same security sold short by (and therefore benefit) one or more Affiliates or their other accounts, and the purchase of a security or covering of a short position in a security by the Fund may increase the price of the same security held by (and therefore benefit) one or more Affiliates or their other accounts.
In certain circumstances, BFA, on behalf of the Fund, may seek to buy from or sell securities to another fund or account advised by BFA or an affiliate. BFA may (but is not required to) effect purchases and sales between BFA clients or clients of affiliates (“cross trades”), including the Fund, if BFA 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 BFA’s decision to engage in these transactions for the Fund. BFA may have a potentially conflicting division of loyalties and responsibilities to the parties in such transactions. Where the Fund participates in a cross trade, BFA will comply with procedures adopted pursuant to Rule 17a-7 under the 1940 Act and applicable SEC guidance.
BlackRock and its Affiliates and their clients may pursue or enforce rights with respect to an issuer in which the Fund has invested, and those activities may have an adverse effect on the Fund. As a result, prices, availability, liquidity and terms of the Fund's investments may be negatively impacted by the activities of BlackRock or its Affiliates or their clients, and transactions for the Fund may be impaired or effected at prices or terms that may be less favorable than would otherwise have been the case.
The results of the Fund's investment activities may differ significantly from the results achieved by BlackRock and its Affiliates for their proprietary accounts or other accounts (including investment companies or collective investment vehicles) managed or advised by them. It is possible that one or more Affiliate-managed accounts and such other accounts will achieve investment results that are substantially more or less favorable than the results achieved by the Fund. Moreover, it is possible that the Fund will sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliate-managed accounts achieve significant profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible. The investment activities of one or more Affiliates for their proprietary accounts and accounts under their management may also limit the investment opportunities for the Fund in certain emerging and other markets in which limitations are imposed upon the amount of investment, in the aggregate or in individual issuers, by affiliated foreign investors.
From time to time, the Fund's activities may also be restricted because of regulatory restrictions applicable to one or more Affiliates, and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions. As a result, there may be periods, for example, when BlackRock, and/or one or more Affiliates, will not initiate or recommend certain types of transactions in certain securities or instruments with respect to which BlackRock and/or one or more Affiliates are performing services or when position limits have been reached.
In connection with its management of the Fund, BlackRock may have access to certain fundamental analysis and proprietary technical models developed by one or more Affiliates. BlackRock will not be under any obligation, however, to effect transactions on behalf of the Fund in accordance with such analysis and models. In addition, neither BlackRock nor any of its Affiliates will have any obligation to make available any information regarding their proprietary activities or strategies, or the activities or strategies used for other accounts managed by them, for the benefit of the management of the Fund and it is not anticipated that BlackRock will have access to such information for the purpose of managing the Fund. The proprietary activities or portfolio strategies of BlackRock and its Affiliates, or the activities or strategies used for accounts managed by them or other customer accounts could conflict with the transactions and strategies employed by BlackRock in managing the Fund.
The Fund may be included in investment models developed by BFA and its affiliates for use by clients and financial advisors. The price, availability and liquidity of the Fund may be impacted by purchases and redemptions of the Fund by model-driven investment portfolios.
In addition, certain principals and certain employees of BlackRock are also principals or employees of Affiliates. As a result, the performance by these principals and employees of their obligations to such other entities may be a consideration of which investors in the Fund should be aware.
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BlackRock may enter into transactions and invest in securities, instruments and currencies on behalf of the Fund in which customers of BlackRock or its Affiliates, or, to the extent permitted by the SEC, BlackRock or another Affiliate, serves as the counterparty, principal or issuer. In such cases, such party's interests in the transaction will be adverse to the interests of the Fund, and such party may have no incentive to assure that the Fund obtains the best possible prices or terms in connection with the transactions. In addition, the purchase, holding and sale of such investments by the Fund may enhance the profitability of BlackRock or its Affiliates. One or more Affiliates may also create, write or issue derivatives for their customers, the underlying securities, currencies or instruments of which may be those in which the Fund invests or which may be based on the performance of the Fund. The Fund may, subject to applicable law, purchase investments that are the subject of an underwriting or other distribution by one or more Affiliates and may also enter into transactions with other clients of an Affiliate where such other clients have interests adverse to those of the Fund.
At times, these activities may cause departments of BlackRock or its Affiliates to give advice to clients that may cause these clients to take actions adverse to the interests of the Fund. To the extent affiliated transactions are permitted, the Fund will deal with BlackRock and its Affiliates on an arms-length basis. BlackRock or its Affiliates may also have an ownership interest in certain trading or information systems used by the Fund. The Fund's use of such trading or information systems may enhance the profitability of BlackRock and its Affiliates.
One or more Affiliates may act as broker, dealer, agent, lender or adviser or in other commercial capacities for the Fund. It is anticipated that the commissions, mark-ups, mark-downs, financial advisory fees, underwriting and placement fees, sales fees, financing and commitment fees, brokerage fees, other fees, compensation or profits, rates, terms and conditions charged by an Affiliate will be in its view commercially reasonable, although each Affiliate, including its sales personnel, will have an interest in obtaining fees and other amounts that are favorable to the Affiliate and such sales personnel.
Subject to applicable law, the Affiliates (and their personnel and other distributors) will be entitled to retain fees and other amounts that they receive in connection with their service to the Fund as broker, dealer, agent, lender, adviser or in other commercial capacities and no accounting to the Fund or its shareholders will be required, and no fees or other compensation payable by the Fund or its shareholders will be reduced by reason of receipt by an Affiliate of any such fees or other amounts.
When an Affiliate acts as broker, dealer, agent, adviser or in other commercial capacities in relation to the Fund, the Affiliate may take commercial steps in its own interests, which may have an adverse effect on the Fund. The Fund will be required to establish business relationships with its counterparties based on the Fund's own credit standing. Neither BlackRock nor any of the Affiliates will have any obligation to allow their credit to be used in connection with the Fund's establishment of its business relationships, nor is it expected that the Fund's counterparties will rely on the credit of BlackRock or any of the Affiliates in evaluating the Fund's creditworthiness.
Lending on behalf of the Fund is done by BTC pursuant to SEC exemptive relief, enabling BTC to act as securities lending agent to, and receive a share of securities lending revenues from, the Fund. BFA may also receive compensation for managing the reinvestment of the cash collateral from securities lending. There is a potential conflict of interest in that BTC as a lending agent may have an incentive to increase the amount of securities on loan or to lend riskier assets in order to generate additional revenue for BTC and its affiliates. However, BTC’s SEC exemptive relief sets forth certain conditions designed to assist in mitigating such conflicts of interest.
Purchases and sales of securities for the Fund may be bunched or aggregated with orders for other BlackRock client accounts. BlackRock, however, is not required to bunch or aggregate orders if portfolio management decisions for different accounts are made separately, or if it determines that bunching or aggregating is not practicable or required, or in cases involving client direction.
Prevailing trading activity frequently may make impossible the receipt of the same price or execution on the entire volume of securities purchased or sold. When this occurs, the various prices may be averaged, and the Fund will be charged or credited with the average price. Thus, the effect of the aggregation may operate on some occasions to the disadvantage of the Fund. In addition, under certain circumstances, the Fund will not be charged the same commission or commission equivalent rates in connection with a bunched or aggregated order.
BlackRock may select brokers (including, without limitation, Affiliates) that furnish BlackRock, the Fund, other BlackRock client accounts or other Affiliates or personnel, directly or through correspondent relationships, with research or other appropriate services which provide, in BlackRock's view, appropriate assistance to BlackRock in the investment decision-making process (including with respect to futures, fixed-price offerings and over-the-counter transactions). Such research or
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other services may include, to the extent permitted by law, research reports on companies, industries and securities; economic and financial data; financial publications; proxy analysis; trade industry seminars; computer data bases; research-oriented software and other services and products. Research or other services obtained in this manner may be used in servicing any or all of the Fund and other BlackRock client accounts, including in connection with BlackRock client accounts other than those that pay commissions to the broker relating to the research or other service arrangements. Such products and services may disproportionately benefit other BlackRock client accounts relative to the Fund based on the amount of brokerage commissions paid by the Fund and such other BlackRock client accounts. For example, research or other services that are paid for through one client's commissions may not be used in managing that client's account. In addition, other BlackRock client accounts may receive the benefit, including disproportionate benefits, of economies of scale or price discounts in connection with products and services that may be provided to the Fund and to such other BlackRock client accounts. To the extent that BlackRock uses soft dollars, it will not have to pay for those products and services itself.
BlackRock may receive research that is bundled with the trade execution, clearing, and/or settlement services provided by a particular broker-dealer. To the extent that BlackRock receives research on this basis, many of the same conflicts related to traditional soft dollars may exist. For example, the research effectively will be paid by client commissions that also will be used to pay for the execution, clearing, and settlement services provided by the broker-dealer and will not be paid by BlackRock.
BlackRock may endeavor to execute trades through brokers who, pursuant to such arrangements, provide research or other services in order to ensure the continued receipt of research or other services BlackRock believes are useful in its investment decision-making process. BlackRock may from time to time choose not to engage in the above described arrangements to varying degrees. BlackRock may also enter into commission sharing arrangements under which BlackRock may execute transactions through a broker-dealer, including, where permitted, an Affiliate, and request that the broker-dealer allocate a portion of the commissions or commission credits to another firm that provides research to BlackRock. To the extent that BlackRock engages in commission sharing arrangements, many of the same conflicts related to traditional soft dollars may exist.
BlackRock may utilize certain electronic crossing networks (“ECNs”) in executing client securities transactions for certain types of securities. These ECNs may charge fees for their services, including access fees and transaction fees. The transaction fees, which are similar to commissions or mark-ups/mark-downs, will generally be charged to clients and, like commissions and mark-ups/mark-downs, would generally be included in the cost of the securities purchased. Access fees may be paid by BlackRock even though incurred in connection with executing transactions on behalf of clients, including the Fund. In certain circumstances, ECNs may offer volume discounts that will reduce the access fees typically paid by BlackRock. BlackRock will only utilize ECNs consistent with its obligation to seek to obtain best execution in client transactions.
BlackRock has adopted policies and procedures designed to prevent conflicts of interest from influencing proxy voting decisions that it makes on behalf of advisory clients, including the Fund, and to help ensure that such decisions are made in accordance with BlackRock's fiduciary obligations to its clients. Nevertheless, notwithstanding such proxy voting policies and procedures, actual proxy voting decisions of BlackRock may have the effect of favoring the interests of other clients or businesses of other divisions or units of BlackRock and/or its Affiliates, provided that BlackRock believes such voting decisions to be in accordance with its fiduciary obligations. For a more detailed discussion of these policies and procedures, see the Proxy Voting Policy section of this SAI.
It is also possible that, from time to time, BlackRock or its Affiliates may, although they are not required to, purchase and hold shares of the Fund. Increasing the Fund's assets may enhance liquidity, investment flexibility and diversification and may contribute to economies of scale that tend to reduce the Fund's expense ratio. BlackRock and its Affiliates reserve the right to sell or redeem at any time some or all of the shares of the Fund acquired for their own accounts. A large sale or redemption of shares of the Fund by BlackRock or its Affiliates could significantly reduce the asset size of the Fund, which might have an adverse effect on the Fund's liquidity, investment flexibility, portfolio diversification and expense ratio. BlackRock will consider the effect of redemptions on the Fund and other shareholders in deciding whether to redeem its shares.
It is possible that the Fund may invest in securities of companies with which an Affiliate has or is trying to develop investment banking relationships as well as securities of entities in which BlackRock or its Affiliates has significant debt or equity investments or in which an Affiliate makes a market. The Fund also may invest in securities of companies to which an Affiliate provides or may someday provide research coverage. Such investments could cause conflicts between the interests of the Fund and the interests of other clients of BlackRock or its Affiliates. In making investment decisions for the Fund,
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BlackRock is not permitted to obtain or use material non-public information acquired by any division, department or Affiliate of BlackRock in the course of these activities. In addition, from time to time, the activities of an Affiliate may limit the Fund's flexibility in purchases and sales of securities. When an Affiliate is engaged in an underwriting or other distribution of securities of an entity, BlackRock may be prohibited from purchasing or recommending the purchase of certain securities of that entity for the Fund.
BlackRock and its Affiliates, their personnel and other financial service providers may have interests in promoting sales of the Fund. With respect to BlackRock and its Affiliates and their personnel, the remuneration and profitability relating to services to and sales of the Fund or other products may be greater than remuneration and profitability relating to services to and sales of certain funds or other products that might be provided or offered. BlackRock and its Affiliates and their sales personnel may directly or indirectly receive a portion of the fees and commissions charged to the Fund or its shareholders. BlackRock and its advisory or other personnel may also benefit from increased amounts of assets under management. Fees and commissions may also be higher than for other products or services, and the remuneration and profitability to BlackRock or its Affiliates and such personnel resulting from transactions on behalf of or management of the Fund may be greater than the remuneration and profitability resulting from other funds or products.
BlackRock and its Affiliates and their personnel may receive greater compensation or greater profit in connection with an account for which BlackRock serves as an adviser than with an account advised by an unaffiliated investment adviser. Differentials in compensation may be related to the fact that BlackRock may pay a portion of its advisory fee to its Affiliate, or relate to compensation arrangements, including for portfolio management, brokerage transactions or account servicing. Any differential in compensation may create a financial incentive on the part of BlackRock or its Affiliates and their personnel to recommend BlackRock over unaffiliated investment advisers or to effect transactions differently in one account over another.
Third parties, including service providers to BFA or the 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 BFA, and may provide an incentive to BFA to retain such third parties to provide services to the Fund.
BlackRock and its Affiliates may provide valuation assistance to certain clients with respect to certain securities or other investments and the valuation recommendations made for their clients' accounts may differ from the valuations for the same securities or investments assigned by the Fund's pricing vendors, especially if such valuations are based on broker-dealer quotes or other data sources unavailable to the Fund's pricing vendors. While BlackRock will generally communicate its valuation information or determinations to the Fund's pricing vendors and/or fund accountants, there may be instances where the Fund's pricing vendors or fund accountants assign a different valuation to a security or other investment than the valuation for such security or investment determined or recommended by BlackRock.
As disclosed in more detail in the Determination of Net Asset Value section of the Fund’s Prospectus and this SAI, when market valuations are not readily available or such valuations do not reflect current market values, the affected investments will be valued using fair value pricing, pursuant to procedures adopted by the Trust's Board. When determining an asset’s “fair value,” BlackRock seeks to determine the price that the Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset in an arm’s-length transaction on the date on which the assets or liabilities are being valued, not on what the 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. 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 a security. The fair value of one or more securities may not, in retrospect, be the price at which those assets could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used in determining the Fund’s net asset value. As a result, the Fund’s sale or redemption of its shares at net asset value, at a time when a holding or holdings are valued by BlackRock (pursuant to Board-adopted procedures) at fair value, may have the effect of diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders and BlackRock receiving additional revenue.
To the extent permitted by applicable law, the Fund may invest all or some of its short-term cash investments in any money market fund or similarly-managed private fund advised or managed by BlackRock. In connection with any such investments, the Fund, to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, may pay its share of expenses of a money market fund in which it invests, which may result in the Fund bearing some additional expenses.
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BlackRock and its Affiliates and their directors, officers and employees, may buy and sell securities or other investments for their own accounts, and may have conflicts of interest with respect to investments made on behalf of the Fund. As a result of differing trading and investment strategies or constraints, positions may be taken by directors, officers, employees and Affiliates of BlackRock that are the same, different from or made at different times than positions taken for the Fund. To lessen the possibility that the Fund will be adversely affected by this personal trading, the Fund, BFA and BlackRock each has adopted a code of ethics in compliance with Section 17(j) of the 1940 Act that restricts securities trading in the personal accounts of investment professionals and others who normally come into possession of information regarding the Fund's portfolio transactions. Each code of ethics can be reviewed and copied at the SEC's Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. Information on the operation of the Public Reference Room may be obtained by calling the SEC at (202) 551-8090. Each code of ethics is also available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC's Internet site at http://www.sec.gov, and copies may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by e-mail at publicinfo@sec.gov or by writing the SEC's Public Reference Section, Washington, DC 20549-1520.
BlackRock and its Affiliates will not purchase securities or other property from, or sell securities or other property to, the Fund, except that the Fund may in accordance with rules adopted under the 1940 Act engage in transactions with accounts that are affiliated with the Fund as a result of common officers, directors, or investment advisers or pursuant to exemptive orders granted to the Fund and/or BlackRock by the SEC. These transactions would be 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 the Fund may be restricted because of regulatory requirements applicable to BlackRock or its Affiliates and/or BlackRock's internal policies designed to comply with, limit the applicability of, or otherwise relate to such requirements. A client not advised by BlackRock would not be subject to some of those considerations. There may be periods when BlackRock may not initiate or recommend certain types of transactions, or may otherwise restrict or limit their advice in certain securities or instruments issued by or related to companies for which an Affiliate is performing investment banking, market making or other services or has proprietary positions. For example, when an Affiliate is engaged in an underwriting or other distribution of securities of, or advisory services for, a company, the Fund may be prohibited from or limited in purchasing or selling securities of that company. Similar situations could arise if personnel of BlackRock or its Affiliates serve as directors of companies the securities of which the Fund wishes to purchase or sell. However, if permitted by applicable law, the Fund may purchase securities or instruments that are issued by such companies or are the subject of an underwriting, distribution, or advisory assignment by an Affiliate, or in cases in which personnel of BlackRock or its Affiliates are directors or officers of the issuer.
The investment activities of one or more Affiliates for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts may also limit the investment strategies and rights of the Fund. For example, in certain regulated industries, in certain emerging or international markets, in corporate and regulatory ownership definitions, and in certain futures and derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate amount of investment by affiliated investors that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BlackRock, the Fund or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions.
If certain aggregate ownership thresholds are reached or certain transactions undertaken, the ability of BlackRock on behalf of clients (including the Fund) to purchase or dispose of investments, or exercise rights or undertake business transactions, may be restricted by regulation or otherwise impaired. As a result, BlackRock, on behalf of clients (including the Fund), may limit purchases, sell existing investments, or otherwise restrict or limit the exercise of rights (including voting rights) when BlackRock, in its sole discretion, deems it appropriate 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 Fund), taking into consideration benchmark weight and investment strategy. When ownership in certain securities nears an applicable threshold, BlackRock may limit purchases in such securities to the issuer's weighting in the applicable benchmark used by BlackRock to manage the 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.
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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.
To the extent permitted by applicable laws, BlackRock and its Affiliates may maintain securities indexes as part of their product offerings. Index based funds seek to track the performance of securities indexes and may use the name of the index in the fund name. Index providers, including BlackRock and its Affiliates may be paid licensing fees for use of their index or index name. BlackRock and its Affiliates will not be obligated to license their indexes to BlackRock, and BlackRock cannot be assured that the terms of any index licensing agreement with BlackRock and its Affiliates will be as favorable as those terms offered to other index licensees.
BlackRock and its Affiliates may serve as Authorized Participants in the creation and redemption of exchange-traded funds, including funds advised by Affiliates of BlackRock. As described in greater detail in the Creations and Redemptions section of the Prospectus, BlackRock and its Affiliates may therefore be deemed to be participants in a distribution of iShares funds that could render them statutory underwriters.
BlackRock may enter into contractual arrangements with third party service providers to the Fund (e.g., custodians, administrators) 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 will disclose any material benefits it receives as a result of such fee discounts or concessions to the Fund’s Board.
Present and future activities of BlackRock and its Affiliates, including BFA, in addition to those described in this section, may give rise to additional conflicts of interest.
Investment Advisory, Administrative and Distribution Services
Investment Adviser. BFA serves as investment adviser to the Fund pursuant to an investment advisory agreement between the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, and BFA. BFA is a California corporation indirectly owned by BlackRock, Inc. and is registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Under the investment advisory agreement, BFA, subject to the supervision of the Board and in conformity with the stated investment policies of the Fund, manages and administers the Trust and the investment of the Fund’s assets. BFA is responsible for placing purchase and sale orders and providing continuous supervision of the investment portfolio of the Fund.
Pursuant to the investment advisory agreement, BFA may, from time to time, in its sole discretion and to the extent permitted by applicable law, appoint one or more sub-advisers, including, without limitation, affiliates of BFA, to perform investment advisory or other services with respect to the Fund. In addition, BFA may delegate certain of its investment advisory functions under the investment advisory agreement to one or more of its affiliates to the extent permitted by applicable law. BFA may terminate any or all sub-advisers or such delegation arrangements in its sole discretion upon appropriate notice at any time to the extent permitted by applicable law.
BFA is responsible, under the investment advisory agreement, for substantially all expenses of the Fund, including the cost of transfer agency, custody, fund administration, legal, audit and other services. BFA is not responsible for, and the Fund will bear the cost of, interest expense, taxes, brokerage expenses and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio securities transactions, distribution fees and extraordinary expenses.
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 0.25%. Because the Fund has been in operation for less than one full fiscal year, this percentage reflects the rate at which BFA will be paid.
The investment advisory agreement with respect to the Fund continues in effect for two years from its effective date, and thereafter is subject to annual approval by (i) the Board, or (ii) the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, provided that in either event such continuance also is approved by a majority of the
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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 the Fund is terminable without penalty, on 60 days' notice, by the Board or by a vote of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act). The investment advisory agreement is also terminable upon 60 days' notice by BFA and will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act).
Portfolio Managers. As of March 31, 2014, the individuals named as Portfolio Managers in the Fund's Prospectus were also primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of other iShares funds and certain other types of portfolios and/or accounts as follows:
Matthew Goff        
Types of Accounts   Number   Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   247   $534,000,000,000
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   0   N/A
Other Accounts   2   $ 182,000,000
Accounts with Incentive-Based Fee Arrangements   0   N/A
    
Diane Hsiung        
Types of Accounts   Number   Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   251   $536,500,000,000
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   19   $ 8,000,000,000
Other Accounts   1   $ 19,000,000
Accounts with Incentive-Based Fee Arrangements   0   N/A
    
Jennifer Hsui        
Types of Accounts   Number   Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   241   $536,500,000,000
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   0   N/A
Other Accounts   0   N/A
Accounts with Incentive-Based Fee Arrangements   0   N/A
    
Greg Savage        
Types of Accounts   Number   Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   307   $596,000,000,000
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   89   $ 51,500,000,000
Other Accounts   12   $ 685,000,000
Accounts with Incentive-Based Fee Arrangements   0   N/A
Each of the portfolios or accounts for which the Portfolio Managers are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management seeks to track the rate of return, risk profile and other characteristics of independent third-party indexes by either replicating the same combination of securities that constitute those indexes or through a representative sampling of the securities that constitute those indexes based on objective criteria and data. Pursuant to BFA’s policy, investment opportunities are allocated equitably among the Fund and other portfolios and accounts. For example, under certain circumstances, an investment opportunity may be restricted due to limited supply 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 Fund, seeking such investment opportunity. As a consequence, from time to time the Fund may receive a smaller allocation of an investment opportunity than it would have if the Portfolio Managers and BFA and its affiliates did not manage other portfolios or accounts.
Like the Fund, the other portfolios or accounts for which the Portfolio Managers are primarily responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management generally pay an asset-based fee to BFA or its affiliates, as applicable, for its advisory services. One or
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more of those other portfolios or accounts, however, may pay BFA or its affiliates an incentive-based fee in lieu of, or in addition to, an asset-based fee for its advisory services. A portfolio or account with an incentive-based fee would pay 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. By their nature, incentive-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 has an obligation to allocate resources and opportunities equitably among portfolios and accounts and intends to do so, shareholders of the Fund should be aware that, as with any group of portfolios and accounts managed by an investment adviser and/or its affiliates pursuant to varying fee arrangements, including incentive-based fee arrangements, there is the potential for a conflict of interest that may result in the Portfolio Managers' favoring those portfolios or accounts with incentive-based fee arrangements.
The tables below show, for each Portfolio Manager, the number of portfolios or accounts of the types set forth in the above tables and the aggregate of total assets in those portfolios or accounts with respect to which the investment management fees are based on the performance of those portfolios or accounts as of March 31, 2014:
Matthew Goff        
Types of Accounts   Number of Other Accounts
with Performance Fees
Managed by Portfolio Manager
  Aggregate
of Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   N/A   N/A
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   N/A   N/A
Other Accounts   N/A   N/A
    
Diane Hsiung        
Types of Accounts   Number of Other Accounts
with Performance Fees
Managed by Portfolio Manager
  Aggregate
of Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   N/A   N/A
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   N/A   N/A
Other Accounts   N/A   N/A
    
Jennifer Hsui        
Types of Accounts   Number of Other Accounts
with Performance Fees
Managed by Portfolio Manager
  Aggregate
of Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   N/A   N/A
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   N/A   N/A
Other Accounts   N/A   N/A
    
Greg Savage        
Types of Accounts   Number of Other Accounts
with Performance Fees
Managed by Portfolio Manager
  Aggregate
of Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   N/A   N/A
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   N/A   N/A
Other Accounts   N/A   N/A
The discussion below describes the Portfolio Managers' compensation as of May 16, 2014.
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
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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.
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, Inc. and the individual's performance and contribution to the overall performance of these portfolios and BlackRock, Inc.
Distribution of Discretionary Incentive Compensation. Discretionary incentive compensation is distributed to portfolio managers in a combination of cash and BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units which vest ratably over a number of years. The BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units, if properly vested, will be settled in BlackRock, Inc. common stock. Typically, the cash bonus, when combined with base salary, represents more than 60% of total compensation for the portfolio managers. Paying a portion of annual bonuses in stock puts compensation earned by a portfolio manager for a given year “at risk” based on BlackRock, Inc.'s ability to sustain and improve its performance over future periods.
Long-Term Incentive Plan Awards — From time to time, long-term incentive equity awards are granted to certain key employees to aid in retention, align their interests with long-term shareholder interests and motivate performance. Equity awards are generally granted in the form of BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units that, once vested, settle in BlackRock, Inc. common stock.
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 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 ($255,000 for 2013). 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. Matthew Goff, Diane Hsiung, Jennifer Hsui and Greg Savage are each eligible to participate in these plans.
As of May 16, 2014, 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 of the 1940 Act. The codes of ethics permit personnel subject to the codes of ethics to invest in securities, subject to certain limitations, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Fund. The codes of ethics are on public file with, and are available from, the SEC.
Anti-Money Laundering Requirements. The Fund is subject to the USA PATRIOT Act (the “Patriot Act”). The Patriot Act is intended to prevent the use of the U.S. financial system in furtherance of money laundering, terrorism or other illicit activities. Pursuant to requirements under the Patriot Act, the Fund may request information from Authorized Participants to enable it to form a reasonable belief that it knows the true identity of its Authorized Participants. This information will be used to verify the identity of Authorized Participants or, in some cases, the status of financial professionals; it will be used only for compliance with the requirements of the Patriot Act.
The Fund reserves the right to reject purchase orders from persons who have not submitted information sufficient to allow the Fund to verify their identity. The Fund also reserves the right to redeem any amounts in the Fund from persons whose identity it is unable to verify on a timely basis. It is the Fund's policy to cooperate fully with appropriate regulators in any investigations conducted with respect to potential money laundering, terrorism or other illicit activities.
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Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent. State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) serves as administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund under the Master Services Agreement and related Service Schedule (the “Service Module”). State Street’s principal address is 200 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA 02116. Pursuant to the Service Module for Fund Administration and Accounting Services with the Trust, State Street provides necessary administrative, legal, tax and accounting and financial reporting services for the maintenance and operations of the Trust and the Fund. In addition, State Street makes available the office space, equipment, personnel and facilities required to provide such services. Pursuant to the Service Module for Custodial Services with the Trust, State Street maintains, in separate accounts, cash, securities and other assets of the Trust and the Fund, keeps all necessary accounts and records and provides other services. State Street is required, upon the order of the Trust, to deliver securities held by State Street and to make payments for securities purchased by the Trust for the Fund. State Street is authorized to appoint certain foreign custodians or foreign custody managers for Fund investments outside the United States. Pursuant to the Service Module for Transfer Agency Services with the Trust, State Street acts as a transfer agent for the Fund’s authorized and issued shares of beneficial interest, and as dividend disbursing agent of the Trust. As compensation for these services, State Street receives certain out-of-pocket costs, transaction fees and asset-based fees which are accrued daily and paid monthly by BFA from its management fee.
Distributor. The Distributor's principal address is 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540. Shares are continuously offered for sale by the Fund through the Distributor or its agent only in Creation Units, as described in the Prospectus and below in the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI. Fund shares in amounts less than Creation Units are generally not distributed by the Distributor or its agent. The Distributor or its agent will arrange for the delivery of the 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 Distribution Agreement for the Fund provides that it may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, on at least 60 days' prior written notice to the other party following (i) the vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees, or (ii) the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund. The Distribution Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act).
The Distributor may also enter into agreements with securities dealers (“Soliciting Dealers”) who will solicit purchases of Creation Units of Fund shares. Such Soliciting Dealers may also be Authorized Participants (as defined below), Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) participants and/or investor services organizations.
BFA or 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.
Payments by BFA and its Affiliates. BFA and/or its affiliates (“BFA Entities”) pay certain broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks and other financial intermediaries (“Intermediaries”) for certain activities related to the Fund, other iShares funds or exchange-traded products in general. BFA Entities make these payments from their own assets and not from the assets of the Fund. Although a portion of BFA Entities’ revenue comes directly or indirectly in part from fees paid by the Fund and other iShares funds, these payments do not increase the price paid by investors for the purchase of shares of, or the cost of owning, the Fund or other iShares funds. BFA Entities make payments for Intermediaries’ participation in activities that are designed to make registered representatives, other professionals and individual investors more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as participation in marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems (“Education Costs”). BFA Entities also make payments to Intermediaries for certain printing, publishing and mailing costs associated with the Fund or materials relating to exchange-traded products in general (“Publishing Costs”). In addition, BFA Entities make payments to Intermediaries that make shares of the Fund and certain other iShares funds available to their clients, develop new products that feature iShares or otherwise promote the Fund and other iShares funds. 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 iShares business or facilitate investment in iShares funds. Payments of the type described above are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments.
Payments to an Intermediary may be significant to the Intermediary, and amounts that Intermediaries pay to your salesperson or other investment professional may also be significant for your salesperson or other investment professional. Because an Intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it will recommend or make available to its
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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 Fund and other iShares funds 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.
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”). Pursuant to this special, long-term and significant arrangement (the “Marketing Program”), FBS and certain affiliates (collectively “Fidelity”) have agreed, among other things, to actively promote iShares funds to customers and investment professionals 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 reduced commission rate or commission free, 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 for marketing and implementing certain brokerage and investment programs. Upon termination of the arrangement, the BFA Entities will make additional payments to FBS based upon a number of criteria, including the overall success of the Marketing Program and the level of services provided by FBS during the wind-down period.
Any additions, modifications, or deletions to Intermediaries listed above that have occurred since the date noted above are not included in the list. Further, BFA Entities make Education Costs and Publishing Costs payments to other Intermediaries that are not listed above. BFA Entities may determine to make such payments based on any number of metrics. For example, BFA Entities may make payments at year-end or other intervals in a fixed amount, an amount based upon an Intermediary’s services at defined levels or an amount based on the Intermediary’s net sales of one or more iShares funds in a year or other period, any of which arrangements may include an agreed-upon minimum or maximum payment, or any combination of the foregoing. As of the date of this SAI, BFA anticipates that the payments paid by BFA Entities in connection with the Fund, iShares funds and exchange-traded products in general will be immaterial to BFA Entities in the aggregate for the next year. Please contact your salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any such payments his or her Intermediary firm may receive. Any payments made by the BFA Entities to an Intermediary may create the incentive for an Intermediary to encourage customers to buy shares of iShares funds.
The Fund may participate in certain market maker incentive programs of a national securities exchange in which an affiliate of the Fund would pay a fee to the exchange used for the purpose of incentivizing one or more market makers in the securities of the Fund to enhance the liquidity and quality of the secondary market of securities of the 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 the 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 the Fund solely for the benefit of the Fund and will not be paid from any Fund assets.
Determination of Net Asset Value
Valuation of Shares. The NAV for the Fund is generally calculated as of the close of regular trading hours on the NYSE (currently 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on each business day the NYSE is open. Valuation of securities held by the Fund is as follows:
Equity Investments. Equity securities traded on a recognized securities exchange (e.g., NYSE), separate trading boards of a securities exchange or through a market system that provides contemporaneous transaction pricing information (an “Exchange”) are valued using information obtained via independent pricing services, generally the Exchange closing price, or if an Exchange closing price is not available, the last traded price on that Exchange prior to the time as of which the Fund’s assets or liabilities are valued. However, under certain circumstances other means of determining current market value may be used. If an equity security is traded on more than one Exchange, the current market value of the security where it is primarily traded generally will be used. In the event that there are no sales involving an equity security held by the Fund on a day on which the Fund values such security, the prior day’s price will be used, unless, in accordance with valuation procedures approved by the Fund’s Board (the “Valuation Procedures”), BlackRock determines in good faith that such prior day’s price no longer reflects the fair value of the security, in which case such asset would be treated as a Fair Value Asset (as defined below).
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Fixed Income Investments. In accordance with the Valuation Procedures, fixed income securities for which market quotations are readily available are generally valued using such securities’ most recent bid prices provided directly from one or more broker-dealers, market makers, or independent third-party pricing services, each of which may use matrix pricing and valuation models, as well as recent market transactions for the same or similar assets to derive values. 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. Fixed income securities for which market quotations are not readily available may be valued by third-party pricing services that make a valuation determination by securing transaction data (e.g., recent representative bids), 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; and general market conditions.
Options, Futures, Swaps and Other Derivatives. Exchange-traded equity options for which market quotations are readily available are valued at the mean of the last bid and ask prices as quoted on the Exchange or the board of trade on which such options are traded. In the event that there is no mean price available for an exchange traded equity option held by the Fund on a day on which the Fund values such option, the last bid (long positions) or ask (short positions) price, if available, will be used as the value of such option. If no such bid or ask price is available on a day on which the Fund values such option, the prior day’s price will be used, unless BlackRock determines in good faith that such prior day’s price no longer reflects the fair value of the option in which case such option will be treated as a Fair Value Asset (as defined below). Over-the-counter (“OTC”) derivatives may be valued using a mathematical model which may incorporate a number of market data factors. Financial futures contracts and options thereon, which are traded on exchanges, are valued at their settle price as of the close of such exchanges. Swap agreements and other derivatives are generally valued daily based upon quotations from market makers or by a pricing service in accordance with the Valuation Procedures.
Underlying Funds. Shares of underlying exchange-traded funds will be valued at their most recent closing price on an Exchange. Shares of underlying money market funds will be valued at their net asset value.
General Valuation Information. In determining the market value of portfolio investments, the Fund may employ independent third-party pricing services, which may use, without limitation, a matrix or formula method that takes into consideration market indexes, matrices, yield curves and other specific adjustments. This may result in the securities being valued at a price different from the price that would have been determined had the matrix or formula method not been used. All cash, receivables and current payables are carried on the Fund’s books at their face value.
Prices obtained from independent third-party pricing services, broker-dealers or market makers to value the Fund’s securities and other assets and liabilities are based on information available at the time the Fund values its assets and liabilities. In the event that a pricing service quotation is revised or updated subsequent to the day on which the 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.
Certain types of securities, including many fixed income securities, trade infrequently and there may be no current market transactions or recent representative bids for such securities. To the extent that prices for such securities are not reflective of current market transactions or recent representative bids, the Fund will value such securities in good faith in accordance with the Valuation Procedures.
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 specified by the Fund’s Board as reflecting fair value. All other assets and liabilities (including securities for which market quotations are not readily available) held by the Fund (including restricted securities) are valued at fair value as determined in good faith by the Fund’s Board or by BlackRock (its delegate) pursuant to the Valuation Procedures. Any assets and liabilities which are denominated in a foreign currency are converted into U.S. dollars at the prevailing rates of exchange at such times as may be determined by the Fund from time to time.
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Certain of the securities acquired by the Fund may be traded on foreign exchanges or over-the-counter markets on days on which the Fund’s net asset value is not calculated. In such cases, the net asset value of the Fund’s shares may be significantly affected on days when investors can neither purchase nor redeem shares of the Fund.
Use of fair value prices and certain current market valuations could result in a difference between the prices used to calculate a Fund’s NAV and the prices used in the Underlying Index, which, in turn, could result in a difference between a Fund’s performance and the performance of the Underlying Index.
Fair Value. When market quotations are not readily available or are believed in good faith by BlackRock to be unreliable, the 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 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), 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 the Fund’s 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 the Fund. Non-U.S. securities whose values are affected by volatility that occurs in U.S. markets for related or highly correlated assets (e.g., ADRs, GDRs or ETFs) on a trading day after the close of non-U.S. securities markets may be fair valued. On any date 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.
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 Valuation Committee may accept, modify or reject any recommendations. In addition, the 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 held by the 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 the 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, not on what the 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 Valuation Committee (or 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. 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 the Fund’s net asset value. As a result, the Fund’s sale or redemption of its shares at net asset value, at a time when a holding or holdings are valued at fair value, may have the effect of diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders.
The 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 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 the 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
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fair market value. This may in turn increase the costs associated with selling assets or affect their liquidity due to the 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 the 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 Fund, 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, the 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 the Fund. In return for such services, BFA may cause the 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 the 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, less liquid securities, or other circumstances.
Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act (“Section 28(e)”) permits an investment adviser, under certain circumstances, to cause an account to pay a broker or dealer a commission for effecting a transaction 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 under certain conditions.
From time to time, the 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).
The Fund anticipates that brokerage transactions involving foreign securities generally will be conducted primarily on the principal stock exchanges of the applicable country. Foreign equity securities may be held by the Fund in the form of depositary receipts, or other securities convertible into foreign equity securities. Depositary receipts may be listed on stock exchanges, or traded in over-the-counter markets in the United States or Europe, as the case may be. American Depositary Receipts, like other securities traded in the United States, will be subject to negotiated commission rates.
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 Fund 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 Investment Company Act, persons affiliated with the 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 Commission. Since transactions in the OTC market usually involve transactions with the dealers acting as principal for their own accounts, the Fund will not deal with affiliated persons, including PNC and its affiliates, in connection with such transactions. The Fund will not purchase securities during the
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existence of any underwriting or selling group relating to such securities of which BFA, PNC, BRIL or any affiliated person (as defined in the Investment Company 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 Fund are made from dealers, underwriters and issuers. The Fund does 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 Fund 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 Fund and for other investment accounts managed by BFA and its 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 its affiliates may deal, trade and invest for their own account in the types of securities in which the Fund may invest.
Initial public offerings 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 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. Initial public offerings 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 initial public offering will be allocated among participating client accounts within each investment mandate on a pro rata basis. This pro rata allocation may result in the Fund receiving less of a particular security than if pro-ration 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 its affiliates during the same period may 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
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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 Fund or other clients or funds for which BFA or an 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 Fund is concerned, in other cases it could be beneficial to the Fund. Transactions effected by BFA or its 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.
The Fund's purchase and sale orders for securities may be combined with those of other investment companies, clients or accounts that BFA or its affiliates manage or advise and for which they have brokerage placement authority. If purchases or sales of portfolio securities of the Fund and one or more other accounts managed or advised by BFA or its affiliates are considered at or about the same time, transactions in such securities are allocated among the Fund and the other accounts in a manner deemed equitable to all by BFA and its affiliates. In some cases, this procedure could have a detrimental effect on the price or volume of the security as far as the Fund is concerned. However, in other cases, it is possible that the ability to participate in volume transactions and to negotiate lower transaction costs will be beneficial to the Fund. BFA and its affiliates may deal, trade and invest for their own account in the types of securities in which the Fund may invest. BFA and its affiliates may, from time to time, effect trades on behalf of and for the account of the Fund with brokers or dealers that are affiliated with BFA, in conformity with the 1940 Act and SEC rules and regulations. Under these provisions, any commissions paid to affiliated brokers or dealers must be reasonable and fair compared to the commissions charged by other brokers or dealers in comparable transactions. The Fund will not deal with affiliates in principal transactions unless permitted by applicable SEC rules or regulations, or by SEC exemptive order.
Portfolio turnover may vary from year to year, as well as within a year. High turnover rates may result in comparatively greater brokerage expenses.
Additional Information Concerning the Trust
Shares.  The Trust currently consists of more than 235 separate investment series or portfolios called funds. The Trust issues shares of beneficial interests in the funds with no par value. The Board may designate additional iShares funds.
Each share issued by a fund has a pro rata interest in the assets of that fund. Shares have no preemptive, exchange, subscription or conversion rights and are freely transferable. Each share is entitled to participate equally in dividends and distributions declared by the Board with respect to the relevant fund, and in the net distributable assets of such fund on liquidation.
Each share has one vote with respect to matters upon which the shareholder is entitled to vote. In any matter submitted to shareholders for a vote, the fund shall hold a separate vote, provided that shareholders of all affected funds will vote together when: (1) required by the 1940 Act, or (2) the Trustees determine that the matter affects the interests of more than one fund.
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.
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Following the creation of the initial Creation Unit(s) of shares of a fund and immediately prior to the commencement of trading in the fund’s shares, a holder of shares may be a “control person” of the fund, as defined in the 1940 Act. The fund cannot predict the length of time for which one or more shareholders may remain a control person of the fund.
In accordance with the Trust's Amended and Restated Agreement and Declaration of Trust dated September 17, 2009 (the “Declaration of Trust”), the Board may, without shareholder approval (unless such shareholder approval is required by applicable law, including the 1940 Act), cause one or more funds commencing operations after September 24, 2008 (each, a “New Fund”) to merge, reorganize, consolidate, sell all or substantially all of their assets, or take other similar actions with, to or into another New Fund.
Shareholders may make inquiries by writing to iShares Trust, 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 the fund and beneficial owners of 10% of the shares of the fund (“Insiders”) may be subject to the insider reporting, short-swing profit and short sale provisions of Section 16 of the 1934 Act and the SEC’s rules promulgated thereunder. Beneficial owners and Insiders should consult with their own legal counsel concerning their obligations under Sections 13 and 16 of the 1934 Act.
Termination of the Trust or the Fund. The Trust or the Fund may be terminated by a majority vote of the Board, subject to the affirmative vote of a majority of the shareholders of the Trust or the Fund entitled to vote on termination; however, in certain circumstances described in the Declaration of Trust, only a majority vote of the Board is required. 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. In the event of a termination of the Trust or the Fund, the Board, in its sole discretion, could determine to permit the shares to be redeemable in aggregations smaller than Creation Units or to be individually redeemable. In such circumstance, the Trust may make redemptions in-kind, for cash or for a combination of cash or securities.
DTC as Securities Depository for Shares of the Fund. Shares of the Fund are represented by securities registered in the name of DTC or its nominee and deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC.
DTC, a limited-purpose trust company, was created to hold securities of its participants (“DTC Participants”) and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions among the DTC Participants in such securities through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of the DTC Participants, thereby eliminating the need for physical movement of securities’ certificates. DTC Participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC. More specifically, DTC is owned by a number of its DTC Participants and by the NYSE, the NYSE Amex Equities and FINRA. Access to the DTC system is also available to others such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly (“Indirect Participants”).
Beneficial ownership of shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial Owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial Owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of shares.
Conveyance of all notices, statements and other communications to Beneficial Owners is effected as follows. Pursuant to the Depositary Agreement between the Trust and DTC, DTC is required to make available to the Trust upon request and for a fee to be charged to the Trust a listing of the shares of the Fund held by each DTC Participant. The Trust shall inquire of each such DTC Participant as to the number of Beneficial Owners holding shares, directly or indirectly, through such DTC Participant. The Trust shall provide each such DTC Participant with copies of such notice, statement or other communication, in such form, number and at such place as such DTC Participant may reasonably request, in order that such notice, statement or communication may be transmitted by such DTC Participant, directly or indirectly, to such Beneficial Owners. In addition, the Trust shall pay to each such DTC Participant a fair and reasonable amount as reimbursement for the expenses attendant to such transmittal, all subject to applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
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Share distributions shall be made to DTC or its nominee, Cede & Co., as the registered holder of all shares of the Trust. DTC or its nominee, upon receipt of any such distributions, shall credit immediately DTC Participants’ accounts with payments in amounts proportionate to their respective beneficial interests in shares of the Fund as shown on the records of DTC or its nominee. Payments by DTC Participants to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners of shares held through such DTC Participants will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is now the case with securities held for the accounts of customers in bearer form or registered in a “street name,” and will be the responsibility of such DTC Participants.
The Trust has no responsibility or liability for any aspect of the records relating to or notices to Beneficial Owners, or payments made on account of beneficial ownership interests in such shares, or for maintaining, supervising or reviewing any records relating to such beneficial ownership interests, or for any other aspect of the relationship between DTC and the DTC Participants or the relationship between such DTC Participants and the Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners owning through such DTC Participants. DTC may decide to discontinue providing its service with respect to shares of the Trust at any time by giving reasonable notice to the Trust and discharging its responsibilities with respect thereto under applicable law. Under such circumstances, the Trust shall take action to find a replacement for DTC to perform its functions at a comparable cost.
Creation and Redemption of Creation Units
General. The Trust issues and sells shares of the Fund only in Creation Units on a continuous basis through the Distributor 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 Exchange closes earlier than normal, the Fund may require orders to be placed earlier in the day. The following table sets forth the number of shares of the Fund that constitute a Creation Unit for the Fund and the value of such Creation Unit as of May 16, 2014:
Shares Per
Creation Unit
  Value Per
Creation
Unit (U.S.$)
50,000   $1,250,000
The Board reserves the right to declare a split or a consolidation in the number of shares outstanding of the Fund, and to make a corresponding change in the number of shares constituting a Creation Unit, in the event that the per share price in the secondary market rises (or declines) to an amount that falls outside the range deemed desirable by the Board.
A “Business Day” with respect to the Fund is any day on which the Listing Exchange on which the Fund is listed for trading is open for business. As of the date of this SAI, the Listing Exchange observes the following holidays, as observed: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Fund Deposit. The consideration for purchase of Creation Units of the Fund generally consists of the in-kind deposit of a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) (“Deposit Securities”) and the Cash Component computed as described below. Together, the Deposit Securities and the Cash Component constitute the “Fund Deposit,” which, when combined with the Fund's portfolio securities is designed to generate performance that has a collective investment profile similar to that of the Underlying Index. The Fund Deposit represents the minimum initial and subsequent investment amount for a Creation Unit of the Fund.
The Cash Component is an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of the shares (per Creation Unit) and the “Deposit Amount,” which is an amount equal to the market value of the Deposit Securities, and serves to compensate for any differences between the NAV per Creation Unit and the Deposit Amount. Payment of any stamp duty or other similar fees and expenses payable upon transfer of beneficial ownership of the Deposit Securities are the sole responsibility of the Authorized Participant purchasing the Creation Unit.
BFA makes available through the NSCC on each Business Day prior to the opening of business on the Listing Exchange, the list of names and the required number of shares of each Deposit Security and the amount of the Cash Component to be included in the current Fund Deposit (based on information as of the end of the previous Business Day for the Fund). Such Fund Deposit is applicable, subject to any adjustments as described below, to purchases of Creation Units of shares of the Fund until such time as the next-announced Fund Deposit is made available.
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The identity and number of shares of the Deposit Securities change pursuant to changes in the composition of the Fund's portfolio and as rebalancing adjustments and corporate action events are reflected from time to time by BFA with a view to the investment objective of the Fund. The composition of the Deposit Securities may also change in response to adjustments to the weighting or composition of the component securities constituting the Underlying Index.
The Fund reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of a “cash in lieu” amount to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security that may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery or that may not be eligible for transfer through DTC. The Fund also reserves the right to permit or require a “cash in lieu” amount in certain circumstances, including circumstances in which (i) the delivery of the Deposit Security by the Authorized Participant (as described below) would be restricted under applicable securities or other local laws or (ii) the delivery of the Deposit Security to the Authorized Participant would result in the disposition of the Deposit Security by the Authorized Participant becoming restricted under applicable securities or other local laws, or in certain other situations.
Cash Purchase Method. Although the Trust does not ordinarily permit partial or full cash purchases of Creation Units of iShares funds, when partial or full cash purchases of Creation Units are available or specified for the Fund, 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.
Role of the Authorized Participant. Creation Units may be purchased only by or through a DTC Participant that has entered into an authorized participant agreement with the Distributor (an “Authorized Participant”). 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.
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 the 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 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 Fund, immediately available or same day funds estimated by the Fund to be sufficient to pay the Cash Component next determined after acceptance of the purchase order, together with the applicable purchase transaction fees. Any excess funds will be returned following settlement of the issue of the Creation Unit. Those placing orders should ascertain the deadline for cash transfers by contacting the operations department of the broker or depositary institution effectuating the transfer of the Cash Component. This deadline is likely to be significantly earlier than the Cutoff Time of the Fund. 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.
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The Authorized Participant is responsible for any and all expenses and costs incurred by the Fund, including any applicable cash amounts, in connection with any purchase order.
Timing of Submission of Purchase Orders. An Authorized Participant must submit an irrevocable order to purchase shares of the Fund generally before 4:00 p.m., Eastern time on any Business Day in order to receive that day's NAV. Creation Orders must be transmitted by an Authorized Participant by telephone or other transmission method acceptable to the Distributor or its agent pursuant to procedures set forth in the authorized participant agreement, as described below. Economic or market disruptions or changes, or telephone or other communication failure, may impede the ability to reach the Distributor or its agent or an Authorized Participant. Orders to create shares of the 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. The 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 the 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 Fund are in place for payment of the Cash Component and any other cash amounts which may be due, the Fund will accept the order, subject to the Fund's right (and the right of the Distributor and BFA) to reject any order until acceptance, as set forth below.
Once the Fund has accepted an order, upon the next determination of the net asset value of the shares, the Fund will confirm the issuance of a Creation Unit, against receipt of payment, at such net asset value. The Distributor or its agent will then transmit a confirmation of acceptance to the Authorized Participant that placed the order.
The Fund reserves the absolute right to reject or revoke a creation order transmitted to it by the Distributor or its agent if (i) the order is not in proper form; (ii) the investor(s), upon obtaining the shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding shares of the Fund; (iii) the Deposit Securities delivered do not conform to the identity and number of shares specified, as described above; (iv) acceptance of the Deposit Securities would have certain adverse tax consequences to the Fund; (v) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the opinion of counsel, be unlawful; (vi) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the discretion of the Fund or BFA, have an adverse effect on the Fund or the rights of beneficial owners; or (vii) circumstances outside the control of the Fund, the Distributor 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 Fund, 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 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 Fund will issue and cause the delivery of the Creation Unit. Creation Units typically are issued on a “T+3 basis” (i.e., three Business Days after trade date). However, as discussed in the Regular Holidays section, the Fund reserves the right to settle Creation Unit transactions on a basis other than T+3 in order to accommodate non-U.S. market holiday schedules, to account for different treatment among non-U.S. and U.S. markets of dividend record dates and ex-dividend dates (i.e., the last day the holder of a security can sell the security and still receive dividends payable on the security) and in certain other circumstances.
To the extent contemplated by an Authorized Participant's agreement with the Distributor, the Fund will issue Creation Units to such Authorized Participant, notwithstanding the fact that the corresponding Fund Deposits have not been received in part or in whole, in reliance on the undertaking of the Authorized Participant to deliver the missing Deposit Securities as soon as possible, which undertaking shall be secured by such Authorized Participant's delivery and maintenance of collateral having a value at least equal to 105% and up to 115%, which percentage BFA may change at any time, in its sole discretion,
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of the value of the missing Deposit Securities in accordance with the Fund's then-effective procedures. The only collateral that is acceptable to the Fund is cash in U.S. dollars. Such cash collateral must be delivered no later than 2:00 p.m., Eastern time on the contractual settlement date. The cash collateral posted by the Authorized Participant may be invested at the risk of the Authorized Participant, and income, if any, on invested cash collateral will be paid to that Authorized Participant. Information concerning the Fund's current procedures for collateralization of missing Deposit Securities is available from the Distributor or its agent. The authorized participant agreement will permit the Fund to buy the missing Deposit Securities at any time and will subject the Authorized Participant to liability for any shortfall between the cost to the Fund of purchasing such securities and the cash collateral.
In certain cases, Authorized Participants may create and redeem Creation Units on the same trade date and in these instances, the Fund reserves the right to settle these transactions on a net basis or require a representation from the Authorized Participants that the creation and redemption transactions are for separate beneficial owners. All questions as to the number of shares of each security in the Deposit Securities and the validity, form, eligibility and acceptance for deposit of any securities to be delivered shall be determined by the Fund and the Fund's determination shall be final and binding.
Costs Associated with Creation Transactions.  A standard creation transaction fee is imposed to offset the transfer and other transaction costs associated with the issuance of Creation Units. The standard creation transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant creates a Creation Unit, and is the same, regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased by the Authorized Participant on the applicable Business Day. The Authorized Participant may also be required to cover certain brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, market impact and other costs and expenses related to the execution of trades resulting from such transaction (up to the maximum amount shown below). Authorized Participants will also bear the costs of transferring the Deposit Securities to the Fund. Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary to acquire Fund shares may be charged a fee for such services.
The following table sets forth the Fund's standard creation transaction fees and maximum additional charge (as described above):
Standard Creation
Transaction Fee
  Maximum Additional
Charge*
$2,200   3.0%

* As a percentage of the net asset value per Creation Unit.
Redemption of Creation Units. Shares of the Fund may be redeemed by Authorized Participants only in Creation Units at their NAV next determined after receipt of a redemption request in proper form by the Distributor or its agent and only on a Business Day. The Fund will not redeem shares in amounts less than Creation Units. There can be no assurance, however, that there will be sufficient liquidity in the secondary market at any time to permit assembly of a Creation Unit. Investors should expect to incur brokerage and other costs in connection with assembling a sufficient number of shares to constitute a Creation Unit that could be redeemed by an Authorized Participant. Beneficial owners also may sell shares in the secondary market.
The Fund generally redeems Creation Units for Fund Securities. Please see the Cash Redemption Method section below and the following discussion summarizing the in-kind method for further information on redeeming Creation Units of the Fund.
BFA makes available through the NSCC, prior to the opening of business on the Listing Exchange on each Business Day, the designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as defined below) on that day (“Fund Securities”), and an amount of cash (the “Cash Amount,” as described below). Such Fund Securities and the corresponding Cash Amount (each subject to possible amendment or correction) are applicable, in order to effect redemptions of Creation Units of the Fund until such time as the next announced composition of the Fund Securities and Cash Amount is made available. Fund Securities received on redemption may not be identical to Deposit Securities that are applicable to creations of Creation Units. 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 the 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
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the shares being redeemed, as next determined after the receipt of a redemption request in proper form, and the value of Fund Securities, less a redemption transaction fee (as described below).
The Trust may, in its sole discretion, substitute a “cash in lieu” amount to replace any Fund Security. The Trust also reserves the right to permit or require a “cash in lieu” amount in certain circumstances, including circumstances in which: (i) the delivery of a Fund Security to the Authorized Participant would be restricted under applicable securities or other local laws; or (ii) the delivery of a Fund Security to the Authorized Participant would result in the disposition of the Fund Security by the Authorized Participant becoming restricted under applicable securities or other local laws, or 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. In the event that the Fund Securities have a value greater than the NAV of the shares, a compensating cash payment equal to the difference is required to be made by or through an Authorized Participant by the redeeming shareholder. The Fund generally redeems Creation Units for Fund Securities, but the Fund reserves the right to utilize a cash option for redemption of Creation Units.
Cash Redemption Method.  Although the Trust does not ordinarily permit partial or full cash redemptions of Creation Units of iShares funds, when partial or full cash redemptions of Creation Units are available or specified for the Fund, they will be effected in essentially the same manner as in-kind redemptions thereof. In the case of partial or full cash redemption, the Authorized Participant receives the cash equivalent of the Fund Securities it would otherwise receive through an in-kind redemption, plus the same Cash Amount to be paid to an in-kind redeemer.
Costs Associated with Redemption Transactions. A standard redemption transaction fee is imposed to offset transfer and other transaction costs that may be incurred by the Fund. The standard redemption transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant redeems a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units redeemed by an Authorized Participant on the applicable Business Day. The Authorized Participant may also be required to cover certain brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, market impact and other costs and expenses related to the execution of trades resulting from such transaction (up to the maximum amount shown below). Authorized Participants will also bear the costs of transferring the Fund Securities from the Fund to their account on their order. Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary to dispose of Fund shares may be charged a fee for such services.
The following table sets forth the Fund's standard redemption transaction fees and maximum additional charge (as described above):
Standard Redemption
Transaction Fee
  Maximum Additional
Charge*
$2,200   2.0%

* As a percentage of the net asset value per Creation Unit, inclusive of the standard redemption transaction fee.
Placement of Redemption Orders. Redemption requests for Creation Units of the Fund must be submitted to the Distributor by or through an Authorized Participant. An Authorized Participant must submit an irrevocable request to redeem shares of the Fund generally before 4:00 p.m., Eastern time on any Business Day in order to receive that day's NAV. 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 Fund 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 the Fund's transfer agent; such investors should allow for the additional time that may be required to effect redemptions through their banks, brokers or other financial intermediaries if such intermediaries are not Authorized Participants.
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A redemption request is considered to be in “proper form” if (i) an Authorized Participant has transferred or caused to be transferred to the Fund's transfer agent the Creation Unit redeemed through the book-entry system of DTC so as to be effective by the Listing Exchange closing time on any Business Day, (ii) a request in form satisfactory to the Fund is received by the Distributor 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. If the transfer agent does not receive the investor's shares through DTC's facilities by 10:00 a.m., Eastern time on the Business Day next following the day that the redemption request is received, the redemption request shall be rejected. Investors should be aware that the deadline for such transfers of shares through the DTC system may be significantly earlier than the close of business on the Listing Exchange. Those making redemption requests should ascertain the deadline applicable to transfers of shares through the DTC system by contacting the operations department of the broker or depositary institution effecting the transfer of the shares.
Upon receiving a redemption request, the Distributor or its agent shall notify the Fund and the Fund's transfer agent of such redemption request. The tender of an investor's shares for redemption and the distribution of the securities and/or cash included in the redemption payment made in respect of Creation Units redeemed will be made through DTC and the relevant Authorized Participant to the Beneficial Owner thereof as recorded on the book-entry system of DTC or the DTC Participant through which such investor holds, as the case may be, or by such other means specified by the Authorized Participant submitting the redemption request.
A redeeming Beneficial Owner or Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such Beneficial Owner must maintain appropriate security arrangements with a qualified broker-dealer, bank or other custody providers in each jurisdiction in which any of the portfolio securities are customarily traded, to which account such portfolio securities will be delivered.
Deliveries of redemption proceeds by the Fund generally will be made within three Business Days (i.e., “T+3”). However, as discussed in the Regular Holidays section, the Fund reserves the right to settle redemption transactions and deliver redemption proceeds on another basis to accommodate non-U.S. market holiday schedules, to account for different treatment among non-U.S. and U.S. markets of dividend record dates and dividend ex-dates (i.e., the last date the holder of a security can sell the security and still receive dividends payable on the security sold) and in certain other circumstances. The Regular Holidays section hereto identifies the instances, if any, where more than seven days would be needed to deliver redemption proceeds. Pursuant to an order of the SEC, the Trust will make delivery of redemption proceeds within the number of days stated in the Regular Holidays section to be the maximum number of days necessary to deliver redemption proceeds.
If neither the redeeming Beneficial Owner nor the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such redeeming Beneficial Owner has appropriate arrangements to take delivery of Fund Securities in the applicable non-U.S. jurisdiction and it is not possible to make other such arrangements, or if it is not possible to effect deliveries of Fund Securities in such jurisdiction, the Fund may in its discretion exercise its option to redeem such shares in cash, and the redeeming Beneficial Owner will be required to receive its redemption proceeds in cash. In such case, the investor will receive a cash payment equal to the net asset value of its shares based on the NAV of the Fund next determined after the redemption request is received in proper form (minus a redemption transaction fee and additional charges specified above to offset the Fund's brokerage and other transaction costs associated with the disposition of Fund Securities). Redemptions of shares for Fund Securities will be subject to compliance with applicable U.S. federal and state securities laws and the Fund (whether or not it otherwise permits cash redemptions) reserves the right to redeem Creation Units for cash to the extent that the Fund cannot lawfully deliver specific Fund Securities upon redemptions or cannot do so without first registering the Fund Securities under such laws.
Although the Trust does not ordinarily permit cash redemptions of Creation Units in the event that cash redemptions are permitted or required by the Trust, proceeds will be paid to the Authorized Participant redeeming shares as soon as practicable after the date of redemption (within seven calendar days thereafter, except for the instances listed in the Regular Holidays section in which more than seven calendar days would be needed).
To the extent contemplated by an Authorized Participant's agreement with the Distributor 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 the Fund, at or prior to 10:00 a.m., Eastern time on the Listing Exchange business day after the date of submission of such redemption request, the Distributor 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
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secured by the Authorized Participant's delivery and maintenance of collateral consisting of cash, in U.S. dollars in immediately available funds, having a value at least equal to 105% and up to 115%, which percentage BFA may change at any time, in its sole discretion, of the value of the missing shares. Such cash collateral must be delivered no later than 10:00 a.m., Eastern time on the day after the date of submission of such redemption request and shall be held by State Street and marked-to-market daily. The fees of State Street and any sub-custodians in respect of the delivery, maintenance and redelivery of the cash collateral shall be payable by the Authorized Participant. The cash collateral posted by the Authorized Participant may be invested at the risk of the Authorized Participant, and income, if any, on invested cash collateral will be paid to that Authorized Participant. The authorized participant agreement permits the Fund to acquire shares of the Fund at any time and subjects the Authorized Participant to liability for any shortfall between the aggregate of the cost to the Fund of purchasing such shares, plus the value of the Cash Amount, and the value of the cash collateral.
Because the Portfolio Securities of the Fund may trade on exchange(s) on days that the Listing Exchange is closed or are otherwise not Business Days for the Fund, shareholders may not be able to redeem their shares of the Fund, or purchase or sell shares of the Fund on the Listing Exchange on days when the NAV of the Fund could be significantly affected by events in the relevant non-U.S. markets.
The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to the Fund: (i) for any period during which the Listing Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (ii) for any period during which trading on the Listing Exchange is suspended or restricted; (iii) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the shares of the Fund's portfolio securities or determination of its net asset value is not reasonably practicable; or (iv) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC.
Taxation on 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 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 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.
Regular Holidays. For every occurrence of one or more intervening holidays in the applicable non-U.S. market that are not holidays observed in the U.S. equity market, the redemption settlement cycle will be extended by the number of such intervening holidays. In addition to holidays, other unforeseeable closings in a non-U.S. market due to emergencies may also prevent the Trust from delivering securities within the normal settlement period.
The securities delivery cycles currently practicable for transferring portfolio securities to redeeming investors, coupled with non-U.S. market holiday schedules, will require a delivery process longer than seven calendar days, in certain circumstances. The holidays applicable to the Fund during such periods are listed below, as are instances where more than seven days will be needed to deliver redemption proceeds. Although certain holidays may occur on different dates in subsequent years, the number of days required to deliver redemption proceeds in any given year is not expected to exceed the maximum number of days listed below for the Fund. The proclamation of new holidays, the treatment by market participants of certain days as “informal holidays” (e.g., days on which no or limited securities transactions occur, as a result of substantially shortened trading hours), the elimination of existing holidays, or changes in local securities delivery practices, could affect the information set forth herein at some time in the future.
In calendar years 2014 and 2015, the dates of regular holidays affecting the relevant securities markets in which the Fund invests are as follows (please note these holiday schedules are subject to potential changes in the relevant securities markets):
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2014
Belgium
January 1 May 29 August 15  
April 18 May 30 November 11  
April 21 June 9 December 25  
May 1 July 21 December 26  
    
Denmark
January 1 May 1 December 24  
April 2 May 14 December 25  
April 3 May 25 December 31  
April 6 June 5    
    
Finland
January 1 April 21 December 26  
January 6 May 1 December 31  
April 17 December 24