485BPOS 1 d948008d485bpos.htm FORM 485BPOS Form 485BPOS

As filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on June 29, 2020

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  
  Post-Effective Amendment No. 2,372  

and/or

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

  THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940  
  Amendment No. 2,372  

(Check appropriate box or boxes)

 

 

iShares Trust

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

 

 

c/o State Street Bank and Trust Company

1 Lincoln Street

Mail Stop SFC0805

Boston, MA 02111

(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

 

DEEPA DAMRE, 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)

On June 29, 2020 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.

 

 

 


June 29, 2020
   
    
2020 Prospectus
iShares Trust
•  iShares iBonds Dec 2030 Term Treasury ETF | IBTK | NASDAQ
  
Beginning on January 1, 2021, as permitted by regulations adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), paper copies of the Fund’s shareholder reports will no longer be sent by mail, unless you specifically request paper copies of the reports from your financial intermediary, such as a broker-dealer or bank. Instead, the reports will be made available on a website, and you will be notified by mail each time a report is posted and provided with a website link to access the report.
If you already elected to receive shareholder reports electronically, you will not be affected by this change and you need not take any action. If you hold accounts through a financial intermediary, you may contact your financial intermediary to enroll in electronic delivery. Please note that not all financial intermediaries may offer this service.
You may elect to receive all future reports in paper free of charge. If you hold accounts through a financial intermediary, you can follow the instructions included with this disclosure, if applicable, or contact your financial intermediary to request that you continue to receive paper copies of your shareholder reports. Please note that not all financial intermediaries may offer this service. Your election to receive reports in paper will apply to all funds held with your financial intermediary.
The SEC has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
*The iShares iBonds Dec 2030 Term Treasury ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2030 Term Treasury ETF.

 



 


Table of Contents
ICE Term Maturity US Treasury Indexes are trademarks of ICE Data Indices, LLC or its affiliates and have been licensed for use for certain purposes by BlackRock Fund Advisors or its affiliates. iShares® iBonds® and BlackRock® are registered trademarks of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates. This Fund is covered by U.S. Patent Nos. 8,438,100 and 8,655,770.
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iSHARES® iBONDS DEC 2030 TERM TREASURY ETF
Ticker: IBTK Stock Exchange: NASDAQ
Investment Objective
The iShares iBonds Dec 2030 Term Treasury ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track the investment results of an index composed of U.S. Treasury bonds maturing in 2030.
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 the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses. The Fund may incur “Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses.” Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses reflect the Fund's pro rata share of the fees and expenses incurred by investing in other investment companies. The impact of Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses is included in the total returns of the Fund. Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses are not included in the calculation of the ratio of expenses to average net assets shown in the Financial Highlights section of the Fund's prospectus (the “Prospectus”).
You may also incur usual and customary brokerage commissions and other charges when buying or selling shares of the Fund, which are not reflected in the Example that follows:
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(ongoing expenses that you pay each year as a
percentage of the value of your investments)
Management
Fees
  Distribution and
Service (12b-1)
Fees
  Other
Expenses
  Acquired Fund Fees
and Expenses1,2
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
  Fee Waiver1,2   Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
After
Fee Waiver
0.07%   None   None   0.00%   0.07%   (0.00)%   0.07%

1 The amount rounded to 0.00%.
2 BFA has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fees in an amount equal to the Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, if any, attributable to investments by the Fund in other funds advised by BFA or its affiliates through the termination date of the Fund, on or about December 15, 2030. The contractual waiver may be terminated prior to the Fund's termination only upon the written agreement of the Trust and BFA.
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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  
  $7   $23  
Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may pay transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in the Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund seeks to meet its investment objective generally by investing in individual securities which satisfy the criteria of the ICE 2030 Maturity US Treasury Index (the “Underlying Index”). The Fund may also invest in short-term paper, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of money market funds advised by BFA or its affiliates.
The Fund is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2030, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. The Fund does not seek to return any predetermined amount at maturity or in periodic distributions. The Underlying Index consists of publicly-issued U.S. Treasury securities that are scheduled
to mature after December 31, 2029 and before December 16, 2030. Qualifying securities are U.S. Treasury notes and bonds having $1 billion or more of outstanding face value, excluding amounts held by the Federal Reserve System Open Market Account (“SOMA”). In addition, the securities in the Underlying Index must have a fixed coupon schedule and be denominated in U.S. dollars. Excluded from the Underlying Index are inflation-linked securities, Treasury bills, cash management bills, any government agency debt issued with or without a government guarantee and zero-coupon issues that have been stripped from coupon-paying bonds. However, the amounts outstanding of qualifying securities in the Underlying Index are not reduced by any individual components of such securities (i.e., coupon or principal) that have been stripped after inclusion in the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is market value weighted based on amounts outstanding reduced by amounts held by the Federal Reserve SOMA. Accrued interest is calculated assuming next-day settlement. The Underlying Index is rebalanced on the last calendar day of the month, based on information available up to and including the third
 
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business day before the last business day of the month. New issues must settle on or before the calendar month end rebalancing date in order to qualify for the upcoming month. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until June 30, 2030. Cash flows from bond payments that are received during the month are retained in the Underlying Index until the end of the month and then are removed as part of the rebalancing. Beginning June 30, 2030, the Underlying Index will not remove interest payments and matured securities at each rebalancing but instead will retain those amounts as a growing cash position throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market funds or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur fees and expenses of such funds. By December 15, 2030, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
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 aiming to keep 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 an applicable underlying index. The securities selected are expected to have, in the aggregate, investment characteristics (based on factors such as market value and industry weightings), fundamental characteristics (such as return variability, duration, maturity, credit ratings and yield) and liquidity measures similar to those of an applicable underlying index. The Fund may or may not hold all of the securities in the Underlying Index.
The Fund generally will invest at least 90% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index, except during the last months of the Fund’s operations, as described below, and may invest up to 10% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of money market funds advised by BFA or its affiliates (“BlackRock Cash Funds”), as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. From time to time when conditions warrant, however, the Fund may invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, 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
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results of the Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Fund. In the last months of operation, as the bonds held by the Fund mature, the proceeds will not be reinvested by the Fund in bonds but instead will be held in cash and cash equivalents. By December 15, 2030, the Underlying Index is expected to consist almost entirely of cash earned in this manner. On or around this date, the Fund will wind up and terminate, and its net assets will be distributed to then-current shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation.
The Fund may lend securities representing up to one-third of the value of the Fund's total assets (including the value of any collateral received).
The Underlying Index is sponsored by ICE Data Indices, LLC (the “Index Provider” or “IDI”), which 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.
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), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, and securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions 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 certain risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund's net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Asset Class Risk. Securities and other assets in the Underlying Index or in the Fund's portfolio may underperform in comparison to the general financial markets, a particular financial market or other asset classes.
Assets Under Management (AUM) Risk. From time to time, an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section of the Prospectus), a third-party investor, the Fund’s adviser or an affiliate of the Fund’s adviser, or a fund may invest in the Fund and hold its investment for a specific period of time to allow the Fund to achieve size or scale. There can be no assurance that any such entity would not redeem its investment or that the size of the Fund would be maintained at such levels, which could negatively impact the Fund.
Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other
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market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem Creation Units (as defined in the Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares section of the Prospectus), Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting.
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class.
Cybersecurity Risk. Failures or breaches of the electronic systems of the Fund, the Fund's adviser, distributor, the Index Provider and other service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests have the ability to cause disruptions, negatively impact the Fund’s business operations and/or potentially result in financial losses to the Fund and its shareholders. While the Fund has established business continuity plans and risk management systems seeking to address system breaches or failures, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems of the Fund’s Index Provider and other service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants
or issuers of securities in which the Fund invests.
Declining Yield Risk. During the six months prior to the Fund’s planned termination date, the Fund’s yield will generally tend to move toward prevailing money market rates and may be lower than the yields of the bonds previously held by the Fund and lower than prevailing yields for bonds in the market.
Income Risk. The Fund's income may decline if interest rates fall. This decline in income can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding bonds as bonds in its portfolio mature, are near maturity, or bonds in the Underlying Index are substituted, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional bonds. As the Fund does not seek to return any predetermined amount at maturity or in periodic distributions, the amount of income generated by the Fund may vary during its term. In addition, the Fund's income is expected to decline in the months leading up to its maturity date because its portfolio will increasingly consist of cash and cash equivalents.
Index-Related Risk. There is no guarantee that the Fund’s investment results will have a high degree of correlation to those of the Underlying Index or that the Fund will 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, index computations or the construction of the Underlying Index in accordance with its methodology may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for
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a period of time or at all, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders. Unusual market conditions may cause the Index Provider to postpone a scheduled rebalance, which could cause the Underlying Index to vary from its normal or expected composition.
Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus has resulted in travel restrictions, disruption of healthcare systems, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, layoffs, ratings downgrades, defaults and other significant economic impacts. Certain markets have experienced temporary closures, extreme volatility, severe losses, reduced liquidity and increased trading costs. These events will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and could impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities or cause elevated tracking error and increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. Other infectious illness outbreaks in the future may result in similar impacts.
Interest Rate Risk. During periods of very low or negative interest rates, the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns or pay dividends to Fund shareholders. Very low or negative interest rates may magnify interest rate risk. Changing interest rates, including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on markets, result in heightened market volatility and detract from the Fund’s performance to the extent the Fund is exposed to such interest rates. Additionally, under certain market conditions in which interest rates are low and the market prices for portfolio securities have increased, the Fund may have a very
low, or even negative yield. A low or negative yield would cause the Fund to lose money in certain conditions and over certain time periods. An increase in interest rates will generally cause the value of securities held by the Fund to decline, may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and may adversely affect the liquidity of certain fixed-income investments, including those held by the Fund. The historically low interest rate environment heightens the risks associated with rising interest rates.
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due.
Management Risk. As the Fund will 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 more prolonged market downturns. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issue, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.
Market Trading Risk. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares, losses from trading in secondary markets, periods of
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high volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV.
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed, and BFA generally does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets.
Risk of Investing in the U.S. Certain changes in the U.S. economy, such as when the U.S. economy weakens or when its financial markets decline, may have an adverse effect on the securities to which the Fund has exposure.
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 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.
Small Fund Risk. When the Fund’s size is small, the Fund may experience low trading volume and wide bid/ask spreads. In addition, the Fund may face the risk of being delisted if the Fund does not meet certain conditions of the listing exchange. Any resulting liquidation of the Fund could cause the Fund to incur elevated transaction costs for the Fund and negative tax consequences for its shareholders.
Tracking Error Risk. The Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities and other instruments held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences, transaction costs incurred by the Fund, the Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of distributions, the requirements to maintain pass-through tax treatment, portfolio transactions carried out to minimize the distribution of capital gains to shareholders, changes to the Underlying Index or the costs to the Fund 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. BFA EXPECTS THAT THE FUND MAY EXPERIENCE HIGHER TRACKING ERROR THAN IS TYPICAL FOR SIMILAR INDEX ETFs.
U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk. U.S. Treasury obligations may differ from other securities in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics and may provide
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relatively lower returns than those of other securities. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit rating of the U.S. government may cause the value of the Fund's U.S. Treasury obligations to decline.
Performance Information
As of the date of the Prospectus, the Fund has been in operation for less than one full calendar year and therefore does not report its performance information.
Management
Investment Adviser. BlackRock Fund Advisors.
Portfolio Managers. James Mauro and Scott Radell (the “Portfolio Managers”) are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager supervises a portfolio management team. Mr. Mauro and Mr. Radell have been Portfolio Managers of the Fund since inception (2020).
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund is an exchange-traded fund (commonly referred to as an “ETF”). Individual shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange. Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund 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”), in which case, your distributions generally will be taxed when withdrawn. Certain states and localities may exempt from tax distributions attributable to interest from U.S. federal government obligations. Please consult your personal tax advisor.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), BFA or other related companies may pay the intermediary for marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems or other services related to the sale or promotion of the Fund. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
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More Information About the Fund
This Prospectus contains important information about investing in the Fund. Please read this Prospectus carefully before you make any investment decisions. Additional information regarding the Fund is available at www.iShares.com.
BFA is the investment adviser to the Fund. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”). 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 an ownership interest in an underlying portfolio of securities and other instruments 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 and only in Creation Unit increments. 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 will wind up and terminate on or about December 15, 2030. Upon its termination, the Fund will distribute substantially all of its net assets, after making appropriate provision for any liabilities of the Fund, to then-current shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. In the final months of the Fund's operations, as the bonds it holds mature, its portfolio will transition to cash and cash equivalents. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur the fees and expenses of these funds. By December 15, 2030, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index. In accordance with the Trust's current Amended and Restated Agreement and Declaration of Trust, the Fund will terminate on or about the date noted above, as approved by a majority of the Trust's Board of Trustees (the “Board”), without requiring additional approval by Fund shareholders. The Board may extend the termination date if a majority of the Board determines the extension to be in the best interest of the Fund.
The Fund invests in a particular segment of the securities markets and seeks to track the performance of a securities index that 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 financial calculation, based on a grouping of financial instruments, and is not an investment product, while the Fund is an actual investment portfolio. The performance of the Fund and the Underlying Index may vary for a number of reasons, including 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 the Fund's use of
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representative sampling or from legal restrictions (such as diversification requirements) that apply to the Fund but not to the Underlying Index. From time to time, the Index Provider may make changes to the methodology or other adjustments to the Underlying Index. Unless otherwise determined by BFA, any such change or adjustment will be reflected in the calculation of the Underlying Index performance on a going-forward basis after the effective date of such change or adjustment. Therefore, the Underlying Index performance shown for periods prior to the effective date of any such change or adjustment will generally not be recalculated or restated to reflect such change or adjustment.
“Tracking error” is the divergence of the Fund's performance 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.
Under continuous listing standards adopted by the Fund's listing exchange, the Fund is required to confirm on an ongoing basis that the components of the Underlying Index satisfy the applicable listing requirements. In the event that the Underlying Index does not comply with the applicable listing requirements, the Fund is required to rectify such non-compliance by requesting that the Index Provider modify the Underlying Index, adopting a new underlying index, or obtaining relief from the SEC. Failure to rectify such non-compliance may result in the Fund being delisted by the listing exchange.
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.
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. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Asset Class Risk. The securities and other assets in the Underlying Index or in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to 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, currencies and indexes may experience cycles of outperformance and underperformance in comparison to the general financial markets. This may cause the Fund to underperform other investment vehicles that invest in different asset classes.
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Assets Under Management (AUM) Risk. From time to time, an Authorized Participant, a third-party investor, the Fund’s adviser or an affiliate of the Fund’s adviser, or a fund may invest in the Fund and hold its investment for a specific period of time to allow the Fund to achieve size or scale. There can be no assurance that any such entity would not redeem its investment or that the size of the Fund would be maintained at such levels, which could negatively impact the Fund.
Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem Creation Units, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting.
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. The Fund may be more adversely affected by the underperformance of those securities and/or other assets, may experience increased price volatility and may be more susceptible to adverse economic, market, political or regulatory occurrences affecting those securities and/or other assets than a fund that does not concentrate its investments.
Cybersecurity Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as the internet to conduct business, the Fund, Authorized Participants, service providers and the relevant listing exchange are susceptible to operational, information security and related “cyber” risks both directly and through their service providers. Similar types of cybersecurity risks are also present for issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers and may cause the Fund’s investment in such portfolio companies to lose value. Unlike many other types of risks faced by the Fund, these risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyberattacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities with nation-state backing.
Cybersecurity failures by or breaches of the systems of the Fund’s adviser, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, index and benchmark
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providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses, interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, disclosure of confidential trading information, impediments to trading, submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders, the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, cyberattacks may render records of Fund assets and transactions, shareholder ownership of Fund shares, and other data integral to the functioning of the Fund inaccessible or inaccurate or incomplete. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber incidents, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful or that cyberattacks will go undetected. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, the Index Provider, market makers or Authorized Participants. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
Declining Yield Risk. During the six months prior to the Fund's planned termination date, the bonds held by the Fund will mature and the Fund’s portfolio will convert to cash or cash equivalents. During these final six months, the Fund’s yield will generally tend to move toward prevailing money market rates, and may be lower than the yields of the bonds previously held by the Fund and lower than prevailing yields for bonds in the market.
Income Risk. The Fund’s income may decline if interest rates fall. This decline in income can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding instruments as bonds in its portfolio mature, are near maturity, or bonds in the Underlying Index are substituted, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional bonds. As the Fund does not seek to return any predetermined amount at maturity or in periodic distributions, the amount of income generated by the Fund may vary during its term. In addition, the Fund's income is expected to decline in the months leading up to its maturity date because it will increasingly hold primarily cash and cash equivalents.
Index-Related Risk. The Fund seeks to achieve a return that 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 or any agents that may act on its behalf 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, neither the Index Provider nor its agents provide any warranty or accept any liability in relation to the quality, accuracy or completeness of the Underlying Index or its related data, and they do not guarantee that the Underlying Index will be in line with
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the Index Provider’s methodology. BFA’s mandate as described in this Prospectus is to manage the Fund consistently with the Underlying Index provided by the Index Provider to BFA. BFA does not provide any warranty or guarantee against the Index Provider’s or any agent’s errors. Errors in respect of the quality, accuracy and completeness of the data used to compile the Underlying Index may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, particularly where the indices are less commonly used as benchmarks by funds or managers. Such errors may negatively or positively impact the Fund and its shareholders. For example, during a period where the 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. Shareholders should understand that any gains from Index Provider errors will be kept by the Fund and its shareholders and any losses or costs resulting from Index Provider errors will be borne by the Fund and its shareholders.
Unusual market conditions may cause the Index Provider to postpone a scheduled rebalance, which could cause the Underlying Index to vary from its normal or expected composition. The postponement of a scheduled rebalance in a time of market volatility could mean that constituents that would otherwise be removed at rebalance due to changes in market capitalizations, issuer credit ratings, or other reasons may remain, causing the performance and constituents of the Underlying Index to vary from those expected under normal conditions. Apart from scheduled rebalances, the Index Provider or its agents may carry out additional ad hoc rebalances to the Underlying Index due to reaching certain weighting constraints, unusual market conditions or in order, for example, to correct an error in the selection of index constituents. When the Underlying Index is rebalanced and the Fund in turn rebalances its portfolio to attempt to increase the correlation between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index, any transaction costs and market exposure arising from such portfolio rebalancing will be borne directly by the Fund and its shareholders. Therefore, errors and additional ad hoc rebalances carried out by the Index Provider or its agents to the Underlying Index may increase the costs to and the tracking error risk of the Fund.
Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in December 2019 has spread globally. The impact of this outbreak has adversely affected the economies of many nations and the global economy, and may impact individual issuers and capital markets in ways that cannot be foreseen. The duration of the outbreak and its effects cannot be predicted with certainty. Any market or economic disruption can be expected to result in elevated tracking error and increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.
General Impact. This outbreak has resulted in travel restrictions, closed international borders, enhanced health screenings at ports of entry and elsewhere, disruption of and delays in healthcare service preparation and delivery, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, temporary closures of stores, restaurants and other commercial establishments, layoffs, defaults and other significant economic impacts, as well as general concern and uncertainty.
Market Volatility. The outbreak has also resulted in extreme volatility, severe losses,
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and disruptions in markets which can adversely impact the Fund and its investments, including impairing hedging activity to the extent a Fund engages in such activity, as expected correlations between related markets or instruments may no longer apply. In addition, to the extent the Fund invests in short-term instruments that have negative yields, the Fund’s value may be impaired as a result. Certain issuers of equity securities have cancelled or announced the suspension of dividends. The outbreak has, and may continue to, negatively affect the credit ratings of some fixed income securities and their issuers.
Market Closures. Certain local markets have been or may be subject to closures, and there can be no assurance that trading will continue in any local markets in which the Fund may invest, when any resumption of trading will occur or, once such markets resume trading, whether they will face further closures. Any suspension of trading in markets in which the Fund invests will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and will impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities in such markets.
Operational Risk. The outbreak could also impair the information technology and other operational systems upon which the Fund’s service providers, including BFA, rely, and could otherwise disrupt the ability of employees of the Fund’s service providers to perform critical tasks relating to the Fund, for example, due to the service providers’ employees performing tasks in alternate locations than under normal operating conditions or the illness of certain employees of the Fund’s service providers.
Governmental Interventions. Governmental and quasi-governmental authorities and regulators throughout the world have responded to the outbreak and the resulting economic disruptions with a variety of fiscal and monetary policy changes, including direct capital infusions into companies and other issuers, new monetary policy tools, and lower interest rates. An unexpected or sudden reversal of these policies, or the ineffectiveness of such policies, is likely to increase market volatility, which could adversely affect the Fund’s investments.
Pre-Existing Conditions. Public health crises caused by the outbreak may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally.
Other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future could have similar or other unforeseen effects.
Interest Rate Risk. As interest rates rise, the value of the fixed-income securities or other instruments held by the Fund is likely to decrease. A measure investors commonly use to determine this price sensitivity is called duration. Fixed-income securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making their prices more volatile than those of securities with shorter durations. To the extent the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in fixed-income securities with longer duration, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline significantly, which would adversely affect the value of the Fund. An increase in interest rates may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and adversely affect certain fixed-income investments, including those held by the Fund. In addition, decreases in fixed income dealer market-making
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capacity may lead to lower trading volume, heightened volatility, wider bid-ask spreads and less transparent pricing in certain fixed-income markets.
The historically low interest rate environment was created in part by the world’s major central banks keeping their overnight policy interest rates at, near or below zero percent and implementing monetary policy facilities, such as asset purchase programs, to anchor longer-term interest rates below historical levels. During periods of very low or negative interest rates, the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns or pay dividends to Fund shareholders. Certain countries have recently experienced negative interest rates on certain fixed-income instruments. Very low or negative interest rates may magnify interest rate risk. Changing interest rates, including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on markets, result in heightened market volatility and detract from the Fund’s performance to the extent the Fund is exposed to such interest rates. Additionally, under certain market conditions in which interest rates are set at low levels and the market prices of portfolio securities have increased, the Fund may have a very low, or even negative yield. A low or negative yield would cause the Fund to lose money in certain conditions and over certain time periods. Central banks may increase their short-term policy rates or begin phasing out, or “tapering,” accommodative monetary policy facilities in the future. The timing, coordination, magnitude and effect of such policy changes on various markets is uncertain, and such changes in monetary policy may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments.
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due.
Management Risk. Because BFA uses a representative sampling indexing strategy, the Fund will 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 over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. Market risk arises mainly from uncertainty about future values of financial instruments and may be influenced by price, currency and interest rate movements. It represents the potential loss the Fund may suffer through holding financial instruments in the face of market movements or uncertainty. The value of a security or other asset may decline due to changes in general market conditions, economic trends or events that are not specifically related to the issuer of the security or other asset, or factors that affect a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. During a general market downturn, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected. Fixed-income securities
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with short-term maturities are generally less sensitive to such changes than are fixed-income securities with longer-term maturities. Changes in market conditions and interest rates generally do not have the same impact on all types of securities and instruments.
Market Trading Risk
Absence of Active Market. Although shares of the Fund are listed for trading on one or more stock exchanges, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained by market makers or Authorized Participants.
Risk of Secondary Listings. The Fund's shares may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the U.S. stock exchange where the Fund's primary listing is maintained, and may otherwise be made available to non-U.S. investors through funds or structured investment vehicles similar to depositary receipts. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s shares will continue to trade on any such stock exchange or in any market or that the Fund’s shares will continue to meet the requirements for listing or trading on any exchange or in any market. The Fund's shares may be less actively traded in certain markets than in others, and investors are subject to the execution and settlement risks and market standards of the market where they or their broker direct their trades for execution. Certain information available to investors who trade Fund shares on a U.S. stock exchange during regular U.S. market hours may not be available to investors who trade in other markets, which may result in secondary market prices in such markets being less efficient.
Secondary Market Trading Risk. Shares of the Fund may trade in the secondary market at times when the Fund does not accept orders to purchase or redeem shares. At such times, shares may trade in the secondary market with more significant premiums or discounts than might be experienced at times when the Fund accepts purchase and redemption orders.
Secondary market trading in Fund shares may be halted by a stock exchange because of market conditions or for other reasons. In addition, trading in Fund shares on a stock exchange or in any market may be subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to “circuit breaker” rules on the stock exchange or market.
Shares of the Fund, similar to shares of other issuers listed on a stock exchange, may be sold short and are therefore subject to the risk of increased volatility and price decreases associated with being sold short.
Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. Shares of the Fund trade on stock exchanges at prices at, above or below the Fund’s most recent NAV. The NAV of the Fund is calculated at the end of each business day and fluctuates with changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings. The trading price of the Fund's shares fluctuates continuously throughout trading hours based on both market supply of and demand for Fund shares and the underlying value of the Fund's portfolio holdings or NAV. As a result, the trading prices of the Fund’s shares may deviate significantly from NAV during periods of market volatility, including during periods of significant redemption requests or other unusual market conditions. ANY OF THESE FACTORS,
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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, BFA believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of the Fund are not likely to be sustained over the long term (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their NAVs). While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it more likely that the Fund’s shares normally will trade on stock exchanges at prices close to the Fund’s next calculated NAV, exchange prices are not expected to correlate exactly with the Fund's NAV due to timing reasons, supply and demand imbalances and other factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions, including disruptions at market makers, Authorized Participants, or other market participants, and during periods of significant market volatility, may result in trading prices for shares of the Fund that differ significantly from its NAV. Authorized Participants may be less willing to create or redeem Fund shares if there is a lack of an active market for such shares or its underlying investments, which may contribute to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to NAV.
Costs of Buying or Selling Fund Shares. Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange involves two types of costs that apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you will likely incur a brokerage commission and other charges. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread”; that is, the difference between what investors are willing to pay for Fund shares (the “bid” price) and the price at which they are willing to sell Fund shares (the “ask” price). The spread, which varies over time for shares of the Fund based on trading volume and market liquidity, is generally narrower if the Fund has more trading volume and market liquidity and wider if the Fund has less trading volume and market liquidity. In addition, increased market volatility may cause wider spreads. There may also be regulatory and other charges that are incurred as a result of trading activity. Because of the costs inherent in buying or selling Fund shares, frequent trading may detract significantly from investment results and an investment in Fund shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments through a brokerage account.
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund's service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.
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 invest the Fund's assets in defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets.
Risk of Investing in the U.S. A decrease in imports or exports, changes in trade regulations and/or an economic recession in the U.S. may have a material adverse
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effect on the U.S. economy and the securities listed on U.S. exchanges. Proposed and adopted policy and legislative changes in the U.S. are changing many aspects of financial and other regulation and may have a significant effect on the U.S. markets generally, as well as on the value of certain securities. In addition, a continued rise in the U.S. public debt level or the imposition of U.S. austerity measures may adversely affect U.S. economic growth and the securities to which the Fund has exposure.
The U.S. has developed increasingly strained relations with a number of foreign countries. If relations with certain countries continue to worsen, it could adversely affect U.S. issuers as well as non-U.S. issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. The U.S. has also experienced increased internal unrest and discord. If this trend were to continue, it may have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy and the issuers in which the Fund invests.
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 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. 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.
Small Fund Risk. When the Fund’s size is small, the Fund may experience low trading volume and wide bid/ask spreads. In addition, the Fund may face the risk of being delisted if the Fund does not meet certain conditions of the listing exchange. If the Fund were to be required to delist from the listing exchange, the value of the Fund may rapidly decline and performance may be negatively impacted. Any resulting liquidation of the Fund could cause the Fund to incur elevated transaction costs for the Fund and negative tax consequences for its shareholders.
Tracking Error Risk. The Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities and other instruments held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences, transaction costs incurred by the Fund, the Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of distributions, the requirements to maintain pass-through tax treatment, portfolio transactions carried out to minimize the distribution of capital gains to shareholders, changes to the Underlying Index or the costs to the Fund 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. BFA EXPECTS THAT THE FUND MAY EXPERIENCE HIGHER TRACKING ERROR THAN IS TYPICAL FOR SIMILAR INDEX ETFs.
U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk. U.S. Treasury obligations may differ from other securities in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit
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rating of the U.S. government may cause the value of the Fund's U.S. Treasury obligations to decline. On August 5, 2011, S&P Global Ratings downgraded U.S. Treasury securities from AAA rating to AA+ rating. A further downgrade of the ratings of U.S. government debt obligations, which are often used as a benchmark for other borrowing arrangements, could result in higher interest rates for individual and corporate borrowers, cause disruptions in the international bond markets and have a substantial negative effect on the U.S. economy. A downgrade of U.S. Treasury securities from another ratings agency or a further downgrade below AA+ rating by S&P Global Ratings may cause the value of the Fund’s U.S. Treasury obligations to decline.
A Further Discussion of Other Risks
The Fund may also be subject to certain other risks associated with its investments and investment strategies. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Close-Out Risk for Qualified Financial Contracts. Regulations adopted by global prudential regulators that are now in effect require counterparties that are part of U.S. or foreign global systemically important banking organizations to include contractual restrictions on close-out and cross-default in agreements relating to qualified financial contracts. Qualified financial contracts include agreements relating to swaps, currency forwards and other derivatives as well as repurchase agreements and securities lending agreements. The restrictions prevent the Fund from closing out a qualified financial contract during a specified time period if the counterparty is subject to resolution proceedings and also prohibit the Fund from exercising default rights due to a receivership or similar proceeding of an affiliate of the counterparty. These requirements may increase credit risk and other risks to the Fund.
Illiquid Investments Risk. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. To the extent the Fund holds illiquid investments, the illiquid investments may reduce the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices. An investment may be illiquid due to, among other things, the reduced number and capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in securities or instruments or the lack of an active market for such securities or instruments. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities or instruments with substantial market and/or credit risk, the Fund will tend to have increased exposure to the risks associated with illiquid investments. Liquid investments may become illiquid after purchase by the Fund, particularly during periods of market turmoil. There can be no assurance that a security or instrument that is deemed to be liquid when purchased will continue to be liquid for as long as it is held by the Fund, and any security or instrument held by the Fund may be deemed an illiquid investment pursuant to the Fund’s liquidity risk management program. Illiquid investments may be harder to value, especially in changing markets. Although the Fund primarily seeks to redeem shares of the Fund on an in-kind basis, if the Fund is forced to sell underlying investments at
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reduced prices or under unfavorable conditions to meet redemption requests or for other cash needs, the Fund may suffer a loss. This may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment or other circumstances where redemptions from the Fund may be greater than normal. Other market participants may be attempting to liquidate holdings at the same time as the Fund, causing increased supply of the Fund’s underlying investments in the market and contributing to illiquid investments risk and downward pricing pressure. During periods of market volatility, liquidity in the market for the Fund’s shares may be impacted by the liquidity in the market for the underlying securities or instruments held by the Fund, which could lead to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to the Fund’s NAV.
Threshold/Underinvestment Risk. If certain aggregate and/or fund-level ownership thresholds are reached through transactions undertaken by BFA, its affiliates or the Fund, or as a result of third-party transactions or actions by an issuer or regulator, the ability of BFA and its affiliates on behalf of clients (including the Fund) to purchase or dispose of investments, or exercise rights or undertake business transactions, may be restricted by regulation or otherwise impaired. The capacity of the Fund to make investments in certain securities may be affected by the relevant threshold limits, and such limitations may have adverse effects on the liquidity and performance of the Fund’s portfolio holdings compared to the performance of the Underlying Index. This may increase the risk of the Fund being underinvested to the Underlying Index and increase the risk of tracking error.
For example, in certain circumstances where the Fund invests in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries or in certain emerging or international markets, is subject to corporate or regulatory ownership restrictions, or invests in certain futures or other derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate and/or fund-level amount invested or voted by BFA and its affiliates for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including the Fund) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BFA and its affiliates, the Fund or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions.
Portfolio Holdings Information
A description of the Trust's policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is available in the Fund's Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The top holdings of the Fund can be found at www.iShares.com. Fund fact sheets provide information regarding the Fund's top holdings and may be requested by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737).
Management
Investment Adviser. As investment adviser, BFA has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Fund. BFA provides an investment program for the Fund and manages the investment of the Fund’s assets. In managing the Fund, BFA may draw upon the 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
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and other investment specialists. This team approach brings together many disciplines and leverages BFA’s extensive resources.
Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement between BFA and the Trust (entered into on behalf of the Fund), BFA is responsible for substantially all expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses (as determined by a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust).
For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA will be paid a management fee from the Fund based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at the annual rate of 0.07%. BFA has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fees in an amount equal to the Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, if any, attributable to investments by the Fund in other funds advised by BFA or its affiliates through the termination date of the Fund. The contractual waiver may be terminated prior to the Fund's termination only upon the written agreement of the Trust and BFA. In addition, BFA may from time to time voluntarily waive and/or reimburse fees or expenses in order to limit total annual fund operating expenses (excluding Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, if any). Any such voluntary waiver or reimbursement may be eliminated by BFA at any time.
BFA is located at 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. It is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). As of March 31, 2020, BFA and its affiliates provided investment advisory services for assets in excess of $6.47 trillion. BFA and its affiliates trade and invest for their own accounts in the actual securities and types of securities in which the Fund may also invest, which may affect the price of such securities.
A discussion regarding the basis for the approval by the Trust's Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of the Investment Advisory Agreement with BFA will be available in the Fund's Annual Report for the period ending October 31, 2020.
Portfolio Managers. James Mauro and Scott Radell are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager is responsible for various functions related to portfolio management, including, but not limited to, investing cash inflows, coordinating with members of his portfolio management team to focus on certain asset classes, implementing investment strategy, researching and reviewing investment strategy and overseeing members of his portfolio management team that have more limited responsibilities.
James Mauro has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Mauro was a Vice President at State Street Global Advisors. Mr. Mauro has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since inception (2020).
Scott Radell has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2004. Mr. Radell was a credit strategist from 2003 to 2004 and became a portfolio manager at Barclays Global Fund Advisors in 2004. Mr. Radell has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since inception (2020).
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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. The investment activities of BFA and its affiliates (including BlackRock and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Affiliates”)), , and their respective directors, officers or employees, in the management of, or their interest in, their own accounts and other accounts they manage, may present conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA and its Affiliates provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow investment programs similar to that of the Fund. BFA and its Affiliates are involved worldwide with a broad spectrum of financial services and asset management activities and may engage in the ordinary course of business in activities in which their interests or the interests of their clients may conflict with those of the Fund. BFA or one or more Affiliates act, or may act, as an investor, research provider, investment manager, commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, financier, underwriter, adviser, trader, lender, index provider, agent and/or principal, and have other direct and indirect interests in securities, currencies, commodities, derivatives and other instruments in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. The Fund may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies with which an Affiliate has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Fund may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which an Affiliate provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. The Fund also may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies for which an Affiliate provides or may in the future provide research coverage. An Affiliate may have business relationships with, and purchase or distribute or sell services or products from or to, distributors, consultants or others who recommend the Fund or who engage in transactions with or for the Fund, and may receive compensation for such services. BFA or one or more Affiliates may engage in proprietary trading and advise accounts and funds that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in and compete for transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and other instruments as the Fund. This may include transactions in securities issued by other open-end and closed-end investment companies (which may include investment companies that are affiliated with the Fund and BFA, to the extent permitted under the 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 by the Fund and may result in BFA or an Affiliate having positions in certain securities that are senior or junior to, or have interests different from or adverse to, the securities that are owned by the Fund.
Neither BlackRock nor any Affiliate is under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Fund. As a result, an Affiliate may compete with the Fund for appropriate investment opportunities. The results of the Fund's
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investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of an Affiliate and of other accounts managed by BlackRock or an Affiliate, and it is possible that the Fund could sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible.
In addition, the Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which BFA or an Affiliate or its or their directors, officers or employees or other clients have an adverse interest. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by clients advised or managed by BFA or its Affiliates may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more clients or by BFA or its Affiliates or their directors, officers or employees, may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund.
The Fund's activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to BFA or one or more Affiliates and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions.
Under a securities lending program approved by the Board, the Fund has retained BTC, an Affiliate of BFA, to serve as the securities lending agent for the Fund to the extent that the Fund participates in the securities lending program. For these services, the securities lending agent will receive a fee from the Fund, including a fee based on the returns earned on the Fund’s investment of the cash received as collateral for the loaned securities. In addition, one or more Affiliates may be among the entities to which the Fund may lend its portfolio securities under the securities lending program.
The activities of BFA and its Affiliates and their respective directors, officers or employees, may give rise to other conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA has adopted policies and procedures designed to address these potential conflicts of interest. See the SAI for further information.
Shareholder Information
Additional shareholder information, including how to buy and sell shares of the Fund, is available free of charge by calling toll-free: 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting our website at www.iShares.com.
Buying and Selling Shares. Shares of the Fund may be acquired or redeemed directly from the Fund only in Creation Units or multiples thereof, as discussed in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. Once created, shares of the Fund generally trade in the secondary market in amounts less than a Creation Unit.
Shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange for trading during the trading day. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like shares of other publicly-traded companies. The Trust does not impose any minimum investment for shares of the Fund purchased on an exchange or otherwise in the secondary market. The Fund's shares trade under the ticker symbol “IBTK.”
Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange or other secondary market involves two types of costs that may apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling
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shares of the Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission and other charges. The commission is frequently a fixed amount and may be a significant proportional cost for investors seeking to buy or sell small amounts of shares. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread,” that is, any difference between the bid price and the ask price. The spread varies over time for shares of the Fund based on the Fund’s trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund has high trading volume and market liquidity, and higher if the Fund has little trading volume and market liquidity (which is often the case for funds that are newly launched or small in size). The Fund's spread may also be impacted by the liquidity or illiquidity of the underlying securities held by the Fund, particularly for newly launched or smaller funds or in instances of significant volatility of the underlying securities.
The Board has adopted a policy of not monitoring for frequent purchases and redemptions of Fund shares (“frequent trading”) that appear to attempt to take advantage of a potential arbitrage opportunity presented by a lag between a change in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities after the close of the primary markets for the Fund’s portfolio securities and the reflection of that change in the Fund’s NAV (“market timing”), because the Fund sells and redeems its shares directly through transactions that are in-kind and/or for cash, subject to the conditions described below under Creations and Redemptions. The Board has not adopted a policy of monitoring for other frequent trading activity because shares of the Fund are listed for trading on a national securities exchange.
The national securities exchange on which the Fund's shares are listed is open for trading Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and the following holidays (or the days on which they are observed): New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The Fund’s primary listing exchange is NASDAQ.
Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by investment companies, including foreign investment companies, in the securities of other investment companies. Registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in SEC rules or in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust. In order for a registered investment company to invest in shares of the Fund beyond the limitations of Section 12(d)(1) pursuant to the exemptive relief obtained by the Trust, the registered investment company must enter into an agreement with the Trust. Foreign investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund only up to the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to any applicable SEC no-action relief.
Book Entry. Shares of the Fund are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of, and holds legal title to, all outstanding shares of the Fund.
Investors owning shares of the Fund are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for shares of the Fund. DTC participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of stock certificates or to have shares registered in your
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name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other securities that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Prices. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares in the secondary market generally differ from the Fund’s daily NAV and are affected by market forces such as the supply of and demand for ETF shares and underlying securities held by the Fund, economic conditions and other factors. 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 each 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 or other assets 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 or other assets 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 price quotations obtained from broker-dealers and other market intermediaries that may trade in the portfolio securities or other assets 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 U.S. 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 (i) any Fund assets or liabilities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar are translated into U.S. dollars at the prevailing market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more data service providers and (ii) U.S. fixed-income assets may be valued as of the announced closing time for trading in fixed-income instruments in a particular market or exchange. The NAV of the Fund is calculated by dividing the value of the net assets of the Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by the total number of outstanding shares of the Fund, generally rounded to the nearest cent.
The value of the securities and other assets and liabilities held by the Fund are determined pursuant to valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board.
The Fund values fixed-income portfolio securities using last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by the Fund's approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board. Pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but the Fund may hold or transact in such securities in smaller odd lot sizes. Odd lots often trade at lower
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prices than institutional round lots. An amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless BFA determines in good faith that such method does not represent fair value.
Generally, trading in non-U.S. securities, U.S. government securities, money market instruments and certain fixed-income securities is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of business on the NYSE. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of the Fund are determined as of such times.
When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BFA to be unreliable, the Fund’s investments are valued at fair value. Fair value determinations are made by BFA in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Board. BFA may conclude that a market quotation is not readily available or is unreliable if a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source due to its lack of trading or other reasons, if a market quotation differs significantly from recent price quotations or otherwise no longer appears to reflect fair value, where the security or other asset or liability is thinly traded, when there is a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation, or if the trading market on which a security is listed is suspended or closed and no appropriate alternative trading market is available. A “significant event” is deemed to occur if BFA determines, in its reasonable business judgment prior to or at the time of pricing the Fund’s assets or liabilities, that the event is likely to cause a material change to the closing market price of one or more assets or liabilities held by the Fund.
Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of an asset or liability held by the Fund is the amount the Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or the cost to extinguish that liability in an arm’s-length transaction. Valuing the Fund’s investments using fair value pricing will result in prices that may differ from current market valuations and that may not be the prices at which those investments could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used. 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.
Dividends and Distributions
General Policies. Dividends from net investment income, if any, generally are declared and paid at least once a year by the Fund. Distributions of net realized securities gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but the Trust may make distributions on a more frequent basis for the Fund. The Trust reserves the right to declare special distributions if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve its status as a regulated investment company or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income or realized gains.
Dividends and other distributions on shares of the Fund are distributed on a pro rata basis to beneficial owners of such shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC participants and indirect participants to beneficial owners then of record with proceeds received from the Fund.
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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. There is no guarantee that shares of the Fund will receive certain regulatory or accounting treatment. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund.
Unless your investment in Fund shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an IRA, in which case your distributions generally will be taxable when withdrawn, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Fund shares.
Taxes on Distributions. Distributions from the Fund’s net investment income, including distributions of income from securities lending and distributions out of the Fund's net short-term capital gains, if any, are taxable to you as ordinary income. The Fund's distributions of net long-term capital gains, if any, in excess of net short-term capital losses are taxable as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you have held the shares. Long-term capital gains are eligible for taxation at a maximum rate of 15% or 20% for non-corporate shareholders, depending on whether their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. Distributions from the Fund are subject to a 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax on “net investment income,” for individuals with incomes exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly) and of estates and trusts. 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. Certain states and localities may exempt from tax distributions attributable to interest from U.S. federal government obligations. Consult your personal tax advisor.
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. A return of capital distribution generally will not be taxable but will reduce the shareholder's cost basis and will result in a higher capital gain or lower capital loss when those shares on which the distribution was received are sold. Once a shareholder's cost basis is reduced to zero, further distributions will be treated as capital gain, if the shareholder holds shares of the Fund as capital assets.
If you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the U.S. or if you are a non-U.S. entity (other than a pass-through entity to the extent owned by U.S. persons), the Fund’s
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ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gains) will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. federal withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies 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.
Separately, a 30% withholding tax is currently imposed on U.S.-source dividends, interest and other income items paid to (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the U.S. 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 provide certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership, unless certain exceptions apply.
If you are a resident or a citizen of the U.S., by law, backup withholding at a 24% rate will apply to your distributions and proceeds if you have not provided a taxpayer identification number or social security number and made other required certifications.
Taxes When Shares are Sold. Currently, any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares is generally treated as a long-term gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than one year. Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares held for one year or less is generally treated as short-term gain or loss, except that any capital loss on the sale of shares held for six months or less is treated as long-term capital loss to the extent that capital gain dividends were paid with respect to such shares. Any such capital gains, including from sales of Fund shares or from capital gain dividends, are included in “net investment income” for purposes of the 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax mentioned above.
The foregoing discussion summarizes some of the consequences under current U.S. federal tax law of an investment in the Fund. It is not a substitute for personal tax advice. You may also be subject to state and local taxation on Fund distributions and sales of shares. Certain states and localities may exempt from tax distributions attributable to interest from U.S. federal government obligations. 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
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block-size Creation Units of 50,000 shares or multiples thereof. Each “creator” or authorized participant (an “Authorized Participant”) has entered into an agreement with the Fund's distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of BFA.
A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the Distributor and the Fund, generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits into the Fund a 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 (a “Creation Basket”). To the extent practicable, the composition of such portfolio generally corresponds pro rata to the holdings of the Fund. Creation Baskets will generally correspond to the price and yield performance of the Fund. The Fund may, in certain circumstances, offer Creation Units partially or solely for cash.
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 with the Fund. Authorized Participants may create or redeem Creation Units for their own accounts or for customers, including, without limitation, affiliates of the Fund.
In the event of a system failure or other interruption, including disruptions at market makers or Authorized Participants, orders to purchase or redeem Creation Units either may not be executed according to the Fund's instructions or may not be executed at all, or the Fund may not be able to place or change orders.
To the extent the Fund engages in in-kind transactions, the Fund intends to comply with the U.S. federal securities laws in accepting securities for deposit and satisfying redemptions with redemption securities by, among other means, assuring that any securities accepted for deposit and any securities used to satisfy redemption requests will be sold in transactions that would be exempt from registration under the 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 in Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, will not be able to receive restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A.
Creations and redemptions must be made through a firm that is either a member of the Continuous Net Settlement System of the National Securities Clearing Corporation or a DTC participant that has executed an agreement with the Distributor with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Unit aggregations. Information about the procedures regarding creation and redemption of Creation Units (including the cut-off times for receipt of creation and redemption orders) is included in the Fund's SAI.
Because new shares may be created and issued on an ongoing basis, at any point during the life of the Fund a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may
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be occurring. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters subject to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. Any determination of whether one is an underwriter must take into account all the relevant facts and circumstances of each particular case.
Broker-dealers should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to ordinary secondary transactions), and thus dealing with shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the 1933 Act. For delivery of prospectuses to exchange members, the prospectus delivery mechanism of Rule 153 under the 1933 Act is available only with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange.
Costs Associated with Creations and Redemptions. Authorized Participants are charged standard creation and redemption transaction fees to offset transfer and other transaction costs associated with the issuance and redemption of Creation Units. The standard creation and redemption transaction fees are set forth in the table below. The standard creation transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant creates a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased by the Authorized Participant on the applicable business day. Similarly, the standard redemption transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant redeems a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units redeemed by the Authorized Participant on the applicable business day. Creations and redemptions for cash (when cash creations and redemptions (in whole or in part) are available or specified) are also subject to an additional charge (up to the maximum amounts shown in the table below). This charge is intended to compensate for brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, price movement and other costs and expenses related to cash transactions (which may, in certain instances, be based on a good faith estimate of transaction costs). 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 June 29, 2020, the approximate value of one Creation Unit, standard transaction fees and maximum additional charges for creations and redemptions (as described above and in the Fund's SAI):
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   $125   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.
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Householding. Householding is an option available to certain Fund investors. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Please contact your broker-dealer if you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, or if you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status.
Distribution
The Distributor or its agent distributes Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in shares of the Fund. The Distributor has no role in determining the policies of the Fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by the Fund. The Distributor’s principal address is 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.
BFA or its affiliates make payments to broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks or other intermediaries (together, “intermediaries”) related to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, data provision services, or their making shares of the Fund and certain other 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 or other financial incentives it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments or other financial incentives offered or made to an intermediary create conflicts of interest between the intermediary and its customers and may cause the intermediary to recommend the Fund or other iShares funds over another investment. More information regarding these payments is contained in the Fund's SAI. Please contact your salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any such payments his or her firm may receive from BFA or its affiliates.
Financial Highlights
Financial highlights for the Fund are not available because, as of the effective date of this Prospectus, the Fund has not commenced operations and therefore has no financial highlights to report.
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Index Provider
The Underlying Index is owned, maintained and administered by IDI. IDI 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, sublicenses rights in the Underlying Index to the Trust at no charge.
Disclaimers
IDI is used with permission. ICE Term Maturity US Treasury Indexes are trademarks of IDI, its affiliates or its third party licensors and have been licensed, along with the Underlying Index for use by BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates (“BlackRock”) in connection with the Fund. Neither BlackRock, Inc., the Trust nor the Fund, as applicable, is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by IDI, its affiliates or its third party suppliers (“IDI and its Suppliers”). IDI and its Suppliers make no representations or warranties regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally, in the Fund particularly, the Trust or the ability of the Underlying Index to track general stock market performance. IDI’s only relationship to BlackRock is the licensing of certain trademarks and trade names and the Underlying Index or components thereof. The Underlying Index is determined, composed and calculated by IDI without regard to BlackRock or the Fund or its holders. IDI has no obligation to take the needs of BlackRock or the holders of the Fund into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Underlying Index. IDI is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of the Fund to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Fund is to be priced, sold, purchased, or redeemed. Except for certain custom index calculation services, all information provided by IDI is general in nature and not tailored to the needs of BlackRock or any other person, entity or group of persons. IDI has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing, or trading of the Fund. IDI is not an investment adviser. Inclusion of a security within an index is not a recommendation by IDI to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.
IDI AND ITS SUPPLIERS DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES AND REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS AND/OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE, INCLUDING THE UNDERLYING INDEX, INDEX DATA AND ANY INFORMATION INCLUDED IN, RELATED TO, OR DERIVED THEREFROM (“INDEX DATA”). IDI AND ITS SUPPLIERS SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY DAMAGES OR LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO THE ADEQUACY, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS OR COMPLETENESS OF THE UNDERLYING INDEX AND THE INDEX DATA, WHICH ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” BASIS AND YOUR USE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
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Shares of the Fund are not sponsored, endorsed or promoted by NASDAQ. NASDAQ makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of 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. NASDAQ 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. NASDAQ has no obligation or liability to owners of shares of the Fund in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the shares of the Fund.
NASDAQ does not guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. NASDAQ 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 shares of the Fund, or any other person or entity from the use of the Underlying Index or any data included therein in connection with the rights licensed as described herein or for any other use.
NASDAQ 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 NASDAQ 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 and its affiliates do not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein and BFA and its affiliates shall have no liability for any errors, omissions or interruptions therein. BFA and its affiliates make 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 or its affiliates have any liability for any special, punitive, direct, indirect, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits), even if notified of the possibility of such damages.
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Want to know more?
iShares.com     |    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
Reports and other information about the Fund are available on the EDGAR database on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov, and copies of this information may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov.
No person is authorized to give any information or to make any representations about the Fund and its shares not contained in this Prospectus and you should not rely on any other information. Read and keep this Prospectus for future reference.
©2020 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved. iSHARES® and BLACKROCK® are registered trademarks of BFA and its affiliates. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
Investment Company Act File No.: 811-09729
IS-P-IBTK-0620


iShares® Trust
Statement of Additional Information
Dated June 29, 2020
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the current prospectus (the “Prospectus”) for the following series of iShares Trust (the “Trust”):
Fund   Ticker   Listing Exchange
iShares iBonds Dec 2030 Term Treasury ETF1 (the “Fund”)   IBTK   NASDAQ

1 The iShares iBonds Dec 2030 Term Treasury ETF may also conduct business as the iBonds Dec 2030 Term Treasury ETF.
The Prospectus for the Fund is dated June 29, 2020, as amended and supplemented from time to time. Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined have the same meaning as in the Prospectus, unless otherwise noted. A copy of the Prospectus for the Fund may be obtained without charge by writing to the Trust’s distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor” or “BRIL”), 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540, calling 1-800-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® , iBonds® and BlackRock® are registered trademarks of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates.

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS
  Page
General Description of the Trust and the Fund 1
Exchange Listing and Trading 1
Investment Strategies and Risks 2
Bonds 2
Borrowing 3
Diversification Status 3
Futures, Options on Futures and Securities Options 4
Lending Portfolio Securities 5
Liquidity Risk Management 5
Ratings 6
Regulation Regarding Derivatives 6
Repurchase Agreements 6
Securities of Investment Companies 7
Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments 7
Future Developments 7
General Considerations and Risks 8
Borrowing Risk 8
Illiquid Investments Risk 8
Operational Risk 8
Risk of Futures and Options on Futures Transactions 8
U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk 9
Proxy Voting Policy 9
Portfolio Holdings Information 10
Construction and Maintenance of the Underlying Index 11
The ICE Term Maturity US Treasury Index 11
ICE 2030 Maturity US Treasury Index 11
Investment Policies 11
Fundamental Investment Policies 12
Non-Fundamental Investment Policies 13
Continuous Offering 13
Management 14
Trustees and Officers 14
Committees of the Board of Trustees 21
Remuneration of Trustees and Advisory Board Members 26
Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities 26
Potential Conflicts of Interest 26
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  Page
Legal Proceedings 34
Investment Advisory, Administrative and Distribution Services 34
Investment Adviser 34
Portfolio Managers 35
Codes of Ethics 37
Anti-Money Laundering Requirements 37
Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent 37
Distributor 37
Securities Lending 38
Payments by BFA and its Affiliates 38
Determination of Net Asset Value 40
Brokerage Transactions 42
Additional Information Concerning the Trust 45
Shares 45
DTC as Securities Depository for Shares of the Fund 46
Distribution of Shares 47
Creation and Redemption of Creation Units 47
General 47
Fund Deposit 47
Cash Purchase Method 48
Procedures for Creation of Creation Units 48
Role of the Authorized Participant 48
Placement of Creation Orders 49
Purchase Orders 49
Timing of Submission of Purchase Orders 49
Acceptance of Orders for Creation Units 50
Issuance of a Creation Unit 50
Costs Associated with Creation Transactions 51
Redemption of Creation Units 51
Cash Redemption Method 52
Costs Associated with Redemption Transactions 52
Placement of Redemption Orders 52
Taxation on Creations and Redemptions of Creation Units 53
Taxes 54
Regulated Investment Company Qualifications 54
Taxation of RICs 54
Net Capital Loss Carryforwards 55
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General Description of the Trust and the Fund
The Trust currently consists of more than 300 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 is a term fund that will terminate on or about December 15, 2030, at which time it will distribute its remaining net assets to shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation.
The Fund offers and issues shares at their net asset value per share (“NAV”) only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (each, a “Creation Unit”), generally in exchange for a 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 The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ” 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 by Authorized Participants (as defined in the Portfolio Holdings Information section of this SAI), and, generally, in exchange for portfolio securities and a Cash Amount (as defined in the Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI). 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 and reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of Deposit Securities in lieu of cash. Shares may be issued in advance of receipt of Deposit Securities, subject to various conditions, including a requirement that the Authorized Participant maintain with the Trust a cash deposit equal to at least 105% and up to 122%, which percentage BFA may change from time to time, of the market value of the omitted Deposit Securities. The Trust may use such cash deposit at any time to purchase Deposit Securities. See the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI. Transaction fees and other costs associated with creations or redemptions that include a cash portion may be higher than the transaction fees and other costs associated with in-kind creations or redemptions. In all cases, conditions with respect to creations and redemptions of shares and fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of SEC rules and regulations applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities.
Exchange Listing and Trading
A discussion of exchange listing and trading matters associated with an investment in 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 in 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, among other things: (i) following the initial 12-month period beginning upon the commencement of trading of Fund shares, there are fewer than 50 record and/or 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, or (iii) any 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 or in the event the Fund does not comply with the continuous listing standards of the Listing Exchange, as described in the Fund’s Prospectus.
As in the case of other publicly-traded securities, when you buy or sell shares of the Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission determined by that broker, as well as other charges.
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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 indicative optimized portfolio value (“IOPV”) for the Fund as calculated by an information provider or market data vendor. The Trust is not involved in or responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the IOPV.
An IOPV has a fixed income securities component and a cash component. The fixed income securities values included in an IOPV are the values of the Deposit Securities for the Fund. While the IOPV reflects the current value of the Deposit Securities required to be deposited in connection with the purchase of a Creation Unit, it does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities held by the Fund at a particular point in time because the current portfolio of the Fund may include securities that are not a part of the current Deposit Securities. Therefore, the Fund’s IOPV disseminated during the Listing Exchange trading hours should not be viewed as a real-time update of the Fund’s NAV, which is calculated only once a day.
The cash component included in an IOPV consists of estimated accrued interest, dividends and other income, less expenses. If applicable, each IOPV also reflects changes in currency exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the applicable currency.
The Trust reserves the right to adjust the share prices of the Fund in the future to maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of the Fund or an investor's equity interest in the Fund.
Investment Strategies and Risks
The Fund seeks to achieve its objective by investing primarily in both fixed-income securities that comprise the Underlying Index and in investments that provide substantially similar exposure to securities in the Underlying Index. The Fund operates as an index fund and is not 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 credit rating, maturity, duration, return variability and yield) and liquidity measures similar to those of the Fund’s Underlying Index. A fund that uses representative sampling generally does not hold all of the securities that are in its underlying index.
Although the Fund does not seek leveraged returns, certain instruments used by the Fund may have a leveraging effect as described below.
The Fund generally will invest at least 90% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index, except during the last months of the Fund’s operations, as described below, and may invest up to 10% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. From time to time when conditions warrant, however, the Fund may invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, 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 its Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Fund.
In the last months of the Fund's operation, as the bonds held by the Fund mature, the proceeds will not be reinvested by the Fund in bonds but instead will be held in cash and cash equivalents. By December 15, 2030, the Underlying Index is expected to consist almost entirely of cash earned in this manner. Around the same time, the Fund will wind up and terminate, and its net assets will be distributed to then-current shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation.
Bonds.  The Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in U.S. dollar-denominated bonds. A bond is an interest-bearing security issued by a U.S. or non-U.S. company or U.S. or non-U.S. governmental unit. The issuer of a bond has a contractual obligation to pay interest at a stated rate on specific dates and to repay principal (the bond’s face value) periodically or on a specified maturity date. Bonds generally are used by corporations and governments to borrow money from investors.
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An issuer may have the right to redeem or “call” a bond before maturity, in which case the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds at lower market rates. Similarly, the Fund may have to reinvest interest income or payments received when bonds mature, sometimes at lower market rates. Most bonds bear interest income at a “coupon” rate that is fixed for the life of the bond. The value of a fixed-rate bond usually rises when market interest rates fall, and falls when market interest rates rise. Accordingly, a fixed-rate bond’s yield (income as a percent of the bond’s current value) may differ from its coupon rate as its value rises or falls. When an investor purchases a fixed-rate bond at a price that is greater than its face value, the investor is purchasing the bond at a premium. Conversely, when an investor purchases a fixed-rate bond at a price that is less than its face value, the investor is purchasing the bond at a discount. Fixed-rate bonds that are purchased at a discount pay less current income than securities with comparable yields that are purchased at face value, with the result that prices for such fixed-rate securities can be more volatile than prices for such securities that are purchased at face value. Other types of bonds bear interest at an interest rate that is adjusted periodically. Interest rates on “floating rate” or “variable rate” bonds may be higher or lower than current market rates for fixed-rate bonds of comparable quality with similar final maturities. Because of their adjustable interest rates, the value of “floating rate” or “variable rate” bonds fluctuates much less in response to market interest rate movements than the value of fixed-rate bonds, but their value may decline if their interest rates do not rise as much, or as quickly, as interest rates in general. The Fund may treat some of these bonds as having a shorter maturity for purposes of calculating the weighted average maturity of its investment portfolio. Generally, prices of higher quality issues tend to fluctuate less with changes in market interest rates than prices of lower quality issues and prices of longer maturity issues tend to fluctuate more than prices of shorter maturity issues. Bonds may be senior or subordinated obligations. Senior obligations generally have the first claim on a corporation’s earnings and assets and, in the event of liquidation, are paid before subordinated obligations. Bonds may be unsecured (backed only by the issuer’s general creditworthiness) or secured (backed by specified collateral).
Borrowing.  The Fund may borrow for temporary or emergency purposes, including to meet payments due from redemptions or to facilitate the settlement of securities or other transactions.
The purchase of securities while borrowings are outstanding may have the effect of leveraging 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 NAV 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 must be made from a bank or 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’s management of 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.
Diversification Status.  The Fund is classified as a diversified fund under the 1940 Act. This means that the Fund may not purchase securities of an issuer (other than (i) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities and (ii) securities of other investment companies) if, with respect to 75% of its total assets, (a) more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in securities of that issuer or (b) the Fund would hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of that issuer. With respect to the remaining 25% of its total assets, the Fund may invest more than 5% of its assets in one issuer. Under the 1940 Act, the Fund cannot change its classification from diversified to non-diversified without shareholder approval.
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.
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Futures, Options on Futures and Securities Options.  Futures contracts, options on futures and securities 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 on futures that are traded on a U.S. or non-U.S. futures exchange. The Fund will not use futures, options on futures or securities options for speculative purposes. The Fund intends to use futures and options on futures in accordance with Rule 4.5 of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) promulgated under 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. See the Regulation Regarding Derivatives section of this SAI for more information.
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. 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 similar to a performance bond or good faith deposit on the contract and is returned to the Fund upon termination of the futures contract if all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments, known as “variation margin,” will be made to and from the broker 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. To the extent required by law, the Fund will segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to its delivery obligations under the futures contracts. An option on a futures contract, as contrasted with a direct investment in such a contract, gives the purchaser the right, but no obligation, 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 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.
Securities options may be used by the Fund to obtain access to securities in the Underlying Index or to dispose of securities in the Underlying Index at favorable prices, to invest cash in a securities index that offers similar exposure to that provided by the Underlying Index or otherwise to achieve the Fund’s objective of tracking the Underlying Index. 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. The Fund may purchase or sell securities options on a U.S. or non-U.S. securities exchange or in the OTC market through a transaction with a dealer. Options on a securities index are typically settled on a net basis based on the appreciation or depreciation of the index level over the strike price. Options on single name securities may be cash- or physically-settled, depending upon the market in which they are traded. Options may be structured so as to be exercisable only on certain dates or on a daily basis. Options may also be structured to have conditions to exercise (i.e., “Knock-in Events”) or conditions that trigger termination (i.e., “Knock-out Events”). Investments in futures contracts and other investments that contain leverage may require the Fund to maintain liquid assets in an amount equal to its delivery obligations under these contracts and other
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investments. 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 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 were required to set aside assets equal to the futures contracts’ full notional value. The Fund bases its asset maintenance policies on methods permitted by the SEC and its staff 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. Changes in SEC guidance regarding the use of derivatives by registered investment companies may adversely impact the Fund’s ability to invest in futures, options or other derivatives or make investments in such instruments more expensive.
Lending Portfolio Securities.  The Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain borrowers that BFA determines to be creditworthy, including borrowers affiliated with BFA. The borrowers provide collateral that is maintained in an amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities loaned. No securities loan shall be made on behalf of the Fund if, as a result, the aggregate value of all securities loaned by the Fund exceeds one-third of the value of the Fund's total assets (including the value of the collateral received). The Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. The Fund receives, by way of substitute payment, the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities that it would have received if the securities were not on loan.
With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower may be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. The Fund is typically 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 typically compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. Any cash collateral may be reinvested in certain short-term instruments either directly on behalf of the 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 to act as securities lending agent. To the extent that the Fund engages in securities lending, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. (“BTC”) acts as securities lending agent for the Fund, subject to the overall supervision of BFA. BTC administers the lending program in accordance with guidelines approved by the Trust's Board of Trustees (the “Board,” the trustees of which are the “Trustees”).
Securities lending involves exposure to certain risks, including operational risk (i.e., the risk of losses resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process), “gap” risk (i.e., the risk of a mismatch between the return on cash collateral reinvestments and the fees 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 received by the Fund representing dividends paid on securities loaned out by the Fund will not be considered qualified dividend income. BTC will take into account the tax effects on shareholders caused by this difference in connection with the Fund’s securities lending program. Substitute payments received on tax-exempt securities loaned out will not be tax-exempt income.
Liquidity Risk Management.  Rule 22e-4 under the Investment Company Act (the “Liquidity Rule”) requires open-end funds, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) such as the Fund, to establish a liquidity risk management program (the “Liquidity Program”) and enhance disclosures regarding fund liquidity. As required by the Liquidity Rule, the Fund has implemented a Liquidity Program, and the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees of the Trust, has appointed BFA as the administrator of the Liquidity Program. Under the Liquidity Program, BFA assesses, manages, and periodically reviews the Fund’s liquidity risk and classifies each investment held by the Fund as a “highly liquid investment,” “moderately liquid investment,” “less liquid investment” or “illiquid investment.” The Liquidity Rule defines “liquidity risk” as the risk that the Fund could not meet requests to redeem shares issued by the Fund without significant dilution of the remaining investors’ interest in the Fund. The liquidity of the Fund's portfolio investments is determined based on relevant market, trading and
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investment-specific considerations under the Liquidity Program. There are exclusions from certain portions of the liquidity risk management program requirements for “in-kind” ETFs, as defined in the Liquidity Rule. To the extent that an investment is deemed to be an illiquid investment or a less liquid investment, the Fund can expect to be exposed to greater liquidity risk.
Ratings.  An investment-grade rating generally means the security or issuer is rated investment-grade by one or more of Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), Standard & Poor’s® Financial Services LLC, a subsidiary of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (“S&P Global Ratings”), Fitch, Inc. (“Fitch”), or another credit rating agency designated as a nationally recognized statistical rating organization by the SEC, or is unrated but considered to be of equivalent quality by BFA. Generally, bonds rated Baa3 or above by Moody’s or BBB- or above by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch are considered “investment-grade” securities, bonds rated Baa are considered medium grade obligations subject to moderate credit risk and may possess certain speculative characteristics, while bonds rated BBB are regarded as having adequate capacity to meet financial commitments.
Subsequent to purchase by the Fund, a rated security may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below an investment-grade rating. Bonds rated lower than Baa3 by Moody’s or BBB- by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch are generally considered below investment-grade quality and are obligations of issuers that are generally considered predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal according to the terms of the obligation and, therefore, carry greater investment risk, including the possibility of issuer default and bankruptcy and increased market price volatility. Such lower-rated securities are commonly referred to as “junk bonds” and are subject to a substantial degree of credit risk. Please see Appendix B of this SAI for a description of each rating category of Moody's, S&P Global Ratings and Fitch.
Regulation Regarding Derivatives.  The CFTC subjects advisers to registered investment companies to regulation by the CFTC if a fund that is advised by the adviser either (i) invests, directly or indirectly, more than a prescribed level of its liquidation value in CFTC-regulated futures, options and swaps (“CFTC Derivatives”) or (ii) markets itself as providing investment exposure to such instruments. The CFTC also subjects advisers to registered investment companies to regulation by the CFTC if the registered investment company invests in one or more commodity pools. To the extent the Fund uses CFTC Derivatives, it intends to do so below such prescribed levels and intends not to market itself as a “commodity pool” or a vehicle for trading such instruments.
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 with respect to the Fund. BFA is not, therefore, subject to registration or regulation as a “commodity pool operator” under the CEA with respect to the Fund.
Derivative contracts, including, without limitation, swaps, currency forwards, and non-deliverable forwards, are subject to regulation under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”) in the U.S. and under comparable regimes in Europe, Asia and other non-U.S. jurisdictions. Swaps, non-deliverable forwards and certain other derivatives traded in the OTC market are subject to variation margin requirements and initial margining requirements will be phased in through 2020. Implementation of the margining and other provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act regarding clearing, mandatory trading, reporting and documentation of swaps and other derivatives have impacted and may continue to impact the costs to the Fund of trading these instruments and, as a result, may affect returns to investors in the Fund.
As a result of regulatory requirements under the 1940 Act, the Fund is required to maintain an amount of liquid assets, accrued on a daily basis, having an aggregate value at least equal to the value of the Fund’s obligations under the applicable derivatives contract. To the extent that derivatives contracts are settled on a physical basis, the Fund will generally be required to maintain an amount of liquid assets equal to the notional value of the contract. On the other hand, in connection with derivatives contracts that are performed on a net basis, the Fund will generally be required to maintain liquid assets, accrued daily, equal only to the accrued excess, if any, of the Fund’s obligations over those of its counterparty under the contract. Accordingly, reliance by the Fund on physically-settled derivatives contracts may adversely impact investors by requiring the Fund to set aside a greater amount of liquid assets than would generally be required if the Fund were relying on cash-settled derivatives contracts.
Repurchase Agreements.  A repurchase agreement is an instrument under which the purchaser (i.e., the Fund) acquires a security and the seller agrees, at the time of the sale, to repurchase 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
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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 determined to (A) have exceptionally strong capacity to meet their financial obligations and (B) are sufficiently liquid such that they can be sold at approximately their carrying value in the ordinary course of business within seven days.
Repurchase agreements pose certain risks for 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 a longer maturity may be subject to greater price fluctuations than higher quality collateral and collateral with a shorter maturity. If the repurchase agreement counterparty were to default, lower quality collateral may be more difficult to liquidate than higher quality collateral. Should the counterparty default and the amount of collateral not be sufficient to cover the counterparty’s repurchase obligation, the Fund would likely 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.
Securities of Investment Companies.  The Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies (including money market funds) to the extent permitted by law, regulation, exemptive order or SEC staff guidance. Under the 1940 Act, a fund’s investment in investment companies is limited to, subject to certain exceptions, (i) 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of any one investment company, (ii) 5% of the fund’s total assets with respect to any one investment company, and (iii) 10% of the fund’s total assets with respect to investment companies in the aggregate. To the extent allowed by law or regulation, the Fund intends from time to time to invest its assets in securities of investment companies, including, but not limited to, money market funds, including those advised by BFA or otherwise affiliated with BFA, in excess of the limits discussed above. Other investment companies in which the Fund invests can be expected to incur fees and expenses for operations, such as investment advisory and administration fees, which would be in addition to those incurred by the Fund. Pursuant to guidance issued by the SEC staff, fees and expenses of money market funds used for cash collateral received in connection with loans of securities are not treated as Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, which reflect a fund's pro rata share of the fees and expenses incurred by investing in other investment companies.
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 S&P Global, Inc. (“S&P Global Ratings”), 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 have been determined to present minimal credit risks, in accordance with the requirements set forth in Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act; (vi) repurchase agreements; and (vii) short-term U.S. dollar-denominated obligations of non-U.S. banks (including U.S. branches) that, in the opinion of BFA, are of comparable quality to obligations of U.S. banks that may be purchased by 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.
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.
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General Considerations and Risks
A discussion of some of the principal risks associated with an investment in the Fund is contained in the Fund's Prospectus. An investment in the Fund should be made with an understanding that the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of the issuers of the portfolio securities, the value of bonds in general, and other factors that affect the market. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Borrowing Risk.  Borrowing may exaggerate changes in the NAV of Fund shares and in the return on the Fund’s portfolio. Borrowing will cause the Fund to incur 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.
Illiquid Investments Risk.  The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. The liquidity of an investment will be determined based on relevant market, trading and investment specific considerations as set out in the Liquidity Program as required by the Liquidity Rule. Illiquid investments may trade at a discount to comparable, more liquid investments and the Fund may not be able to dispose of illiquid investments in a timely fashion or at their expected prices. If illiquid investments exceed 15% of the Fund’s net assets, the Liquidity Rule and the Liquidity Program will require that certain remedial actions be taken.
Operational Risk.  BFA and the Fund's other service providers may experience disruptions or operating errors such as processing errors or human errors, inadequate or failed internal or external processes, or systems or technology failures, that could negatively impact the 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. BFA, through its monitoring and oversight of service providers, seeks to ensure that service providers take appropriate precautions to avoid and mitigate risks that could lead to disruptions and operating errors. However, it is not possible for BFA or the other Fund service providers to identify all of the operational risks that may affect the Fund or to develop processes and controls to completely eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects.
Risk of Futures and Options on Futures 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 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 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.
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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.
U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk.  The Fund invests in various types of U.S. Treasury securities. U.S. Treasury obligations may differ from other securities in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit rating of the U.S. government may cause the value of U.S. Treasury obligations to decline. U.S. Treasury obligations typically offer lower interest rates than other obligations. Neither the U.S. government nor any of its agencies or instrumentalities guarantees the market value of the securities it issues.
The total public debt of the U.S. as a percent of gross domestic product has grown rapidly since the 2008 financial crisis and is continuing to grow. Although high debt levels do not necessarily indicate or cause economic problems, they may create systemic risks if sound debt management practices are not implemented. A high national debt level may increase market pressures to meet government funding needs, which may drive debt cost higher and cause a country to sell additional debt, thereby increasing refinancing risk. A high national debt also raises concerns that the U.S. government will not be able to make principal or interest payments when they are due. In the worst case, unsustainable debt levels can cause a decline in the value of the dollar (which may lead to inflation), and can prevent the U.S. government from implementing effective counter-cyclical fiscal policy in economic downturns.
On August 5, 2011, S&P Global Ratings downgraded U.S. Treasury securities from an AAA rating to AA+. A further downgrade of the ratings of U.S. government debt obligations, which are often used as a benchmark for other borrowing arrangements, could result in higher interest rates for individual and corporate borrowers, cause disruptions in the international bond markets and generally have a substantial negative effect on the U.S. economy. A downgrade of U.S. Treasury securities from another ratings agency or a further downgrade beyond AA+ rating by S&P Global Ratings may cause the value of the Fund's U.S. Treasury obligations to decline.
Proxy Voting Policy
For the Fund, the Board has delegated the voting of proxies for the Fund’s securities to BFA pursuant to the Fund's Proxy Voting Policy (the “iShares ETFs Proxy Voting Policy”), and BFA has adopted policies and procedures (the “BlackRock Proxy Voting Policies”) governing proxy voting by accounts managed by BFA, including the Fund.
Under the BlackRock Proxy Voting Policies, BFA will vote proxies related to Fund securities in the best interests of the Fund and its shareholders. From time to time, a vote may present a conflict between the interests of the Fund’s shareholders, on the one hand, and those of BFA, or any affiliated person of the Fund or BFA, on the other. BFA maintains policies and procedures that are designed to prevent undue influence on BFA’s proxy voting activity that might stem from any relationship between the issuer of a proxy (or any dissident shareholder) and BFA, BFA’s affiliates, the Fund or the Fund’s affiliates. Most conflicts are managed through a structural separation of BFA’s Corporate Governance Group from BFA’s employees with sales and client responsibilities. In addition, BFA maintains procedures to ensure that all engagements with corporate issuers or dissident shareholders are managed consistently and without regard to BFA’s relationship with the issuer of the proxy or the dissident shareholder. In certain instances, BFA may determine to engage an independent fiduciary to vote proxies as a further safeguard to avoid potential conflicts of interest or as otherwise required by applicable law.
Copies of the iShares ETFs Proxy Voting Policy, the BlackRock Global Proxy Voting Policies and the BlackRock U.S. Proxy Voting Policies are attached as Appendices A1, A2 and A3, respectively.
Information with respect to how proxies relating to the Fund's portfolio securities were voted during the 12-month period ended 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.
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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 the Fund's investment adviser, 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 federal securities laws and regulations thereunder. In addition, the Fund discloses its portfolio holdings daily at www.iShares.com. More information about this disclosure is available at www.iShares.com.
Portfolio holdings information made available in connection with the creation/redemption process may be provided to other entities that provide services to the Fund in the ordinary course of business after it has been disseminated to the NSCC. From time to time, information concerning portfolio holdings other than portfolio holdings information made available in connection with the creation/redemption process, as discussed above, may be provided to other entities that provide services to the Fund, including rating or ranking organizations, in the ordinary course of business, no earlier than one business day following the date of the information.
The Fund will disclose its complete portfolio holdings schedule in public filings with the SEC within 70 days of the end of the second and fourth fiscal quarters and within 60 days of the end of the first and third fiscal quarters and will provide such 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 or his delegate may authorize disclosure of portfolio holdings information pursuant to the above policy and procedures, subject to restrictions on selective disclosure imposed by applicable law.
The Board reviews the policy and procedures for disclosure of portfolio holdings information at least annually.
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Construction and Maintenance of the Underlying Index
A description of the Fund's Underlying Index is provided below.
With respect to certain underlying indexes of the iShares funds, BFA or its affiliates have held discussions with the applicable index provider regarding their business interest in licensing an index to track a particular market segment and conveyed investment concepts and strategies that could be considered for the index. The index provider designed and constituted such indices using concepts conveyed by BFA or its affiliates. For certain of these indices, the relevant fund may be the first or sole user of the underlying index. In its sole discretion, the index provider determines the composition of the securities and other instruments in such underlying index, the rebalance protocols of the underlying index, the weightings of the securities and other instruments in the underlying index, and any updates to the methodology. From time to time, BFA or its affiliates may also provide input relating to possible methodology changes of such underlying index pursuant to the index provider’s consultation process or pursuant to other communications with the index provider.
The ICE Term Maturity US Treasury Index
ICE 2030 Maturity US Treasury Index
Number of Components: approximately 3
Index Description. ICE 2030 Maturity US Treasury Index measures the performance of the U.S. Treasury bonds scheduled to mature after December 31, 2029 and before December 16, 2030.
Index Methodology. The Underlying Index consists of publicly-issued U.S. Treasury securities that are scheduled to mature after December 31, 2029 and before December 16, 2030. Qualifying securities are U.S. Treasury notes and bonds having $1 billion or more of outstanding face value, excluding amounts held by the Federal Reserve System Open Market Account (“SOMA”). In addition, the securities in the Underlying Index must have a fixed coupon schedule and be denominated in U.S. dollars. Excluded from the Underlying Index are inflation-linked securities, Treasury bills, cash management bills, any government agency debt issued with or without a government guarantee and zero-coupon issues that have been stripped from coupon-paying bonds. However, the amounts outstanding of qualifying securities in the Underlying Index are not reduced by any individual components of such securities (i.e., coupon or principal) that have been stripped after inclusion in the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is market value weighted based on amounts outstanding reduced by amounts held by the Federal Reserve SOMA. Accrued interest is calculated assuming next-day settlement. The Underlying Index is rebalanced on the last calendar day of the month, based on information available up to and including the third business day before the last business day of the month. New issues must settle on or before the calendar month end rebalancing date in order to qualify for the upcoming month. The securities in the Underlying Index are updated on the last calendar day of each month until June 30, 2030. Cash flows from bond payments that are received during the month are retained in the Underlying Index until the end of the month and then are removed as part of the rebalancing. Beginning June 30, 2030, the Underlying Index will not remove interest payments and matured securities at each rebalancing but instead will retain those amounts as a growing cash position throughout the remaining life of the Underlying Index. As the Fund approaches its termination date, its holdings of money market funds or similar funds may increase, causing the Fund to incur fees and expenses of such funds. By December 15, 2030, the Underlying Index value will be represented almost entirely by cash as no securities will remain in the Underlying Index.
Investment Policies
The Board has adopted as fundamental policies the following numbered investment policies, which cannot be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities. A vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund is defined in the Investment Company Act as the lesser of (i) 67% or more of the voting securities present at a shareholder meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. The
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Fund has also adopted certain non-fundamental investment policies, including its investment objective. Non-fundamental investment policies may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval. Therefore, the Fund may change its investment objective and its Underlying Index without shareholder approval.
Fundamental Investment Policies
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.
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 Policies
The following notations are not considered to be part of the Fund’s fundamental investment policies and are subject to change without shareholder approval.
With respect to the fundamental policy relating to concentration set forth in (1) above, the Investment Company Act does not define what constitutes “concentration” in an industry. The SEC staff has taken the position that investment of 25% or more of a fund’s total assets in one or more issuers conducting their principal activities in the same industry or group of industries constitutes concentration. It is possible that interpretations of concentration could change in the future. The policy in (1) above will be interpreted to refer to concentration as that term may be interpreted from time to time. The policy also will be interpreted to permit investment without limit in the following: securities of the U.S. government and its agencies or instrumentalities; securities of state, territory, possession or municipal governments and their authorities, agencies, instrumentalities or political subdivisions; and repurchase agreements collateralized by any such obligations. Accordingly, issuers of the foregoing securities will not be considered to be members of any industry. There also will be no limit on investment in issuers domiciled in a single jurisdiction or country. Finance companies will be considered to be in the industries of their parents if their activities are primarily related to financing the activities of the parents. Each foreign government will be considered to be a member of a separate industry. With respect to 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
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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 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.
Non-Fundamental Investment Policies
The Fund has adopted a non-fundamental policy not to make short sales of securities or maintain a short position, except to the extent permitted by the Fund's Prospectus and SAI, as amended from time to time, and applicable law.
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 the component securities in the Fund's 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 policy not to purchase securities of other investment companies, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 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 1940 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).
Unless otherwise indicated, all limitations under the Fund's fundamental or non-fundamental investment policies 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 BFA determines that it is practicable to sell or close out the investment without undue market or tax consequences.
Continuous Offering
The method by which Creation Units are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Units are issued and sold by the 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,
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depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the 1933 Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Units after placing an order with the Distributor, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers or if it chooses to couple the creation of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the 1933 Act must take into account all of the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a categorization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, generally are required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the 1933 Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares of the 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 generally 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. Each officer shall hold office until his or her successor is elected and qualifies or until his or her death, resignation or removal. 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 (the “BlackRock-advised Funds”) are organized into one complex of open-end equity, multi-asset, index and money market funds (the “BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex”), one complex of closed-end funds and open-end non-index fixed-income funds (the “BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex”) and one complex of ETFs (“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. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust and, as a result, oversees all of the funds within the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex, which consists of 377 funds as of June 29, 2020. With the exception of Robert S. Kapito, Salim Ramji and Charles Park, 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. Ramji and Mr. Park is c/o BlackRock, Inc., Park Avenue Plaza, 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055. The Board has designated Cecilia H. Herbert as its Independent Board Chair. 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).
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Interested Trustees
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
  Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Robert S. Kapito1
(63)
  Trustee
(since 2009).
  President, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2006); Vice Chairman of BlackRock, Inc. and Head of BlackRock’s Portfolio Management Group (since its formation in 1998) and BlackRock, Inc.’s predecessor entities (since 1988); Trustee, University of Pennsylvania (since 2009); President of Board of Directors, Hope & Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund (since 2002).   Director of BlackRock, Inc. (since 2006); Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2009); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011).
Salim Ramji2
(49)
  Trustee (since 2019).   Senior Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2014); Global Head of BlackRock’s ETF and Index Investments Business (since 2019); Head of BlackRock’s U.S. Wealth Advisory Business (2015-2019); Global Head of Corporate Strategy, BlackRock, Inc. (2014-2015); Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company (2010-2014).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2019); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2019).

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. and its affiliates.
2 Salim Ramji 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.
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Independent Trustees
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
  Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Cecilia H. Herbert
(71)
  Trustee
(since 2005); Independent Board Chair
(since 2016).
  Chair of the Finance Committee (since 2019) and Trustee and Member of the Finance, Audit and Quality Committees of Stanford Health Care (since 2016); Trustee of WNET, New York's public media company (since 2011) and Member of the Audit Committee (since 2018) and Investment Committee (since 2011); Chair (1994-2005) and Member (since 1992) of the Investment Committee, Archdiocese of San Francisco; Trustee of Forward Funds (14 portfolios) (2009-2018); Trustee of Salient MF Trust (4 portfolios) (2015-2018); 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.
  Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011); Independent Board Chair of iShares, Inc. and iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2016); Trustee of Thrivent Church Loan and Income Fund (since 2019).
Jane D. Carlin
(64)
  Trustee
(since 2015); Risk Committee Chair (since 2016).
  Consultant (since 2012); Member of the Audit Committee (2012-2018), Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee (2017-2018) and Director of PHH Corporation (mortgage solutions) (2012-2018); Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Holding Company Governance & Assurance and the Global Head of Operational Risk Management of Morgan Stanley (2006-2012).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2015); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2015); Member of the Audit Committee (since 2016) and Director of The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. (since 2016).
Richard L. Fagnani
(65)
  Trustee
(since 2017); Audit Committee Chair (since 2019).
  Partner, KPMG LLP (2002-2016).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2017); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2017).
John E. Kerrigan
(64)
  Trustee
(since 2005); Nominating and Governance and Equity Plus Committee Chairs
(since 2019).
  Chief Investment Officer, Santa Clara University (since 2002).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011).
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Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
  Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Drew E. Lawton
(61)
  Trustee
(since 2017); 15(c) Committee Chair (since 2017).
  Senior Managing Director of New York Life Insurance Company (2010-2015).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2017); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2017).
John E. Martinez
(59)
  Trustee
(since 2003);
Securities Lending Committee Chair
(since 2019).
  Director of Real Estate Equity Exchange, Inc. (since 2005); Director of Cloudera Foundation (since 2017); and Director of Reading Partners (2012-2016).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2003); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011).
Madhav V. Rajan
(55)
  Trustee
(since 2011); Fixed Income Plus Committee Chair (since 2019).
  Dean, and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting, University of Chicago Booth School of Business (since 2017); Chair of the Board for the Center for Research in Security Prices, LLC (since 2020); Robert K. Jaedicke Professor of Accounting, Stanford University Graduate School of Business (2001-2017); Professor of Law (by courtesy), Stanford Law School (2005-2017); Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Head of MBA Program, Stanford University Graduate School of Business (2010-2016).   Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2011);
Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust (since 2011).
Officers
Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Armando Senra
(49)
  President (since 2019).   Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2007); Head of U.S., Canada and Latam iShares, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2019); Head of Latin America Region, BlackRock, Inc. (2006-2019); Managing Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (1994-2006).
Trent Walker
(46)
  Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer
(since 2020).
  Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. (since September 2019); Executive Vice President of PIMCO (2016-2019); Senior Vice President of PIMCO (2008-2015); Treasurer (2013-2019) and Assistant Treasurer (2007-2017) of PIMCO Funds, PIMCO Variable Insurance Trust, PIMCO ETF Trust, PIMCO Equity Series, PIMCO Equity Series VIT, PIMCO Managed Accounts Trust, 2 PIMCO-sponsored interval funds and 21 PIMCO-sponsored closed-end funds.
17

 


Name (Age)   Position   Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Charles Park
(52)
  Chief Compliance Officer (since 2006).   Chief Compliance Officer of BlackRock Advisors, LLC and the BlackRock-advised Funds in the Equity-Bond Complex, the Equity-Liquidity Complex and the Closed-End Complex (since 2014); Chief Compliance Officer of BFA (since 2006).
Deepa Damre
(45)
  Secretary (since 2019).   Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2014); Director, BlackRock, Inc. (2009-2013).
Scott Radell
(51)
  Executive Vice President
(since 2012).
  Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2009); Head of Portfolio Solutions, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2009).
Alan Mason
(59)
  Executive Vice President
(since 2016).
  Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2009).
Marybeth Leithead
(57)
  Executive Vice President
(since 2019).
  Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. (since 2017); Chief Operating Officer of Americas iShares (since 2017); Portfolio Manager, Municipal Institutional & Wealth Management (2009-2016).
The Board has concluded that, based on each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes or skills on an individual basis and in combination with those of the other Trustees, each Trustee should serve as a Trustee of the Board. Among the attributes common to all Trustees are their ability to review critically, evaluate, question and discuss information provided to them, to interact effectively with the Fund's investment adviser, other service providers, counsel and the independent registered public accounting firm, and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties as Trustees. A Trustee’s ability to perform his or her duties effectively may have been attained through the Trustee’s educational background or professional training; business, consulting, public service or academic positions; experience from service as a Board member of the Fund and the other funds in the Trust (and any predecessor funds), other investment funds, public companies, or non-profit entities or other organizations; and/or other life experiences. Also, set forth below is a brief discussion of the specific experience, qualifications, attributes or skills of each Trustee that led the Board to conclude that he or she should serve (or continue to serve) as a Trustee.
Robert S. Kapito has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2009. Mr. Kapito has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2009, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011 and a Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2006. Mr. Kapito served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. In addition, he has over 20 years of experience as part of BlackRock, Inc. and BlackRock’s predecessor entities. Mr. Kapito serves as President of BlackRock, Inc., and is a member of the Global Executive Committee and Chairman of the Global Operating Committee. He is responsible for day-to-day oversight of BlackRock's key operating units, including Investment Strategies, Client Businesses, Technology & Operations, and Risk & Quantitative Analysis. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in 2007, Mr. Kapito served as Vice Chairman of BlackRock, Inc. and 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 and the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors. He has also been President of the Board of Directors for the Hope & Heroes Children's Cancer Fund since 2002. 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.
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Salim Ramji has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Ramji has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2019. Mr. Ramji is the Global Head of BlackRock’s ETF and Index Investments business. In addition, he is a member of BlackRock’s Global Executive Committee. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in 2019, Mr. Ramji was Head of BlackRock's U.S. Wealth Advisory business, where he was responsible for leading BlackRock's relationships with wealth management firms and platforms, for distributing BlackRock's alpha-seeking and iShares investment capabilities and for the adoption of BlackRock's portfolio construction and digital wealth technologies to financial advisors. Mr. Ramji joined BlackRock in 2014, serving initially as the Global Head of Corporate Strategy. Prior to BlackRock, Mr. Ramji was a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, where he led the Asset and Wealth Management practice areas. He started his career as a corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions lawyer at Clifford Chance LLP in London and Hong Kong. He has served as a Trustee of Graham Windham, a New York-based child care agency, since 2007. Mr. Ramji earned a bachelor's degree in economics and politics from University of Toronto, a law degree, from Cambridge University and is a CFA charter holder.
Cecilia H. Herbert has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2005 and Chair of the Trust's Board since 2016. Ms. Herbert has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, and Chair of each Board since 2016. Ms. Herbert served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. In addition, Ms. Herbert served as Trustee of the Forward Funds from 2009 to 2018 and Trustee of Salient Funds from 2015 to 2018. She has served since 1992 on the Investment Council of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and was Chair from 1994 to 2005. She has served as a member of the Finance, Audit and Quality Committees and Trustee of Stanford Health Care since 2016 and became Chair of the Finance Committee of Stanford Health Care in 2019. She has served as a Trustee of WNET, New York’s public media station, since 2011 and a Member of its Audit Committee since 2018. She became a member of the Governing Council of the Independent Directors Forum in 2018 and joined the board of Thrivent Church Loan and Income Fund in 2019. She was President of the Board of Catholic Charities CYO, the largest social services agency in the San Francisco Bay Area, from 2007 to 2011 and a member of that board from 1992 to 2013. She previously served as Trustee of the Pacific Select Funds from 2004 to 2005 and Trustee of the Montgomery Funds from 1992 to 2003. She worked from 1973 to 1990 at J.P. Morgan/Morgan Guaranty Trust doing international corporate finance and corporate lending, retiring as Managing Director and Head of the West Coast Office. Ms. Herbert has been on numerous non-profit boards, chairing investment and finance committees. She holds a double major in economics and communications from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jane D. Carlin has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2015 and Chair of the Risk Committee since 2016. Ms. Carlin has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2015, and Chair of the Risk Committee of each Board since 2016. Ms. Carlin has served as a consultant since 2012 and formerly served as Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Holding Company Governance & Assurance and the Global Head of Operational Risk Management of Morgan Stanley from 2006 to 2012. In addition, Ms. Carlin served as Managing Director and Global Head of the Bank Operational Risk Oversight Department of Credit Suisse Group from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that, Ms. Carlin served as Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel of Morgan Stanley. Ms. Carlin has over 30 years of experience in the financial sector and has served in a number of legal, regulatory, and risk management positions. Ms. Carlin has served as a member of the Audit Committee and as a Director of The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., each since 2016. Ms. Carlin served as a member of the Audit Committee from 2012 to 2018, Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee from 2017 to 2018 and as an Independent Director on the Board of PHH Corporation from 2012 to 2018. She previously served as a Director on the Boards of Astoria Financial Corporation and Astoria Bank. Ms. Carlin was appointed by the United States Treasury to the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security, where she served as Chairperson from 2010 to 2012 and Vice Chair and Chair of the Cyber Security Committee from 2009 to 2010. Ms. Carlin has a BA degree in political science from State University of New York at Stony Brook and a JD degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Richard L. Fagnani has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2017 and Chair of the Audit Committee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Fagnani has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2017, and Chair of the Audit Committee of each Board since 2019. Mr. Fagnani served as an Advisory Board Member of the Trust, iShares U.S. ETF Trust and iShares, Inc. from April 2017 to June 2017. Mr. Fagnani served as a Senior Audit Partner at KPMG LLP from 2002 to 2016, most recently as the U.S. asset management audit practice leader responsible for setting strategic direction and execution of the operating plan for the asset management audit practice. In addition, from 1977 to 2002, Mr. Fagnani served as an Audit Partner at Andersen LLP, where he developed and managed the asset management audit practice in the Philadelphia office. Mr. Fagnani served as a Trustee on the Board of the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia from 2009 to 2014 and as a
19


member of the School of Business Advisory Board at LaSalle University from 2006 to 2014. Mr. Fagnani has a BS degree in Accounting from LaSalle University.
John E. Kerrigan has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2005 and Chair of the Equity Plus and Nominating and Governance Committees of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Kerrigan has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, and Chair of the Equity Plus and Nominating and Governance Committees of each Board since 2019. Mr. Kerrigan served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. Mr. Kerrigan has served as Chief Investment Officer of Santa Clara University since 2002. Mr. Kerrigan was formerly a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch & Co., including the following responsibilities: Managing Director, Institutional Client Division, Western United States. Mr. Kerrigan has been a 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.
Drew E. Lawton has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2017 and Chair of the 15(c) Committee of the Trust since 2017. Mr. Lawton has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc., a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust, and Chair of the 15(c) Committee of each Board since 2017. Mr. Lawton also served as an Advisory Board Member of the Trust, iShares, Inc. and iShares U.S. ETF Trust from 2016 to 2017. Mr. Lawton served as Director of Principal Funds, Inc., Principal Variable Contracts Funds, Inc. and Principal Exchange-Traded Funds from March 2016 to October 2016. Mr. Lawton served in various capacities at New York Life Insurance Company from 2010 to 2015, most recently as a Senior Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of New York Life Investment Management. From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Lawton was the President of Fridson Investment Advisors, LLC. Mr. Lawton previously held multiple roles at Fidelity Investments from 1997 to 2008. Mr. Lawton has a BA degree in Administrative Science from Yale University and an MBA from University of North Texas.
John E. Martinez has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2003 and Chair of the Securities Lending Committee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Martinez has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2003, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, and Chair of the Securities Lending Committee of each Board since 2019. Mr. Martinez served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. Mr. Martinez is a Director of Real Estate Equity Exchange, Inc., providing governance oversight and consulting services to this privately held firm that develops products and strategies for homeowners in managing the equity in their homes. Mr. Martinez currently serves as a Board member for the Cloudera Foundation, whose mission is to apply Cloudera’s data science expertise and discipline to solve global social problems. 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 to 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. From 2012 to 2016, Mr. Martinez 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.
Madhav V. Rajan has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011 and Chair of the Fixed Income Plus Committee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Rajan has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, and Chair of the Fixed Income Plus Committee of each Board since 2019. Mr. Rajan served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2011 to 2015. Mr. Rajan is the Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and also serves as Chair of the Board for the Center for Research in Security Prices, LLC, an affiliate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business since 2020. From 2001 to 2017, Mr. Rajan was the Robert K. Jaedicke Professor of Accounting at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. In April 2017, he received the school’s Robert T. Davis Award for Lifetime Achievement and Service. He has taught accounting for over 25 years to undergraduate, MBA and law students, as well as to senior executives. From 2010 to 2016, Mr. Rajan served 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. From 2013 to 2018, Mr. Rajan served on the Board of Directors of Cavium Inc., a semiconductor company. Mr. Rajan holds MS and PhD degrees in Accounting from Carnegie Mellon University.
Board – Leadership Structure and Oversight Responsibilities
20


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 in person meetings four times a year. In addition, the Board frequently holds special in person or telephonic meetings or informal conference calls to discuss specific matters that may arise or require action between regular meetings. The Independent Trustees meet regularly outside the presence of management, in executive session or with other service providers to the Trust.
The Board has appointed an Independent Trustee to serve in the role of Board Chair. The Board Chair’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 Board Chair may also perform such other functions as may be delegated by the Board from time to time. The Board has established seven standing Committees: a Nominating and Governance Committee, an Audit Committee, a 15(c) Committee, a Securities Lending Committee, a Risk 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 the Board 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 standing 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, reputational, 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 identify and 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 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. In some cases, risk management issues are specifically addressed in presentations and discussions. For example, BFA has an independent dedicated Risk and Quantitative Analysis Group (“RQA”) that assists BFA in managing fiduciary and corporate risks, including investment, operational, counterparty credit and enterprise risk. Representatives of RQA meet with the Board to discuss their analysis and methodologies, as well as specific risk topics such as operational and counterparty risks relating to the Fund. 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. In addition, the Audit Committee meets with both the Fund's independent registered public accounting firm and BFA’s internal audit group to review risk controls in place that support the Fund as well as test results. Board oversight of risk is also performed as needed between meetings through communications between BFA and the Board. The Independent Trustees have engaged independent legal counsel to assist them in performing their oversight responsibilities. From time to time, the Board may modify the manner in which it conducts risk oversight. The Board’s oversight role does not make it a guarantor of the Fund's investment performance or other activities.
Committees of the Board of Trustees.  The members of the Audit Committee are Richard L. Fagnani (Chair), John E. Kerrigan and Madhav V. Rajan, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. 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
21

 


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 eight times during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2019.
The members of the Nominating and Governance Committee are John E. Kerrigan (Chair), Madhav V. Rajan and Drew E. Lawton, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. The Nominating and Governance Committee nominates individuals for Independent Trustee membership on the Board and recommends appointments to the Advisory 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 Board Chair; (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, Board Chair 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 October 31, 2019.
Each Independent Trustee serves on the 15(c) Committee. The Chair of the 15(c) Committee is Drew E. Lawton. 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 three times during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2019.
The members of the Securities Lending Committee are John E. Martinez (Chair), Jane D. Carlin and Drew E. Lawton, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. 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 securities lending agent. The Securities Lending Committee met six times during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2019.
The members of the Equity Plus Committee are John E. Kerrigan (Chair), John E. Martinez and Drew E. Lawton, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. 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 October 31, 2019.
The members of the Fixed Income Plus Committee are Madhav V. Rajan (Chair), Jane D. Carlin and Richard L. Fagnani, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. 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
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Board from time to time and providing a report or recommendation to the Board as appropriate. The Fixed Income Plus Committee met four times during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2019.
The members of the Risk Committee are Jane D. Carlin (Chair), Richard L. Fagnani and John E. Martinez, each of whom is an Independent Trustee. The principal responsibility of the Risk Committee is to consider and organize on behalf of the Board risk related matters of the Fund so the Board may most effectively structure itself to oversee them. The Risk Committee commenced on January 1, 2016. The Risk Committee met eight times during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2019.
As the Chair of the Board, Cecilia H. Herbert may serve as an ex-officio member of each Committee.
The following table sets forth, as of December 31, 2019, 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   Fund   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in Named 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
             
Salim Ramji1   iShares Commodities Select Strategy ETF   $10,001-$50,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Expanded Tech Sector ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares MSCI USA ESG Select ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares North American Natural Resources ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Multisector ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares TIPS Bond ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
             
Cecilia H. Herbert   iShares California Muni Bond ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares China Large-Cap ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core S&P U.S. Growth ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core S&P U.S. Value ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares International Select Dividend ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares MSCI EAFE ETF   $1-$10,000    
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Name   Fund   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in Named Fund
  Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee
in Family of
Investment Companies
    iShares MSCI Japan ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares National Muni Bond ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
             
Jane D. Carlin   iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF   $50,001-$100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol USA ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Global Tech ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares MSCI ACWI ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares MSCI ACWI ex U.S. ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares MSCI EAFE Small-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Small-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Select Dividend ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
             
Richard L. Fagnani   iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF   $10,001-$50,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Edge MSCI USA Value Factor ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Exponential Technologies ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Global Clean Energy ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares MSCI EAFE Value ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Small-Cap ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Multisector ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares S&P Small-Cap 600 Value ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares Select Dividend ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
    iShares U.S. Financials ETF   $10,001-$50,000    
             
John E. Kerrigan   iShares MSCI ACWI ex U.S. ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
             
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Name   Fund   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in Named Fund
  Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in all
Registered Investment
Companies Overseen by
Trustee
in Family of
Investment Companies
Drew E. Lawton   iShares 0-5 Year High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Exponential Technologies ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF   $1-$10,000    
    iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF   $50,001-$100,000    
    iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
             
John E. Martinez   iShares Core 5-10 Year USD Bond ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core International Aggregate Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Interest Rate Hedged Long-Term Corporate Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    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    
             
Madhav V. Rajan   iShares Broad USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   Over $100,000   Over $100,000
    iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core High Dividend ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Core S&P 500 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Mortgage Real Estate ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Russell 2000 ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Select Dividend ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF   Over $100,000    
    iShares Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF   Over $100,000    

1 Appointed to serve as an Interested Trustee effective June 19, 2019.
As of December 31, 2019, 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.
25

 


Remuneration of Trustees and Advisory Board Members.  Effective January 1, 2020, each current Independent Trustee is paid an annual retainer of $395,000 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 annual retainer for services as an Advisory Board Member is the same as the annual retainer for services as a Board member.  The Independent Chair of the Board is paid an additional annual retainer of $80,000. The Chair of each of the Equity Plus Committee, Fixed Income Plus Committee, Securities Lending Committee, Risk Committee, Nominating and Governance Committee and 15(c) Committee is paid an additional annual retainer of $25,000. The Chair of the Audit Committee is paid an additional annual retainer of $40,000. Each Independent Trustee that served 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).
The table below sets forth the compensation earned by each Independent Trustee and Interested Trustee for services to the Fund for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2019 and the aggregate compensation paid to them for services to the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex for the calendar year ended December 31, 2019.
Name   iShares iBonds
Dec 2030 Term
Treasury 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 Trustees:                
                 
Jane D. Carlin   $0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   $395,000
Richard L. Fagnani   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   421,764
Cecilia H. Herbert   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   450,000
John E. Kerrigan   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   420,000
Drew E. Lawton   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   406,764
John E. Martinez   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   395,000
Madhav V. Rajan   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   395,000
                 
Interested Trustees:                
                 
Robert S. Kapito   $0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   $0
Salim Ramji3   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   0
Mark K. Wiedman4   0   Not Applicable   Not Applicable   0

1 No Trustee or officer is entitled to any pension or retirement benefits from the Trust.
2 Also includes compensation for service on the Board of Trustees of iShares U.S. ETF Trust and the Board of Directors of iShares, Inc.
3 Appointed to serve as an Interested Trustee effective June 19, 2019.
4 Served as an Interested Trustee through June 19, 2019.
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.  Certain activities of BFA, BlackRock, Inc. and the other subsidiaries of BlackRock, Inc. (collectively referred to in this section as “BlackRock”) and their respective directors, officers and employees, with respect to the Fund and/or other accounts managed by BlackRock, may give rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest such as those described below.
BlackRock is one of the world's largest asset management firms. BlackRock, its subsidiaries and their respective directors, officers and employees, including, the business units or entities and personnel who may be involved in the investment activities and business operations of the Fund, are engaged worldwide in businesses, including managing equities, fixed-income securities, cash and alternative investments, and have interests other than that of managing the Fund. These are considerations of which investors in the Fund should be aware, and which may cause conflicts of interest that could
26

 


disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. These businesses and interests include potential multiple advisory, financial and other relationships with, or interests in, companies and interests in securities or other instruments that may be purchased or sold by the Fund.
BlackRock has proprietary interests in, and may manage or advise with respect to, accounts or funds (including separate accounts and other funds and collective investment vehicles) that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and instruments as the Fund. BlackRock is also a major participant in the global currency, equities, swap and fixed income markets, in each case, for the accounts of clients and, in some cases, on a proprietary basis. As such, BlackRock is or may be actively engaged in transactions in the same securities, currencies, and instruments in which 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 client 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 seeks to purchase or sell the same assets for managed accounts, including the Fund, the assets actually purchased or sold may be allocated among the accounts on a basis determined in its good faith discretion to be equitable. In some cases, this system may adversely affect the size or price of the assets purchased or sold for the Fund. In addition, transactions in investments by one or more other accounts managed by BlackRock may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund, particularly, but not limited to, with respect to small-capitalization, emerging market or less liquid strategies. This may occur with respect to BlackRock-advised accounts when investment decisions regarding the Fund are based on research or other information that is also used to support decisions for other accounts. When BlackRock implements a portfolio decision or strategy on behalf of another account ahead of, or contemporaneously with, similar decisions or strategies for 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 may, in certain cases, elect to implement internal policies and procedures designed to limit such consequences, which may cause the Fund to be unable to engage in certain activities, including purchasing or disposing of securities, when it might otherwise be desirable for it to do so.
Conflicts may also arise because portfolio decisions regarding the Fund may benefit other accounts managed by BlackRock. 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) BlackRock or its other accounts or funds, 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) BlackRock or its other accounts or funds. In addition, to the extent permitted by applicable law, the Fund may invest its assets in other funds advised by BlackRock, including funds that are managed by one or more of the same portfolio managers, which could result in conflicts of interest relating to asset allocation, timing of Fund purchases and redemptions, and increased remuneration and profitability for BlackRock, and/or its personnel, including portfolio managers.
In certain circumstances, BlackRock, on behalf of the Fund, may seek to buy from or sell securities to another fund or account advised by BlackRock. BlackRock may (but is not required to) effect purchases and sales between BlackRock clients (“cross trades”), including the Fund, if BlackRock believes such transactions are appropriate based on each party's investment objectives and guidelines, subject to applicable law and regulation. There may be potential conflicts of interest or regulatory issues relating to these transactions which could limit BlackRock’s decision to engage in these transactions for the Fund. BlackRock may have a potentially conflicting division of loyalties and responsibilities to the parties in such transactions. On any occasion when the Fund participates in a cross trade, BlackRock will comply with procedures adopted under applicable rules and SEC guidance.
BlackRock and its clients may pursue or enforce rights with respect to an issuer in which 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 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 for its proprietary accounts or other accounts (including investment companies or collective investment vehicles) which it manages or advises. It is possible that one or more accounts managed or advised by BlackRock and such other accounts will achieve
27


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 proprietary or other accounts managed or advised by BlackRock achieve significant profits. The opposite result is also possible.
From time to time, the Fund may be restricted from purchasing or selling securities, or from engaging in other investment activities because of regulatory, legal or contractual requirements applicable to BlackRock or other accounts managed or advised by BlackRock, and/or the internal policies of BlackRock designed to comply with such requirements. As a result, there may be periods, for example, when BlackRock will not initiate or recommend certain types of transactions in certain securities or instruments with respect to which BlackRock is performing services or when position limits have been reached. For example, the investment activities of BlackRock for its proprietary accounts and accounts under its management may limit the investment opportunities for 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.
In connection with its management of the Fund, BlackRock may have access to certain fundamental analysis and proprietary technical models developed by BlackRock. BlackRock will not be under any obligation, however, to effect transactions on behalf of the Fund in accordance with such analysis and models. In addition, BlackRock will not have any obligation to make available any information regarding its proprietary activities or strategies, or the activities or strategies used for other accounts managed by them, for the benefit of the management of 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, or the activities or strategies used for accounts managed by BlackRock or other client accounts could conflict with the transactions and strategies employed by BlackRock in managing the Fund.
The Fund may be included in investment models developed by BlackRock for use by clients and financial advisors. To the extent clients invest in these investment models and increase the assets under management of the Fund, the investment management fee amounts paid by the Fund to BlackRock may also increase. 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 the Fund’s investment adviser are also principals or employees of other business units or entities within BlackRock. As a result, these principals and employees may have obligations to such other business units or entities or their clients and such obligations to other business units or entities or their clients may be a consideration of which investors in the Fund should be aware.
BlackRock may enter into transactions and invest in securities, instruments and currencies on behalf of the Fund in which clients of BlackRock or, to the extent permitted by the SEC and applicable law, BlackRock serves as the counterparty, principal or issuer. In such cases, such party's interests in the transaction will be adverse to the interests of the Fund, and such party may have no incentive to assure that the Fund obtains the best possible prices or terms in connection with the transactions. In addition, the purchase, holding and sale of such investments by the Fund may enhance the profitability of BlackRock.
BlackRock may also create, write or issue derivatives for clients, the underlying securities, currencies or instruments in which the Fund may invest or which may be based on the performance of the Fund. BlackRock has entered into an arrangement with Markit Indices Limited, the index provider for underlying fixed-income indexes used by certain iShares funds, related to derivative fixed-income products that are based on such iShares funds. BlackRock will receive certain payments for licensing intellectual property belonging to BlackRock and for facilitating the provision of data in connection with such derivative products, which may include payments based on the trading volumes of, or revenues generated by, the derivative products. Other funds and accounts managed by BlackRock may from time to time transact in such derivative products, which could contribute to the viability of such derivative products by making them more appealing to funds and accounts managed by third parties, and in turn lead to increased payments to BlackRock. Trading activity in such derivative products could also potentially lead to increased purchase activity with respect to these iShares funds and increased assets under management for BlackRock.
The Fund may, subject to applicable law, purchase investments that are the subject of an underwriting or other distribution by BlackRock and may also enter into transactions with other clients of BlackRock where such other clients have interests adverse to those of the Fund.
At times, these activities may cause business units or entities within BlackRock to give advice to clients that may cause these clients to take actions adverse to the interests of the Fund. To the extent such transactions are permitted, the Fund will deal with BlackRock on an arm’s-length basis.
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To the extent authorized by applicable law, BlackRock 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 BlackRock will be in its view commercially reasonable, although BlackRock, including its sales personnel, will have an interest in obtaining fees and other amounts that are favorable to BlackRock and such sales personnel, which may have an adverse effect on the Fund. Index based funds may use an index provider that is affiliated with another service provider of the Fund or BlackRock that acts as a broker, dealer, agent, lender or in other commercial capacities for the Fund or BlackRock.
Subject to applicable law, BlackRock (and its personnel and other distributors) will be entitled to retain fees and other amounts that they receive in connection with their service to the Fund as broker, dealer, agent, lender, adviser or in other commercial capacities. 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 BlackRock of any such fees or other amounts.
When BlackRock acts as broker, dealer, agent, adviser or in other commercial capacities in relation to the Fund, BlackRock 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. BlackRock will not have any obligation to allow its 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 in evaluating the Fund's creditworthiness.
BTC, an affiliate of BFA pursuant to SEC exemptive relief, acts as securities lending agent to, and receives a share of securities lending revenues from, the Fund. BlackRock will also receive compensation for managing the reinvestment of the cash collateral from securities lending. There are potential conflicts of interests in managing a securities lending program, including but not limited to: (i) BlackRock as securities lending agent may have an incentive to increase or decrease the amount of securities on loan or to lend particular securities in order to generate additional risk-adjusted revenue for BlackRock and its affiliates; and (ii) BlackRock as securities lending agent may have an incentive to allocate loans to clients that would provide more revenue to BlackRock. As described further below, BlackRock seeks to mitigate this conflict by providing its securities lending clients with equal lending opportunities over time in order to approximate pro rata allocation.
As part of its securities lending program, BlackRock indemnifies certain clients and/or funds against a shortfall in collateral in the event of borrower default. BlackRock’s RQA calculates, on a regular basis, BlackRock’s potential dollar exposure to the risk of collateral shortfall upon counterparty default (“shortfall risk”) under the securities lending program for both indemnified and non-indemnified clients. On a periodic basis, RQA also determines the maximum amount of potential indemnified shortfall risk arising from securities lending activities (“indemnification exposure limit”) and the maximum amount of counterparty-specific credit exposure (“credit limits”) BlackRock is willing to assume as well as the program’s operational complexity. RQA oversees the risk model that calculates projected shortfall values using loan-level factors such as loan and collateral type and market value as well as specific borrower counterparty credit characteristics. When necessary, RQA may further adjust other securities lending program attributes by restricting eligible collateral or reducing counterparty credit limits. As a result, the management of the indemnification exposure limit may affect the amount of securities lending activity BlackRock may conduct at any given point in time and impact indemnified and non-indemnified clients by reducing the volume of lending opportunities for certain loans (including by asset type, collateral type and/or revenue profile).
BlackRock uses a predetermined systematic process in order to approximate pro rata allocation over time. In order to allocate a loan to a portfolio: (i) BlackRock as a whole must have sufficient lending capacity pursuant to the various program limits (i.e., indemnification exposure limit and counterparty credit limits); (ii) the lending portfolio must hold the asset at the time a loan opportunity arrives; and (iii) the lending portfolio must also have enough inventory, either on its own or when aggregated with other portfolios into one single market delivery, to satisfy the loan request. In doing so, BlackRock seeks to provide equal lending opportunities for all portfolios, independent of whether BlackRock indemnifies the portfolio. Equal opportunities for lending portfolios does not guarantee equal outcomes. Specifically, short and long-term outcomes for individual clients may vary due to asset mix, asset/liability spreads on different securities, and the overall limits imposed by the firm.
Purchases and sales of securities and other assets for the Fund may be bunched or aggregated with orders for other BlackRock client accounts, including with accounts that pay different transaction costs solely due to the fact that they have different research payment arrangements. BlackRock, however, is not required to bunch or aggregate orders if portfolio
29


management decisions for different accounts are made separately, or if they determine that bunching or aggregating is not practicable or required, or in cases involving client direction.
Prevailing trading activity frequently may make impossible the receipt of the same price or execution on the entire volume of securities purchased or sold. When this occurs, the various prices may be averaged, and the 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.
Subject to applicable law, BlackRock may select brokers that furnish BlackRock, the Fund, other BlackRock client accounts or personnel, directly or through correspondent relationships, with research or other appropriate services which provide, in BlackRock's view, appropriate assistance to BlackRock in the investment decision-making process (including with respect to futures, fixed-price offerings and OTC transactions). Such research or other services may include, to the extent permitted by law, research reports on companies, industries and securities; economic and financial data; financial publications; proxy analysis; trade industry seminars; computer data bases; research-oriented software and other services and products. Research or other services obtained in this manner may be used in servicing any or all of the 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 does not currently enter into arrangements to use the Fund's assets for, or participate in, soft dollars, although BlackRock may receive research that is bundled with the trade execution, clearing, and/or settlement services provided by a particular broker-dealer. To the extent that BlackRock receives research on this basis, many of the same conflicts related to traditional soft dollars may exist. For example, the research effectively will be paid by client commissions that also will be used to pay for the execution, clearing, and settlement services provided by the broker-dealer and will not be paid by BlackRock. BlackRock, unless prohibited by applicable law, may endeavor to execute trades through brokers who, pursuant to such arrangements, provide research or other services in order to ensure the continued receipt of research or other services BlackRock believes are useful in its investment decision-making process. BlackRock may from time to time choose not to engage in the above described arrangements to varying degrees. BlackRock, unless prohibited by applicable law, may also enter into commission sharing arrangements under which BlackRock may execute transactions through a broker-dealer, and request that the broker-dealer allocate a portion of the commissions or commission credits to another firm that provides research to BlackRock. To the extent that BlackRock engages in commission sharing arrangements, many of the same conflicts related to traditional soft dollars may exist.
BlackRock may utilize certain electronic crossing networks (“ECNs”) (including, without limitation, ECNs in which BlackRock has an investment or other interest, to the extent permitted by applicable law) in executing client securities transactions for certain types of securities. These ECNs may charge fees for their services, including access fees and transaction fees. The transaction fees, which are similar to commissions or markups/markdowns, will generally be charged to clients and, like commissions and markups/markdowns, would generally be included in the cost of the securities purchased. Access fees may be paid by BlackRock even though incurred in connection with executing transactions on behalf of clients, including the 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, 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.
30


It is also possible that, from time to time, BlackRock may, subject to compliance with applicable law, 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 reserves the right, subject to compliance with applicable law, to sell into the market or redeem in Creation Units through an Authorized Participant at any time some or all of the shares of the Fund acquired for its own accounts. A large sale or redemption of shares of the Fund by BlackRock could significantly reduce the asset size of the Fund, which might have an adverse effect on the Fund's liquidity, investment flexibility, portfolio diversification, expense ratio or ability to comply with the listing requirements for the Fund. BlackRock seeks to consider the effect of redemptions on the Fund and other shareholders in deciding whether to redeem its shares but is not obligated to do so and may elect not to do so.
It is possible that the Fund may invest in securities of, or engage in transactions with, companies in which BlackRock has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Fund may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which BlackRock provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. In making investment decisions for the Fund, BlackRock is not permitted to obtain or use material non-public information acquired by any unit of BlackRock in the course of these activities. In addition, from time to time, the activities of BlackRock may limit the Fund's flexibility in purchases and sales of securities. As indicated below, BlackRock may engage in transactions with companies in which BlackRock-advised funds or other clients of BlackRock have an investment.
BlackRock and Chubb Limited (“Chubb”), a public company whose securities are held by BlackRock-advised funds and other accounts, partially funded the creation of a re-insurance company (“Re Co”) pursuant to which each has approximately a 9.9% ownership interest and each has representation on the board of directors. Certain employees and executives of BlackRock have a less than ½ of 1% ownership interest in Re Co. BlackRock manages the investment portfolio of Re Co, which is held in a wholly-owned subsidiary. Re Co participates as a reinsurer with reinsurance contracts underwritten by subsidiaries of Chubb. An independent director of certain BlackRock-advised funds also serves as an independent director of Chubb and has no interest or involvement in the Re Co transaction.
BlackRock, its personnel and other financial service providers may have interests in promoting sales of the Fund. With respect to BlackRock and its 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 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 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.
Third parties, including service providers to BlackRock 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 BlackRock, and may provide an incentive to BlackRock to retain such third parties to provide services to the Fund.
BlackRock may provide valuation assistance to certain clients with respect to certain securities or other investments and the valuation recommendations made for such clients' accounts may differ from the valuations for the same securities or investments assigned by 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 quotations are not readily available or are believed by BlackRock to be unreliable, the Fund’s investments are valued at fair value by BlackRock in accordance with procedures adopted by the Board. When determining “fair value price,” BlackRock seeks to determine the price that the Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or liability in an arm’s-length transaction. The price generally may not be determined based on what the Fund might reasonably expect to receive for selling an asset or liability at a later time or if it holds the asset or liability to maturity. While fair value
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determinations will be based upon all available factors that BlackRock deems relevant at the time of the determination, and may be based on analytical values determined by BlackRock using proprietary or third-party valuation models, fair value represents only a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of one or more assets or liabilities may not, in retrospect, be the price at which those assets or liabilities could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used in determining the Fund’s NAV. As a result, the Fund’s sale or redemption of its shares at NAV, at a time when a holding or holdings are valued by BlackRock (pursuant to Board-adopted procedures) at fair value, may have the effect of diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders and may affect the amount of revenue received by BlackRock with respect to services for which it receives an asset-based fee.
To the extent permitted by applicable law, 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 or other similarly-managed private fund in which it invests, which may result in the Fund bearing some additional expenses.
BlackRock and its directors, officers and employees, may buy and sell securities or other investments for their own accounts and may have conflicts of interest with respect to investments made on behalf of the Fund. As a result of differing trading and investment strategies or constraints, positions may be taken by directors, officers and employees 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 have each 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 is available by contacting BlackRock at the telephone number on the back cover of the Fund’s Prospectus or by accessing the EDGAR Database on the SEC's Internet site at http://www.sec.gov, and copies may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by e-mail at publicinfo@sec.gov.
BlackRock 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 or guidance adopted under the 1940 Act engage in transactions with another Fund or accounts that are affiliated with the Fund as a result of common officers, directors, or investment advisers or pursuant to exemptive orders granted to the 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 and/or BlackRock's internal policies designed to comply with, limit the applicability of, or otherwise relate to such requirements. A client not advised by BlackRock would not be subject to some of those considerations. There may be periods when BlackRock may not initiate or recommend certain types of transactions, or may otherwise restrict or limit its advice in certain securities or instruments issued by or related to companies for which BlackRock is performing advisory or other services or has proprietary positions. For example, when BlackRock is engaged to provide advisory or risk management services for a company, BlackRock may be prohibited from or limited in purchasing or selling securities of that company on behalf of the Fund, particularly where such services result in BlackRock obtaining material non-public information about the company (e.g., in connection with participation in a creditors’ committee). Similar situations could arise if personnel of BlackRock serve as directors of companies the securities of which the Fund wishes to purchase or sell. However, if permitted by applicable law, and where consistent with BlackRock’s policies and procedures (including the necessary implementation of appropriate information barriers), the Fund may purchase securities or instruments that are issued by such companies, are the subject of an advisory or risk management assignment by BlackRock, or where personnel of BlackRock are directors or officers of the issuer.
The investment activities of BlackRock for its proprietary accounts and for client accounts may also limit the investment strategies and rights of the Fund. For example, in certain circumstances where the Fund invests in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries or in certain emerging or international markets, or is subject to corporate or regulatory ownership restrictions, or invests in certain futures or other derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate amount invested by BlackRock for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including the Fund) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BlackRock, the Fund or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions.
If certain aggregate ownership thresholds are reached either through the actions of BlackRock or the Fund or as a result of third-party transactions, the ability of BlackRock, on behalf of clients (including the Fund), to purchase or dispose of
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investments, or exercise rights or undertake business transactions, may be restricted by regulation or otherwise impaired. As a result, BlackRock, on behalf of its clients (including the Fund), may limit purchases, sell existing investments, or otherwise restrict, forgo or limit the exercise of rights (including transferring, outsourcing or limiting voting rights or forgoing the right to receive dividends) when BlackRock, in its sole discretion, deems it appropriate in light of potential regulatory or other restrictions on ownership or other consequences resulting from reaching investment thresholds.
In those circumstances where ownership thresholds or limitations must be observed, BlackRock seeks to allocate limited investment opportunities equitably among clients (including the Fund), taking into consideration benchmark weight and investment strategy. BlackRock has adopted certain controls designed to prevent the occurrence of a breach of any applicable ownership threshold or limits, including, for example, when ownership in certain securities nears an applicable threshold, BlackRock may remove such securities from the list of Deposit Securities to be delivered to the Fund in connection with purchases of Creation Units of such Fund and may limit purchases in such securities to the issuer's weighting in the applicable benchmark used by BlackRock to manage such Fund. If client (including Fund) holdings of an issuer exceed an applicable threshold and BlackRock is unable to obtain relief to enable the continued holding of such investments, it may be necessary to sell down these positions to meet the applicable limitations. In these cases, benchmark overweight positions will be sold prior to benchmark positions being reduced to meet applicable limitations.
In addition to the foregoing, other ownership thresholds may trigger reporting requirements to governmental and regulatory authorities, and such reports may entail the disclosure of the identity of a client or BlackRock’s intended strategy with respect to such security or asset.
BlackRock may not serve as an Authorized Participant in the creation and redemption of iShares ETFs.
BlackRock may maintain securities indices. To the extent permitted by applicable laws, the Fund may seek to license and use such indices as part of its investment strategy. Index based funds that seek to track the performance of securities indices also may use the name of the index or index provider in the fund name. Index providers, including BlackRock (to the extent permitted by applicable law), may be paid licensing fees for use of their index or index name. BlackRock may benefit from the Fund using BlackRock indices by creating increasing acceptance in the marketplace for such indices. BlackRock is not obligated to license its indices to the Fund and the Fund is under no obligation to use BlackRock indices. Any Fund that enters into a license for a BlackRock index cannot be assured that the terms of any index licensing agreement with BlackRock will be as favorable as those terms offered to other licensees.
The custody arrangement described in “Investment Advisory, Administrative and Distribution Services” may lead to potential conflicts of interest with BlackRock where BlackRock has agreed to waive fees and/or reimburse ordinary operating expenses in order to cap expenses of the Fund (or where BlackRock charges a unitary management fee). This is because the custody arrangements with the Fund's custodian may have the effect of reducing custody fees when the Fund leaves cash balances uninvested. This could be viewed as having the potential to provide BlackRock an incentive to keep high positive cash balances for the Fund in order to offset fund custody fees that BlackRock might otherwise reimburse or pay. However, BlackRock’s portfolio managers do not intentionally keep uninvested balances high, but rather make investment decisions that they anticipate will be beneficial to fund performance. For funds without a unitary management fee, when a fund’s actual operating expense ratio exceeds a stated cap, a reduction in custody fees reduces the amount of waivers and/or reimbursements BlackRock would be required to make to the fund.
BlackRock may enter into contractual arrangements with third-party service providers to the Fund (e.g., custodians, administrators and index providers) pursuant to which BlackRock receives fee discounts or concessions in recognition of BlackRock’s overall relationship with such service providers. To the extent that BlackRock is responsible for paying these service providers out of its management fee, the benefits of any such fee discounts or concessions may accrue, in whole or in part, to BlackRock.
BlackRock owns or has an ownership interest in certain trading, portfolio management, operations and/or information systems used by Fund service providers. These systems are, or will be, used by a Fund service provider in connection with the provision of services to accounts managed by BlackRock and funds managed and sponsored by BlackRock, including the Fund, that engage the service provider (typically the custodian). A Fund’s service provider remunerates BlackRock for the use of the systems. The Fund service provider’s payments to BlackRock for the use of these systems may enhance the profitability of BlackRock.
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BlackRock has entered into an arrangement with Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (“ICE”) to be one of ICE’s development partners in connection with ICE’s open-architecture, centralized industry platform to facilitate creation and redemption orders for ETFs (the “ICE Platform”). As a development partner, BlackRock has licensed certain of its intellectual property to ICE. BlackRock uses the ICE Platform to facilitate creations and redemptions in the Fund and certain other services provided by the ICE Platform. BlackRock may have an incentive to promote the broad adoption of the ICE Platform by the ETF marketplace because BlackRock will earn a fee, based on the total revenues earned by the ICE Platform, for licensing BlackRock’s intellectual property to ICE and for BlackRock’s role as development partner. ICE Data Indices, LLC, the underlying index provider for certain BFA managed funds, is a wholly owned subsidiary of ICE.
BlackRock’s receipt of fees from a service provider in connection with the use of systems provided by BlackRock may create an incentive for BlackRock to recommend that the Fund enter into or renew an arrangement with the service provider.
In recognition of a BlackRock client’s overall relationship with BlackRock, BlackRock may offer special pricing arrangements for certain services provided by BlackRock. Any such special pricing arrangements will not apply to the client’s investment in the Fund.
Present and future activities of BlackRock (including BFA) its directors, officers and employees, in addition to those described in this section, may give rise to additional conflicts of interest.
Legal Proceedings.  On June 16, 2016, investors (the “Plaintiffs”) in certain iShares funds (iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF, iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF, iShares Core S&P 500 ETF, iShares Russell Mid-Cap Growth ETF, iShares Russell Mid-Cap ETF, iShares Russell Mid-Cap Value ETF, iShares Select Dividend ETF, iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap ETF, iShares Morningstar Large-Cap ETF, iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF and iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF) filed a putative class action lawsuit against the Trust, BlackRock, Inc. and certain of its advisory affiliates, and certain directors/trustees and officers of the Trust (collectively, “Defendants”) in California State Court. The lawsuit alleges the Defendants violated federal securities laws by failing to adequately disclose in the prospectuses issued by the funds noted above the risks of using stop-loss orders in the event of a “flash crash,” such as the one that occurred on May 6, 2010. On September 18, 2017, the court issued a Statement of Decision holding that the Plaintiffs lack standing to assert their claims. On October 11, 2017, the court entered final judgment dismissing all of Plaintiffs’ claims with prejudice. In an opinion dated January 23, 2020, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims. On March 3, 2020, plaintiffs filed a petition for review by the California Supreme Court. On May 27, 2020, the California Supreme Court denied Plaintiff's petition for review. Plaintiff may choose to petition the US Supreme Court for further review.
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 management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses (as determined by a majority of the Independent Trustees).
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For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA will be paid a management fee by the Fund, based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at an annual rate of 0.07%. BFA has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fees in an amount equal to the Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, if any, attributable to investments by the Fund in other funds advised by BFA or its Affiliates through the termination date of the Fund, on or about December 15, 2030. The contractual waiver may be terminated prior to the Fund's termination only upon written agreement of the Trust and BFA.
The investment advisory agreement with respect to the Fund continues in effect for two years from its effective date, and thereafter is subject to annual approval by (i) the Board, or (ii) the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, provided that in either event such continuance also is approved by a majority of the Board 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, 2020, 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:
James Mauro        
Types of Accounts   Number   Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   97   $395,967,000,000
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   30   118,054,000,000
Other Accounts   30   28,478,000,000
    
Scott Radell        
Types of Accounts   Number   Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   110   $413,037,000,000
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   26   27,839,000,000
Other Accounts   12   7,916,000,000
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 and other financial instruments that compose those indexes or through a representative sampling of the securities and other financial instruments that compose those indexes based on objective criteria and data. Pursuant to BFA policy, investment opportunities are allocated equitably among the Fund and other portfolios and accounts. For example, under certain circumstances, an investment opportunity may be restricted due to limited supply 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 more of those other portfolios or accounts, however, may pay BFA or its affiliates a performance-based fee in lieu of, or in addition to, an asset-based fee for its advisory services. A portfolio or account with a performance-based fee would pay BFA or its affiliates a portion of that portfolio's or account's gains, or would pay BFA or its affiliates more for its services than would otherwise be the case if BFA or its affiliates meets or exceeds specified performance targets. Performance-based fee arrangements could present an incentive for BFA or its affiliates to devote greater resources, and allocate more investment opportunities, to the portfolios or accounts that have those fee arrangements, relative to other portfolios or accounts, in order to earn larger fees. Although BFA and its affiliates have 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
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portfolios and accounts managed by an investment adviser and/or its affiliates pursuant to varying fee arrangements, including performance-based fee arrangements, there is the potential for a conflict-of-interest, which may result in the Portfolio Managers' favoring those portfolios or accounts with performance-based fee arrangements.
The tables below show, for each Portfolio Manager, the number of portfolios or accounts of the types set forth in the above tables and the aggregate of total assets in those portfolios or accounts with respect to which the investment management fees are based on the performance of those portfolios or accounts as of March 31, 2020:
James Mauro        
Types of Accounts   Number of Other
Accounts with
Performance
Fees Managed by Portfolio Manager
  Aggregate
of Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   0   N/A
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   0   N/A
Other Accounts   0   N/A
    
Scott Radell        
Types of Accounts   Number of Other
Accounts with
Performance
Fees Managed by Portfolio Manager
  Aggregate
of Total Assets
Registered Investment Companies   0   N/A
Other Pooled Investment Vehicles   0   N/A
Other Accounts   1   $828,000,000
Portfolio Manager Compensation Overview
The discussion below describes the Portfolio Managers' compensation as of June 29, 2020.
BlackRock, Inc.'s financial arrangements with its portfolio managers, its competitive compensation and its career path emphasis at all levels reflect the value senior management places on key resources. Compensation may include a variety of components and may vary from year to year based on a number of factors. The principal components of compensation include a base salary, a performance-based discretionary bonus, participation in various benefits programs and one or more of the incentive compensation programs established by BlackRock, Inc.
Each portfolio manager receives base compensation based on their position with the firm, as well as retirement and other benefits offered to all BlackRock employees. Additionally, each portfolio manager receives discretionary incentive compensation, determined based on several components, including: the performance of BlackRock, Inc., the performance of the portfolio manager’s group within BlackRock, the performance of portfolios managed by the portfolio manager and the team relative to its investment objective (which in the case of index ETFs would be how closely the ETF tracks its Underlying Index), and the individual’s performance and contribution to the overall performance of these portfolios and BlackRock. Discretionary incentive compensation is paid in cash up to a certain threshold with the remaining portion represented by deferred BlackRock, Inc. stock awards. In some cases, additional deferred BlackRock, Inc. stock may be granted to certain key employees as part of a long-term incentive award to aid in retention, align interests with long-term shareholders and motivate performance.
The discretionary incentive income for James Mauro and Scott Radell includes as an additional consideration the performance of actively-managed portfolios they manage over 1, 3 and 5 year periods measured against the respective benchmark of each portfolio as well as peer group performance. A portion of the discretionary incentive compensation for James Mauro and Scott Radell is distributed in the form of deferred cash awards that notionally track the returns of select BlackRock, Inc. investment products they manage, which provides direct alignment of portfolio manager discretionary incentive compensation with investment product results. Deferred cash awards vest ratably over a number of years and, once vested, settle in the form of cash.
As of June 29, 2020, the Portfolio Managers did not beneficially own shares of the Fund.
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Codes of Ethics.  The Trust, BFA and the Distributor have adopted codes of ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act. The codes of ethics permit personnel subject to the codes of ethics to invest in securities, subject to certain limitations, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Fund. Each code of ethics is available by contacting BlackRock at the telephone number on the back cover of the Fund’s Prospectus or by accessing the EDGAR Database on the SEC's Internet site at http://www.sec.gov, and copies may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by e-mail at publicinfo@sec.gov.
Anti-Money Laundering Requirements.  The Fund is subject to the USA PATRIOT Act (the “Patriot Act”). The Patriot Act is intended to prevent the use of the U.S. financial system in furtherance of money laundering, terrorism or other illicit activities. Pursuant to requirements under the Patriot Act, the Fund may request information from Authorized Participants to enable it to form a reasonable belief that it knows the true identity of its Authorized Participants. This information will be used to verify the identity of Authorized Participants or, in some cases, the status of financial professionals; it will be used only for compliance with the requirements of the Patriot Act.
The Fund reserves the right to reject purchase orders from persons who have not submitted information sufficient to allow the Fund to verify their identity. The Fund also reserves the right to redeem any amounts in the Fund from persons whose identity it is unable to verify on a timely basis. It is the Fund's policy to cooperate fully with appropriate regulators in any investigations conducted with respect to potential money laundering, terrorism or other illicit activities.
Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent.   State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) serves as administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund under the Master Services Agreement and related Service Schedule (the “Service Module”). State Street’s principal address is 1 Lincoln Street, Boston, MA 02111. 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 U.S. 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 Distributor is also licensed as a broker-dealer in all 50 U.S. states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.
The Distribution Agreement for 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 described below), Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) participants and/or investor services organizations.
BFA or its affiliates may, from time to time and from its own resources, pay, defray or absorb costs relating to distribution, including payments out of its own resources to the Distributor, or to otherwise promote the sale of shares.
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Securities Lending.  To the extent that the Fund engages in securities lending, the Fund conducts its securities lending pursuant to SEC exemptive relief, and BTC acts as securities lending agent for the Fund, subject to the overall supervision of BFA, pursuant to a written agreement (the “Securities Lending Agency Agreement”).
The Fund retains a portion of the securities lending income and remits the remaining portion to BTC as compensation for its services as securities lending agent. Securities lending income is generally equal to the total of income earned from the reinvestment of cash collateral (and excludes collateral investment fees as defined below), and any fees or other payments to and from borrowers of securities. As securities lending agent, BTC bears all operational costs directly related to securities lending. 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 (the “collateral investment fees”); 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%. Such money market fund shares will not be subject to a sales load, redemption fee, distribution fee or service fee.
Pursuant to the Securities Lending Agency Agreement effective January 1, 2020:
(i) the iShares fixed-income funds, such as the Fund, retain 82% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment fees) and (ii) this amount can never be less than 70% of the sum of securities lending income plus collateral investment fees.
Under the securities lending program, the Fund is categorized into one of several 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 by the Trust and BTC.
In addition, commencing the business day following the date that the aggregate securities lending income (which includes, for this purpose, collateral investment fees) earned across the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex (as defined under “ManagementTrustees and Officers”) in a calendar year exceeds a specified threshold, each applicable fixed-income fund, pursuant to the securities lending agreement, will receive for the remainder of that calendar year securities lending income as follows:
(i) 85% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment fees) and (ii) this amount can never be less than 70% of the sum of securities lending income plus collateral investment fees.
Because the Fund is newly launched, no services have been provided by BTC as the Fund’s securities lending agent, and the Fund had no income and fees/compensation related to its securities lending activities for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2019.
Payments by BFA and its Affiliates.  BFA and/or its affiliates (“BFA Entities”) may pay certain broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks and other financial intermediaries (“Intermediaries”) for certain activities related to the 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, other iShares funds or exchange-traded products, these payments do not increase the price paid by investors for the purchase of shares of, or the cost of owning, the Fund, other iShares funds or exchange-traded products. BFA Entities make payments for Intermediaries’ participation in activities that are designed to make registered representatives, other professionals and individual investors more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Fund and other iShares funds, or for other activities, such as participation in marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems (“Education Costs”). BFA Entities also make payments to Intermediaries for certain printing, publishing and mailing costs or materials relating to the Fund, other iShares funds or exchange-traded products (“Publishing Costs”). In addition, BFA Entities make payments to Intermediaries that make shares of the Fund, other iShares funds or exchange-traded products available to their clients, develop new products that feature iShares or otherwise promote the Fund, other iShares funds and exchange-traded products. BFA Entities may also reimburse expenses or make payments from their own assets to Intermediaries or other persons in consideration of services or other activities that the BFA Entities believe may benefit the iShares business or facilitate investment in the Fund, other iShares funds or exchange-traded products. Payments of the type described above are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments.
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Payments to an Intermediary may be significant to the Intermediary, and amounts that Intermediaries pay to your salesperson or other investment professional may also be significant for your salesperson or other investment professional. Because an Intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it will recommend or make available to its clients or what services to provide for various products based on payments it receives or is eligible to receive, such payments may create conflicts of interest between the Intermediary and its clients and these financial incentives may cause the Intermediary to recommend the Fund, other iShares funds or exchange-traded products over other investments. The same conflicts of interest and financial incentives exist with respect to your salesperson or other investment professional if he or she receives similar payments from his or her Intermediary firm.
In addition to the payments described above, BFA Entities have developed proprietary tools, calculators and related interactive or digital content that is made available through the www.BlackRock.com website at no additional cost to Intermediaries. BlackRock may configure these tools and calculators and localize the content for Intermediaries as part of its customary digital marketing support and promotion of the Fund, other iShares funds, exchange-traded products and BlackRock mutual funds.
As of March 1, 2013, BFA Entities have contractual arrangements to make payments (in addition to payments for Education Costs or Publishing Costs) to one Intermediary, Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC (“FBS”). Effective June 4, 2016, this relationship was expanded to include National Financial Services, LLC (“NFS”), an affiliate of FBS. Pursuant to this special, long-term and significant arrangement (the “Marketing Program”), FBS, NFS and certain of their affiliates (collectively “Fidelity”) have agreed, among other things, to actively promote iShares funds to customers, investment professionals and other intermediaries and in advertising campaigns as the preferred exchange-traded product, to offer certain iShares funds in certain Fidelity platforms and investment programs, in some cases at a waived or reduced commission rate or ticket charge, and to provide marketing data to BFA Entities. BFA Entities have agreed to facilitate the Marketing Program by, among other things, making certain payments to FBS and NFS for marketing and implementing certain brokerage and investment programs. Upon termination of the arrangement, the BFA Entities will make additional payments to FBS and/or NFS based upon a number of criteria, including the overall success of the Marketing Program and the level of services provided by FBS and NFS during the wind-down period.
In addition, BFA Entities may enter into other contractual arrangements with Intermediaries and certain other third parties that the BFA Entities believe may benefit the iShares business or facilitate investment in iShares funds. Such agreements may include payments by BFA Entities to such Intermediaries and third parties for data collection and provision, technology support, platform enhancement, or co-marketing and cross-promotional efforts. Payments made pursuant to such arrangements may vary in any year and may be different for different Intermediaries and third parties. In certain cases, the payments described in the preceding sentence may be subject to certain minimum payment levels. Such payments will not be asset- or revenue-based. As of the date of this SAI, the Intermediaries and other third parties receiving such contractual payments include: Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., Commonwealth Equity Services, Inc., Dorsey Wright and Associates, LLC, Envestnet Asset Management, Inc., E*Trade Securities LLC, FDx Advisors, Inc., LPL Financial LLC, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, Orion Advisors Services, LLC, Pershing LLC, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Raymond James & Associates, Inc., TD Ameritrade, Inc., UBS Financial Services Inc., Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC. Any additions, modifications, or deletions to Intermediaries and other third parties listed above that have occurred since the date of this SAI are not included in the list.
Further, BFA Entities make Education Costs and Publishing Costs payments to other Intermediaries that are not listed above. BFA Entities may determine to make such payments based on any number of 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 or financial incentives his or her Intermediary firm may receive. Any payments made, or financial incentives offered, by the BFA Entities to an Intermediary may create the incentive for the Intermediary to encourage customers to buy shares of the Fund, other iShares funds or other exchange-traded products.
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
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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. Other funds managed by BFA may also participate in such programs.
Determination of Net Asset Value
Valuation of Shares. The NAV for the Fund is generally calculated as of the close of business on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each business day the NYSE is open. Valuation of securities held by the Fund is as follows:
Equity Investments. Equity securities traded on a recognized securities exchange (e.g., NYSE), on separate trading boards of a securities exchange or through a market system that provides contemporaneous transaction pricing information (each, an “Exchange”) are valued using information obtained via independent pricing services, generally at the closing price on the Exchange on which the security is primarily traded, 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 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).
Fixed-Income Investments. Fixed-income securities for which market quotations are readily available are generally valued using such securities’ current market value. The Fund values fixed-income portfolio securities using the last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by the Fund’s approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with the Valuation Procedures. The pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values, including transaction data (e.g., recent representative bids and offers), credit quality information, perceived market movements, news, and other relevant information and by other methods, which may include consideration of: yields or prices of securities of comparable quality, coupon, maturity and type; indications as to values from dealers; general market conditions; and/or other factors and assumptions. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but the Fund may hold or transact in such securities in smaller, odd lot sizes. Odd lots may trade at lower prices than institutional round lots. The amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless BlackRock determines in good faith that such method does not represent fair value. Loan participation notes are generally valued at the mean of the last available bid prices from one or more brokers or dealers as obtained from independent third-party pricing services. Certain fixed-income investments, including asset-backed and mortgage-related securities, may be valued based on valuation models that consider the estimated cash flows of each tranche of the entity, establish a benchmark yield and develop an estimated tranche-specific spread to the benchmark yield based on the unique attributes of the tranche.
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). OTC derivatives are valued using the last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by the Fund’s approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with the Valuation Procedures. 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.
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Underlying Funds. Shares of underlying ETFs will be valued at their most recent closing price on an Exchange. Shares of underlying money market funds will be valued at their NAV.
General Valuation Information. The price the Fund could receive upon the sale of any particular portfolio investment may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the investment, particularly for securities that trade in thin or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair valuation methodology or a price provided by an independent pricing service. As a result, the price received upon the sale of an investment may be less than the value ascribed by the Fund, and the Fund could realize a greater than expected loss or lesser than expected gain upon the sale of the investment. The Fund’s ability to value its investment may also be impacted by technological issues and/or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers.
All cash, receivables and current payables are carried on the Fund’s books at their fair 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.
In the event that application of the methods of valuation discussed above result in a price for a security which is deemed not to be representative of the fair market value of such security, the security will be valued by, under the direction of or in accordance with a method approved by the Board as reflecting fair value. All other assets and liabilities (including securities for which market quotations are not readily available) held by the Fund (including restricted securities) are valued at fair value as determined in good faith by the Board or by BlackRock (its delegate) pursuant to the Valuation Procedures. Any assets and liabilities that are denominated in a foreign currency are converted into U.S. dollars using prevailing market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more data service providers.
Certain of the securities acquired by the Fund may be traded on foreign exchanges or OTC markets on days on which the Fund’s NAV is not calculated. In such cases, the NAV of the Fund’s shares may be significantly affected on days when Authorized Participants can neither purchase nor redeem shares of the Fund.
Generally, trading in non-U.S. securities, U.S. government securities, money market instruments and certain fixed-income securities is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of business on the NYSE. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of the Fund are determined as of such times.
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 in the Underlying Index, which, in turn, could result in a difference between the 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 complete lack of trading, if BlackRock believes in good faith that a market quotation from a broker-dealer or other source is unreliable (e.g., where it varies significantly from a recent trade, or no longer reflects the fair value of the security or other asset or liability subsequent to the most recent market quotation), or where the security or other asset or liability is only thinly traded or due to the occurrence of a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation. For this purpose, a “significant event” is deemed to occur if BlackRock determines, in its reasonable business judgment, that an event has occurred after the close of trading for an asset or liability but prior to or at the time of pricing 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 the markets or in related or highly correlated assets (e.g., American Depositary Receipts, Global Depositary Receipts or ETFs that invest in components of the Underlying Index) on a trading day after the close of non-U.S. securities markets may be fair valued. On any day the NYSE is open and a foreign market or the primary exchange on which a foreign asset or liability is traded is closed, such asset or liability will be valued using the prior day’s price, provided that BlackRock is not aware of any significant event or other information that would cause such price to no longer reflect the fair value of the asset or liability, in which case such asset or liability would be treated as a Fair Value Asset.
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BlackRock, with input from the BlackRock Investment Strategy Group, will submit its recommendations regarding the valuation and/or valuation methodologies for Fair Value Assets to BlackRock’s Valuation Committee. The BlackRock Valuation Committee may accept, modify or reject any recommendations. In addition, 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 of 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, and does not seek to determine the price that 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 BlackRock Valuation Committee (or BlackRock’s Pricing Group) deems relevant at the time of the determination, and may be based on analytical values determined by BlackRock using proprietary or third-party valuation models.
Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. When determining the fair value of an asset, one or more of a variety of fair valuation methodologies may be used (depending on certain factors, including the asset type). For example, the asset may be priced on the basis of the original cost of the investment or, alternatively, using proprietary or third-party models (including models that rely upon direct portfolio management pricing inputs and which reflect the significance attributed to the various factors and assumptions being considered). Prices of actual, executed or historical transactions in the relevant asset and/or liability (or related or comparable assets and/or liabilities) or, where appropriate, an appraisal by a third-party experienced in the valuation of similar assets and/or liabilities, may also be used as a basis for establishing the fair value of an asset or liability. The fair value of one or more assets or liabilities may not, in retrospect, be the price at which those assets or liabilities could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used in determining the Fund’s NAV. As a result, the Fund’s sale or redemption of its shares at NAV, at a time when a holding or holdings are valued at fair value, may have the effect of diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders.
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 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
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security or instrument being traded and the markets in which it is purchased or sold; (ii) the desired timing of the transaction; (iii) BFA’s knowledge of the expected commission rates and spreads currently available; (iv) the activity existing and expected in the market for the particular security or instrument, including any anticipated execution difficulties; (v) the full range of brokerage services provided; (vi) the broker’s or dealer’s capital; (vii) the quality of research and research services provided; (viii) the reasonableness of the commission, dealer spread or its equivalent for the specific transaction; and (ix) BFA’s knowledge of any actual or apparent operational problems of a broker or dealer. Brokers may also be selected because of their ability to handle special or difficult executions, such as may be involved in large block trades, thinly traded securities, or other circumstances.
Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act (“Section 28(e)”) permits a U.S. investment adviser, under certain circumstances, to cause an account to pay a broker or dealer a commission for effecting a transaction in securities that exceeds the amount another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting the same transaction in recognition of the value of brokerage and research services provided by that broker or dealer. This includes commissions paid on riskless principal transactions in securities under certain conditions.
From time to time, 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).
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 1940 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 SEC. 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 and affiliated persons of such affiliated persons in connection with such transactions. The Fund will not purchase securities during the existence of any underwriting or selling group relating to such securities of which BFA, BRIL or any affiliated person (as defined in the 1940 Act) thereof is a member except pursuant to procedures adopted by the Board in accordance with Rule 10f-3 under the 1940 Act.
Purchases of money market instruments by the 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 the other Affiliates are made independently of each other in light of differing conditions. A variety of factors will be considered in making investment allocations. These factors include: (i) investment objectives or strategies for particular accounts, including sector, industry, country or region and capitalization weightings; (ii) tax considerations of an account; (iii) risk or investment concentration parameters for an account; (iv) supply or demand for a security at a given price level; (v) size of available investment; (vi) cash availability and liquidity requirements for accounts; (vii) regulatory restrictions; (viii) minimum investment size of an
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account; (ix) relative size of account; and (x) such other factors as may be approved by BlackRock’s general counsel. Moreover, investments may not be allocated to one client account over another based on any of the following considerations: (i) to favor one client account at the expense of another; (ii) to generate higher fees paid by one client account over another or to produce greater performance compensation to BlackRock; (iii) to develop or enhance a relationship with a client or prospective client; (iv) to compensate a client for past services or benefits rendered to BlackRock or to induce future services or benefits to be rendered to BlackRock; or (v) to manage or equalize investment performance among different client accounts. BFA and the other Affiliates may deal, trade and invest for their own respective accounts in the types of securities in which the Fund may invest.
Initial public offerings (“IPOs”) of securities may be over-subscribed and subsequently trade at a premium in the secondary market. When BFA is given an opportunity to invest in such an initial offering or “new” or “hot” issue, the supply of securities available for client accounts is often less than the amount of securities the accounts would otherwise take. In order to allocate these investments fairly and equitably among client accounts over time, each portfolio manager or a member of his or her respective investment team will indicate to BFA’s trading desk their level of interest in a particular offering with respect to eligible clients’ accounts for which that team is responsible. IPOs of U.S. equity securities will be identified as eligible for particular client accounts that are managed by portfolio teams who have indicated interest in the offering based on market capitalization of the issuer of the security and the investment mandate of the client account and in the case of international equity securities, the country where the offering is taking place and the investment mandate of the client account. Generally, shares received during the IPO will be allocated among participating client accounts within each investment mandate on a pro rata basis. This pro rata allocation may result in the Fund receiving less of a particular security than if pro-rating had not occurred. All allocations of securities will be subject, where relevant, to share minimums established for accounts and compliance constraints. In situations where supply is too limited to be allocated among all accounts for which the investment is eligible, portfolio managers may rotate such investment opportunities among one or more accounts so long as the rotation system provides for fair access for all client accounts over time. Other allocation methodologies that are considered by BFA to be fair and equitable to clients may be used as well.
Because different accounts may have differing investment objectives and policies, BFA may buy and sell the same securities at the same time for different clients based on the particular investment objective, guidelines and strategies of those accounts. For example, BFA may decide that it may be entirely appropriate for a growth fund to sell a security at the same time a value fund is buying that security. To the extent that transactions on behalf of more than one client of BFA or the other Affiliates during the same period increase the demand for securities being purchased or the supply of securities being sold, there may be an adverse effect on price. For example, sales of a security by BlackRock on behalf of one or more of its clients may decrease the market price of such security, adversely impacting other BlackRock clients that still hold the security. If purchases or sales of securities arise for consideration at or about the same time that would involve the Fund or other clients or funds for which BFA or another Affiliate act as investment manager, transactions in such securities will be made, insofar as feasible, for the respective funds and clients in a manner deemed equitable to all.
In certain instances, BFA may find it efficient for purposes of seeking to obtain best execution, to aggregate or “bunch” certain contemporaneous purchases or sale orders of its advisory accounts and advisory accounts of affiliates. In general, all contemporaneous trades for client accounts under management by the same portfolio manager or investment team will be bunched in a single order if the trader believes the bunched trade would provide each client with an opportunity to achieve a more favorable execution at a potentially lower execution cost. The costs associated with a bunched order will be shared pro rata among the clients in the bunched order. Generally, if an order for a particular portfolio manager or management team is filled at several different prices through multiple trades, all accounts participating in the order will receive the average price (except in the case of certain international markets where average pricing is not permitted). While in some cases this practice could have a detrimental effect upon the price or value of the security as far as the Fund is concerned, in other cases it could be beneficial to the Fund. Transactions effected by BFA or the other Affiliates on behalf of more than one of its clients during the same period may increase the demand for securities being purchased or the supply of securities being sold, causing an adverse effect on price. The trader will give the bunched order to the broker-dealer that the trader has identified as being able to provide the best execution of the order. Orders for purchase or sale of securities will be placed within a reasonable amount of time of the order receipt and bunched orders will be kept bunched only long enough to execute the order.
The Fund's purchase and sale orders for securities may be combined with those of other investment companies, clients or accounts that BlackRock manages or advises. If purchases or sales of portfolio securities of the Fund and one or more other accounts managed or advised by BlackRock are considered at or about the same time, transactions in such securities are allocated among the Fund and the other accounts in a manner deemed equitable to all by BlackRock. In some cases, this
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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. BlackRock may deal, trade and invest for its own account in the types of securities in which the Fund may invest. BlackRock 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 300 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, each fund shall hold a separate vote, provided that shareholders of all affected funds will vote together when: (i) required by the 1940 Act, or (ii) the Trustees determine that the matter affects the interests of more than one fund.
Under Delaware law, the Trust is not required to hold an annual meeting of shareholders unless required to do so under the 1940 Act. The policy of the Trust is not to hold an annual meeting of shareholders unless required to do so under the 1940 Act. All shares (regardless of the fund) have noncumulative voting rights in the election of members of the Board. Under Delaware law, Trustees of the Trust may be removed by vote of the shareholders.
Following the creation of the initial Creation Unit(s) of shares of a fund and immediately prior to the commencement of trading in such fund’s shares, a holder of shares may be a “control person” of the fund, as defined in Rule 0-1 under the 1940 Act. A fund cannot predict the length of time for which one or more shareholders may remain a control person of the fund.
Shareholders may make inquiries by writing to 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 a fund and beneficial owners of 10% of the shares of a fund (“Insiders”) may be subject to the insider reporting, short-swing profit and short sale provisions of Section 16 of the 1934 Act and the SEC’s rules promulgated thereunder. Beneficial owners and Insiders should consult with their own legal counsel concerning their obligations under Sections 13 and 16 of the 1934 Act and existing guidance provided by the SEC staff.
In accordance with the Trust's current Agreement and Declaration of Trust (the “Declaration of Trust”), the Board may, without shareholder approval (unless such shareholder approval is required by the Declaration of Trust or applicable law, including the 1940 Act), authorize certain funds to merge, reorganize, consolidate, sell all or substantially all of their assets, or take other similar actions with, to or into another fund.  The Trust or a fund may be terminated by a majority vote of the Board, subject to the affirmative vote of a majority of the shareholders of the Trust or such 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. Therefore, in the event of a termination of the Trust or a fund, the Board, in its sole discretion, could determine to permit the shares to be
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redeemable in aggregations smaller than Creation Units or to be individually redeemable. In such circumstance, the Trust or a fund may make redemptions in-kind, for cash or for a combination of cash or securities. Further, in the event of a termination of the Trust or a fund, the Trust or a fund might elect to pay cash redemptions to all shareholders, with an in-kind election for shareholders owning in excess of a certain stated minimum amount.
By December 15, 2030, the Fund's holdings are expected to consist primarily of cash and cash equivalents. Around the same time, the Fund will wind up and terminate. Upon the Fund's termination, it will distribute substantially all of its net assets, after making appropriate provision for any liabilities of the Fund, to then-current shareholders pursuant to a plan of liquidation. In accordance with the Declaration of Trust, the Fund will terminate on or about the date above, as approved by a majority of the Board, without requiring additional shareholder approval. The Board may extend the termination date if a majority of the Board determines the extension to be in the best interest of the Fund.
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 was created in 1973 to enable electronic movement of securities between its participants (“DTC Participants”), and NSCC was established in 1976 to provide a single settlement system for securities clearing and to serve as central counterparty for securities trades among DTC Participants. In 1999, DTC and NSCC were consolidated within The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (“DTCC”) and became wholly-owned subsidiaries of DTCC. The common stock of DTCC is owned by the DTC Participants, but NYSE and FINRA, through subsidiaries, hold preferred shares in DTCC that provide them with the right to elect one member each to the DTCC board of directors. Access to the DTC system is available to entities, such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies, that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly (“Indirect Participants”).
Beneficial ownership of shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial Owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial Owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of shares. The laws of some jurisdictions may require that certain purchasers of securities take physical delivery of such securities in definitive form. Such laws may impair the ability of certain investors to acquire beneficial interests in shares of the Fund.
Conveyance of all notices, statements and other communications to Beneficial Owners is effected as follows. Pursuant to the Depositary Agreement between the Trust and DTC, DTC is required to make available to the Trust upon request and for a fee to be charged to the Trust a listing of the shares of the Fund held by each DTC Participant. The Trust shall inquire of each such DTC Participant as to the number of Beneficial Owners holding shares, directly or indirectly, through such DTC Participant. The Trust shall provide each such DTC Participant with copies of such notice, statement or other communication, in such form, number and at such place as such DTC Participant may reasonably request, in order that such notice, statement or communication may be transmitted by such DTC Participant, directly or indirectly, to such Beneficial Owners. In addition, the Trust shall pay to each such DTC Participant a fair and reasonable amount as reimbursement for the expenses attendant to such transmittal, all subject to applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
Share distributions shall be made to DTC or its nominee, Cede & Co., as the registered holder of all shares of the Trust. DTC or its nominee, upon receipt of any such distributions, shall credit immediately DTC Participants’ accounts with payments in amounts proportionate to their respective beneficial interests in shares of the Fund as shown on the records of DTC or its nominee. Payments by DTC Participants to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners of shares held through such DTC Participants will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is now the case with securities held for the accounts of customers in bearer form or registered in a “street name,” and will be the responsibility of such DTC Participants.
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
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time by giving reasonable notice to the Trust and discharging its responsibilities with respect thereto under applicable law. Under such circumstances, the Trust shall take action to find a replacement for DTC to perform its functions at a comparable cost.
Distribution of Shares.  In connection with the Fund's launch, the Fund will be seeded through the sale of one or more Creation Units by the Fund to one or more initial investors. Initial investors participating in the seeding may be Authorized Participants, a lead market maker or other third party investor or an affiliate of the Fund or the Fund’s adviser. Each such initial investor may sell some or all of the shares underlying the Creation Unit(s) held by them pursuant to the registration statement for the Fund (each, a “Selling Shareholder”), which shares have been registered to permit the resale from time to time after purchase. The Fund will not receive any of the proceeds from the resale by the Selling Shareholders of these shares.
Selling Shareholders may sell shares owned by them directly or through broker-dealers, in accordance with applicable law, on any national securities exchange on which the shares may be listed or quoted at the time of sale, through trading systems, in the OTC market or in transactions other than on these exchanges or systems at fixed prices, at prevailing market prices at the time of the sale, at varying prices determined at the time of sale, or at negotiated prices. These sales may be effected through brokerage transactions, privately negotiated trades, block sales, entry into options or other derivatives transactions or through any other means authorized by applicable law. Selling Shareholders may redeem the shares held in Creation Unit size by them through an Authorized Participant.
Any Selling Shareholder and any broker-dealer or agents participating in the distribution of shares may be deemed to be “underwriters” within the meaning of Section 2(a)(11) of the 1933 Act, in connection with such sales.
Any Selling Shareholder and any other person participating in such distribution will be subject to applicable provisions of the 1934 Act and the rules and regulations thereunder.
Creation and Redemption of Creation Units
General.  The Trust issues and sells shares of 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 or the bond markets close 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 approximate value of such Creation Unit as of June 29, 2020:
Shares Per
Creation Unit
  Approximate
Value Per
Creation
Unit (U.S.$)
50,000   $1,250,000
In its discretion, the Trust reserves the right to increase or decrease the number of the Fund’s shares that constitute a Creation Unit. The Board reserves the right to declare a split or a consolidation in the number of shares outstanding of 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 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.
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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.
Consistent with the exemptive orders granted to the Fund by the SEC, creation baskets will correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the Fund's Underlying Index. As the planned termination date of the Fund approaches, and particularly as the bonds held by the Fund begin to mature, the Fund expects to effect both creations and redemptions increasingly for cash.
BFA makes available through the NSCC on each Business Day prior to the opening of business on the Listing Exchange, the list of names and the required number or par value of each Deposit Security and the amount of the Cash Component to be included in the current Fund Deposit (based on information as of the end of the previous Business Day for the Fund). Such Fund Deposit is applicable, subject to any adjustments as described below, to purchases of Creation Units of shares of the Fund until such time as the next-announced Fund Deposit is made available.
The identity and number or par value of the Deposit Securities change pursuant to changes in the composition of the Fund's portfolio and as rebalancing adjustments and corporate action events are reflected from time to time by BFA with a view to the investment objective of the Fund. The composition of the Deposit Securities may also change in response to adjustments to the weighting or composition of the component securities constituting the Underlying Index.
The Fund reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of a “cash in lieu” amount to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security that may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery or that may not be eligible for transfer through DTC or the clearing process (as discussed below) or that the Authorized Participant is not able to trade due to a trading restriction. The Fund also reserves the right to permit or require a “cash in lieu” amount in certain circumstances, including circumstances in which the delivery of the Deposit Security by the Authorized Participant would be restricted under applicable securities or other local laws or in certain other situations.
Cash Purchase Method.  Although the Trust does not generally permit partial or full cash purchases of Creation Units of its funds, when partial or full cash purchases of Creation Units are available or specified 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.
Procedures for Creation of Creation Units.  To be eligible to place orders with the Distributor and to create a Creation Unit of the Fund, an entity must be: (i) a “Participating Party,” i.e., a broker-dealer or other participant in the clearing process through the Continuous Net Settlement System of the NSCC (the “Clearing Process”), a clearing agency that is registered with the SEC, or (ii) a DTC Participant, and must have executed an agreement with the Distributor, with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Units (“Authorized Participant Agreement”) (discussed below). A Participating Party or DTC Participant who has executed an Authorized Participant Agreement is referred to as an “Authorized Participant.” All shares of the Fund, however created, will be entered on the records of DTC in the name of Cede & Co. for the account of a DTC Participant.
Role of the Authorized Participant.  Creation Units may be purchased only by or through a DTC Participant that has entered into an Authorized Participant Agreement with the Distributor. Such Authorized Participant will agree, pursuant to the terms of such Authorized Participant Agreement and on behalf of itself or any investor on whose behalf it will act, to certain conditions, including that such Authorized Participant will make available in advance of each purchase of shares an amount of cash sufficient to pay the Cash Component, once the NAV 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
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Participants may be obtained from the Distributor. The Distributor has adopted guidelines regarding Authorized Participants’ transactions in Creation Units that are made available to all Authorized Participants. These guidelines set forth the processes and standards for Authorized Participants to transact with the Distributor and its agents in connection with creation and redemption transactions. In addition, the Distributor may be appointed as the proxy of the Authorized Participant and may be granted a power of attorney under its Authorized Participant Agreement.
Placement of Creation Orders.  Fund Deposits must be delivered through the Federal Reserve System (for cash and U.S. government securities), through DTC (for corporate and municipal securities) or through a central depository account, such as with Euroclear or DTC, maintained by State Street or a sub-custodian (a “Central Depository Account”). Any portion of a Fund Deposit that may not be delivered through the Federal Reserve System or DTC must be delivered through a Central Depository Account. The Fund Deposit transfers made through DTC must be ordered by the DTC Participant in a timely fashion so as to ensure the delivery of the requisite number of Deposit Securities through DTC to the account of the Fund generally before 3:00 p.m., Eastern time on the Settlement Date. Fund Deposit transfers made through the Federal Reserve System must be deposited by the participant institution in a timely fashion so as to ensure the delivery of the requisite number or amount of Deposit Securities or cash through the Federal Reserve System to the account of the Fund generally before 3:00 p.m., Eastern time on the Settlement Date. Fund Deposit transfers made through a Central Depository Account must be completed pursuant to the requirements established by the custodian or sub-custodian for such Central Depository Account generally before 2:00 p.m., Eastern time on the Settlement Date. The “Settlement Date” for all funds is generally the second business day after the Transmittal Date. All questions as to the number of Deposit Securities to be delivered, and the validity, form and eligibility (including time of receipt) for the deposit of any tendered securities, will be determined by the Trust, whose determination shall be final and binding. The amount of cash equal to the Cash Component must be transferred directly to State Street through the Federal Reserve Bank wire transfer system in a timely manner so as to be received by State Street generally before 3:00 p.m., Eastern time on the Settlement Date. If the Cash Component and the Deposit Securities are not received by 3:00 p.m., Eastern time on the Settlement Date, the creation order may be canceled. Upon written notice to the Distributor, such canceled order may be resubmitted the following Business Day using a Fund Deposit as newly constituted to reflect the then current NAV of the Fund. The delivery of Creation Units so created generally will occur no later than the second Business Day following the day on which the purchase order is deemed received by the Distributor, provided that the relevant Fund Deposit has been received by the Fund prior to such time.
Purchase Orders.   To initiate an order for a Creation Unit, an Authorized Participant must submit to the Distributor or its agent an irrevocable order to purchase shares of 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. 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.
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 in the form required by the Fund to the Distributor or its agent pursuant to procedures set forth in the Authorized Participant Agreement. Economic or market disruptions or changes, or telephone or other communication failure, may impede the ability to reach the Distributor or its agent or an Authorized Participant. The
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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 NAV of the shares, the Fund will confirm the issuance of a Creation Unit, against receipt of payment, at such NAV. 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 are generally issued on a “T+2 basis” (i.e., two Business Days after trade date). The Fund reserves the right to settle Creation Unit transactions on a basis other than T+2, including a shorter settlement period, if necessary or appropriate under the circumstances and compliant with applicable law.
To the extent contemplated by an Authorized Participant Agreement with the Distributor, 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 122%, which percentage BFA may change at any time, in its sole discretion, of the value of the missing Deposit Securities in accordance with the Fund's then-effective procedures. The Trust may use such cash deposit at any time to buy Deposit Securities for the Fund. The only collateral that is acceptable to the Fund is cash in U.S. dollars. Such cash collateral must be delivered no later than the time specified by the Fund or its custodian 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 including, without limitation, liability for related brokerage, borrowings and other charges.
In certain cases, Authorized Participants may create and redeem Creation Units on the same trade date and in these instances, the Fund reserves the right to settle these transactions on a net basis or require a representation from the
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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. If a purchase consists solely or partially of cash, the Authorized Participant may also be required to cover (up to the maximum amount shown below) certain brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, price movement and other costs and expenses related to the execution of trades resulting from such transaction (which may, in certain instances, be based on a good faith estimate of transaction costs). Authorized Participants will also bear the costs of transferring the Deposit Securities to the Fund. Certain fees/costs associated with creation transactions may be waived in certain circumstances. Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary to acquire Fund shares may be charged a fee for such services.
The following table sets forth the Fund's standard creation transaction fees and maximum additional charge (as described above):
Standard Creation
Transaction Fee
  Maximum Additional
Charge*
$125   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 (as defined below). 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 NAV of the shares being redeemed, as next determined after the receipt of a redemption request in proper form, and the value of Fund Securities, less a redemption transaction fee (as described below).
The Trust may, in its sole discretion, substitute a “cash in lieu” amount to replace any Fund Security. The 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 due to restrictions under applicable securities or other local laws, or in certain other situations. The
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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. The Fund may, in its sole discretion, provide such redeeming Authorized Participant a portfolio of securities that differs from the exact composition of the Fund Securities, but does not differ in NAV.
Cash Redemption Method.   Although the Trust does not generally permit partial or full cash redemptions of Creation Units of its 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. If a redemption consists solely or partially of cash, the Authorized Participant may also be required to cover (up to the maximum amount shown below) certain brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, price movement and other costs and expenses related to the execution of trades resulting from such transaction (which may, in certain instances, be based on a good faith estimate of transaction costs). Authorized Participants will also bear the costs of transferring the Fund Securities from the Fund to their account on their order. Certain fees/costs associated with redemption transactions may be waived in certain circumstances. Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary to dispose of Fund shares may be charged a fee for such services.
The following table sets forth the Fund's standard redemption transaction fees and maximum additional charge (as described above):
Standard Redemption
Transaction Fee
  Maximum Additional
Charge*
$125   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 or its agent 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. On days when the Listing Exchange closes earlier than normal, the Fund may require orders to redeem Creation Units to be placed earlier that day. Investors, other than Authorized Participants, are responsible for making arrangements for a redemption request to be made through an Authorized Participant. The Distributor or its agent will provide a list of current Authorized Participants upon request.
The Authorized Participant must transmit the request for redemption in the form required by the 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.
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 on which the redemption request is submitted; (ii) a
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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.
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 Authorized Participant, whether on its own account or acting on behalf of a Beneficial Owner, must maintain appropriate security arrangements with a qualified broker-dealer, bank or other custody providers in each jurisdiction in which any of the portfolio securities are customarily traded, to which account such portfolio securities will be delivered.
Deliveries of redemption proceeds by the Fund are generally made within two Business Days (i.e., “T+2”). The Fund reserves the right to settle redemption transactions on a basis other than T+2 but by T+7, if necessary or appropriate under the circumstances and compliant with applicable law. Delayed settlement may occur due to a number of different reasons, including, without limitation, settlement cycles for the underlying securities, unscheduled market closings, an effort to link distribution to distribution record dates and ex-dates and newly announced holidays. For example, the redemption settlement process may be extended beyond T+2 because of the occurrence of a holiday in a non-U.S. market or in the U.S. bond market that is not a holiday observed in the U.S. equity market.
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 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 122%, 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 the time specified by the Fund or its custodian 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 together with liability for related brokerage and other charges.
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 NAV 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 income tax laws dictate that capital gain or loss realized from the redemption of Creation Units will generally create long-term capital gain or loss if the Authorized Participant holds the Creation Units for more than one year, or short-term capital gain or loss if the Creation Units were held for one year or less, if the Creation Units are held as capital assets.
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Taxes
The following is a summary of certain material U.S. federal income tax considerations regarding the purchase, ownership and disposition of shares of the Fund. This summary does not address all of the potential U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be applicable to the Fund or to all categories of investors, some of which may be subject to special tax rules. Current and prospective shareholders are urged to consult their own tax advisors with respect to the specific federal, state, local and non-U.S. tax consequences of investing in the Fund. The summary is based on the laws and judicial and administrative interpretations thereof in effect on the date of this SAI, all of which are subject to change, possibly with retroactive effect.
Regulated Investment Company Qualifications.  The Fund intends to qualify for and to elect treatment as a separate RIC under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code. To qualify for treatment as a RIC, the Fund must annually distribute at least 90% of its investment company taxable income (which includes dividends, interest and net short-term capital gains) and meet several other requirements. Among such other requirements are the following: (i) at least 90% of the Fund’s annual gross income must be derived from dividends, interest, payments with respect to securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock or securities or non-U.S. currencies, other income (including, but not limited to, gains from options, futures or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, and net income derived from interests in qualified publicly-traded partnerships (i.e., partnerships that are traded on an established securities market or tradable on a secondary market, other than a partnership that derives at least 90% of its income from interest, dividends, capital gains and other traditionally permitted RIC income); and (ii) at the close of each quarter of the Fund’s taxable year, (a) at least 50% of the market value of the Fund’s total assets must be represented by cash and cash items, U.S. government securities, securities of other RICs and other securities, with such other securities limited for purposes of this calculation in respect of any one issuer to an amount not greater than 5% of the value of the Fund’s assets and not greater than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and (b) not more than 25% of the value of the Fund’s total assets may be invested in the securities of any one issuer, of two or more issuers of which 20% or more of the voting stock is held by the Fund and that are engaged in the same or similar trades or businesses or related trades or businesses (other than the securities of other RICs) or the securities of one or more qualified publicly-traded partnerships.
The Fund may be able to cure a failure to derive at least 90% of its income from the sources specified above or a failure to diversify its holdings in the manner described above by paying a tax and/or by disposing of certain assets. If, in any taxable year, the Fund fails one of these tests and does not timely cure the failure, the Fund will be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation and distributions to its shareholders will not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income.
Although in general the passive loss rules of the Internal Revenue Code do not apply to RICs, such rules do apply to a RIC with respect to items attributable to an interest in a qualified publicly-traded partnership. The Fund’s investments in partnerships, including in qualified publicly-traded partnerships, may result in the Fund being subject to state, local, or non-U.S. income, franchise or withholding tax liabilities.
Taxation of RICs.  As a RIC, the Fund will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of its taxable investment income and capital gains that it distributes to its shareholders, provided that it satisfies a minimum distribution requirement. To satisfy the minimum distribution requirement, the Fund must distribute to its shareholders at least the sum of (i) 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (i.e., income other than its net realized long-term capital gain over its net realized short-term capital loss), plus or minus certain adjustments, and (ii) 90% of its net tax-exempt income for the taxable year. The Fund will be subject to income tax at regular corporate rates on any taxable income or gains that it does not distribute to its shareholders. If the Fund fails to qualify for any taxable year as a RIC or fails to meet the distribution requirement, all of its taxable income will be subject to tax at regular corporate income tax rates without any deduction for distributions to shareholders, and such distributions generally will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary dividends to the extent of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits. In such event, distributions to individuals should be eligible to be treated as qualified dividend income and distributions to corporate shareholders generally should be eligible for the dividends-received deduction. Although the Fund intends to distribute substantially all of its net investment income and its capital gains for each taxable year, the Fund will be subject to U.S. federal income taxation to the extent any such income or gains are not distributed. Moreover, if the Fund fails to qualify as a RIC in any year, it must pay out its earnings and profits accumulated in that year in order to qualify again as a RIC. If the Fund fails to qualify as a RIC for a period greater than two
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taxable years, the Fund may be required to recognize any net built-in gains with respect to certain of its assets (i.e., the excess of the aggregate gains, including items of income, over aggregate losses that would have been realized with respect to such assets if the Fund had been liquidated) if it qualifies as a RIC in a subsequent year.
Net Capital Loss Carryforwards.  Net capital loss carryforwards may be applied against any net realized capital gains in each succeeding year, until they have been reduced to zero.
In the event that the Fund were to experience an ownership change as defined under the Internal Revenue Code, the loss carryforwards and other favorable tax attributes of the Fund, if any, may be subject to limitation.
Excise Tax.  The Fund will be subject to a 4% excise tax on certain undistributed income if it does not distribute to its shareholders in each calendar year at least 98% of its ordinary income for the calendar year plus at least 98.2% of its capital gain net income for the 12 months ended October 31 of such year. For this purpose, however, any ordinary income or capital gain net income retained by the Fund that is subject to corporate income tax will be considered to have been distributed by year-end. In addition, the minimum amounts that must be distributed in any year to avoid the excise tax will be increased or decreased to reflect any underdistribution or overdistribution, as the case may be, from the previous year. The Fund intends to declare and distribute dividends and distributions in the amounts and at the times necessary to avoid the application of this 4% excise tax.
Taxation of U.S. Shareholders.  Dividends and other distributions by the Fund are generally treated under the Internal Revenue Code as received by the shareholders at the time the dividend or distribution is made. However, any dividend or capital gain distribution declared by the Fund in October, November or December of any calendar year and payable to shareholders of record on a specified date in such a month shall be deemed to have been received by each shareholder on December 31 of such calendar year and to have been paid by the Fund not later than such December 31, provided such dividend is actually paid by the Fund during January of the following calendar year.
The Fund intends to distribute annually to its shareholders substantially all of its net tax-exempt income, investment company taxable income and any net realized long-term capital gains in excess of net realized short-term capital losses (including any capital loss carryovers). However, if the Fund retains for investment an amount equal to all or a portion of its net long-term capital gains in excess of its net short-term capital losses (including any capital loss carryovers), it will be subject to a corporate tax (at a flat rate of 21%) on the amount retained. In that event, the Fund will report such retained amounts as undistributed capital gains in a notice to its shareholders who (a) will be required to include in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gains, their proportionate shares of the undistributed amount, (b) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the tax paid by the Fund on the undistributed amount against their U.S. federal income tax liabilities, if any, and to claim refunds to the extent their credits exceed their liabilities, if any, and (c) will be entitled to increase their tax basis, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, in their shares by an amount equal to the excess of the amount in clause (a) over the amount in clause (b). Organizations or persons not subject to U.S. federal income tax on such capital gains will be entitled to a refund of their pro rata share of such taxes paid by the Fund upon filing appropriate returns or claims for refund with the IRS.
Distributions of net realized long-term capital gains, if any, that the Fund reports as capital gain dividends are taxable as long-term capital gains, whether paid in cash or in shares and regardless of how long a shareholder has held shares of the Fund. All other dividends of the Fund (including dividends from short-term capital gains) from its current and accumulated earnings and profits (“regular dividends”) are generally subject to tax as ordinary income. Long-term capital gains are eligible for taxation at a maximum rate of 15% or 20% for non-corporate shareholders, depending on whether their income exceeds certain threshold amounts.
If an individual receives a regular dividend qualifying for the long-term capital gain rates and such dividend constitutes an “extraordinary dividend,” and the individual subsequently recognizes a loss on the sale or exchange of stock in respect of which the extraordinary dividend was paid, then the loss will be long-term capital loss to the extent of such extraordinary dividend. An “extraordinary dividend” on common stock for this purpose is generally a dividend (i) in an amount greater than or equal to 10% of the taxpayer’s tax basis (or trading value) in a share of stock, aggregating dividends with ex-dividend dates within an 85-day period, or (ii) in an amount greater than 20% of the taxpayer’s tax basis (or trading value) in a share of stock, aggregating dividends with ex-dividend dates within a 365-day period.
Distributions in excess of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will, as to each shareholder, be treated as a tax-free return of capital to the extent of a shareholder’s basis in shares of the Fund, and as a capital gain thereafter (if the
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shareholder holds shares of the Fund as capital assets). Distributions in excess of the Fund’s minimum distribution requirements, but not in excess of the Fund’s earnings and profits, will be taxable to shareholders and will not constitute nontaxable returns of capital. Shareholders receiving dividends or distributions in the form of additional shares should be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as receiving a distribution in an amount equal to the amount of money that the shareholders receiving cash dividends or distributions will receive and should have a cost basis in the shares received equal to such amount. No deduction would be allowed to an investor for interest on indebtedness incurred or continued to purchase or carry shares of the Fund to the extent the interest deduction would relate to exempt-interest dividends received.
A 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax is imposed on net investment income, including, but not limited to, interest, dividends, and net gain from investments, of U.S. individuals with income exceeding $200,000 (or $250,000 if married and filing jointly), and of estates and trusts.
Investors considering buying shares just prior to a dividend or capital gain distribution should be aware that, although the price of shares purchased at that time may reflect the amount of the forthcoming distribution, such dividend or distribution may nevertheless be taxable to them. If the Fund is the holder of record of any security on the record date for any dividends payable with respect to such security, such dividends will be included in the Fund’s gross income not as of the date received but as of the later of (i) the date such security became ex-dividend with respect to such dividends (i.e., the date on which a buyer of the security would not be entitled to receive the declared, but unpaid, dividends); or (ii) the date the Fund acquired such security. Accordingly, in order to satisfy its income distribution requirements, the Fund may be required to pay dividends based on anticipated earnings, and shareholders may receive dividends in an earlier year than would otherwise be the case.
In certain situations, the Fund may, for a taxable year, defer all or a portion of its net capital loss (or if there is no net capital loss, then any net long-term or short-term capital loss) realized after October and its late-year ordinary loss (defined as the sum of the excess of post-October foreign currency and passive foreign investment company (“PFIC”) losses over post-October foreign currency and PFIC gains, plus the excess of post-December ordinary losses over post-December ordinary income) until the next taxable year in computing its investment company taxable income and net capital gain, which will defer the recognition of such realized losses. Such deferrals and other rules regarding gains and losses realized after October (or December) may affect the tax character of shareholder distributions.
Sales of Shares.  Upon the sale or exchange of shares of the Fund, a shareholder will realize a taxable gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized and the shareholder’s basis in shares of the Fund. A redemption of shares by the Fund will be treated as a sale for this purpose. Such gain or loss will be treated as capital gain or loss if the shares are capital assets in the shareholder’s hands and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the shares are held for more than one year and short-term capital gain or loss if the shares are held for one year or less. Any loss realized on a sale or exchange will be disallowed to the extent the shares disposed of are replaced, including replacement through the reinvesting of dividends or capital gains distributions, or by an option, or contract to acquire substantially identical shares, within a 61-day period beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the disposition of the shares. In such a case, the basis of the shares acquired will be increased to reflect the disallowed loss. Any loss realized by a shareholder on the sale of Fund shares held by the shareholder for six months or less will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any distributions or deemed distributions of long-term capital gains received by the shareholder with respect to such share. The Medicare contribution tax described above will apply to the sale of Fund shares.
If a shareholder incurs a sales charge in acquiring shares of the Fund, disposes of those shares within 90 days and then, on or before January 31 of the following calendar year, acquires shares in a mutual fund for which the otherwise applicable sales charge is reduced by reason of a reinvestment right (e.g., an exchange privilege), the original sales charge will not be taken into account in computing gain/loss on the original shares to the extent the subsequent sales charge is reduced. Instead, the disregarded portion of the original sales charge will be added to the tax basis of the newly acquired shares. Furthermore, the same rule also applies to a disposition of the newly acquired shares made within 90 days of the second acquisition. This provision prevents a shareholder from immediately deducting the sales charge by shifting his or her investment within a family of mutual funds.
Backup Withholding.  In certain cases, the Fund will be required to withhold at a 24% rate and remit to the U.S. Treasury such amounts withheld from any distributions paid to a shareholder who: (i) has failed to provide a correct taxpayer identification number; (ii) is subject to backup withholding by the IRS; (iii) has failed to certify to the Fund that such
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shareholder is not subject to backup withholding; or (iv) has not certified that such shareholder is a U.S. person (including a U.S. resident alien). Backup withholding is not an additional tax and any amount withheld may be credited against a shareholder's U.S. federal income tax liability.
Sections 351 and 362.  The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has the right to reject an order for a purchase of shares of the Fund if the purchaser (or group of purchasers) would, upon obtaining the shares so ordered, own 80% or more of the outstanding shares of the Fund and if, pursuant to Sections 351 and 362 of the Internal Revenue Code, the Fund would have a basis in the securities different from the market value of such securities on the date of deposit. If the Fund’s basis in such securities on the date of deposit was less than market value on such date, the Fund, upon disposition of the securities, would recognize more taxable gain or less taxable loss than if its basis in the securities had been equal to market value. It is not anticipated that the Trust will exercise the right of rejection except in a case where the Trust determines that accepting the order could result in material adverse tax consequences to the Fund or its shareholders. The Trust also has the right to require information necessary to determine beneficial share ownership for purposes of the 80% determination.
Taxation of Certain Derivatives.  The Fund’s transactions in zero coupon securities, non-U.S. currencies, forward contracts, options and futures contracts (including options and futures contracts on non-U.S. currencies), to the extent permitted, will be subject to special provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (including provisions relating to “hedging transactions” and “straddles”) that, among other consequences, may affect the character of gains and losses realized by the Fund (i.e., may affect whether gains or losses are ordinary or capital), accelerate recognition of income to the Fund and defer Fund losses. These rules could therefore affect the character, amount and timing of distributions to shareholders. These provisions also (a) will require the Fund to mark-to-market certain types of the positions in its portfolio (i.e., treat them as if they were closed out at the end of each year) and (b) may cause the Fund to recognize income without receiving cash with which to pay dividends or make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the distribution requirements for avoiding income and excise taxes. The Fund will monitor its transactions, will make the appropriate tax elections and will make the appropriate entries in its books and records when it acquires any zero coupon security, non-U.S. currency, forward contract, option, futures contract or hedged investment in order to mitigate the effect of these rules and prevent disqualification of the Fund as a RIC.
The Fund’s investments in so-called “section 1256 contracts,” such as regulated futures contracts, most non-U.S. currency forward contracts traded in the interbank market and options on most security indexes, are subject to special tax rules. All section 1256 contracts held by the Fund at the end of its taxable year are required to be marked to their market value, and any unrealized gain or loss on those positions will be included in the Fund’s income as if each position had been sold for its fair market value at the end of the taxable year. The resulting gain or loss will be combined with any gain or loss realized by the Fund from positions in section 1256 contracts closed during the taxable year. Provided such positions were held as capital assets and were not part of a “hedging transaction” nor part of a “straddle,” 60% of the resulting net gain or loss will be treated as long-term capital gain or loss, and 40% of such net gain or loss will be treated as short-term capital gain or loss, regardless of the period of time the positions were actually held by the Fund.
As a result of entering into swap contracts, the Fund may make or receive periodic net payments. The Fund may also make or receive a payment when a swap is terminated prior to maturity through an assignment of the swap or other closing transaction. Periodic net payments will generally constitute ordinary income or deductions, while termination of a swap will generally result in capital gain or loss (which will be a long-term capital gain or loss if the Fund has been a party to the swap for more than one year). The cost of any payments made by the Fund on a swap transaction will be netted pro rata against both tax exempt and taxable gross income. With respect to certain types of swaps, the Fund may be required to currently recognize income or loss with respect to future payments on such swaps or may elect under certain circumstances to mark such swaps to market annually for tax purposes as ordinary income or loss.
Market Discount.  Any market discount recognized on a bond is taxable as ordinary income. A market discount bond is a bond acquired in the secondary market at a price below redemption value or adjusted issue price if issued with original issue discount (“OID”). To the extent the Fund does not include the market discount in income as it accrues, gain on the Fund’s disposition of such an obligation will be treated as ordinary income rather than capital gain to the extent of the accrued market discount.
Non-U.S. Investments.  Income (including, in some cases, capital gains) received by the Fund from investments in non-U.S. securities may be subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by non-U.S. countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the U.S. may reduce or eliminate such taxes in some cases. If more than 50% of the Fund’s total assets at the close of its taxable year consists of securities of non-U.S. corporations, the Fund may elect for U.S. income tax purposes to
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treat non-U.S. income taxes paid by it as paid by its shareholders. The Fund may qualify for and make this election in some, but not necessarily all, of its taxable years. If the Fund were to make an election, shareholders of the Fund would be required to take into account an amount equal to their pro rata portions of such non-U.S. taxes in computing their taxable income and then treat an amount equal to those non-U.S. taxes as a U.S. federal income tax deduction or as a foreign tax credit against their U.S. federal income taxes. Shortly after any year for which it makes such an election, the Fund will report to its shareholders the amount per share of such non-U.S. income tax that must be included in each shareholder’s gross income and the amount which will be available for the deduction or credit. No deduction for non-U.S. taxes may be claimed by a shareholder who does not itemize deductions. Certain limitations will be imposed on the extent to which the credit (but not the deduction) for non-U.S. taxes may be claimed. Under Section 988 of the Internal Revenue Code, gains or losses attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates between the time the Fund accrues income or receivables or expenses or other liabilities denominated in a non-U.S. currency and the time the Fund actually collects such income or pays such liabilities are generally treated as ordinary income or ordinary loss. In general, gains (and losses) realized on debt instruments will be treated as Section 988 gain (or loss) to the extent attributable to changes in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the currencies in which the instruments are denominated. Similarly, gain or losses on non-U.S. currency, non-U.S. currency forward contracts, certain non-U.S. currency options or futures contracts and the disposition of debt securities denominated in non-U.S. currency, to the extent attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates between the acquisition and disposition dates, are also treated as ordinary income or loss unless the Fund were to elect otherwise.
Original Issue Discount.  OID on tax-exempt bonds is recognized over the term of the bond and is tax-exempt to the holder of the bond. Special U.S. federal income tax rules apply to inflation-indexed bonds. Generally, all stated interest on such bonds is taken into income by the Fund under its regular method of accounting for interest income. The amount of a positive inflation adjustment, which results in an increase in the inflation-adjusted principal amount of the bond, is treated as OID. The OID is included in the Fund’s gross income ratably during the period ending with the maturity of the bond, under the general OID inclusion rules. The amount of the Fund’s OID in a taxable year with respect to a bond will increase the Fund’s taxable income for such year without a corresponding receipt of cash, until the bond matures. As a result, the Fund may need to use other sources of cash to satisfy its distributions for such year. The amount of negative inflation adjustment, which results in a decrease in the inflation-adjusted principal amount of the bond, reduces the amount of interest (including stated, interest, OID, and market discount, if any) otherwise includible in the Fund’s income with respect to the bond for the taxable year.
Reporting.  If a shareholder recognizes a loss with respect to the Fund’s shares of $2 million or more for an individual shareholder or $10 million or more for a corporate shareholder, the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on IRS Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases exempted from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a RIC are not exempted. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper. Shareholders should consult their tax advisors to determine the applicability of these regulations in light of their individual circumstances.
Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders.  Dividends paid by the Fund to non-U.S. shareholders are generally subject to withholding tax at a 30% rate or a reduced rate specified by an applicable income tax treaty to the extent derived from investment income and short-term capital gains. Dividends paid by the Fund from net tax-exempt income or long-term capital gains are generally not subject to such withholding tax. In order to obtain a reduced rate of withholding, a non-U.S. shareholder will be required to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN or IRS Form W-8BEN-E certifying its entitlement to benefits under a treaty. The withholding tax does not apply to regular dividends paid to a non-U.S. shareholder who provides an IRS Form W-8ECI, certifying that the dividends are effectively connected with the non-U.S. shareholder’s conduct of a trade or business within the U.S. Instead, the effectively connected dividends will be subject to regular U.S. income tax as if the non-U.S. shareholder were a U.S. shareholder. A non-U.S. corporation receiving effectively connected dividends may also be subject to additional “branch profits tax” imposed at a rate of 30% (or lower treaty rate). A non-U.S. shareholder who fails to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN, IRS Form W-8BEN-E or other applicable form may be subject to backup withholding at the appropriate rate.
Properly-reported dividends are generally exempt from U.S. federal withholding tax where they (i) are paid in respect of the Fund’s “qualified net interest income” (generally, the Fund’s U.S. source interest income, other than certain contingent interest and interest from obligations of a corporation or partnership in which the Fund is at least a 10% shareholder or partner, reduced by expenses that are allocable to such income); or (ii) are paid in respect of the Fund’s “qualified short-term capital gains” (generally, the excess of the Fund’s net short-term capital gain over the Fund’s long-term capital loss for such taxable year). However, depending on its circumstances, the Fund may report all, some or none of its potentially eligible
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dividends as such qualified net interest income or as qualified short-term capital gains and/or treat such dividends, in whole or in part, as ineligible for this exemption from withholding. In order to qualify for this exemption from withholding, a non-U.S. shareholder will need to comply with applicable certification requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing an IRS Form W-8BEN, IRS Form W-8BEN-E or substitute Form). In the case of shares held through an intermediary, the intermediary may withhold even if the Fund reports the payment as qualified net interest income or qualified short-term capital gain. Non-U.S. shareholders should contact their intermediaries with respect to the application of these rules to their accounts.
Distributions to certain foreign shareholders by a Fund at least 50% of the assets of which are “U.S. real property interests” (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code and Treasury regulations) at any time during the five-year period ending on the date of the distributions, to the extent the distributions are attributable to gains from sales or exchanges of U.S. real property interests (including shares in certain “U.S. real property holding corporations” such as certain REITs, although exceptions may apply if any class of stock of such a corporation is regularly traded on an established securities market and the Fund has held no more than 5% of such class of stock at any time during the five-year period ending on the date of the distributions), generally must be treated by such foreign shareholders as income effectively connected to a trade or business within the U.S., which is generally subject to tax at the graduated rates applicable to U.S. shareholders, except for distributions to foreign shareholders that held no more than 5% of any class of stock of the Fund at any time during the previous one-year period ending on the date of the distributions. Such distributions may be subject to U.S. withholding tax and may require a foreign shareholder to file a U.S. federal income tax return. In addition, sales or redemptions of shares held by certain foreign shareholders in such a Fund generally will be subject to U.S. withholding tax and generally will require the foreign shareholder to file a U.S. federal income tax return, although exceptions may apply if more than 50% of the value of the Fund’s shares are held by U.S. shareholders or the foreign shareholder selling or redeeming the shares has held no more than 5% of any class of stock of the Fund at any time during the five-year period ending on the date of the sale or redemption.
Provided that more than 50% of the value of a Fund’s stock is held by U.S. shareholders, redemptions and other distributions made in the form of U.S. real property interests (including shares in certain “U.S. real property holding corporations”, although exceptions may apply if any class of stock of such a corporation is regularly traded on an established securities market and the Fund has held no more than 5% of such class of stock at any time during the five-year period ending on the date of the distribution) generally will cause the Fund to recognize a portion of any unrecognized gain in the U.S. real property interests equal to the product of (i) the excess of fair market value of such U.S. real property interests over the Fund’s adjusted bases in such interests and (ii) the greatest foreign ownership percentage of the Fund during the five-year period ending on the date of distribution.
The rules laid out in the previous two paragraphs, other than the withholding rules, will apply notwithstanding the Fund’s participation in a wash sale transaction or its payment of a substitute dividend.
Shareholders that are nonresident aliens or foreign entities are urged to consult their own tax advisors concerning the particular tax consequences to them of an investment in a Fund.
Separately, a 30% withholding tax is currently imposed on U.S.-source dividends, interest and other income items paid to: (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the IRS information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. account holders and (ii) certain other foreign entities, unless they certify certain information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. owners. To avoid withholding, foreign financial institutions will need to: (i) enter into agreements with the IRS that state that they will provide the IRS information including the names, addresses and taxpayer identification numbers of direct and indirect U.S. account holders; comply with due diligence procedures with respect to the identification of U.S. accounts; report to the IRS certain information with respect to U.S. accounts maintained; agree to withhold tax on certain payments made to non-compliant foreign financial institutions or to account holders who fail to provide the required information; and determine certain other information as to 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 will need to provide the name, address and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner or provide certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership, unless certain exceptions apply.
Shares of the Fund held by a non-U.S. shareholder at death will be considered situated within the U.S. and subject to the U.S. estate tax.
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The foregoing discussion is a summary of certain material U.S. federal income tax considerations only and is not intended as a substitute for careful tax planning. Purchasers of shares should consult their own tax advisors as to the tax consequences of investing in such shares, including consequences under state, local and non-U.S. tax laws. Finally, the foregoing discussion is based on applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, judicial authority and administrative interpretations in effect on the date of this SAI. Changes in applicable authority could materially affect the conclusions discussed above, and such changes often occur.
Financial Statements
Financial statements for the Fund are not available because, as of the date of this SAI, the Fund has no financial information to report.
Miscellaneous Information
Counsel.  Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, located at 787 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019, is counsel to the Trust.
Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm.  PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, located at Two Commerce Square, 2001 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, serves as the Trust's independent registered public accounting firm, audits the Fund's financial statements, and may perform other services.
Shareholder Communications to the Board.  The Board has established a process for shareholders to communicate with the Board. Shareholders may contact the Board by mail. Correspondence should be addressed to iShares Board of Trustees, c/o BlackRock Fund Advisors, iShares Fund Administration, 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. Shareholder communications to the Board should include the following information: (i) the name and address of the shareholder; (ii) the number of shares owned by the shareholder; (iii) the Fund(s) of which the shareholder owns shares; and (iv) if these shares are owned indirectly through a broker, financial intermediary or other record owner, the name of the broker, financial intermediary or other record owner. All correspondence received as set forth above shall be reviewed by the Secretary of the Trust and reported to the Board.
Investors’ Rights.  The Fund relies on the services of BFA and its other service providers, including the Distributor, administrator, custodian and transfer agent. Further information about the duties and roles of these service providers is set out in this SAI. Investors who acquire shares of the Fund are not parties to the relevant agreement with these service providers and do not have express contractual rights against the Fund or its service providers, except certain institutional investors that are Authorized Participants may have certain express contractual rights with respect to the Distributor under the terms of the relevant Authorized Participant Agreement. Investors may have certain legal rights under federal or state law against the Fund or its service providers. In the event that an investor considers that it may have a claim against the Fund, or against any service provider in connection with its investment in the Fund, such investor should consult its own legal advisor.
By contract, Authorized Participants irrevocably submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of any New York State or U.S. federal court sitting in New York City over any suit, action or proceeding arising out of or relating to the Authorized Participant Agreement. Jurisdiction over other claims, whether by investors or Authorized Participants, will turn on the facts of the particular case and the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceeding is brought.
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Appendix A1 - iShares ETFs Proxy Voting Policy
BlackRock U.S. Registered Funds
Open-End Fund Proxy Voting Policy
Procedures Governing Delegation of Proxy Voting to Fund Advisers
April 1, 2020
Open-End Mutual Funds (including money market funds)
iShares and BlackRock ETFs
The Boards of Trustees/Directors (“Directors”) of open-end funds (the “Funds”) advised by BlackRock Fund Advisors or BlackRock Advisors, LLC (“BlackRock”), have the responsibility for the oversight of voting proxies relating to portfolio securities of the Funds, and have determined that it is in the best interests of the Funds and their shareholders to delegate the responsibility to vote proxies to BlackRock, subject to the principles outlined in this Policy, as part of BlackRock’s authority to manage, acquire and dispose of account assets, all as contemplated by the Funds’ respective investment management agreements.
BlackRock has adopted guidelines and procedures (together and as from time to time amended, the “BlackRock Proxy Voting Guidelines”) governing proxy voting by accounts managed by BlackRock.
BlackRock will cast votes on behalf of each of the Funds on specific proxy issues in respect of securities held by each such Fund (or may refrain from voting) in accordance with the BlackRock Proxy Voting Guidelines.
BlackRock will report on an annual basis to the Directors on (1) a summary of all proxy votes that BlackRock has made on behalf of the Funds in the preceding year together with a representation that all votes were in accordance with the BlackRock Proxy Voting Guidelines, and (2) any changes to the BlackRock Proxy Voting Guidelines that have not previously been reported.
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Appendix A2 – BlackRock Global Proxy Voting Policies
BlackRock Investment Stewardship
Global Corporate Governance & Engagement Principles
January 2020
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INTRODUCTION TO BLACKROCK
BlackRock’s purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. As a fiduciary to our clients, we provide the investment and technology solutions they need when planning for their most important goals. We manage assets on behalf of institutional and individual clients, across a full spectrum of investment strategies, asset classes and regions. Our client base includes pension plans, endowments, foundations, charities, official institutions, insurers and other financial institutions, as well as individuals around the world.
PHILOSOPHY ON CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
BlackRock Investment Stewardship (“BIS”) activities are focused on maximizing long-term value for our clients. BIS does this through engagement with boards and management of investee companies and, for those clients who have given us authority, through voting at shareholder meetings.
We believe that there are certain fundamental rights attached to shareholding. Companies and their boards should be accountable to shareholders and structured with appropriate checks and balances to ensure that they operate in shareholders’ best interests. Effective voting rights are central to the rights of ownership and there should be one vote for one share. Shareholders should have the right to elect, remove and nominate directors, approve the appointment of the auditor and to amend the corporate charter or by-laws. Shareholders should be able to vote on matters that are material to the protection of their investment, including but not limited to, changes to the purpose of the business, dilution levels and pre-emptive rights, and the distribution of income and capital structure. In order to make informed decisions, we believe that shareholders have the right to sufficient and timely information.
Our primary focus is on the performance of the board of directors. As the agent of shareholders, the board should set the company’s strategic aims within a framework of prudent and effective controls, which enables risk to be assessed and managed. The board should provide direction and leadership to management and oversee management’s performance. Our starting position is to be supportive of boards in their oversight efforts on shareholders’ behalf and we would generally expect to support the items of business they put to a vote at shareholder meetings. Votes cast against or withheld from resolutions proposed by the board are a signal that we are concerned that the directors or management have either not acted in the best interests of shareholders or have not responded adequately to shareholder concerns. We assess voting matters on a case-by-case basis and in light of each company’s unique circumstances taking into consideration regional best practices and long-term value creation.
These principles set out our approach to engaging with companies, provide guidance on our position on corporate governance and outline how our views might be reflected in our voting decisions. Corporate governance practices can vary internationally, so our expectations in relation to individual companies are based on the legal and regulatory framework of each local market. However, we believe there are overarching principles of corporate governance that apply globally and provide a framework for more detailed, market-specific assessments.
We believe BlackRock has a responsibility in relation to monitoring and providing feedback to companies, sometimes known as “stewardship.” These ownership responsibilities include engaging with management or board members on corporate governance matters, voting proxies in the best long -term economic interests of our clients, and engaging with regulatory bodies to ensure a sound policy framework consistent with promoting long -term shareholder value creation. We also believe in the responsibility to our clients to have appropriate resources and oversight structures. Our approach is set out in the section below titled “BlackRock’s oversight of its investment stewardship activities” and is further detailed in a team profile on our website.
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE, ENGAGEMENT AND VOTING
We recognize that accepted standards of corporate governance differ between markets, but we believe there are sufficient common threads globally to identify an overarching set of principles. The objective of our investment stewardship activities is the protection and enhancement of the value of our clients’ investments in public corporations. Thus, these principles focus on practices and structures that we consider to be supportive of long-term value creation. We discuss below the principles under six key themes. In our regional and market-specific voting guidelines we explain how these principles inform our voting decisions in relation to specific resolutions that may appear on the agenda of a shareholder meeting in the relevant market.
The six key themes are:
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Boards and directors
Auditors and audit-related issues
Capital structure, mergers, asset sales and other special transactions
Compensation and benefits
Environmental and social issues
General corporate governance matters and shareholder protections
At a minimum, we expect companies to observe the accepted corporate governance standards in their domestic market or to explain why doing so is not in the interests of shareholders. Where company reporting and disclosure is inadequate or the approach taken is inconsistent with our view of what is in the best interests of shareholders, we will engage with the company and/or use our vote to encourage a change in practice. In making voting decisions, we perform independent research and analysis, such as reviewing relevant information published by the company and apply our voting guidelines to achieve the outcome we believe best protects our clients’ long -term economic interests. We also work closely with our active portfolio managers, and may take into account internal and external research.
BlackRock views engagement as an important activity; engagement provides us with the opportunity to improve our understanding of the challenges and opportunities that investee companies are facing and their governance structures. Engagement also allows us to share our philosophy and approach to investment and corporate governance with companies to enhance their understanding of our objectives. Our engagements often focus on providing our feedback on company disclosures, particularly where we believe they could be enhanced. There are a range of approaches we may take in engaging companies depending on the nature of the issue under consideration, the company and the market.
BlackRock’s engagements emphasize direct dialogue with corporate leadership on the governance issues identified in these principles that have a material impact on financial performance. These engagements enable us to cast informed votes aligned with clients’ long-term economic interests. We generally prefer to engage in the first instance where we have concerns and give management time to address or resolve the issue. As a long-term investor, we are patient and persistent in working with our portfolio companies to have an open dialogue and develop mutual understanding of governance matters, to promote the adoption of best practices and to assess the merits of a company’s approach to its governance. We monitor the companies in which we invest and engage with them constructively and privately where we believe doing so helps protect shareholders’ interests. We do not try to micro-manage companies, or tell management and boards what to do. We present our views as a long-term shareholder and listen to companies’ responses. The materiality and immediacy of a given issue will generally determine the level of our engagement and whom we seek to engage at the company, which could be management representatives or board directors.
Boards and directors
The performance of the board is critical to the economic success of the company and to the protection of shareholders’ interests. Board members serve as agents of shareholders in overseeing the strategic direction and operation of the company. For this reason, BlackRock focuses on directors in many of our engagements and sees the election of directors as one of our most important responsibilities in the proxy voting context.
We expect the board of directors to promote and protect shareholder interests by:
establishing an appropriate corporate governance structure
supporting and overseeing management in setting long -term strategic goals, applicable measures of value-creation and milestones that will demonstrate progress, and steps taken if any obstacles are anticipated or incurred
ensuring the integrity of financial statements
making independent decisions regarding mergers, acquisitions and disposals
establishing appropriate executive compensation structures
addressing business issues, including environmental and social issues, when they have the potential to materially impact company reputation and performance
There should be clear definitions of the role of the board, the committees of the board and senior management such that the responsibilities of each are well understood and accepted. Companies should report publicly the approach taken to
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governance (including in relation to board structure) and why this approach is in the best interest of shareholders. We will seek to engage with the appropriate directors where we have concerns about the performance of the board or the company, the broad strategy of the company, or the performance of individual board members. We believe that when a company is not effectively addressing a material issue, its directors should be held accountable.
BlackRock believes that directors should stand for re-election on a regular basis. We assess directors nominated for election or re-election in the context of the composition of the board as a whole. There should be detailed disclosure of the relevant credentials of the individual directors in order for shareholders to assess the caliber of an individual nominee. We expect there to be a sufficient number of independent directors on the board to ensure the protection of the interests of all shareholders. Common impediments to independence may include but are not limited to:
current or former employment at the company or a subsidiary within the past several years
being, or representing, a shareholder with a substantial shareholding in the company
interlocking directorships
having any other interest, business or other relationship which could, or could reasonably be perceived to, materially interfere with the director’s ability to act in the best interests of the company
BlackRock believes that the operation of the board is enhanced when there is a clearly independent, senior non -executive director to chair it or, where the chairman is also the CEO (or is otherwise not independent), an independent lead director. The role of this director is to enhance the effectiveness of the independent members of the board through shaping the agenda, ensuring adequate information is provided to the board and encouraging independent participation in board deliberations. The lead independent board director should be available to shareholders in those situations where a director is best placed to explain and justify a company’s approach.
To ensure that the board remains effective, regular reviews of board performance should be carried out and assessments made of gaps in skills or experience amongst the members. BlackRock believes it is beneficial for new directors to be brought onto the board periodically to refresh the group’s thinking and to ensure both continuity and adequate succession planning. In identifying potential candidates, boards should take into consideration the multiple dimensions of diversity, including personal factors such as gender, ethnicity, and age; as well as professional characteristics, such as a director’s industry, area of expertise, and geographic location. The board should review these dimensions of the current directors and how they might be augmented by incoming directors. We believe that directors are in the best position to assess the optimal size for the board, but we would be concerned if a board seemed too small to have an appropriate balance of directors or too large to be effective.
There are matters for which the board has responsibility that may involve a conflict of interest for executives or for affiliated directors. BlackRock believes that shareholders’ interests are best served when the board forms committees of fully independent directors to deal with such matters. In many markets, these committees of the board specialize in audit, director nominations and compensation matters. An ad hoc committee might also be formed to decide on a special transaction, particularly one with a related party or to investigate a significant adverse event.
Auditors and audit-related issues
Comprehensive disclosure provides investors with a sense of the company’s long-term operational risk management practices and, more broadly, the quality of the board’s oversight. In the absence of robust disclosures, we may reasonably conclude that companies are not adequately managing risk.
BlackRock recognizes the critical importance of financial statements, which should provide a true and fair picture of a company’s financial condition. We will hold the members of the audit committee or equivalent responsible for overseeing the management of the audit function. We take particular note of cases involving significant financial restatements or ad hoc notifications of material financial weakness.
The integrity of financial statements depends on the auditor being free of any impediments to being an effective check on management. To that end, we believe it is important that auditors are, and are seen to be, independent. Where the audit firm provides services to the company in addition to the audit, the fees earned should be disclosed and explained. Audit committees should have in place a procedure for assessing annually the independence of the auditor.
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Capital structure, mergers, asset sales and other special transactions
The capital structure of a company is critical to its owners, the shareholders, as it impacts the value of their investment and the priority of their interest in the company relative to that of other equity or debt investors. Pre-emptive rights are a key protection for shareholders against the dilution of their interests.
Effective voting rights are central to the rights of ownership and we believe strongly in one vote for one share as a guiding principle that supports good corporate governance. Shareholders, as the residual claimants, have the strongest interest in protecting company value, and voting power should match economic exposure.
We are concerned that the creation of a dual share class may result in an over-concentration of power in the hands of a few shareholders, thus disenfranchising other shareholders and amplifying the potential conflict of interest, which the one share, one vote principle is designed to mitigate. However, we recognize that in certain circumstances, companies may have a valid argument for dual-class listings, at least for a limited period of time. We believe that such companies should review these dual-class structures on a regular basis or as company circumstances change. Additionally, they should receive shareholder approval of their capital structure on a periodic basis via a management proposal in the company’s proxy. The proposal should give unaffiliated shareholders the opportunity to affirm the current structure or establish mechanisms to end or phase out controlling structures at the appropriate time, while minimizing costs to shareholders.
In assessing mergers, asset sales or other special transactions, BlackRock’s primary consideration is the long -term economic interests of shareholders. Boards proposing a transaction need to clearly explain the economic and strategic rationale behind it. We will review a proposed transaction to determine the degree to which it enhances long -term shareholder value. We would prefer that proposed transactions have the unanimous support of the board and have been negotiated at arm’s length. We may seek reassurance from the board that executives’ and/or board members’ financial interests in a given transaction have not adversely affected their ability to place shareholders’ interests before their own. Where the transaction involves related parties, we would expect the recommendation to support it to come from the independent directors and it is good practice to be approved by a separate vote of the non-conflicted shareholders.
BlackRock believes that shareholders have a right to dispose of company shares in the open market without unnecessary restriction. In our view, corporate mechanisms designed to limit shareholders’ ability to sell their shares are contrary to basic property rights. Such mechanisms can serve to protect and entrench interests other than those of the shareholders. We believe that shareholders are broadly capable of making decisions in their own best interests. We expect any so-called ‘shareholder rights plans’ proposed by a board to be subject to shareholder approval upon introduction and periodically thereafter for continuation.
Compensation and benefits
BlackRock expects a company’s board of directors to put in place a compensation structure that incentivizes and rewards executives appropriately and is aligned with shareholder interests, particularly generating sustainable long-term shareholder returns. We would expect the compensation committee to take into account the specific circumstances of the company and the key individuals the board is trying to incentivize. We encourage companies to ensure that their compensation plans incorporate appropriate and challenging performance conditions consistent with corporate strategy and market practice. We use third party research, in addition to our own analysis, to evaluate existing and proposed compensation structures. We hold members of the compensation committee or equivalent board members accountable for poor compensation practices or structures.
BlackRock believes that there should be a clear link between variable pay and company performance that drives shareholder returns. We are not supportive of one-off or special bonuses unrelated to company or individual performance. We acknowledge that the use of peer group evaluation by compensation committees can help ensure competitive pay; however, we are concerned when increases in total compensation at a company are justified solely on peer benchmarking rather than outperformance. We support incentive plans that foster the sustainable achievement of results relative to competitors. The vesting timeframes associated with incentive plans should facilitate a focus on long -term value creation. We believe consideration should be given to building claw back provisions into incentive plans such that executives would be required to forgo rewards when they are not justified by actual performance. Compensation committees should guard against contractual arrangements that would entitle executives to material compensation for early termination of their contract. Finally, pension contributions and other deferred compensation arrangements should be reasonable in light of market practice.