497 1 e63308-497.htm FORM 497

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc.

100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809  • Phone No. (800) 441-7762


This Statement of Additional Information of BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc. (the “Fund”) is not a prospectus and should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of the Fund, dated February 27, 2015 as may be amended or supplemented from time to time, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) and can be obtained, without charge, by calling (800) 441-7762 or by writing to the Fund at the above address. The Fund’s Prospectus is incorporated by reference into this Statement of Additional Information, and Part I of this Statement of Additional Information and the portions of Part II of this Statement of Additional Information that relate to the Fund have been incorporated by reference into the Fund’s Prospectus. The portions of Part II of this Statement of Additional Information that do not relate to the Fund do not form a part of the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information, have not been incorporated by reference into the Fund’s Prospectus and should not be relied upon by investors in the Fund. The Fund’s audited financial statements are incorporated into this Statement of Additional Information by reference to the Fund’s Annual Report to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014 (the “Annual Report”). You may request a copy of the Annual Report at no charge by calling (800) 441-7762 between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern time on any business day.

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 Commission, Commission staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, including court interpretations, and exemptive, no action or other relief or permission from the Commission, Commission staff or other authority.


BlackRock Advisors, LLC — Manager
BlackRock Investments, LLC — Distributor

Class

         Ticker Symbol
Investor A Shares
              
MDLOX
Investor B Shares
              
MBLOX
Investor C Shares
              
MCLOX
Institutional Shares
              
MALOX
Class R Shares
              
MRLOX
 

The date of this Statement of Additional Information is February 27, 2015, as amended June 3, 2015

 
 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  Page
PART I
      
     I-3
     I-7
     I-9
     I-22
     I-26
     I-27
     I-27
     I-29
     I-30
 
         
PART II
      
     II-1
     II-44
     II-46
     II-54
     II-63
     II-66
     II-69
     II-71
     II-75
     II-80
     II-81
     II-81
     A-1
     B-1
 
 
 

PART I: INFORMATION ABOUT BLACKROCK GLOBAL ALLOCATION FUND, INC.

Part I of this Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) sets forth information about BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc. (the “Fund”). It includes information about the Fund’s Board of Directors (the “Board” or the “Board of Directors”), the management services provided to, and the management fees paid by the Fund, and information about other fees applicable to and services provided to the Fund. This Part I of this SAI should be read in conjunction with the Fund’s Prospectus and those portions of Part II of this SAI that pertain to the Fund.

Set forth below is a listing of some of the types of investments and investment strategies that the Fund may use, and the risks and considerations associated with those investments and investment strategies. Please see Part II of this Statement of Additional Information for further information on these investments and investment strategies. Information contained in Part II about the risks and considerations associated with investments and/or investment strategies applies only to the extent the Fund makes each type of investment or uses each investment strategy. Information that does not apply to the Fund does not form a part of the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information and should not be relied on by investors in the Fund.

Only information that is clearly identified as applicable to the Fund is considered to form a part of the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information.

Global
Allocation Fund
144A Securities
X
Asset-Backed Securities
X
Asset-Based Securities
X
Precious Metal-Related Securities
X
Bank Loans
X
Borrowing and Leverage
X
Cash Flows; Expenses
 
Cash Management
X
Collateralized Debt Obligations
X
Collateralized Bond Obligations
X
Collateralized Loan Obligations
X
Commercial Paper
X
Commodity-Linked Derivative Instruments and Hybrid Instruments
X
Qualifying Hybrid Instruments
X
Hybrid Instruments Without Principal Protection
X
Limitations on Leverage
X
Counterparty Risk
X
Convertible Securities
X
Cyber Security Issues
X
Debt Securities
X
Depositary Receipts (ADRs, EDRs and GDRs)
X
Derivatives
X
Hedging
X
Indexed and Inverse Securities
X
Swap Agreements
X
Credit Default Swap Agreements and Similar Instruments
X
Contracts for Difference
X
Credit Linked Securities
X
Interest Rate Transactions and Swaptions
X
Total Return Swap Agreements
X
Types of Options
X
Options on Securities and Securities Indices
X
Call Options
X
Put Options
X
Risks Associated with Options
X

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Global
Allocation Fund
Futures
X
Risks Associated with Futures
X
Foreign Exchange Transactions
X
Forward Foreign Exchange Transactions
X
Currency Futures
X
Currency Options
X
Currency Swaps
X
Limitations on Currency Transactions
X
Risk Factors in Hedging Foreign Currency
X
Risk Factors in Derivatives
X
Credit Risk
X
Currency Risk
X
Leverage Risk
X
Liquidity Risk
X
Correlation Risk
X
Index Risk
X
Additional Risk Factors of OTC Transactions; Limitations on the Use of OTC Derivatives
X
Distressed Securities
X
Dollar Rolls
 
Equity Securities
X
Exchange Traded Notes (“ETNs”)
X
Foreign Investment Risks
X
Foreign Market Risk
X
Foreign Economy Risk
X
Currency Risk and Exchange Risk
X
Governmental Supervision and Regulation/Accounting Standards
X
Certain Risks of Holding Fund Assets Outside the United States
X
Publicly Available Information
X
Settlement Risk
X
Funding Agreements
 
Guarantees
 
Illiquid or Restricted Securities
X
Inflation-Indexed Bonds
X
Inflation Risk
X
Information Concerning the Indexes
 
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
 
Russell Indexes
 
MSCI Indexes
 
Initial Public Offering (“IPO”) Risk
X
Investment Grade Debt Obligations
X
Investment in Emerging Markets
X
Brady Bonds
 
Investment in Other Investment Companies
X
Exchange Traded Funds
X
Junk Bonds
X
Lease Obligations
 
Liquidity Management
X
Master Limited Partnerships
X
Merger Transaction Risk
 
Mezzanine Investments
X
Money Market Obligations of Domestic Banks, Foreign Banks and Foreign Branches of U.S. Banks
X
Mortgage-Related Securities
X

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Global
Allocation Fund
Mortgage-Backed Securities
X
Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (“CMOs”)
X
Adjustable Rate Mortgage Securities
 
CMO Residuals
 
Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities
 
Tiered Index Bonds
TBA Commitments
X
Municipal Bonds
X
General Obligation Bonds
X
Revenue Bonds
X
Private Activity Bonds (“PABs”)
X
Participation Notes
X
Pay-in-kind Bonds
X
Portfolio Turnover Rates
X
Preferred Stock
X
Real Estate Related Securities
X
Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”)
X
Repurchase Agreements and Purchase and Sale Contracts
X
Reverse Repurchase Agreements
X
Rights Offerings and Warrants to Purchase
X
Securities Lending
X
Securities of Smaller or Emerging Growth Companies
X
Short Sales
X
Sovereign Debt
X
Standby Commitment Agreements
X
Stripped Securities
X
Structured Notes
X
Supranational Entities
X
Trust Preferred Securities
X
U.S. Government Obligations
X
U.S. Treasury Obligations
X
Utility Industries
X
When Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments
X
Yields and Ratings
X
Zero Coupon Securities
X
 

I. Investment Objectives and Policies

The Fund’s investment objective is to provide high total investment return through a fully managed investment policy utilizing United States and foreign equity securities, debt and money market securities, the combination of which will be varied from time to time both with respect to types of securities and markets in response to changing market and economic trends. This objective is a fundamental policy of the Fund and may not be changed without the approval of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”). The Fund operates as a diversified open-end investment company as defined under the Investment Company Act.

The Fund will invest in a portfolio of U.S. and foreign equity, debt and money market securities, and other short-term securities or instruments. The composition of the portfolio among these securities and markets will be varied from time to time by BlackRock Advisors, LLC (“BlackRock” or the “Manager”) in response to changing market and economic trends. This fully managed investment approach provides the Fund with the opportunity to benefit from anticipated shifts in the relative performance of different types of securities and different capital markets. For example, at times the Fund may emphasize investments in equity securities in anticipation of significant advances in stock markets and at times may emphasize debt securities in anticipation of significant declines in interest rates. Similarly, the Fund may emphasize foreign markets in its security selection when such markets are

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expected to outperform, in U.S. dollar terms, the U.S. markets. The Fund will seek to identify longer-term structural or cyclical changes in the various economies and markets of the world that are expected to benefit certain capital markets and certain securities in those markets to a greater extent than other investment opportunities. The Fund may invest in individual securities, baskets of securities or particular measurements of value or rate (an “index”), such as an index of the price of treasury securities or an index representative of short-term interest rates. The Fund may employ a variety of instruments and techniques to enhance income and to hedge against market and currency risk.

In determining the allocation of assets among capital markets, the Manager will consider, among other factors, the relative valuation, condition and growth potential of the various economies, including current and anticipated changes in the rates of economic growth, rates of inflation, corporate profits, capital reinvestment, resources, self-sufficiency, balance of payments, governmental deficits or surpluses and other pertinent financial, social and political factors which may affect such markets. In allocating among equity, debt and money market securities within each market, the Manager also will consider the relative opportunity for capital appreciation of equity and debt securities, dividend yields and the level of interest rates paid on debt securities of various maturities.

In selecting securities denominated in foreign currencies, the Manager will consider, among other factors, the effect of movement in currency exchange rates on the U.S. dollar value of such securities. An increase in the value of a currency will increase the total return to the Fund of securities denominated in such currency. Conversely, a decline in the value of the currency will reduce the total return. The Manager may seek to hedge all or a portion of the Fund’s foreign securities through the use of forward foreign currency contracts, currency options, futures contracts and options thereon.

The Fund’s composite Reference Benchmark has at all times since the Fund’s formation included a 40% weighting in non-US securities. Throughout its history, the Fund has maintained a weighting in non-US securities, often exceeding the 40% Reference Benchmark weighting and rarely falling below this allocation. Under normal circumstances, the Fund will continue to allocate a substantial amount (approximately 40% or more—unless market conditions are not deemed favorable by BlackRock, in which case the Fund would invest at least 30%)—of its total assets in securities of (i) foreign government issuers, (ii) issuers organized or located outside the U.S., (iii) issuers which primarily trade in a market located outside the U.S., or (iv) issuers doing a substantial amount of business outside the U.S., which the Fund considers to be companies that derive at least 50% of their revenue or profits from business outside the U.S. or have at least 50% of their sales or assets outside the U.S. The Fund will allocate its assets among various regions and countries, including the United States (but in no less than three different countries). The Manager anticipates that a portion of the Fund’s assets normally will be invested in the U.S. securities markets and the other major capital markets. Under normal conditions, the Fund’s investments will be denominated in at least three currencies or multinational currency units. For temporary defensive purposes the Fund may deviate very substantially from the geographic and currency allocations described above. There are no prescribed limits on the allocation of the Fund’s assets among equity, debt and money market securities. Therefore, at any given time, the Fund’s assets may be primarily invested in equity, debt or money market securities or in any combination thereof. However, the Manager anticipates that the Fund’s portfolio generally will include both equity and debt securities.

Within the portion of the Fund’s portfolio allocated to equity securities, the Manager will seek to identify the securities of companies and industry sectors that are expected to provide high total return relative to alternative equity investments. The Fund generally will seek to invest in securities the Manager believes to be undervalued. Undervalued securities include securities selling at a discount from the price-to-book value ratios and price/earnings ratios computed with respect to the relevant stock market averages. The Fund may also consider as undervalued securities selling at a discount from their historic price-to-book value or price/earnings ratios, even though these ratios may be above the ratios for the stock market averages. Securities offering dividend yields higher than the yields for the relevant stock market averages or higher than such securities’ historic yield may also be considered to be undervalued. The Fund may also invest in the securities of small and emerging growth companies when such companies are expected to provide a higher total return than other equity investments. Such companies are characterized by rapid historical growth rates, above-average returns on equity or special investment value in terms of their products or services, research capabilities or other unique attributes. The Manager will seek to identify small and emerging growth companies that possess superior management, marketing ability, research and product development skills and sound balance sheets.

I-4

 
 

There may be periods when market and economic conditions exist that favor certain types of tangible assets as compared to other types of investments. For example, the value of precious metals can be expected to benefit from such factors as rising inflationary pressures or other economic, political or financial uncertainty or instability. Real estate values, which are influenced by a variety of economic, financial and local factors, tend to be cyclical in nature. During periods when the Manager believes that conditions favor a particular real asset as compared to other investment opportunities, the Fund may emphasize investments related to that asset, such as investments in precious metal-related securities or real estate-related securities as described below. The Fund may invest up to 25% of its total assets in any particular industry sector.

The Fund may also invest in REITs. REITs are companies that own interests in real estate or in real estate related loans or other interests, and have revenue primarily consisting of rent derived from owned, income producing real estate properties and capital gains from the sale of such properties. REITs can generally be classified as equity REITs, mortgage REITs and hybrid REITs. Equity REITs invest the majority of their assets directly in real property and derive their income primarily from rents. Equity REITs can also realize capital gains by selling properties that have appreciated in value. Mortgage REITs invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgages and derive their income primarily from interest payments. Hybrid REITs combine the characteristics of both equity REITs and mortgage REITs. REITs are not taxed on income distributed to shareholders provided they comply with the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Fund’s primary vehicle for gaining exposure to the commodities markets is expected to be through investments in the BlackRock Cayman Global Allocation Fund I, Ltd. (the “Subsidiary”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Fund formed in the Cayman Islands, which invests primarily in commodity-related instruments. The Subsidiary may also hold cash and invest in other instruments, including fixed income securities, either as investments or to serve as margin or collateral for the Subsidiary’s derivative positions.

The debt securities in which the Fund may invest include securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government and its agencies or instrumentalities, by foreign governments (including foreign states, provinces and municipalities) and agencies or instrumentalities thereof and debt obligations issued by U.S. and foreign entities. Such securities may include mortgage-backed securities issued or guaranteed by governmental entities or by private issuers. In addition, the Fund may invest in debt securities issued or guaranteed by international organizations designed or supported by multiple governmental entities (which are not obligations of the U.S. Government or foreign governments) to promote economic reconstruction or development (“supranational entities”), such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the “World Bank”).

U.S. Government securities include: (i) U.S. Treasury obligations (bills, notes and bonds), which differ in their interest rates, maturities and times of issuance, all of which are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States; and (ii) obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities, including government guaranteed mortgage-related securities, some of which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury (e.g., direct pass-through certificates of the Government National Mortgage Association), some of which are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Government (e.g., obligations of Federal Home Loan Banks) and some of which are backed only by the credit of the issuer itself (e.g., obligations of the Student Loan Marketing Association).

The obligations of foreign governmental entities have various kinds of government support and include obligations issued or guaranteed by foreign governmental entities with taxing power. These obligations may or may not be supported by the full faith and credit of a foreign government.

The debt securities in which the Fund may invest are generally primarily those that are rated investment grade by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) or Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”) or that possess, in the Manager’s judgment, similar credit characteristics. Debt securities ranked in the fourth highest rating category, while considered “investment grade,” have more speculative characteristics and are more likely to be downgraded than securities rated in the three highest rating categories. The Fund may invest up to 35% of its assets in debt securities that are rated below investment grade (below BBB by S&P or below Baa by Moody’s) or that are considered by the Manager to be of comparable credit quality. The Manager considers the ratings assigned by S&P and Moody’s as one of several factors in its independent credit analysis of issuers.

The average maturity of the Fund’s portfolio of debt securities will vary based on the Manager’s assessment of pertinent economic market conditions. As with all debt securities, changes in market yields will affect the value of such securities. Prices generally increase when interest rates decline and decrease when interest rates rise. Prices of longer term securities generally fluctuate more in response to interest rate changes than do shorter term securities.

I-5

 
 

The Fund may invest in money market securities such as short-term securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government and its agencies and instrumentalities; commercial paper, including variable amount master demand notes, rated at least “A” by S&P or “Prime” by Moody’s; and repurchase agreements, purchase and sale contracts, and money market instruments issued by commercial banks, domestic savings banks, and savings and loan associations with total assets of at least $1 billion. The obligations of commercial banks may be issued by U.S. banks, foreign branches of U.S. or foreign banks (“Eurodollar” obligations) or U.S. branches of foreign banks (“Yankeedollar” obligations).

Regulation Regarding Derivatives.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) subjects advisers to registered investment companies to regulation by the CFTC if a fund that is advised by the investment 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 will not market itself as a “commodity pool” or a vehicle for trading such instruments.

The Fund may have investments in “underlying funds” (and such underlying funds themselves may invest in underlying funds) not advised by BlackRock (which for purposes of the no-action letter referenced below may include certain securitized vehicles, mortgage real estate investment trusts and/or investment companies that may invest in CFTC Derivatives), and therefore may be viewed by the CFTC as a commodity pool. BlackRock has no transparency into the holdings of these underlying funds because they are not advised by BlackRock. To address this issue of lack of transparency, the CFTC staff issued a no-action letter on November 29, 2012 permitting the adviser of a fund that invests in such underlying funds and that would otherwise have filed a claim of exclusion pursuant to Rule 4.5 to delay registration as a “commodity pool operator” until six months from the date on which the CFTC issues additional guidance on the treatment of CFTC Derivatives held by underlying funds. BlackRock, the adviser of the Fund, has filed a claim with the CFTC for the Fund to rely on this no-action relief. Accordingly, BlackRock is not subject to registration or regulation as a “commodity pool operator” under the Commodity Exchange Act in respect of the Fund.

Investments in the Subsidiary

The Fund may invest up to 25% of its total assets in the shares of its wholly-owned and controlled Subsidiary. Investments in the Subsidiary are expected to provide the Fund with exposure to the commodity markets within the limitations of Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”) and recent Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) revenue rulings, as discussed below. The Subsidiary is advised by the Manager. The Subsidiary (unlike the Fund) may invest without limitation in commodity-related instruments. However, the Subsidiary is otherwise subject to the same fundamental, non-fundamental and certain other investment restrictions as the Fund, including the timing and method of the valuation of the Subsidiary’s portfolio investments and shares of the Subsidiary. The Subsidiary is managed pursuant to compliance policies and procedures that are the same, in all material respects, as the policies and procedures adopted by the Fund. The Subsidiary is a company organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands, and is overseen by its own board of directors, which is comprised of John M. Perlowski, a Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Fund, and Neal J. Andrews, Chief Financial Officer of the Fund. The Fund is the sole shareholder of the Subsidiary, and shares of the Subsidiary will not be sold or offered to other investors.

The Subsidiary invests primarily in commodity-related instruments. Although the Fund may enter into these commodity-related instruments directly, the Fund will likely gain exposure to these commodity-related instruments indirectly by investing in the Subsidiary. To the extent that BlackRock believes that these commodity-related instruments provide suitable exposure to the commodities market, the Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary will likely increase. The Subsidiary may also hold cash and invest in other instruments, including fixed income securities, either as investments or to serve as margin or collateral for the Subsidiary’s derivative positions.

The Manager manages the assets of the Subsidiary, but receives no additional compensation for doing so. BlackRock also provides certain administrative services for the Subsidiary, but receives no additional compensation for doing so. The Subsidiary will also enter into separate contracts for the provision of custody, transfer agency, and accounting agent services with the same or with affiliates of the same service providers that provide those services to the Fund.

I-6

 
 

The financial statements of the Subsidiary will be consolidated with the Fund’s financial statements in the Fund’s Annual and Semi-Annual Reports. The Fund’s Annual and Semi-Annual Reports are distributed to shareholders. Copies of the Fund’s Annual Report are provided without charge upon request as indicated on the front cover of this Statement of Additional Information.

The Subsidiary is not registered under the 1940 Act, and, unless otherwise noted in the Fund’s prospectus or this Statement of Additional Information, is not subject to all the investor protections of the 1940 Act. However, the Fund wholly owns and controls the Subsidiary, and the Fund and the Subsidiary are both managed by BlackRock, making it unlikely that the Subsidiary will take action contrary to the interests of the Fund and its shareholders. The Fund’s Board of Directors has oversight responsibility for the investment activities of the Fund, including its investment in the Subsidiary, and the Fund’s role as sole shareholder of the Subsidiary. As noted above, the Subsidiary will be subject to the same investment restrictions and limitations, and follow the same compliance policies and procedures, as the Fund. In addition, changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands could result in the inability of the Fund and/or the Subsidiary to operate as described in the Fund’s prospectus and this Statement of Additional Information and could adversely affect the Fund. For example, the Cayman Islands does not currently impose any income, corporate or capital gains tax, estate duty, inheritance tax, gift tax or withholding tax on the Subsidiary. If Cayman Islands law changes such that the Subsidiary must pay Cayman Islands taxes, Fund shareholders would likely suffer decreased investment returns.

The Fund, as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under the tax rules, is required to realize at least 90 percent of its annual gross income from investment-related sources, specifically from dividends, interest, proceeds from securities lending, gains from the sales of stocks, securities and foreign 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, or certain types of publicly traded partnerships (referred to as qualifying income). Direct investments by a RIC in commodity-related instruments generally do not, under published IRS rulings, produce qualifying income. However, in a series of private letter rulings, the IRS has indicated that income derived by a RIC from a wholly-owned subsidiary invested in commodity and financial futures and option contracts, forward contracts, swaps on commodities or commodities indexes, commodity-linked notes and fixed income securities serving as collateral for the contracts would constitute qualifying income. The Fund has obtained a private letter ruling from the IRS confirming that income derived from the Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary will constitute qualifying income to the Fund.

The Subsidiary will not be subject to Federal income tax. It will, however, be considered a controlled foreign corporation, and the Fund will be required to include as income annually amounts earned by the Subsidiary during that year. Furthermore, the Fund will be subject to the requirement to distribute net investment income, if any, and net realized capital gain, if any, at least annually on such Subsidiary income, whether or not the Subsidiary makes a distribution to the Fund during the taxable year. If the Subsidiary incurs net losses in any year, such losses will not offset Fund income or gains nor carryforward to future years.

II. Investment Restrictions

The Fund has adopted restrictions and policies relating to the investment of the Fund’s assets and its activities. Certain of the restrictions are fundamental policies of the Fund and may not be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities (which for this purpose and under the Investment Company Act, means the lesser of (i) 67% of the shares represented at a meeting at which more than 50% of the outstanding shares are represented or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares). The Fund has also adopted certain non-fundamental investment restrictions, which may be changed by the Board of Directors without shareholder approval.

Set forth below are the Fund’s fundamental and non-fundamental investment restrictions. Unless otherwise provided, all references below to the assets of the Fund are in terms of current market value.

Under its fundamental investment restrictions, the Fund may not:

(1)     Invest more than 25% of its assets, taken at market value at the time of each investment, in the securities of issuers in any particular industry (excluding the U.S. Government and its agencies and instrumentalities).

(2)     Make investments for the purpose of exercising control or management.

I-7

 
 

(3)     Purchase or sell real estate, except that, to the extent permitted by applicable law, the Fund may invest in securities directly or indirectly secured by real estate or interests therein or issued by companies that invest in real estate or interests therein.

(4)     Make loans to other persons, except that the acquisition of bonds, debentures or other corporate debt securities and investment in government obligations, commercial paper, pass-through instruments, certificates of deposit, bankers acceptances, repurchase agreements or any similar instruments shall not be deemed to be the making of a loan, and except further that the Fund may lend its portfolio securities, provided that the lending of portfolio securities may be made only in accordance with applicable law and the guidelines set forth in its Prospectus and Statement of Additional Information, as they may be amended from time to time.

(5)     Issue senior securities to the extent such issuance would violate applicable law.

(6)     Borrow money, except that (i) the Fund may borrow from banks (as defined in the Investment Company Act) in amounts up to 331/3% of its total assets (including the amount borrowed), (ii) the Fund may, to the extent permitted by applicable law, borrow up to an additional 5% of its total assets for temporary purposes, (iii) the Fund may obtain such short-term credit as may be necessary for the clearance of purchases and sales of portfolio securities and (iv) the Fund may purchase securities on margin to the extent permitted by applicable law. The Fund may not pledge its assets other than to secure such borrowings or, to the extent permitted by the Fund’s investment policies as set forth in its Prospectus and Statement of Additional Information, as they may be amended from time to time, in connection with hedging transactions, short sales, when-issued and forward commitment transactions and similar investment strategies.

(7)     Underwrite securities of other issuers except insofar as the Fund technically may be deemed an underwriter under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, (the “Securities Act”) in selling portfolio securities.

(8)     Purchase or sell commodities or contracts on commodities, except to the extent that the Fund may do so in accordance with applicable law and the Fund’s Prospectus and Statement of Additional Information, as they may be amended from time to time, and without registering as a commodity pool operator under the Commodity Exchange Act.

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

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

(b)     Make short sales of securities or maintain a short position, except to the extent permitted by the Prospectus and Statement of Additional Information, as amended from time to time, and by applicable law.

(c)     Invest in securities that cannot be readily resold or that cannot otherwise be marketed, redeemed or put to the issuer or a third party, if at the time of acquisition more than 15% of its net assets would be invested in such securities. This restriction shall not apply to securities that mature within seven days or securities that the Board of Directors of the Fund has otherwise determined to be liquid pursuant to applicable law. Securities purchased in accordance with Rule 144A under the Securities Act and determined to be liquid by the Fund’s Board of Directors are not subject to the limitations set forth in this investment restriction.

(d)     Notwithstanding fundamental investment restriction (6) above, borrow amounts in excess of 10% of its total assets, taken at market value and then only from banks as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes, such as the redemption of Fund shares. The Fund will not purchase securities while borrowings exceed 5% (taken at market value) of its total assets.

In addition, the Fund may not cease to operate as a diversified investment company, as defined under the Investment Company Act, without approval of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities.

Except with respect to restriction (6), if a percentage restriction on the investment or use of assets set forth above is adhered to at the time a transaction is effected, later changes in percentages resulting from changing values will not be considered a violation.

For purposes of investment restriction (1) above, the Fund uses the classifications and sub-classifications of Morgan Stanley Capital International (“MSCI”) as a guide to identify industries. To the extent that an industry

I-8

 
 


classification or subclassification is not provided by MSCI, the Fund may utilize any one or more of the industry classifications or subclassifications used by one or more other widely recognized market indexes or rating group indexes, one or more third party providers of industry classifications, and/or as defined by Fund Management. Currently, for industry classifications or subclassifications not provided by MSCI, the Fund uses the classifications of Barclays PLC.

The Subsidiary will follow the Fund’s fundamental and non-fundamental investment restrictions, described above, with respect to its investments.

III. Information on Directors and Officers

The Board of Directors of the Fund consists of fifteen individuals (each a “Director”), twelve of whom are not “interested persons” of the Fund as defined in the Investment Company Act (the “Independent Directors”). The registered investment companies advised by the Manager or its affiliates (the “BlackRock-advised Funds”) are organized into one complex of closed-end funds (the “Closed-End Complex”), two complexes of open-end funds (the “Equity-Liquidity Complex” and the “Equity-Bond Complex”) and one complex of exchange-traded funds (each a “BlackRock Fund Complex”). The Fund is included in the BlackRock Fund Complex referred to as the Equity-Bond Complex. The Directors also oversee as board members the operations of the other open-end registered investment companies included in the Equity-Bond Complex.

The Board of Directors has overall responsibility for the oversight of the Fund. The Chairman of the Board is an Independent Director, and the Chairman of each Board committee (each, a “Committee”) is an Independent Director. The Board has five standing Committees: an Audit Committee, a Governance and Nominating Committee, a Compliance Committee, a Performance Oversight Committee and an Executive Committee. The Chairman of the Board’s role is to preside at all meetings of the Board, and to act as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys, and other Directors generally between meetings. The Chairman of each Committee performs a similar role with respect to the Committee. The Chairman of the Board or a Committee may also perform such other functions as may be delegated by the Board or the Committee from time to time. The Independent Directors meet regularly outside the presence of Fund management, in executive session or with other service providers to the Fund. The Board has regular meetings five times a year, and may hold special meetings if required before its next regular meeting. Each Committee meets regularly to conduct the oversight functions delegated to that Committee by the Board and reports its findings to the Board. The Board and each standing Committee conduct annual assessments of their oversight function and structure. The Board has determined that the Board’s leadership structure is appropriate because it allows the Board to exercise independent judgment over management and to allocate areas of responsibility among Committees and the full Board to enhance effective oversight.

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

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

I-9

 
 

The members of the Audit Committee are Fred G. Weiss (Chair), Bruce R. Bond, Robert M. Hernandez and the Honorable Stuart E. Eizenstat, all of whom are Independent Directors. The principal responsibilities of the Audit Committee are to approve and recommend to the full Board for approval, the selection, retention, termination and compensation of the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm (the “Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm”) and to oversee the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm’s work. The Audit Committee’s responsibilities include, without limitation, to (1) evaluate the qualifications, independence and performance of the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm; (2) approve all audit engagement terms and fees for the Fund; (3) review the conduct and results of each audit and discuss the Fund’s audited financial statements; (4) review any issues raised by the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm or Fund management regarding the accounting or financial reporting policies and practices of the Fund and the internal controls of the Fund and certain service providers; (5) oversee the performance of (a) the Fund’s internal audit function provided by its investment adviser and (b) the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm; (6) oversee policies, procedures and controls regarding valuation of the Fund’s investments and their classification as liquid or illiquid; (7) discuss with Fund management its policies regarding risk assessment and risk management as such matters relate to the Fund’s financial reporting and controls; (8) resolve any disagreements between Fund management and the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm regarding financial reporting; and (9) undertake such other duties and responsibilities as may from time to time be delegated by the Board to the Audit Committee. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Audit Committee. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014, the Audit Committee met four times.

The members of the Governance and Nominating Committee (the “Governance Committee”) are the Honorable Stuart E. Eizenstat (Chair), Bruce R. Bond, Robert M. Hernandez and Fred G. Weiss, all of whom are Independent Directors. The principal responsibilities of the Governance Committee are to (1) identify individuals qualified to serve as Independent Directors of the Fund and recommend Independent Director nominees for election by shareholders or appointment by the Board; (2) advise the Board with respect to Board composition, procedures and committees (other than the Audit Committee); (3) oversee periodic self-assessments of the Board and committees of the Board (other than the Audit Committee); (4) review and make recommendations regarding Independent Director compensation; (5) monitor corporate governance matters and develop appropriate recommendations to the Board; (6) act as the administrative committee with respect to Board policies and procedures, committee policies and procedures (other than the Audit Committee) and codes of ethics as they relate to Independent Directors; and (7) undertake such other duties and responsibilities as may from time to time be delegated by the Board to the Governance Committee. The Governance Committee may consider nominations for the office of Director made by Fund shareholders as it deems appropriate. Fund shareholders who wish to recommend a nominee should send nominations to the Secretary of the Fund that include biographical information and set forth the qualifications of the proposed nominee. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Governance Committee. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014, the Governance Committee met four times.

The members of the Compliance Committee are James H. Bodurtha (Chair), Valerie G. Brown and Roberta Cooper Ramo, all of whom are Independent Directors. The Compliance Committee’s purpose is to assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibility to oversee regulatory and fiduciary compliance matters involving the Fund, the fund-related activities of BlackRock and any sub-adviser and the Fund’s third-party service providers. The Compliance Committee’s responsibilities include, without limitation, to (1) oversee the compliance policies and procedures of the Fund and its service providers and recommend changes or additions to such policies and procedures; (2) review information on and, where appropriate, recommend policies concerning the Fund’s compliance with applicable law; (3) review reports from, oversee the annual performance review of, and make certain recommendations and determinations regarding the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer (the “CCO”), including determining the amount and structure of the CCO’s compensation and recommending such amount and structure to the full Board for approval and ratification; and (4) undertake such other duties and responsibilities as may from time to time be delegated by the Board to the Compliance Committee. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Compliance Committee. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014, the Compliance Committee met four times.

The members of the Performance Oversight Committee (the “Performance Committee”) are David H. Walsh (Chair), Donald W. Burton, Kenneth A. Froot, John F. O’Brien and Donald C. Opatrny, all of whom are Independent Directors, and Robert Fairbairn, who is an interested Director. The Performance Committee’s purpose is to assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibility to oversee the Fund’s investment performance relative to its agreed-upon performance objectives. The Performance Committee’s responsibilities include, without limitation, to (1) review

I-10

 
 


the Fund’s investment objectives, policies and practices; (2) recommend to the Board specific investment tools and techniques employed by BlackRock; (3) recommend to the Board appropriate investment performance objectives based on its review of appropriate benchmarks and competitive universes; (4) review the Fund’s investment performance relative to agreed-upon performance objectives; (5) review information on unusual or exceptional investment matters; and (6) undertake such other duties and responsibilities as may from time to time be delegated by the Board to the Performance Committee. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Performance Committee. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014, the Performance Committee met four times.

The members of the Executive Committee are James H. Bodurtha, the Honorable Stuart E. Eizenstat, Robert M. Hernandez, David H. Walsh and Fred G. Weiss, all of whom are Independent Directors, and Robert Fairbairn, who serves as an interested Director. The principal responsibilities of the Executive Committee are to (1) act on routine matters between meetings of the Board; (2) act on such matters as may require urgent action between meetings of the Board; and (3) exercise such other authority as may from time to time be delegated to the Executive Committee by the Board. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Executive Committee. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014, the Executive Committee did not meet.

The Independent Directors have adopted a statement of policy that describes the experience, qualifications, skills and attributes that are necessary and desirable for potential Independent Director candidates (the “Statement of Policy”). The Board believes that each Independent Director satisfied, at the time he or she was initially elected or appointed a Director, and continues to satisfy, the standards contemplated by the Statement of Policy. Furthermore, in determining that a particular Independent Director was and continues to be qualified to serve as a Director, the Board has considered a variety of criteria, none of which, in isolation, was controlling. The Board believes that, collectively, the Independent Directors have balanced and diverse experience, skills, attributes and qualifications, which allow the Board to operate effectively in governing the Fund and protecting the interests of shareholders. Among the attributes common to all Independent Directors are their ability to review critically, evaluate, question and discuss information provided to them, to interact effectively with the Fund’s investment adviser, sub-advisers, other service providers, counsel and the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm, and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties as Directors.

Each Director’s ability to perform his or her duties effectively is evidenced by his or her educational background or professional training; business, consulting, public service or academic positions; experience from service as a board member of the Fund and the other funds in the BlackRock Fund Complexes (and any predecessor funds), other investment funds, public companies, or non-profit entities or other organizations; ongoing commitment and participation in Board and Committee meetings, as well as their leadership of standing and ad hoc committees throughout the years; or other relevant life experiences.

I-11

 
 

The table below discusses some of the experiences, qualifications and skills of each of the Directors that support the conclusion that each board member should serve (or continue to serve) on the Board.

Directors

         Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Independent Directors
              
 
James H. Bodurtha
              
James H. Bodurtha has served for more than 22 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the Board of the Equity-Bond Complex and its predecessor funds, including as Chairman of the Board of certain of the legacy-Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, L.P. (“MLIM”) funds. Prior thereto, Mr. Bodurtha was counsel to and a member of the Board of a smaller bank-sponsored mutual funds group. In addition, Mr. Bodurtha is a member of, and previously served as Chairman of, the Independent Directors Council and served for 11 years as an independent director on the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute. He also has more than 30 years of executive management and business experience through his work as a consultant and as the chairman of the board of a privately-held company. In addition, Mr. Bodurtha has more than 20 years of legal experience as a corporate attorney and partner in a law firm, where his practice included counseling registered investment companies and their boards.
 
Bruce R. Bond
              
Bruce R. Bond has served for approximately 17 years on the board of registered investment companies, having served as a member of the Board of the Equity-Bond Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy-BlackRock funds and the State Street Research Mutual Funds. He also has executive management and business experience, having served as president and chief executive officer of several communications networking companies. Mr. Bond also has corporate governance experience from his service as a director of a computer equipment company.
 
Valerie G. Brown
              
Valerie G. Brown has more than 25 years of experience in the securities and financial services industry, having served as a director and committee chair for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, for 4 years, and as a director and vice chairman of the board of the Financial Services Institute, for 5 years. She also has oversight and executive management experience, having served for more than four years as the chief executive officer and director of a brokerage and investment adviser firm.
 
Donald W. Burton
              
Donald W. Burton has served for approximately 28 years on the board of registered investment companies, having served as a member of the Board of the Equity-Bond Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy-MLIM and Raymond James funds. He also has more than 30 years of investment management business experience, having served as the managing general partner of an investment partnership, and a member of the Investment Advisory Council of the Florida State Board of Administration. In addition, Mr. Burton has corporate governance experience, having served as a board member of publicly-held financial, health-care, and telecommunications companies.

I-12

 
 

Directors

         Experience, Qualifications and Skills

The Honorable
Stuart E. Eizenstat
              
The Honorable Stuart E. Eizenstat has served for approximately 13 years on the board of registered investment companies, having served as a member of the Board of the Equity-Bond Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy-BlackRock funds. He served as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business & Agricultural Affairs, and Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury during the Clinton Administration. He was Director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff and Chief Domestic Policy Adviser to President Carter. In addition, Mr. Eizenstat is a practicing attorney and Head of the International Practice at a major international law firm. Mr. Eizenstat has business and executive management experience and corporate governance experience through his service on the advisory boards and corporate boards of publicly-held consumer, energy, environmental delivery, metallurgical and telecommunications companies. Mr. Eizenstat has been determined by the Audit Committee to be an audit committee financial expert, as such term is defined in the applicable SEC rules.
 
Kenneth A. Froot
              
Kenneth A. Froot has served for approximately 19 years on the boards of registered investment companies, having served as a member of the Board of the Equity-Bond Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy-MLIM funds. The Equity-Bond Board benefits from Mr. Froot’s years of academic experience, having served as a professor of finance at Harvard University since 1992 and teaching courses on capital markets, international finance, and risk management. Mr. Froot has published numerous articles and books on a range of topics, including, among others, the financing of risk, risk management, the global financial system, currency analysis, foreign investing, and investment style strategies. He has served as a director of research for Harvard Business School for approximately 6 years, and as a managing partner of an investment partnership. In addition, Mr. Froot has served as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and served on the staff of the US President’s Council of Economic Advisers and the Economic Advisory Board of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
 
Robert M. Hernandez
              
Robert M. Hernandez has served for approximately 20 years on the board of registered investment companies, having served as Chairman of the Board of the Equity-Bond Complex and as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Audit and Nominating/Governance Committees of its predecessor funds, including certain legacy-BlackRock funds. Mr. Hernandez has business and executive experience through his service as group president, chief financial officer, Chairman and vice chairman, among other positions, of publicly-held energy, steel, and metal companies. He has served as a director of other public companies in various industries throughout his career. He also has broad corporate governance experience, having served as a board member of publicly-held energy, insurance, chemicals, metals and electronics companies. Mr. Hernandez has been determined by the Audit Committee to be an audit committee financial expert, as such term is defined in the applicable SEC rules.
 
John F. O’Brien
              
John F. O’Brien has served for approximately 9 years on the board of registered investment companies, having served as a member of the Board of the Equity-Bond Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy-MLIM funds. He also has investment management experience, having served as the president, director, and chairman of the board of an investment management firm and a life insurance company. Mr. O’Brien also has broad corporate governance and audit committee experience, having served as a board member and audit committee member of publicly-held financial, medical, energy, chemical, retail, life insurance, and auto parts manufacturing companies, and as a director of a not-for-profit organization.

I-13

 
 

Directors

         Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Donald C. Opatrny

              
Donald C. Opatrny has more than 39 years of business, oversight and executive experience, including through his service as president, director and investment committee chair for academic and not-for-profit organizations, and his experience as a partner, managing director and advisory director at Goldman Sachs for 32 years. He also has investment management experience as a board member of Athena Capital Advisors LLC.
 
Roberta Cooper Ramo
              
Roberta Cooper Ramo has served for approximately 14 years on the board of registered investment companies, having served as a member of the Board of the Equity-Bond Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy-MLIM funds. She is a practicing attorney and shareholder in a law firm for more than 30 years. Ms. Ramo has oversight experience through her service as chairman of the board of a retail company and as president of the American Bar Association and the American Law Institute and as President, for 2 years, and Member of the Board of Regents, for 6 years, of the University of New Mexico. She also has corporate governance experience, having served on the boards of United New Mexico Bank and the First National Bank of New Mexico and on the boards of non-profit organizations.
 
David H. Walsh
              
David H. Walsh has served for approximately 11 years on the board of registered investment companies, having served as a member of the Board of the Equity-Bond Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy-MLIM funds. Mr. Walsh has investment management experience, having served as a consultant with Putnam Investments (“Putnam”) from 1993 to 2003, and employed in various capacities at Putnam from 1971 to 1992. He has oversight experience, serving as the director of an academic institute, and a board member of various not-for-profit organizations.
 
Fred G. Weiss
              
Fred G. Weiss has served for approximately 16 years on the board of registered investment companies, having served as a member of the Board of the Equity-Bond Complex and its predecessor funds, including as Chairman of the board of certain of the legacy-MLIM funds. He also has more than 30 years of business and executive management experience, having served in senior executive positions of two public companies where he was involved in both strategic planning and corporate development, as Chairman of the Committee on Investing Employee Assets (CIBA) and as a managing director of an investment consulting firm. Mr. Weiss also has corporate governance experience, having served as a board member of a publicly-held global technology company and a pharmaceutical company, and as a director of a not-for-profit foundation. Mr. Weiss has been determined by the Audit Committee to be an audit committee financial expert, as such term is defined in the applicable SEC rules.
 
Interested Directors
                             
Robert Fairbairn
              
Robert Fairbairn has more than 20 years of experience with BlackRock, Inc. and over 28 years in finance and asset management. In particular, Mr. Fairbairn’s positions as Senior Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc., Global Head of BlackRock’s Retail and iShares businesses, and Member of BlackRock’s Global Executive and Global Operating Committees provide the Board with a wealth of practical business knowledge and leadership. In addition, Mr. Fairbairn has global investment management and oversight experience through his former positions as Head of BlackRock’s Global Client Group and Chairman of BlackRock’s international businesses. Prior to joining BlackRock, Mr. Fairbairn was Senior Vice President and Head of the EMEA Pacific region at MLIM, a member of the MLIM Executive Committee, head of the EMEA Sales Division and Chief Operating Officer of the EMEA Pacific region.

I-14

 
 

Directors

         Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Henry Gabbay
              
Henry Gabbay’s many years of experience in finance provide the Board with a wealth of practical business knowledge and leadership. In particular, Mr. Gabbay’s experience as a Consultant for and Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc., Chief Administrative Officer of BlackRock Advisors, LLC and President of BlackRock Funds provides the Fund with greater insight into the analysis and evaluation of both its existing investment portfolios and potential future investments as well as enhanced oversight of its investment decisions and investment valuation processes. In addition, Mr. Gabbay’s former positions as Chief Administrative Officer of BlackRock Advisors, LLC and as Treasurer of certain closed-end funds in the BlackRock Fund Complex provide the Board with direct knowledge of the operations of the BlackRock-advised Funds and their investment adviser. Mr. Gabbay’s previous service on and long-standing relationship with the Board also provide him with a specific understanding of the BlackRock-advised Funds, their operations, and the business and regulatory issues facing the BlackRock-advised Funds.
 
John M. Perlowski
              
Mr. Perlowski’s experience as Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2009, as the Global Head of BlackRock Fund Administration since 2009, and as President and Chief Executive Officer of the BlackRock-advised Funds provides him with a strong understanding of the BlackRock-advised Funds, their operations, and the business and regulatory issues facing the BlackRock-advised Funds. Mr. Perlowski’s prior position as Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Global Product Group at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and his former service as Treasurer and Senior Vice President of the Goldman Sachs Mutual Funds and as Director of the Goldman Sachs Offshore Funds provides the Boards with the benefit of his experience with the management practices of other financial companies.
 

Biographical Information

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

Name, Address
and Year of Birth

         Position(s)
Held with
Fund
     Length
of Time
Served2
     Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years
     Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered

Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen
     Public Company and
Investment Company
Directorships
Independent Directors1
                                                                                                             
 
James H. Bodurtha3
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1944
              
Director
    
2007 to present
    
Director, The China Business Group, Inc. (consulting and investing firm) from 1996 to 2013 and Executive Vice President thereof from 1996 to 2003; Chairman of the Board, Berkshire Holding Corporation since 1980.
    
28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios
    
None
 
Bruce R. Bond
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1946
              
Director
    
2007 to present
    
Trustee and Member of the Governance Committee, State Street Research Mutual Funds from 1997 to 2005; Board Member of Governance, Audit and Finance Committee, Avaya Inc. (computer equipment) from 2003 to 2007.
    
28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios
    
None

I-15

 
 

Name, Address
and Year of Birth

         Position(s)
Held with
Fund
     Length
of Time
Served2
     Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years
     Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered

Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen
     Public Company and
Investment Company
Directorships
 
Valerie G. Brown
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1956
      Director   2015 to present   Chief Executive Officer and Director, Cetera Financial Group (broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services) from 2010 to 2014; Director and Vice Chairman of the Board, Financial Services Institute (trade organization) from 2009 to 2014; Director and Committee Chair, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (trade organization) from 2006 to 2014.   28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios   None
                         
Donald W. Burton
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1944
      Director   2007 to present   Managing General Partner, The Burton Partnership, LP (an investment partnership) since 1979; Managing General Partner, The Burton Partnership (QP), LP (an investment partnership) since 2000; Managing General Partner, The South Atlantic Venture Funds from 1983 to 2012; Director, IDology, Inc. (technology solutions) since 2006; Director, Knology, Inc. (telecommunications) from 1996 to 2012; Director, Capital Southwest (financial) from 2006 to 2012.   28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios   None
                         
Honorable Stuart E.
Eizenstat4
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1943
              
Director
    
2007 to present
    
Partner and Head of International Practice, Covington and Burling LLP (law firm) since 2001; International Advisory Board Member, The Coca-Cola Company from 2002 to 2011; Advisory Board Member, Veracity Worldwide, LLC (risk management) from 2007 to 2012; Member of the International Advisory Board GML Ltd. (energy) since 2003; Advisory Board Member, BT Americas (telecommunications) from 2004 to 2009.
    
28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios
    
Alcatel-Lucent (telecommunications); Global Specialty Metallurgical; UPS Corporation (delivery service)
 
Kenneth A. Froot
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1957
              
Director
    
2007 to present
    
Professor, Harvard University from 1993 to 2012.
    
28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios
    
None
 
Robert M. Hernandez5
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1944
              
Chairman of the Board and Director
    
2007 to present
    
Director, Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of USX Corporation (energy and steel business) from 1991 to 2001; Director, TE Connectivity (electronics) from 2006 to 2012.
    
28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios
    
ACE Limited (insurance company); Eastman Chemical Company; RTI International Metals, Inc.
 
John F. O’Brien
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1943
              
Director
    
2007 to present
    
Chairman, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute since 2009 and Trustee thereof from 2003 to 2009.
    
28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios
    
Cabot Corporation (chemicals); LKQ Corporation (auto parts manufacturing); TJX Companies, Inc. (retailer)

I-16

 
 

Name, Address
and Year of Birth

         Position(s)
Held with
Fund
     Length
of Time
Served2
     Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years
     Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered

Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen
     Public Company and
Investment Company
Directorships
 
Donald C. Opatrny
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1952
      Director   2015 to present   Trustee, Member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Investment Committee, Cornell University since 2004; Member of the Board and Investment Committee, University School since 2007; Member of the Investment Committee, Mellon Foundation from 2009 to 2015; President and Trustee, the Center for the Arts, Jackson Hole since 2011; Director, Athena Capital Advisors LLC (investment management firm) since 2013; Trustee and Chair of the Investment Committee, Community Foundation of Jackson Hole since 2014; Trustee, Artstor (a Mellon Foundation affiliate) since 2010; President, Trustee and Member of the Investment Committee, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum from 2007 to 2014.   28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios   None
                         
Roberta Cooper Ramo
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1942
      Director   2007 to present   Shareholder and Attorney, Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, P.A. (law firm) since 1993; Chairman of the Board, Cooper’s Inc. (retail) since 1999; Director, ECMC Group (service provider to students, schools and lenders) since 2001; President, The American Law Institute (non-profit) since 2008; Vice President, Santa Fe Opera (non-profit), since 2011; Chair, Think New Mexico (non-profit), since 2013.   28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios   None
                         
David H. Walsh6
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1941
              
Director
    
2007 to present
    
Director, National Museum of Wildlife Art since 2007; Trustee, University of Wyoming Foundation from 2008 to 2012; Director, The American Museum of Fly Fishing since 1997.
    
28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios
    
None
 
Fred G. Weiss7
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1941
              
Vice Chairman of the Board and Director
    
2007 to present
    
Managing Director, FGW Consultancy LLC (consulting and investment company) since 1997; Director, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research since 2000; Director, BTG International plc (medical technology commercialization company) from 2001 to 2007.
    
28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios
    
Actavis plc (pharmaceuticals)

I-17

 
 

Name, Address
and Year of Birth

         Position(s)
Held with
Fund
     Length
of Time
Served2
     Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years
     Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered

Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen
     Public Company and
Investment Company
Directorships
 
Interested Directors1,8
                         
Robert Fairbairn
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1965
      Director       Senior Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2010; Global Head of BlackRock’s Retail and iShares businesses since 2012; Member of BlackRock’s Global Executive and Global Operating Committees; Head of BlackRock’s Global Client Group from 2009 to 2012; Chairman of BlackRock’s international businesses from 2007 to 2010.   28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios   None
                         
Henry Gabbay
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1947
      Director   2007 to present   Consultant, BlackRock, Inc. from 2007 to 2008; Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc. from 1989 to 2007; Chief Administrative Officer, BlackRock Advisors, LLC from 1998 to 2007; President of BlackRock Funds and BlackRock Allocation Target Shares (formerly, BlackRock Bond Allocation Target Shares) from 2005 to 2007 and Treasurer of certain closed-end funds in the BlackRock fund complex from 1989 to 2006.   28 RICs consisting of 98 Portfolios   None
                         
John M. Perlowski
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1964
              
Director, President and Chief Executive Officer
    
2015 to present (Director); 2010 to present (President and Chief Executive Officer)
    
Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2009; Global Head of BlackRock Fund Administration since 2009; Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Global Product Group at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. from 2003 to 2009; Treasurer of Goldman Sachs Mutual Funds from 2003 to 2009 and Senior Vice President thereof from 2007 to 2009; Director of Goldman Sachs Offshore Funds from 2002 to 2009; Director of Family Resource Network (charitable foundation) since 2009.
    
104 RICs consisting of 174 Portfolios
    
None
 


1     Each Director holds office until his or her successor is duly elected and qualifies or until his or her earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal as provided by the Fund’s by-laws or charter or statute. In no event may an Independent Director hold office beyond December 31 of the year in which he or she turns 75. In no event may an Interested Director hold office beyond December 31 of the year in which he or she turns 72.
2     Following the combination of MLIM and BlackRock, Inc. in September 2006, the various legacy MLIM and legacy BlackRock Fund boards were realigned and consolidated into three new Fund boards in 2007. As a result, although the chart shows certain Directors as joining the Fund’s board in 2007, each Director first became a member of the board of directors/trustees of other legacy MLIM or legacy BlackRock Funds as follows: James H. Bodurtha, 1995; Bruce R. Bond, 2005; Donald W. Burton, 2002; Honorable Stuart E. Eizenstat, 2001; Kenneth A. Froot, 2005; Robert M. Hernandez, 1996; John F. O’Brien, 2005; Roberta Cooper Ramo, 1999; David H. Walsh, 2003; and Fred G. Weiss, 1998.
3     Chairman of the Compliance Committee.
4     Chairman of the Governance Committee.
5     Chairman of the Board of Directors.
6     Chairman of the Performance Committee.
7     Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Audit Committee.
8     Messrs. Fairbairn and Perlowski are both “interested persons,” as defined in the Investment Company Act, of the Fund based on their positions with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates. Mr. Gabbay may be deemed an “interested person” of the Fund based on his former positions with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates. Mr. Gabbay does not currently serve as an officer or employee of BlackRock, Inc. or its affiliates or own any securities of BlackRock, Inc. or The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Mr. Gabbay is a non-management Interested Director.

I-18

 
 

Certain biographical and other information relating to the officers of the Fund who are not Directors is set forth below, including their address and year of birth, principal occupations for at least the last five years, length of time served, total number of registered investment companies and investment portfolios overseen in the BlackRock-advised Funds and any currently held public company and investment company directorships:

Name, Address
and Year of Birth
         Position(s)
Held with
Fund
     Length
of Time
Served1
     Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years
     Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered

Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen

     Public Company and
Investment Company
Directorships

Fund Officers1
                                                                                                             
 
Jennifer McGovern
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1977
              
Vice President
    
2014 to present
    
Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2011; Head of Product Structure and Oversight for BlackRock’s U.S. Wealth Advisory Group since 2013; Vice President of BlackRock, Inc. from 2008 to 2010.
    
61 RICs consisting of 255 Portfolios
    
None
 
Neal J. Andrews
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1966
              
Chief Financial Officer
    
2007 to present
    
Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2006; Senior Vice President and Line of Business Head of Fund Accounting and Administration at PNC Global Investment Servicing (U.S.) Inc. from 1992 to 2006.
    
137 RICs consisting of 331 Portfolios
    
None
 
Jay M. Fife
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1970
              
Treasurer
    
2007 to present
    
Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2007; Director of BlackRock, Inc. in 2006; Assistant Treasurer of the MLIM and Fund Asset Management, L.P. advised funds from 2005 to 2006; Director of MLIM Fund Services Group from 2001 to 2006.
    
137 RICs consisting of 331 Portfolios
    
None
 
Charles Park
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1967
              
Chief Compliance Officer
    
2014 to present
    
Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer for the BlackRock-advised Funds in the Equity-Bond Complex, the Equity-Liquidity Complex and the Closed-End Complex from 2014 to 2015; 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; Principal of and Chief Compliance Officer for iShares® Delaware Trust Sponsor LLC since 2012 and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) since 2006; Chief Compliance Officer for the BFA-advised iShares exchange traded funds since 2006; Chief Compliance Officer for BlackRock Asset Management International Inc. since 2012.
    
142 RICs consisting of 642 Portfolios
    
None
                         
 

I-19

 
 

Name, Address
and Year of Birth
         Position(s)
Held with
Fund
     Length
of Time
Served1
     Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years
     Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered

Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen

     Public Company and
Investment Company
Directorships

Fernanda Piedra
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1969
      Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer   2015 to present   Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2014; Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer and Regional Head of Financial Crime for the Americas at BlackRock, Inc. since 2014; Head of Regulatory Changes and Remediation for the Asset Wealth Management Division of Deutsche Bank from 2010 to 2014; Vice President of Goldman Sachs (Anti-Money Laundering/Suspicious Activities Group) from 2004 to 2010.  

142 RICs
consisting of 642 Portfolios

  None
                         
 
Benjamin Archibald
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055
1975
              
Secretary
    
2012 to present
    
Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2014; Director of BlackRock, Inc. from 2010 to 2013; Assistant Secretary of the BlackRock-advised Funds from 2010 to 2012; General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of Uhuru Capital Management from 2009 to 2010; Executive Director and Counsel of Goldman Sachs Asset Management from 2005 to 2009.
    
61 RICs consisting of 255 Portfolios
    
None


1     Officers of the Fund serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors.

Share Ownership

Information relating to each Director’s share ownership in the Fund and in all BlackRock-advised Funds that are overseen by the respective Director as of December 31, 2014 is set forth in the chart below.

Name of Director1

         Aggregate Dollar Range
of
Equity Securities
in the Fund

     Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity
Securities
in the BlackRock-
advised Funds

Interested Directors:
              
 
         
Robert Fairbairn2
              
None
    
$50,001-$100,000
Henry Gabbay
              
Over $100,000
    
Over $100,000
John M. Perlowski2
              
None
    
Over $100,000
Independent Directors:
              
 
         
James H. Bodurtha
              
Over $100,000
    
Over $100,000
Bruce R. Bond
              
Over $100,000
    
Over $100,000
Valerie G. Brown3
              
None
    
Over $100,000
Donald W. Burton
              
None
    
Over $100,000
Honorable Stuart E. Eizenstat
              
Over $100,000
    
Over $100,000
Kenneth A. Froot
              
Over $100,000
    
$50,001-$100,000
Robert M. Hernandez
              
Over $100,000
    
Over $100,000
John F. O’Brien
              
Over $100,000
    
Over $100,000
Donald C. Opatrny3
              
None
    
None
Roberta Cooper Ramo
              
$10,001-$50,000
    
Over $100,000
David H. Walsh
              
None
    
Over $100,000
Fred G. Weiss
              
Over $100,000
    
Over $100,000
 


1     Directors of the Fund are eligible to purchase Institutional Shares of the Fund.
2     Each of Messrs. Fairbairn and Perlowski was appointed to serve as a Director of the Fund effective January 1, 2015.
3     Each of Ms. Brown and Mr. Opatrny was appointed to serve as a Director of the Fund effective as of the close of business on May 13, 2015.

I-20

 
 

As of May 15, 2015, the Directors and officers of the Fund as a group owned an aggregate of less than 1% of the outstanding shares of the Fund. As of December 31, 2014, none of the Independent Directors of the Fund or their immediate family members owned beneficially or of record any securities in affiliates of the Manager, the Distributor, or any person directly or indirectly controlling, controlled by, or under common control with the Manager or the Distributor.

Compensation of Directors

Each Director who is an Independent Director and Mr. Gabbay, a non-management Interested Director, is paid as compensation an annual retainer of $175,000 per year for his or her services as a Board member of the BlackRock-advised Funds, including the Fund, and a $25,000 Board meeting fee to be paid for each Board meeting up to five Board meetings held in a calendar year (compensation for meetings in excess of this number to be determined on a case-by-case basis), together with out-of-pocket expenses in accordance with a Board policy on travel and other business expenses relating to attendance at meetings. In addition, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board are paid as compensation an additional annual retainer of $115,000 and $35,000, respectively, per year. The Chairmen of the Audit Committee, Compliance Committee, Governance Committee and Performance Committee are paid as compensation an additional annual retainer of $35,000, respectively.

The following table sets forth the compensation paid to the Directors by the Fund for the fiscal year ending October 31, 2014 and the aggregate compensation paid to them by all BlackRock-advised Funds for the calendar year ended December 31, 2014.

Name1

         Aggregate
Compensation
from the Fund
     Estimated
Annual
Benefits
Upon
Retirement
     Aggregate
Compensation
from the Fund and
other BlackRock-
Advised Funds
Independent Directors
              
 
                   
James H. Bodurtha2
              
$68,762
    
None
    
$340,000
Bruce R. Bond
              
$57,573
    
None
    
$305,000
Valerie G. Brown3
              
None
    
None
    
None
Donald W. Burton
              
$57,573
    
None
    
$305,000
Honorable Stuart E. Eizenstat4
              
$68,762
    
None
    
$340,000
Kenneth A. Froot
              
$57,573
    
None
    
$280,000
Robert M. Hernandez5
              
$94,338
    
None
    
$420,000
John F. O’Brien
              
$57,573
    
None
    
$305,000
Donald C. Opatrny3
              
None
    
None
    
None
Roberta Cooper Ramo
              
$57,573
    
None
    
$305,000
David H. Walsh6
              
$68,762
    
None
    
$340,000
Fred G. Weiss7
              
$79,951
    
None
    
$375,000
Interested Directors8
              
 
                   
Paul L. Audet9
              
None
    
None
    
None
Robert Fairbairn10
              
None
    
None
    
None
Laurence D. Fink9
              
None
    
None
    
None
Henry Gabbay
              
$42,830
    
None
    
$640,000
John M. Perlowski10
              
None
    
None
    
None
 


1     For the number of BlackRock-advised Funds from which each Director receives compensation see the Biographical Information Chart beginning on page I-15.
2     Chairman of the Compliance Committee.
3     Each of Ms. Brown and Mr. Opatrny was appointed to serve as a Director of the Fund effective as of the close of business on May 13, 2015.
4     Chairman of the Governance Committee.
5     Chairman of the Board of Directors.
6     Chairman of the Performance Committee.
7     Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Audit Committee.
8     Messrs. Fairbairn and Perlowski receive no compensation from the BlackRock-advised Funds for their service as a Trustee/Director. Mr. Gabbay receives compensation from the BlackRock-advised Funds for his service as a non-management Interested Trustee/Director. Mr. Gabbay began receiving compensation from the BlackRock-advised Funds for his service as a Trustee/Director effective January 1, 2009.
9     Each of Messrs. Audet and Fink resigned as a Director of the Fund and as a director or trustee of all other BlackRock-advised Funds effective December 31, 2014.
10     Each of Messrs. Fairbairn and Perlowski was appointed to serve as a Director of the Fund effective January 1, 2015.

I-21

 
 

IV. Management and Advisory Arrangements

The Fund has entered into a management agreement with the Manager (the “Management Agreement”), pursuant to which the Manager receives for its services to the Fund monthly compensation at the annual rate of 0.75% of the average daily net assets of the Fund.

Effective June 1, 2012, the Manager has voluntarily agreed to waive a portion of its fees payable by the Fund so that such fee is reduced for average daily net assets of the Fund as follows:

In Excess of

         Not Exceeding
       Rate Waived to
$0
              
$10 billion
            0.75 %    
$10 billion
              
$15 billion
            0.69 %    
$15 billion
              
$20 billion
            0.68 %    
$20 billion
              
$25 billion
            0.67 %    
$25 billion
              
$30 billion
            0.65 %    
$30 billion
              
$40 billion
            0.63 %    
$40 billion
              
$60 billion
            0.62 %    
$60 billion
              
$80 billion
            0.61 %    
$80 billion
              
            0.60 %    
 

Prior to June 1, 2012, the Manager had voluntarily agreed to waive a portion of its fees payable by the Fund so that such fee was reduced for average daily net assets of the Fund as follows:

In Excess of

         Not Exceeding
     Rate Waived to
$0
              
$10 billion
            0.75 %    
$10 billion
              
$15 billion
            0.69 %    
$15 billion
              
$20 billion
            0.68 %    
$20 billion
              
$25 billion
            0.67 %    
$25 billion
              
$30 billion
            0.65 %    
$30 billion
              
$40 billion
            0.63 %    
$40 billion
              
            0.62 %    
 

Set forth below are the management fees paid by the Fund to the Manager for the periods indicated.

Fiscal Year Ended October 31,

         Paid to the Manager
     Waived by the Manager1
2014
                   $ 441,347,281               $ 52,009,197     
2013
                   $ 412,500,349               $ 47,007,200     
2012
                   $ 397,724,795               $ 44,442,476     
 


1     In addition to the voluntary arrangement described above, the Manager may waive a portion of the Fund’s management fee in connection with the Fund’s investment in an affiliated money market fund.

Pursuant to the Management Agreement, the Manager may from time to time, in its sole discretion to the extent permitted by applicable law, appoint one or more sub-advisers, including, without limitation, affiliates of the Manager, to perform management services with respect to the Fund. In addition, the Manager may delegate certain of its management functions under the Management Agreement to one or more of its affiliates to the extent permitted by applicable law. The Manager may terminate any or all sub-advisers or such delegation arrangements in its sole discretion at any time to the extent permitted by applicable law.

Prior to July 1, 2014, BlackRock Investment Management, LLC (“BIM”) served as a sub-adviser to the Fund and received for its services a fee from the Manager equal to a percentage of the management fee paid to the Manager under the Management Agreement. Prior to July 1, 2013, BlackRock International Limited (“BIL” and, together with BIM, the “Sub-Advisers”) also served as a sub-adviser to the Fund and received for its services a fee from the Manager equal to a percentage of the management fee paid to the Manager under the Management Agreement. Set forth below are the aggregate sub-advisory fees paid by the Manager to the Sub-Advisers for the periods indicated:

Fiscal Year Ended October 31,

         Paid to the
Sub-Advisers

2014
                   $ 113,153,154     
2013
                   $ 235,175,432     
2012
                   $ 261,555,637     
 

I-22

 
 

Information Regarding the Portfolio Managers

Dennis Stattman, CFA, Dan Chamby, CFA and Aldo Roldan, PhD, are the Fund’s portfolio managers.

Other Funds and Accounts Managed

The following table sets forth information about funds and accounts other than the Fund for which the Fund’s portfolio managers are primarily responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management as of the Fund’s fiscal year ended October 31, 2014.

         Number of Other Accounts Managed
and Assets by Account Type
   
  Number of Other Accounts and Assets for
Which Advisory Fee is Performance-Based
Name of Portfolio Manager



   
Other
Registered
Investment
Companies

   
Other Pooled
Investment
Vehicles

   
Other
Accounts

   
Other
Registered
Investment
Companies

   
Other Pooled
Investment
Vehicles

   
Other
Accounts

Dennis Stattman
              
6
    
4
    
1
    
0
    
0
    
0
 
              
$18.37 Billion
    
$26.64 Billion
    
$1.02 Billion
    
$0
    
$0
    
$0
Dan Chamby
              
6
    
4
    
1
    
0
    
0
    
0
 
              
$18.37 Billion
    
$26.64 Billion
    
$1.02 Billion
    
$0
    
$0
    
$0
Aldo Roldan
              
6
    
4
    
1
    
0
    
0
    
0
 
              
$18.37 Billion
    
$26.64 Billion
    
$1.02 Billion
    
$0
    
$0
    
$0
 

Portfolio Manager Compensation Overview

The discussion below describes the portfolio managers’ compensation as of October 31, 2014.

BlackRock’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.

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

Discretionary Incentive Compensation

Generally, discretionary incentive compensation for the Fund’s portfolio managers is based on a formulaic compensation program. The team’s formulaic portfolio manager compensation program is based on team revenue with a measure of operational efficiency, and pre-tax investment performance relative to benchmark over 1 and 5-year performance periods. In most cases, these benchmarks are the same as the benchmark or benchmarks against which the performance of the Funds or other accounts managed by the portfolio managers are measured. BlackRock’s Chief Investment Officers determine the benchmarks or rankings against which the performance of funds and other accounts managed by each portfolio management team is compared and the period of time over which performance is evaluated. With respect to these portfolio managers, the benchmarks for the Fund and other accounts are: a combination of S&P 500 Index, FTSE World (Ex. US) Index, BofA Merrill Lynch Current 5-Year US Treasury Index and Citigroup Non-US Dollar World Government Bond Index.

A smaller element of portfolio manager discretionary compensation may include consideration of: financial results, expense control, profit margins, strategic planning and implementation, quality of client service, market share, corporate reputation, capital allocation, compliance and risk control, leadership, technology and innovation. These factors are considered collectively by BlackRock management.

Distribution of Discretionary Incentive Compensation. Discretionary incentive compensation is distributed to portfolio managers in a combination of cash and BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units which vest ratably over a number of years. For some portfolio managers, discretionary incentive compensation is also distributed in deferred cash awards that notionally track the returns of select BlackRock investment products they manage and that vest ratably over a number of years. The BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units, upon vesting, will be settled in BlackRock, Inc. common stock. Typically, the cash portion of the discretionary incentive compensation, when combined with base salary, represents more than 60% of total compensation for the portfolio managers. Paying a portion of discretionary incentive compensation in BlackRock stock puts compensation earned by a portfolio manager for a given year “at risk” based on BlackRock’s ability to sustain and improve its performance over future

I-23

 
 

periods. Providing a portion of discretionary incentive compensation in deferred cash awards that notionally track the BlackRock investment products they manage provides direct alignment with investment product results.

Long-Term Incentive Plan Awards — From time to time long-term incentive equity awards are granted to certain key employees to aid in retention, align their interests with long-term shareholder interests and motivate performance. Equity awards are generally granted in the form of BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units that, once vested, settle in BlackRock, Inc. common stock. Messrs. Chamby, Roldan and Stattman do not have unvested long-term incentive awards.

Deferred Compensation Program — A portion of the compensation paid to eligible United States-based BlackRock employees may be voluntarily deferred at their election for defined periods of time into an account that tracks the performance of certain of the firm’s investment products. Any portfolio manager who is either a managing director or director at BlackRock with compensation above a specified threshold is eligible to participate in the deferred compensation plan.

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

Incentive Savings Plans — BlackRock, Inc. has created a variety of incentive savings plans in which BlackRock employees are eligible to participate, including a 401(k) plan, the BlackRock Retirement Savings Plan (RSP), and the BlackRock Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP). The employer contribution components of the RSP include a company match equal to 50% of the first 8% of eligible pay contributed to the plan capped at $5,000 per year, and a company retirement contribution equal to 3-5% of eligible compensation up to the Internal Revenue Service limit ($260,000 for 2014). The RSP offers a range of investment options, including registered investment companies and collective investment funds managed by the firm. BlackRock contributions follow the investment direction set by participants for their own contributions or, absent participant investment direction, are invested into a target date fund that corresponds to, or is closest to, the year in which the participant attains age 65. The ESPP allows for investment in BlackRock common stock at a 5% discount on the fair market value of the stock on the purchase date. Annual participation in the ESPP is limited to the purchase of 1,000 shares of common stock or a dollar value of $25,000 based on its fair market value on the purchase date. All of the eligible portfolio managers are eligible to participate in these plans.

Fund Ownership

The following table sets forth the dollar range of equity securities of the Fund beneficially owned by the portfolio managers as of the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014.

Portfolio Manager

         Dollar Range1
Dennis Stattman
              
Over $1 Million
Dan Chamby
              
Over $1 Million
Aldo Roldan
              
Over $1 Million
 


1     Includes securities attributable to participation in certain deferred compensation and retirement programs.

Portfolio Manager Potential Material Conflicts of Interest

BlackRock has built a professional working environment, firm-wide compliance culture and compliance procedures and systems designed to protect against potential incentives that may favor one account over another. BlackRock has adopted policies and procedures that address the allocation of investment opportunities, execution of portfolio transactions, personal trading by employees and other potential conflicts of interest that are designed to ensure that all client accounts are treated equitably over time. Nevertheless, BlackRock furnishes investment management and advisory services to numerous clients in addition to the Fund, and BlackRock may, consistent with applicable law, make investment recommendations to other clients or accounts (including accounts which are hedge funds or have performance or higher fees paid to BlackRock, or in which portfolio managers have a personal interest in the receipt of such fees), which may be the same as or different from those made to the Fund. In addition, BlackRock, its affiliates and significant shareholders and any officer, director, shareholder or employee may or may not have an interest in the securities whose purchase and sale BlackRock recommends to the Fund. BlackRock, or any of its affiliates or significant shareholders, or any officer, director, shareholder, employee or any member of their families may take different actions than those recommended to the Fund by BlackRock with respect to the same securities. Moreover, BlackRock may refrain from rendering any advice or services concerning securities of companies of which any of BlackRock’s (or its affiliates’ or significant shareholders’) officers, directors or employees are directors or officers, or companies as to which BlackRock or any of its affiliates or

I-24

 
 

significant shareholders or the officers, directors and employees of any of them has any substantial economic interest or possesses material non-public information. Certain portfolio managers also may manage accounts whose investment strategies may at times be opposed to the strategy utilized for a fund. It should also be noted that a portfolio manager may be managing hedge fund and/or long only accounts, or may be part of a team managing hedge fund and/or long only accounts, subject to incentive fees. Such portfolio managers may therefore be entitled to receive a portion of any incentive fees earned on such accounts. Currently, the portfolio managers of this fund are not entitled to receive a portion of incentive fees of other accounts.

As a fiduciary, BlackRock owes a duty of loyalty to its clients and must treat each client fairly. When BlackRock purchases or sells securities for more than one account, the trades must be allocated in a manner consistent with its fiduciary duties. BlackRock attempts to allocate investments in a fair and equitable manner among client accounts, with no account receiving preferential treatment. To this end, BlackRock has adopted policies that are intended to ensure reasonable efficiency in client transactions and provide BlackRock with sufficient flexibility to allocate investments in a manner that is consistent with the particular investment discipline and client base, as appropriate.

Transfer Agency and Shareholders’ Administrative Services

BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc. (“BNY Mellon”), which has its principal place of business at 301 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809, serves as the transfer and dividend disbursement agent for the Fund.

Pursuant to a Shareholders’ Administrative Services Agreement, the Manager provides certain shareholder liaison services in connection with the Fund’s investor service center. The Fund reimburses the Manager for its costs in maintaining the service center, which costs include, among other things, employee salaries, leasehold expenses, and other out-of-pocket expenses which are a component of the transfer agency fees in the Fund’s annual report.

The following table sets forth the fees paid by the Fund to the Manager pursuant to the Shareholders’ Administrative Services Agreement for the periods indicated.

Fiscal Year Ended October 31,

         Paid to the Manager
2014
                   $ 543,076     
2013
                   $ 764,594     
2012
                   $ 783,498     
 

Accounting Services

The table below shows the amount paid by the Fund to State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) and the Manager, for accounting services for the periods indicated:

Fiscal Year Ended October 31,

         Paid to State Street
     Paid to the Manager
2014
                   $ 5,000,519               $ 562,637     
2013
                   $ 4,931,591               $ 615,357     
2012
                   $ 4,988,445               $ 536,923     
 

Organization and Management of Wholly-Owned Subsidiary

The Fund intends to gain exposure to commodity markets by investing up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary. The Subsidiary invests primarily in commodity-related instruments.

The Subsidiary is a company organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands, whose registered office is located at the offices of Maples Corporate Services Limited, P.O. Box 309, Ugland House, Grand Cayman KYI-1104, Cayman Islands. The Subsidiary’s affairs are overseen by a board of directors, which is comprised of John M. Perlowski and Neal J. Andrews.

The Manager provides investment management and administrative services to the Subsidiary. The Manager does not receive separate compensation from the Subsidiary for providing it with investment advisory or administrative services. However, the Fund pays the Manager based on the Fund’s assets, including the assets invested in the Subsidiary. The Subsidiary entered into contracts for the provision of custody, and audit services with the same service providers that provide those services to the Fund.

I-25

 
 

The Subsidiary is managed pursuant to compliance policies and procedures that are the same, in all material respects, as the policies and procedures adopted by the Fund. As a result, the Manager, in managing the Subsidiary’s portfolio, is subject to the same investment policies and restrictions that apply to the management of the Fund, and, in particular, to the requirements relating to portfolio leverage, liquidity, brokerage, and the timing and method of the valuation of the Subsidiary’s portfolio investments and shares of the Subsidiary. These policies and restrictions are described elsewhere in detail in this Statement of Additional Information. The Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer oversees implementation of the Subsidiary’s policies and procedures, and makes periodic reports to the Fund’s Board of Directors regarding the Subsidiary’s compliance with its policies and procedures. The Fund and Subsidiary test for compliance with certain investment restrictions on a consolidated basis, except that with respect to its investments in certain securities that may involve leverage, the Subsidiary complies with asset segregation requirements to the same extent as the Fund.

Credit Agreement
 
The Fund, along with certain other funds managed by the Manager and its affiliates (“Participating Funds”), is a party to a 364-day, $2.1 billion credit agreement with a group of lenders, which facility terminates on April 21, 2016, unless otherwise extended or renewed (the “Credit Agreement”). Excluding commitments designated for certain funds, other Participating Funds, including the Fund, can borrow up to an aggregate commitment amount of $1.6 billion at any time outstanding, subject to asset coverage and other limitations as specified in the agreement. The Fund may borrow under the Credit Agreement to meet shareholder redemptions and for other lawful purposes. The Fund may not borrow under the Credit Agreement for leverage. The Fund may borrow up to the maximum amount allowable under the Fund’s current Prospectus and SAI, subject to various other legal, regulatory or contractual limits. Borrowing results in interest expense and other fees and expenses for the Fund which may impact the Fund’s net expenses. The costs of borrowing may reduce the Fund’s return. The Fund is charged its pro rata share of upfront fees and commitment fees on the aggregate commitment amount based on its net assets. If the Fund borrows pursuant to the Credit Agreement, the Fund is charged interest at a variable rate.

V. Information on Sales Charges and Distribution Related Expenses

Set forth below is information on sales charges (including any contingent deferred sales charges (“CDSCs”)) received by the Fund, including the amounts paid to affiliates of the Manager or MLIM (“Affiliates”) for each of the Fund’s last three fiscal years. BlackRock Investments, LLC (“BRIL” or the “Distributor”), an affiliate of the Manager, acts as the Fund’s sole distributor. Institutional Shares are not subject to a sales charge.

Investor A Sales Charge Information

         Investor A Shares
    
For the Fiscal Year
Ended October 31,

         Gross Sales
Charges
Collected
     Sales Charges
Retained by
BRIL
     Sales Charges
Paid to
Affiliates
     CDSCs Received
on Redemption
of Load-Waived
Shares
2014
                   $ 35,460,282               $ 2,370,865               $ 2,371,266               $ 160,814     
2013
                   $ 35,606,722               $ 2,335,989               $ 2,336,399               $ 193,927     
2012
                   $ 37,213,382               $ 2,353,915               $ 2,373,516               $ 280,975     
 

Investor B and Investor C Sales Charges Information

         Investor B Shares1
    
For the Fiscal Year Ended October 31,

         CDSCs Received
by BRIL
     CDSCs Paid to
Affiliates
2014
                   $ 183,372               $ 183,372     
2013
                   $ 493,395               $ 493,395     
2012
                   $ 965,210               $ 965,210     
                     
         Investor C Shares
    
For the Fiscal Year Ended October 31,

         CDSCs Received
by BRIL
     CDSCs Paid to
Affiliates
2014
                   $ 1,225,747               $ 1,225,747     
2013
                   $ 1,147,942               $ 1,147,942     
2012
                   $ 1,741,675               $ 1,741,675     
 


1     Additional Investor B CDSCs payable to a distributor may have been waived or converted to a contingent obligation in connection with a shareholder’s participation in certain fee-based programs.
 

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The table below provides information for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014 about the 12b-1 fees the Fund paid to BRIL under the Fund’s 12b-1 plans. A significant amount of the fees collected by BRIL were paid to affiliates, for providing shareholder servicing activities for Investor A shares and for providing shareholder servicing and distribution-related activities and services for Investor B, Investor C and Class R shares.

Class Name

         Paid to BRIL
Investor A Shares
                   $ 47,517,709     
Investor B Shares
                   $ 4,165,298     
Investor C Shares
                   $ 163,754,429     
Class R Shares
                   $ 6,508,116     
 

VI. Computation of Offering Price Per Share

An illustration of the computation of the public offering price of the Investor A Shares of the Fund based on the value of the Fund’s Investor A Shares’ net assets and number of Investor A Shares outstanding as of October 31, 2014 follows:

SAI Part VI—Computation of Offering Price Per Share:

         Investor A Shares
Net Assets
                   $ 17,792,885,424     
Number of Shares Outstanding
                      821,847,415     
Net Asset Value Per Share (net assets divided by number of shares outstanding)
               $21.65  
Sales Charge (5.25% of offering price; 5.54% of net asset value per share)1
                 $1.20  
Offering Price
                 $22.85  
 


1     Rounded to the nearest one-hundredth percent; assumes maximum sales charge is applicable.

The offering price for the Fund’s other share classes is equal to the share class’s net asset value computed as set forth above for Investor A Shares. Though not subject to a sales charge, certain share classes may be subject to a CDSC on redemption. For more information on the purchasing and valuation of shares, please see “Purchase of Shares” and “Pricing of Shares” in Part II of this SAI.

The Subsidiary is subject to the same valuation policies as the Fund as described in “Pricing of Shares” in Part II of this Statement of Additional Information. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is valued based on the value of the Subsidiary’s portfolio investments. The Subsidiary prices its portfolio investments pursuant to the same pricing and valuation methodologies and procedures used by the Fund, which require, among other things, that each of the Subsidiary’s portfolio investments be marked-to-market (that is, the value on the Subsidiary’s books changes) each business day to reflect changes in the market value of the investment.

VII. Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage

See “Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage” in Part II of this SAI for more information.

Information about the brokerage commissions paid by the Fund, including commissions paid to Affiliates, for the last three fiscal years is set forth in the following table:

Fiscal Year Ended October 31,

         Aggregate Brokerage
Commissions Paid
     Commissions Paid
to Affiliates
2014
                   $ 36,711,950               $ 0     
2013
                   $ 31,690,839               $ 0      
2012
                   $ 25,060,931               $ 0     
 

The following table shows the dollar amount of brokerage commissions paid to brokers for providing research services and the approximate dollar amount of the transactions involved for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014. The provision of research services was not necessarily a factor in the placement of all brokerage business with such brokers.

Amount of Commissions
Paid to Brokers for
Providing Research Services
         Amount of Brokerage
Transactions Involved
$28,779,717
              
$37,367,638,149
 

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The Fund conducts its securities lending pursuant to an exemptive order from the Commission permitting it to lend portfolio securities to borrowers affiliated with the Fund and to retain an affiliate of the Fund as lending agent. To the extent that the Fund engages in securities lending, BlackRock Investment Management, LLC (“BIM”), an affiliate of the Manager, acts as securities lending agent for the Fund, subject to the overall supervision of the Manager. BIM administers the lending program in accordance with guidelines approved by the Board.

The Fund retains a portion of securities lending income and remits a remaining portion to BIM as compensation for its services as securities lending agent. Securities lending income is equal to the total of income earned from the reinvestment of cash collateral (and excludes collateral investment expenses as defined below), and any fees or other payments to and from borrowers of securities. As securities lending agent, BIM bears all operational costs directly related to securities lending. The Fund is responsible for expenses in connection with the investment of cash collateral received for securities on loan (the “collateral investment expenses”). The cash collateral is invested in a private investment company managed by the Manager or its affiliates. However, BIM has agreed to cap the collateral investment expenses of the private investment company to an annual rate of 0.04%. In addition, in accordance with the exemptive order, the investment adviser to the private investment company will not charge any advisory fees with respect to shares purchased by the Fund. Such shares also will not be subject to a sales load, redemption fee, distribution fee or service fee.

Pursuant to the current securities lending agreement, effective as of January 1, 2015: (i) the Fund retains 80% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment expenses), and (ii) this amount can never be less than 70% of the sum of securities lending income plus collateral investment expenses.

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

In addition, commencing the business day following the date that the aggregate securities lending income earned across the Equity-Bond Complex in a calendar year exceeds a specified threshold, the Fund, pursuant to the current 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 expenses); and (ii) this amount can never be less than 70% of the sum of securities lending income plus collateral investment expenses.

Prior to January 1, 2015, the Fund was subject to different securities lending fee splits.

The following table below shows the dollar amount of security lending agent fees that were paid by the Fund to BIM for the periods indicated:

Fiscal Year Ended October 31,

         Paid to
BIM
2014
                   $ 3,358,957     
2013
                   $ 1,495,866     
2012
                   $ 1,322,423     
 

The value of the Fund’s aggregate holdings of the securities of its regular brokers or dealers (as defined in Rule 10b-1 of the Investment Company Act) if any portion of such holdings were purchased during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014 are as follows:

Regular Broker-Dealer

         Debt (D) / Equity (E)
     Aggregate Holdings (000’s)
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
              
E
         $ 377,489     
Bank of America Corp.
              
E
         $ 348,137     
Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.
              
E
         $ 283,577     
UBS Securities LLC
              
E
         $ 127,531     
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
              
E
         $ 121,377     
Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc.
              
E
         $ 89,298     
Royal Bank of Scotland
              
E
         $ 73,736     
Morgan Stanley
              
E
         $ 37,527     
J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.
              
D
         $ 138,338     
Banco Santander Brasil SA
              
D
         $ 40,886     
UBS Securities LLC
              
D
         $ 28,708     
Goldman Sachs & Co.
              
D
         $ 2,190     
 

The Subsidiary follows the same brokerage practices as does the Fund.

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VIII. Additional Information

The Fund was incorporated under Maryland law on June 9, 1988. It has authorized capital of 9,500,000,000 shares of Common Stock, par value $0.10 per share, divided into five classes, designated Investor A, Investor B, Investor C, Institutional and Class R Common Stock. Investor A consists of 2,000,000,000 shares, Investor B consists of 1,500,000,000 shares, Investor C consists of 2,000,000,000 shares, Institutional consists of 2,000,000,000 shares and Class R consists of 2,000,000,000 shares. Shares of Investor A, Investor B, Investor C, Institutional and Class R Common Stock represent an interest in the same assets of the Fund and are identical in all respects except that the Investor A, Investor B, Investor C and Class R shares bear certain expenses related to the service and/or distribution of such shares and have exclusive voting rights with respect to matters relating to such service and/or distribution expenditures (except that Investor B shareholders may vote upon any material changes to expenses charged under the Investor A Distribution Plan). The Board of Directors of the Fund may classify and reclassify the shares of the Fund into additional classes of Common Stock at a future date.

Counsel

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, 787 Seventh Avenue, New York, New York 10019 serves as the Fund’s counsel.

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

Deloitte & Touche LLP, with offices at 200 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116, serves as the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm.

Principal Shareholders

To the knowledge of the Fund, the following entities owned beneficially or of record 5% or more of the Fund’s shares as of January 30, 2015:

Name

         Address
     %
     Class
*Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Incorporated
              
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
    
49.73
    
Investor A Shares
*American Enterprise Investment SVC
              
707 2nd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55402
    
5.89
    
Investor A Shares
*NFS LLC FEBO
              
499 Washington Blvd
Jersey City, NJ 07310
    
5.49
    
Investor A Shares
*Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Incorporated
              
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
    
50.95
    
Investor B Shares
*First Clearing, LLC
              
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
    
17.40
    
Investor B Shares
*Pershing LLC
              
1 Pershing Plaza
Jersey City, NJ 07399-0001
    
6.17
    
Investor B Shares
*Morgan Stanley & Co.
              
Harborside Financial Center Plaza II 3rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
    
5.28
    
Investor B Shares
*Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Incorporated
              
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
    
50.33
    
Investor C Shares
*Morgan Stanley & Co.
              
Harborside Financial Center Plaza II 3rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
    
11.13
    
Investor C Shares
*First Clearing, LLC
              
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
    
7.70
    
Investor C Shares
*UBS WM USA
              
499 Washington Blvd 9th Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07310-2055
    
5.48
    
Investor C Shares
*Raymond James Omnibus For Mutual Funds
              
880 Carillon Parkway
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
    
5.01
    
Investor C Shares
*Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Incorporated
              
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
    
29.61
    
Institutional Class

 

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Name

         Address
     %
     Class
*NFS LLC FEBO
              
499 Washington Blvd
Jersey City, NJ 07310
    
12.87
    
Institutional Class
*Morgan Stanley & Co.
              
Harborside Financial Center Plaza II 3rd Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07311
    
8.27
    
Institutional Class
*First Clearing, LLC
              
2801 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
    
7.09
    
Institutional Class
*Bank of America NA TTEE Merrill Lynch & Co Inc 401k SIP
              
700 Louisiana St
Houston, TX 77002-2700
    
6.40
    
Institutional Class
*UBS WM USA
              
499 Washington Blvd 9th Floor
Jersey City, NJ 07310-2055
    
6.35
    
Institutional Class
*Charles Schwab & Co Inc
              
101 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94104-4122
    
5.59
    
Institutional Class
*Hartford Life Insurance Company
              
PO Box 2999
Hartford, CT 06104-2999
    
28.14
    
Class R Shares
*Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Incorporated
              
4800 Deer Lake Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32246-6484
    
25.13
    
Class R Shares
*Voya Institutional Trust Company
              
One Orange Way
Windsor, CT 06095-4774
    
10.11
    
Class R Shares
*State Street Bank TTEE Cust (FBO) ADP Access
              
1 Lincoln Street
Boston, MA 02111
    
9.60
    
Class R Shares
 

IX. Financial Statements

The audited financial statements and notes thereto in the Fund’s Annual Report to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014 (the “2014 Annual Report”) are incorporated in this SAI by reference. No other parts of the 2014 Annual Report are incorporated by reference herein. The financial statements included in the 2014 Annual Report have been audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP. The report of Deloitte & Touche LLP is incorporated herein by reference. Such financial statements have been incorporated herein in reliance upon the report of such firm given their authority as experts in accounting and auditing. Additional copies of the 2014 Annual Report may be obtained at no charge by telephoning the Distributor at the telephone number appearing on the front page of this SAI.

I-30

 
 

Part II

Throughout this Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”), each BlackRock-advised fund may be referred to as a “Fund” or collectively with others as the “Funds.”

Each Fund is organized either as a Maryland corporation, a Massachusetts business trust or a Delaware statutory trust. In each jurisdiction, nomenclature varies. For ease and clarity of presentation, shares of common stock and shares of beneficial interest are referred to herein as “shares” or “Common Stock,” holders of shares of Common Stock are referred to as “shareholders,” the trustees or directors of each Fund are referred to as “Directors,” BlackRock Advisors, LLC, BlackRock Fund Advisors or their respective affiliates is the investment adviser or manager of each Fund and is referred to herein as the “Manager” or “BlackRock,” and the investment advisory agreement or management agreement applicable to each Fund is referred to as the “Management Agreement.” Each Fund’s Articles of Incorporation or Declaration of Trust, together with all amendments thereto, is referred to as its “charter.” The Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, is referred to herein as the “Investment Company Act.” The Securities Act of 1933, as amended, is referred to herein as the “Securities Act.” The Securities and Exchange Commission is referred to herein as the “Commission” or the “SEC.”

Certain Funds are “feeder” funds (each, a “Feeder Fund”) that invest all or a portion of their assets in a corresponding “master” portfolio (each, a “Master Portfolio”) of a master limited liability company (each, a “Master LLC”), a mutual fund that has the same objective and strategies as the Feeder Fund. All investments are generally made at the level of the Master Portfolio. This structure is sometimes called a “master/feeder” structure. A Feeder Fund’s investment results will correspond directly to the investment results of the underlying Master Portfolio in which it invests. For simplicity, this SAI uses the term “Fund” to include both a Feeder Fund and its Master Portfolio.

In addition to containing information about the Fund, Part II of this SAI contains general information about all funds in the BlackRock-advised fund complex. Certain information contained herein may not be relevant to a particular Fund.

Investment Risks and Considerations

Set forth below are descriptions of some of the types of investments and investment strategies that one or more of the Funds may use, and the risks and considerations associated with those investments and investment strategies. Please see each Fund’s Prospectus and the “Investment Objectives and Policies” section of Part I of this SAI for further information on each Fund’s investment policies and risks. Information contained in this section about the risks and considerations associated with a Fund’s investments and/or investment strategies applies only to those Funds specifically identified in Part I of this SAI as making each type of investment or using each investment strategy (each, a “Covered Fund”). Information that does not apply to a Covered Fund does not form a part of that Covered Fund’s Statement of Additional Information and should not be relied on by investors in that Covered Fund.

Only information that is clearly identified as applicable to a Covered Fund is considered to form a part of that Covered Fund’s Statement of Additional Information.

144A Securities. A Fund may purchase securities that can be offered and sold only to “qualified institutional buyers” under Rule 144A under the Securities Act. The Directors have determined to treat as liquid Rule 144A securities that are either freely tradable in their primary markets offshore or have been determined to be liquid in accordance with the policies and procedures adopted by the Fund’s Directors. The Directors have adopted guidelines and delegated to the Manager the daily function of determining and monitoring liquidity of 144A securities. The Directors, however, will retain sufficient oversight and will ultimately be responsible for the determinations. Since it is not possible to predict with assurance exactly how the market for securities sold and offered under Rule 144A will continue to develop, the Directors will carefully monitor a Fund’s investments in these securities. This investment practice could have the effect of increasing the level of illiquidity in a Fund to the extent that qualified institutional buyers become for a time uninterested in purchasing these securities.

Asset-Backed Securities. Asset-backed securities are securities backed by home equity loans, installment sale contracts, credit card receivables or other assets. Asset-backed securities are “pass-through” securities, meaning that principal and interest payments — net of expenses — made by the borrower on the underlying assets (such as credit card receivables) are passed through to a Fund. The value of asset-backed securities, like that of traditional fixed-income securities, typically increases when interest rates fall and decreases when interest rates rise. However, asset-backed securities differ from traditional fixed-income securities because of their potential for prepayment. The price paid by a Fund for its asset-backed securities, the yield the Fund expects to receive from such securities and the average life of the securities are based on a number of factors, including the anticipated rate of prepayment of the underlying assets. In a period of declining interest rates, borrowers may prepay the underlying assets more quickly than anticipated, thereby reducing the yield to maturity and the average life of the asset-backed securities. Moreover, when a Fund reinvests the proceeds of a prepayment in these circumstances, it will likely receive a rate of interest that is lower than the rate on the security that was prepaid. To the extent that a Fund purchases asset-backed securities at a premium, prepayments may result in a loss to the extent of the premium paid. If a Fund buys such securities at a discount, both scheduled payments and unscheduled prepayments will increase current and total returns and unscheduled prepayments will also accelerate the recognition of income which, when distributed to shareholders, will be taxable as ordinary income. In a period of rising interest rates, prepayments of the underlying assets may occur at a slower than expected rate, creating maturity extension risk. This particular risk may effectively change a security that was

II-1
 

 

considered short- or intermediate-term at the time of purchase into a longer term security. Since the value of longer-term securities generally fluctuates more widely in response to changes in interest rates than does the value of shorter term securities, maturity extension risk could increase the volatility of the Fund. When interest rates decline, the value of an asset-backed security with prepayment features may not increase as much as that of other fixed-income securities, and, as noted above, changes in market rates of interest may accelerate or retard prepayments and thus affect maturities.

Asset-Based Securities. Certain Funds may invest in debt, preferred or convertible securities, the principal amount, redemption terms or conversion terms of which are related to the market price of some natural resource asset such as gold bullion. These securities are referred to as “asset-based securities.” A Fund will purchase only asset-based securities that are rated, or are issued by issuers that have outstanding debt obligations rated, investment grade (for example, AAA, AA, A or BBB by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) or Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”), or Baa by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”) or commercial paper rated A-1 by S&P or Prime-1 by Moody’s) or by issuers that the Manager has determined to be of similar creditworthiness. Obligations ranked in the fourth highest rating category, while considered “investment grade,” may have certain speculative characteristics and may be more likely to be downgraded than securities rated in the three highest rating categories. If an asset-based security is backed by a bank letter of credit or other similar facility, the Manager may take such backing into account in determining the creditworthiness of the issuer. While the market prices for an asset-based security and the related natural resource asset generally are expected to move in the same direction, there may not be perfect correlation in the two price movements. Asset-based securities may not be secured by a security interest in or claim on the underlying natural resource asset. The asset-based securities in which a Fund may invest may bear interest or pay preferred dividends at below market (or even relatively nominal) rates. Certain asset-based securities may be payable at maturity in cash at the stated principal amount or, at the option of the holder, directly in a stated amount of the asset to which it is related. In such instance, because no Fund presently intends to invest directly in natural resource assets, a Fund would sell the asset-based security in the secondary market, to the extent one exists, prior to maturity if the value of the stated amount of the asset exceeds the stated principal amount and thereby realize the appreciation in the underlying asset.

Precious Metal-Related Securities. A Fund may invest in the equity securities of companies that explore for, extract, process or deal in precious metals (e.g., gold, silver and platinum), and in asset-based securities indexed to the value of such metals. Such securities may be purchased when they are believed to be attractively priced in relation to the value of a company’s precious metal-related assets or when the values of precious metals are expected to benefit from inflationary pressure or other economic, political or financial uncertainty or instability. Based on historical experience, during periods of economic or financial instability the securities of companies involved in precious metals may be subject to extreme price fluctuations, reflecting the high volatility of precious metal prices during such periods. In addition, the instability of precious metal prices may result in volatile earnings of precious metal-related companies, which may, in turn, adversely affect the financial condition of such companies.

The major producers of gold include the Republic of South Africa, Russia, Canada, the United States, Brazil and Australia. Sales of gold by Russia are largely unpredictable and often relate to political and economic considerations rather than to market forces. Economic, financial, social and political factors within South Africa may significantly affect South African gold production.

Bank Loans. Certain Funds may invest in bank loans. Bank loans are generally non-investment grade floating rate instruments. Usually, they are freely callable at the issuer’s option. Certain Funds may invest in fixed and floating rate loans (“Loans”) arranged through private negotiations between a corporate borrower or a foreign sovereign entity and one or more financial institutions (“Lenders”). A Fund may invest in such Loans in the form of participations in Loans (“Participations”) and assignments of all or a portion of Loans from third parties (“Assignments”). A Fund considers these investments to be investments in debt securities for purposes of its investment policies. Participations typically will result in the Fund having a contractual relationship only with the Lender, not with the borrower. The Fund will have the right to receive payments of principal, interest and any fees to which it is entitled only from the Lender selling the Participation and only upon receipt by the Lender of the payments from the borrower. In connection with purchasing Participations, the Fund generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the borrower with the terms of the loan agreement relating to the Loans, nor any rights of set-off against the borrower, and the Fund may not benefit directly from any collateral supporting the Loan in which it has purchased the Participation. As a result, the Fund will assume the credit risk of both the borrower and the Lender that is selling the Participation. In the event of the insolvency of the Lender selling the Participation, the Fund may be treated as a general creditor of the Lender and may not benefit from any set-off between the Lender and the borrower. The Fund will acquire Participations only if the Lender interpositioned between the Fund and the borrower is determined by the Fund’s manager to be creditworthy. When the Fund purchases Assignments from Lenders, the Fund will acquire direct rights against the borrower on the Loan, and will not have exposure to a counterparty’s credit risk. The Funds may enter into Participations and Assignments on a forward commitment or “when issued” basis, whereby a Fund would agree to purchase a Participation or Assignment at set terms in the future. For more information on forward commitments and when issued securities, see “When Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments” below.

A Fund may have difficulty disposing of Assignments and Participations. In certain cases, the market for such instruments is not highly liquid, and therefore the Fund anticipates that in such cases such instruments could be sold only to a limited number of institutional investors. The lack of a highly liquid secondary market may have an adverse impact on the value of such instruments and on the Fund’s ability to dispose of particular Assignments or Participations in response to a specific economic event, such as deterioration in the creditworthiness of the borrower. Assignments and Participations will not be considered illiquid so long as it is determined by the

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Funds’ manager that an adequate trading market exists for these securities. To the extent that liquid Assignments and Participations that a Fund holds become illiquid, due to the lack of sufficient buyers or market or other conditions, the percentage of the Fund’s assets invested in illiquid assets would increase.

Leading financial institutions often act as agent for a broader group of lenders, generally referred to as a syndicate. The syndicate’s agent arranges the loans, holds collateral and accepts payments of principal and interest. If the agent develops financial problems, a Fund may not recover its investment or recovery may be delayed.

The Loans in which the Fund may invest are subject to the risk of loss of principal and income. Although borrowers frequently provide collateral to secure repayment of these obligations they do not always do so. If they do provide collateral, the value of the collateral may not completely cover the borrower’s obligations at the time of a default. If a borrower files for protection from its creditors under the U.S. bankruptcy laws, these laws may limit a Fund’s rights to its collateral. In addition, the value of collateral may erode during a bankruptcy case. In the event of a bankruptcy, the holder of a Loan may not recover its principal, may experience a long delay in recovering its investment and may not receive interest during the delay.

Borrowing and Leverage. Each Fund may borrow as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes, including to meet redemptions or to settle securities transactions. Certain Funds will not purchase securities at any time when borrowings exceed 5% of their total assets, except (a) to honor prior commitments or (b) to exercise subscription rights when outstanding borrowings have been obtained exclusively for settlements of other securities transactions. Certain Funds may also borrow in order to make investments. The purchase of securities while borrowings are outstanding will have the effect of leveraging the Fund. Such leveraging increases the Fund’s exposure to capital risk, and borrowed funds are subject to interest costs that will reduce net income. The use of leverage by a Fund creates an opportunity for greater total return, but, at the same time, creates special risks. For example, leveraging may exaggerate changes in the net asset value of Fund shares and in the yield on the Fund’s portfolio. Although the principal of such borrowings will be fixed, the Fund’s assets may change in value during the time the borrowings are outstanding. Borrowings will create interest expenses for the Fund that can exceed the income from the assets purchased with the borrowings. To the extent the income or capital appreciation derived from securities purchased with borrowed funds exceeds the interest the Fund will have to pay on the borrowings, the Fund’s return will be greater than if leverage had not been used. Conversely, if the income or capital appreciation from the securities purchased with such borrowed funds is not sufficient to cover the cost of borrowing, the return to the Fund will be less than if leverage had not been used and, therefore, the amount available for distribution to shareholders as dividends will be reduced. In the latter case, the Manager in its best judgment nevertheless may determine to maintain the Fund’s leveraged position if it expects that the benefits to the Fund’s shareholders of maintaining the leveraged position will outweigh the current reduced return.

Certain types of borrowings by a Fund may result in the Fund being subject to covenants in credit agreements relating to asset coverage, portfolio composition requirements and other matters. It is not anticipated that observance of such covenants would impede the Manager from managing a 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.

Each Fund may at times borrow from affiliates of the Manager, provided that the terms of such borrowings are no less favorable than those available from comparable sources of funds in the marketplace.

Cash Flows; Expenses. The ability of each Fund to satisfy its investment objective depends to some extent on the Manager’s ability to manage cash flow (primarily from purchases and redemptions and distributions from the Fund’s investments). The Manager will make investment changes to a Fund’s portfolio to accommodate cash flow while continuing to seek to replicate the total return of the Fund’s target index. Investors should also be aware that the investment performance of each index is a hypothetical number which does not take into account brokerage commissions and other transaction costs, custody and other costs of investing, and any incremental operating costs (e.g., transfer agency and accounting costs) that will be borne by the Funds. Finally, since each Fund seeks to replicate the total return of its target index, the Manager generally will not attempt to judge the merits of any particular security as an investment.

Cash Management. Generally, the Manager will employ futures and options on futures to provide liquidity necessary to meet anticipated redemptions or for day-to-day operating purposes. However, if considered appropriate in the opinion of the Manager, a portion of a Fund’s assets may be invested in certain types of instruments with remaining maturities of 397 days or less for liquidity purposes. Such instruments would consist of: (i) obligations of the U.S. Government, its agencies, instrumentalities, authorities or political subdivisions (“U.S. Government Securities”); (ii) other fixed-income securities rated Aa or higher by Moody’s or AA or higher by S&P or, if unrated, of comparable quality in the opinion of the Manager; (iii) commercial paper; (iv) bank obligations, including negotiable certificates of deposit, time deposits and bankers’ acceptances; and (v) repurchase agreements. At the time the Fund invests in commercial paper, bank obligations or repurchase agreements, the issuer or the issuer’s parent must have outstanding debt rated Aa or higher by Moody’s or AA or higher by S&P or outstanding commercial paper, bank obligations or other short-term obligations rated Prime-1 by Moody’s or A-1 by S&P; or, if no such ratings are available, the instrument must be of comparable quality in the opinion of the Manager.

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Collateralized Debt Obligations. Certain Funds may invest in collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”), which include collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”) and other similarly structured securities. CDOs are types of asset-backed securities. A CBO is ordinarily issued by a trust or other special purpose entity (“SPE”) and is typically backed by a diversified pool of fixed-income securities (which may include high risk, below investment grade securities) held by such issuer. A CLO is ordinarily issued by a trust or other SPE and is typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and non-U.S. senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans, held by such issuer. Although certain CDOs may benefit from credit enhancement in the form of a senior-subordinate structure, overcollateralization or bond insurance, such enhancement may not always be present, and may fail to protect a Fund against the risk of loss on default of the collateral. Certain CDO issuers may use derivatives contracts to create “synthetic” exposure to assets rather than holding such assets directly, which entails the risks of derivative instruments described elsewhere in this SAI. CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses, which are in addition to those of a Fund.

For both CBOs and CLOs, the cash flows from the SPE are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the “equity” tranche, which bears the first loss from defaults from the bonds or loans in the SPE and serves to protect the other, more senior tranches from default (though such protection is not complete). Since it is partially protected from defaults, a senior tranche from a CBO or CLO typically has higher ratings and lower yields than its underlying securities, and may be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CBO or CLO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, downgrades of the underlying collateral by rating agencies, forced liquidation of the collateral pool due to a failure of coverage tests, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults as well as investor aversion to CBO or CLO securities as a class. Interest on certain tranches of a CDO may be paid in kind or deferred and capitalized (paid in the form of obligations of the same type rather than cash), which involves continued exposure to default risk with respect to such payments.

The risks of an investment in a CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral securities and the class of the CDO in which a Fund invests. Normally, CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are privately offered and sold, and thus are not registered under the securities laws. As a result, investments in CDOs may be characterized by a Fund as illiquid securities. However, an active dealer market may exist for CDOs, allowing a CDO to qualify for Rule 144A transactions. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed-income securities and asset-backed securities generally discussed elsewhere in this SAI, CDOs carry additional risks including, but not limited to: (i) the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; (ii) the risk that the collateral may default or decline in value or be downgraded, if rated by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”); (iii) a Fund may invest in tranches of CDOs that are subordinate to other tranches; (iv) the structure and complexity of the transaction and the legal documents could lead to disputes among investors regarding the characterization of proceeds; (v) the investment return achieved by the Fund could be significantly different than those predicted by financial models; (vi) the lack of a readily available secondary market for CDOs; (vii) risk of forced “fire sale” liquidation due to technical defaults such as coverage test failures; and (viii) the CDO’s manager may perform poorly.

Commercial Paper. Certain Funds may purchase commercial paper. Commercial paper purchasable by each Fund includes “Section 4(2) paper,” a term that includes debt obligations issued in reliance on the “private placement” exemption from registration afforded by Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act. Section 4(2) paper is restricted as to disposition under the Federal securities laws, and is frequently sold (and resold) to institutional investors such as the Fund through or with the assistance of investment dealers who make a market in the Section 4(2) paper, thereby providing liquidity. Certain transactions in Section 4(2) paper may qualify for the registration exemption provided in Rule 144A under the Securities Act. Most Funds can purchase commercial paper rated (at the time of purchase) “A-1” by S&P or “Prime-1” by Moody’s or when deemed advisable by a Fund’s Manager or sub-adviser, “high quality” issues rated “A-2”, “Prime-2” or “F-2” by S&P, Moody’s or Fitch, respectively.

Commodity-Linked Derivative Instruments and Hybrid Instruments. Certain Funds seek to gain exposure to the commodities markets primarily through investments in hybrid instruments. Hybrid instruments are either equity or debt derivative securities with one or more commodity-dependent components that have payment features similar to a commodity futures contract, a commodity option contract, or a combination of both. Therefore, these instruments are “commodity-linked.” They are considered “hybrid” instruments because they have both commodity-like and security-like characteristics. Hybrid instruments are derivative instruments because at least part of their value is derived from the value of an underlying commodity, futures contract, index or other readily measurable economic variable.

The prices of commodity-linked derivative instruments may move in different directions than investments in traditional equity and debt securities when the value of those traditional securities is declining due to adverse economic conditions. As an example, during periods of rising inflation, debt securities have historically tended to decline in value due to the general increase in prevailing interest rates. Conversely, during those same periods of rising inflation, the prices of certain commodities, such as oil and metals, have historically

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tended to increase. Of course, there cannot be any guarantee that these investments will perform in that manner in the future, and at certain times the price movements of commodity-linked instruments have been parallel to those of debt and equity securities. Commodities have historically tended to increase and decrease in value during different parts of the business cycle than financial assets. Nevertheless, at various times, commodities prices may move in tandem with the prices of financial assets and thus may not provide overall portfolio diversification benefits. Under favorable economic conditions, the Fund’s investments may be expected to under-perform an investment in traditional securities. Over the long term, the returns on the Fund’s investments are expected to exhibit low or negative correlation with stocks and bonds.

Qualifying Hybrid Instruments. Certain Funds may invest in hybrid instruments that qualify for exclusion from regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act and the regulations adopted thereunder. A hybrid instrument that qualifies for this exclusion from regulation must be “predominantly a security.” A hybrid instrument is considered to be predominantly a security if (a) the issuer of the hybrid instrument receives payment in full of the purchase price of the hybrid instrument, substantially contemporaneously with delivery of the hybrid instrument; (b) the purchaser or holder of the hybrid instrument is not required to make any payment to the issuer in addition to the purchase price paid under subparagraph (a), whether as margin, settlement payment, or otherwise, during the life of the hybrid instrument or at maturity; (c) the issuer of the hybrid instrument is not subject by the terms of the instrument to mark-to-market margining requirements; and (d) the hybrid instrument is not marketed as a contract of sale of a commodity for future delivery (or option on such a contract) subject to applicable provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act. Hybrid instruments may be principal protected, partially protected, or offer no principal protection. A principal protected hybrid instrument means that the issuer will pay, at a minimum, the par value of the note at maturity. Therefore, if the commodity value to which the hybrid instrument is linked declines over the life of the note, the Fund will receive at maturity the face or stated value of the note. With a principal protected hybrid instrument, the Fund will receive at maturity the greater of the par value of the note or the increase in its value based on the underlying commodity or index. This protection is, in effect, an option whose value is subject to the volatility and price level of the underlying commodity. The Manager’s decision whether to use principal protection depends in part on the cost of the protection. In addition, the protection feature depends upon the ability of the issuer to meet its obligation to buy back the security, and, therefore, depends on the creditworthiness of the issuer. With full principal protection, the Fund will receive at maturity of the hybrid instrument either the stated par value of the hybrid instrument, or potentially, an amount greater than the stated par value if the underlying commodity, index, futures contract or economic variable to which the hybrid instrument is linked has increased in value. Partially protected hybrid instruments may suffer some loss of principal if the underlying commodity, index, futures contract or economic variable to which the hybrid instrument is linked declines in value during the term of the hybrid instrument. However, partially protected hybrid instruments have a specified limit as to the amount of principal that they may lose.

Hybrid Instruments Without Principal Protection. Certain Funds may invest in hybrid instruments that offer no principal protection. At maturity, there is a risk that the underlying commodity price, futures contract, index or other economic variable may have declined sufficiently in value such that some or all of the face value of the hybrid instrument might not be returned. The Manager, at its discretion, may invest in a partially protected principal structured note or a note without principal protection. In deciding to purchase a note without principal protection, the Manager may consider, among other things, the expected performance of the underlying commodity futures contract, index or other economic variable over the term of the note, the cost of the note, and any other economic factors that the Manager believes are relevant.

Limitations on Leverage. Some of the hybrid instruments in which a Fund may invest may involve leverage. To avoid being subject to undue leverage risk, a Fund will seek to limit the amount of economic leverage it has under any one hybrid instrument that it buys and the leverage of the Fund’s overall portfolio. A Fund will not invest in a hybrid instrument if, at the time of purchase: (i) that instrument’s “leverage ratio” exceeds 300% of the price increase in the underlying commodity, futures contract, index or other economic variable or (ii) the Fund’s “portfolio leverage ratio” exceeds 150%, measured at the time of purchase. “Leverage ratio” is the expected increase in the value of a hybrid instrument, assuming a one percent price increase in the underlying commodity, futures contract, index or other economic factor. In other words, for a hybrid instrument with a leverage factor of 150%, a 1% gain in the underlying economic variable would be expected to result in a 1.5% gain in value for the hybrid instrument. Conversely, a hybrid instrument with a leverage factor of 150% would suffer a 1.5% loss if the underlying economic variable lost 1% of its value. “Portfolio leverage ratio” is defined as the average (mean) leverage ratio of all instruments in a Fund’s portfolio, weighted by the market values of such instruments or, in the case of futures contracts, their notional values. To the extent that the policy on a Fund’s use of leverage stated above conflicts with the Investment Company Act or the rules and regulations thereunder, the Fund will comply with the applicable provisions of the Investment Company Act. A Fund may at times or from time to time decide not to use leverage in its investments or use less leverage than may otherwise be allowable.

Counterparty Risk. A significant risk of hybrid instruments is counterparty risk. Unlike exchange-traded futures and options, which are standard contracts, hybrid instruments are customized securities, tailor-made by a specific issuer. With a listed futures or options contract, an investor’s counterparty is the exchange clearinghouse. Exchange clearinghouses are capitalized by the exchange members and typically have high investment grade ratings (e.g., ratings of AAA or AA by S&P). Therefore, the risk is small that an exchange clearinghouse might be unable to meet its obligations at maturity. However, with a hybrid instrument, a Fund will take on the counterparty credit risk of the issuer. That is, at maturity of the hybrid instrument, there is a risk that the issuer may be unable to perform its obligations under the structured note.

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Convertible Securities. A convertible security is a bond, debenture, note, preferred stock or other security that may be converted into or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock or other equity security of the same or a different issuer within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued on debt or the dividend paid on preferred stock until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Before conversion, convertible securities have characteristics similar to nonconvertible income securities in that they ordinarily provide a stable stream of income with generally higher yields than those of common stocks of the same or similar issuers, but lower yields than comparable nonconvertible securities. The value of a convertible security is influenced by changes in interest rates, with investment value declining as interest rates increase and increasing as interest rates decline. The credit standing of the issuer and other factors also may have an effect on the convertible security’s investment value. Convertible securities rank senior to common stock in a corporation’s capital structure but are usually subordinated to comparable nonconvertible securities. Convertible securities may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in the convertible security’s governing instrument.

The characteristics of convertible securities make them potentially attractive investments for an investment company seeking a high total return from capital appreciation and investment income. These characteristics include the potential for capital appreciation as the value of the underlying common stock increases, the relatively high yield received from dividend or interest payments as compared to common stock dividends and decreased risks of decline in value relative to the underlying common stock due to their fixed-income nature. As a result of the conversion feature, however, the interest rate or dividend preference on a convertible security is generally less than would be the case if the securities were issued in nonconvertible form.

In analyzing convertible securities, the Manager will consider both the yield on the convertible security relative to its credit quality and the potential capital appreciation that is offered by the underlying common stock, among other things.

Convertible securities are issued and traded in a number of securities markets. Even in cases where a substantial portion of the convertible securities held by a Fund are denominated in U.S. dollars, the underlying equity securities may be quoted in the currency of the country where the issuer is domiciled. As a result, fluctuations in the exchange rate between the currency in which the debt security is denominated and the currency in which the share price is quoted will affect the value of the convertible security. With respect to convertible securities denominated in a currency different from that of the underlying equity securities, the conversion price may be based on a fixed exchange rate established at the time the security is issued, which may increase the effects of currency risk. As described below, a Fund is authorized to enter into foreign currency hedging transactions in which it may seek to reduce the effect of exchange rate fluctuations.

Apart from currency considerations, the value of convertible securities is influenced by both the yield on nonconvertible securities of comparable issuers and by the value of the underlying common stock. The value of a convertible security viewed without regard to its conversion feature (i.e., strictly on the basis of its yield) is sometimes referred to as its “investment value.” To the extent interest rates change, the investment value of the convertible security typically will fluctuate. At the same time, however, the value of the convertible security will be influenced by its “conversion value,” which is the market value of the underlying common stock that would be obtained if the convertible security were converted. Conversion value fluctuates directly with the price of the underlying common stock. If the conversion value of a convertible security is substantially below its investment value, the price of the convertible security is governed principally by its investment value. To the extent the conversion value of a convertible security increases to a point that approximates or exceeds its investment value, the price of the convertible security will be influenced principally by its conversion value. A convertible security will sell at a premium over the conversion value to the extent investors place value on the right to acquire the underlying common stock while holding a fixed-income security. The yield and conversion premium of convertible securities issued in Japan and the Euromarket are frequently determined at levels that cause the conversion value to affect their market value more than the securities’ investment value.

Holders of convertible securities generally have a claim on the assets of the issuer prior to the common stockholders but may be subordinated to other debt securities of the same issuer. A convertible security may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in a charter provision, indenture or other governing instrument pursuant to which the convertible security was issued. If a convertible security held by a Fund is called for redemption, the Fund will be required to redeem the security, convert it into the underlying common stock or sell it to a third party. Certain convertible debt securities may provide a put option to the holder, which entitles the holder to cause the security to be redeemed by the issuer at a premium over the stated principal amount of the debt security under certain circumstances.

A Fund may also invest in synthetic convertible securities. Synthetic convertible securities may include either Cash-Settled Convertibles or Manufactured Convertibles. Cash-Settled Convertibles are instruments that are created by the issuer and have the economic characteristics of traditional convertible securities but may not actually permit conversion into the underlying equity securities in all circumstances. As an example, a private company may issue a Cash-Settled Convertible that is convertible into common stock only if the company successfully completes a public offering of its common stock prior to maturity and otherwise pays a cash amount to reflect any equity appreciation. Manufactured Convertibles are created by the Manager or another party by combining separate securities that possess one of the two principal characteristics of a convertible security, i.e., fixed-income (“fixed-income component”) or a right to acquire equity securities (“convertibility component”). The fixed-income component is achieved by investing in nonconvertible fixed-income securities, such as nonconvertible bonds, preferred stocks and money market instruments. The convertibility component is

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achieved by investing in call options, warrants, or other securities with equity conversion features (“equity features”) granting the holder the right to purchase a specified quantity of the underlying stocks within a specified period of time at a specified price or, in the case of a stock index option, the right to receive a cash payment based on the value of the underlying stock index.

A Manufactured Convertible differs from traditional convertible securities in several respects. Unlike a traditional convertible security, which is a single security that has a unitary market value, a Manufactured Convertible is comprised of two or more separate securities, each with its own market value. Therefore, the total “market value” of such a Manufactured Convertible is the sum of the values of its fixed-income component and its convertibility component.

More flexibility is possible in the creation of a Manufactured Convertible than in the purchase of a traditional convertible security. Because many corporations have not issued convertible securities, the Manager may combine a fixed-income instrument and an equity feature with respect to the stock of the issuer of the fixed-income instrument to create a synthetic convertible security otherwise unavailable in the market. The Manager may also combine a fixed-income instrument of an issuer with an equity feature with respect to the stock of a different issuer when the Manager believes such a Manufactured Convertible would better promote a Fund’s objective than alternative investments. For example, the Manager may combine an equity feature with respect to an issuer’s stock with a fixed-income security of a different issuer in the same industry to diversify the Fund’s credit exposure, or with a U.S. Treasury instrument to create a Manufactured Convertible with a higher credit profile than a traditional convertible security issued by that issuer. A Manufactured Convertible also is a more flexible investment in that its two components may be purchased separately and, upon purchasing the separate securities, “combined” to create a Manufactured Convertible. For example, the Fund may purchase a warrant for eventual inclusion in a Manufactured Convertible while postponing the purchase of a suitable bond to pair with the warrant pending development of more favorable market conditions.

The value of a Manufactured Convertible may respond to certain market fluctuations differently from a traditional convertible security with similar characteristics. For example, in the event a Fund created a Manufactured Convertible by combining a short-term U.S. Treasury instrument and a call option on a stock, the Manufactured Convertible would be expected to outperform a traditional convertible of similar maturity that is convertible into that stock during periods when Treasury instruments outperform corporate fixed-income securities and underperform during periods when corporate fixed-income securities outperform Treasury instruments.

Cyber Security Issues. With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet to conduct business, each Fund is susceptible to operational, information security and related risks. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber attacks include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Cyber security failures or breaches by a Fund’s adviser, sub-adviser(s) and other service providers (including, but not limited to, Fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), and the issuers of securities in which the Funds invest, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses, interference with a Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value, impediments to trading, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to prevent any cyber incidents in the future. While the Funds have established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified. Furthermore, the Funds cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Funds and issuers in which the Funds invest. The Funds and their shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

Debt Securities. Debt securities, such as bonds, involve credit risk. This is the risk that the issuer will not make timely payments of principal and interest. The degree of credit risk depends on the issuer’s financial condition and on the terms of the debt securities. Changes in an issuer’s credit rating or the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may also affect the value of a Fund’s investment in that issuer. Credit risk is reduced to the extent a Fund limits its debt investments to U.S. Government securities.

All debt securities, however, are subject to interest rate risk. This is the risk that the value of the security may fall when interest rates rise. If interest rates move sharply in a manner not anticipated by Fund management, a Fund’s investments in debt securities could be adversely affected and the Fund could lose money. In general, the market price of debt securities with longer maturities will go up or down more in response to changes in interest rates than will the market price of shorter-term debt securities.

During periods of rising interest rates, the average life of certain fixed-income securities is extended because of slower than expected principal payments. This may lock in a below-market interest rate and extend the duration of these fixed-income securities, especially mortgage-related securities, making them more sensitive to changes in interest rates. As a result, in a period of rising interest rates, these securities may exhibit additional volatility and lose value. This is known as extension risk.

The value of fixed-income securities in the Funds can be expected to vary inversely with changes in prevailing interest rates. Fixed-income securities with longer maturities, which tend to produce higher yields, are subject to potentially greater capital appreciation and

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depreciation than securities with shorter maturities. The Funds are not restricted to any maximum or minimum time to maturity in purchasing individual portfolio securities, and the average maturity of a Fund’s assets will vary.

Depositary Receipts (ADRs, EDRs and GDRs). Certain Funds may invest in the securities of foreign issuers in the form of Depositary Receipts or other securities convertible into securities of foreign issuers. Depositary Receipts may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the underlying securities into which they may be converted. The Fund may invest in both sponsored and unsponsored American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) and other similar global instruments. ADRs typically are issued by an American bank or trust company and evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign corporation. EDRs, which are sometimes referred to as Continental Depositary Receipts, are receipts issued in Europe, typically by foreign banks and trust companies, that evidence ownership of either foreign or domestic underlying securities. GDRs are depositary receipts structured like global debt issues to facilitate trading on an international basis. Unsponsored ADR, EDR and GDR programs are organized independently and without the cooperation of the issuer of the underlying securities. As a result, available information concerning the issuer may not be as current as for sponsored ADRs, EDRs and GDRs, and the prices of unsponsored ADRs, EDRs and GDRs may be more volatile than if such instruments were sponsored by the issuer. Depositary Receipts are generally subject to the same risks as the foreign securities that they evidence or into which they may be converted. Investments in ADRs, EDRs and GDRs present additional investment considerations as described under “Foreign Investment Risks.”

Derivatives. Each Fund may use instruments referred to as derivative securities. Derivatives are financial instruments the value of which is derived from another security, a commodity (such as gold or oil), a currency or an index (a measure of value or rates, such as the S&P 500 Index or the prime lending rate). Derivatives allow a Fund to increase or decrease the level of risk to which the Fund is exposed more quickly and efficiently than transactions in other types of instruments. Each Fund may use derivatives for hedging purposes. Certain Funds may also use derivatives for speculative purposes to seek to enhance returns. The use of a derivative is speculative if the Fund is primarily seeking to achieve gains, rather than offset the risk of other positions. When a Fund invests in a derivative for speculative purposes, the Fund will be fully exposed to the risks of loss of that derivative, which may sometimes be greater than the derivative’s cost. Certain Funds may utilize derivative instruments to maintain a portion of their portfolio long and short positions. Unless otherwise permitted, no Fund may use any derivative to gain exposure to an asset or class of assets that it would be prohibited by its investment restrictions from purchasing directly.

Hedging. Hedging is a strategy in which a derivative is used to offset the risks associated with other Fund holdings. Losses on the other investment may be substantially reduced by gains on a derivative that reacts in an opposite manner to market movements. While hedging can reduce losses, it can also reduce or eliminate gains or cause losses if the market moves in a manner different from that anticipated by the Fund or if the cost of the derivative outweighs the benefit of the hedge. Hedging also involves correlation risk, i.e. the risk that changes in the value of the derivative will not match those of the holdings being hedged as expected by a Fund, in which case any losses on the holdings being hedged may not be reduced or may be increased. The inability to close options and futures positions also could have an adverse impact on a Fund’s ability to hedge effectively its portfolio. There is also a risk of loss by the Fund of margin deposits or collateral in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with whom the Fund has an open position in an option, a futures contract or a related option. There can be no assurance that a Fund’s hedging strategies will be effective. No Fund is required to engage in hedging transactions and each Fund may choose not to do so.

A Fund may use derivative instruments and trading strategies, including the following:

Indexed and Inverse Securities. A Fund may invest in securities the potential return of which is based on an index or interest rate. As an illustration, a Fund may invest in a debt security that pays interest based on the current value of an interest rate index, such as the prime rate. A Fund may also invest in a debt security that returns principal at maturity based on the level of a securities index or a basket of securities, or based on the relative changes of two indices. In addition, certain Funds may invest in securities the potential return of which is based inversely on the change in an index or interest rate (that is, a security the value of which will move in the opposite direction of changes to an index or interest rate). For example, a Fund may invest in securities that pay a higher rate of interest when a particular index decreases and pay a lower rate of interest (or do not fully return principal) when the value of the index increases. If a Fund invests in such securities, it may be subject to reduced or eliminated interest payments or loss of principal in the event of an adverse movement in the relevant interest rate, index or indices. Indexed and inverse securities involve credit risk, and certain indexed and inverse securities may involve leverage risk, liquidity risk and currency risk. When used for hedging purposes, indexed and inverse securities involve correlation risk. (Furthermore, where such a security includes a contingent liability, in the event of an adverse movement in the underlying index or interest rate, a Fund may be required to pay substantial additional margin to maintain the position.)

Swap Agreements. Swap agreements are two-party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a few weeks to more than one year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments, which can be adjusted for an interest factor. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are generally calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” i.e., the return on or increase in value of a particular dollar amount invested at a particular interest rate or in a “basket” of securities representing a particular index.

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Whether a Fund’s use of swap agreements or options on swap agreements (“swaptions”) will be successful in furthering its investment objectives will depend on the Manager’s or sub-adviser’s ability to predict correctly whether certain types of investments are likely to produce greater returns than other investments. Because they are two-party contracts and because they may have terms of greater than seven days, swap agreements may be considered to be illiquid. Moreover, a Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. A Fund will enter into swap agreements only with counterparties that meet certain standards of creditworthiness. If there is a default by the other party to such a transaction, a Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction. Swap agreements are also subject to the risk that a Fund will not be able to meet its obligations to the counterparty. The Fund, however, will segregate liquid assets permitted to be so segregated by the Commission in an amount equal to or greater than the market value of the liabilities under the swap agreement or the amount it would cost the Fund initially to make an equivalent direct investment, plus or minus any amount the Fund is obligated to pay or is to receive under the swap agreement. The swap market has grown substantially in recent years with a large number of banks and investment banking firms acting both as principals and as agents utilizing standardized swap documentation. As a result, the swap market has become relatively liquid. The swaps market is largely unregulated. It is possible that developments in the swaps market, including potential government regulation, could adversely affect a Fund’s ability to terminate existing swap agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements.

Credit Default Swap Agreements and Similar Instruments. Certain Funds may enter into credit default swap agreements and similar agreements, and may also buy credit-linked securities. The credit default swap agreement or similar instrument may have as reference obligations one or more securities that are not currently held by a Fund. The protection “buyer” in a credit default contract may be obligated to pay the protection “seller” an up-front payment or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract, provided generally that no credit event on a reference obligation has occurred. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer the “par value” (full notional value) of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity described in the swap, or the seller may be required to deliver the related net cash amount, if the swap is cash settled. A Fund may be either the buyer or seller in the transaction. If a Fund is a buyer and no credit event occurs, the Fund recovers nothing if the swap is held through its termination date. However, if a credit event occurs, the Fund may elect to receive the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity that may have little or no value. As a seller, a Fund generally receives an up-front payment or a fixed rate of income throughout the term of the swap, which typically is between six months and three years, provided that there is no credit event. If a credit event occurs, generally the seller must pay the buyer the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity that may have little or no value.

Credit default swaps and similar instruments involve greater risks than if a Fund had invested in the reference obligation directly, since, in addition to general market risks, they are subject to illiquidity risk, counterparty risk and credit risk. A Fund will enter into credit default swap agreements and similar instruments only with counterparties who are rated investment grade quality by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization at the time of entering into such transaction or whose creditworthiness is believed by the Manager to be equivalent to such rating. A buyer also will lose its investment and recover nothing should no credit event occur and the swap is held to its termination date. If a credit event were to occur, the value of any deliverable obligation received by the seller, coupled with the up front or periodic payments previously received, may be less than the full notional value it pays to the buyer, resulting in a loss of value to the Fund. When a Fund acts as a seller of a credit default swap or a similar instrument, it is exposed to many of the same risks of leverage since, if a credit event occurs, the seller may be required to pay the buyer the full notional value of the contract net of any amounts owed by the buyer related to its delivery of deliverable obligations.

Contracts for Difference. Certain Funds may enter into contracts for difference. Contracts for difference are subject to liquidity risk because the liquidity of contracts for difference is based on the liquidity of the underlying instrument, and are subject to counterparty risk, i.e., the risk that the counterparty to the contracts for difference transaction may be unable or unwilling to make payments or to otherwise honor its financial obligations under the terms of the contract. To the extent that there is an imperfect correlation between the return on a Fund’s obligation to its counterparty under the contract for difference and the return on related assets in its portfolio, the contracts for difference transaction may increase the Fund’s financial risk. Contracts for difference, like many other derivative instruments, involve the risk that, if the derivative security declines in value, additional margin would be required to maintain the margin level. The seller may require a Fund to deposit additional sums to cover this, and this may be at short notice. If additional margin is not provided in time, the seller may liquidate the positions at a loss for which the Fund is liable. Contracts for difference are not registered with the SEC or any U.S. regulator, and are not subject to U.S. regulation.

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

Like an investment in a bond, investments in these credit linked securities represent the right to receive periodic income payments (in the form of distributions) and payment of principal at the end of the term of the security. However, these payments are conditioned on the issuer’s receipt of payments from, and the issuer’s potential obligations to, the counterparties to the derivative instruments and other

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securities in which the issuer invests. For instance, the issuer may sell one or more credit default swaps, under which the issuer would receive a stream of payments over the term of the swap agreements provided that no event of default has occurred with respect to the referenced debt obligation upon which the swap is based. If a default occurs, the stream of payments may stop and the issuer would be obligated to pay the counterparty the par (or other agreed upon value) of the referenced debt obligation. This, in turn, would reduce the amount of income and principal that a Fund would receive. A Fund’s investments in these instruments are indirectly subject to the risks associated with derivative instruments, including, among others, credit risk, default or similar event risk, counterparty risk, interest rate risk, leverage risk and management risk. It is also expected that the securities will be exempt from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, there may be no established trading market for the securities and they may constitute illiquid investments.

Interest Rate Transactions and Swaptions. Certain Funds, to the extent permitted under applicable law, may enter into forms of swap agreements including interest rate caps, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates exceed a specified rate, or “cap”; and interest rate floors, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates fall below a specified rate, or “floor”. Caps and floors are less liquid than swaps. A swaption is a contract that gives a counterparty the right (but not the obligation) to enter into a new swap agreement or to shorten, extend, cancel or otherwise modify an existing swap agreement, at some designated future time on specified terms. A Fund may write (sell) and purchase put and call swaptions. Certain Funds may also enter into swaptions on either an asset-based or liability-based basis, depending on whether a Fund is hedging its assets or its liabilities. A Fund may enter into these transactions primarily to preserve a return or spread on a particular investment or portion of their holdings, as a duration management technique or to protect against an increase in the price of securities a Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date. They may also be used for speculation to increase returns.

A Fund will usually enter into interest rate swaps on a net basis, i.e., the two payment streams are netted out, with the Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments.

Depending on the terms of the particular option agreement, a Fund will generally incur a greater degree of risk when it writes a swaption than it will incur when it purchases a swaption. When a Fund purchases a swaption, it risks losing only the amount of the premium it has paid should it decide to let the option expire unexercised. However, when a Fund writes a swaption, upon exercise of the option the Fund will become obligated according to the terms of the underlying agreement.

A Fund will accrue the net amount of the excess, if any, of its obligations over its entitlements with respect to each interest rate or currency swap or swaption on a daily basis and its Manager or sub-adviser will designate liquid assets on its books and records in an amount having an aggregate net asset value at least equal to the accrued excess to the extent required by SEC guidelines. If the other party to an interest rate swap defaults, a Fund’s risk of loss consists of the net amount of interest payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive.

Total Return Swap Agreements. Total return swap agreements are contracts in which one party agrees to make periodic payments to another party based on the change in market value of the assets underlying the contract, which may include a specified security, basket of securities or securities indices during the specified period, in return for periodic payments based on a fixed or variable interest rate or the total return from other underlying assets. Total return swap agreements may be used to obtain exposure to a security or market without owning or taking physical custody of such security or investing directly in such market. Total return swap agreements may effectively add leverage to the Fund’s portfolio because, in addition to its total net assets, the Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap.

Total return swap agreements are subject to the risk that a counterparty will default on its payment obligations to the Fund thereunder. Swap agreements also bear the risk that the Fund will not be able to meet its obligation to the counterparty. Generally, the Fund will enter into total return swaps on a net basis (i.e., the two payment streams are netted against one another with the Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments). The net amount of the excess, if any, of the Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each total return swap will be accrued on a daily basis, and an amount of liquid assets having an aggregate net asset value at least equal to the accrued excess will be segregated by the Fund. If the total return swap transaction is entered into on other than a net basis, the full amount of the Fund’s obligations will be accrued on a daily basis, and the full amount of the Fund’s obligations will be segregated by the Fund in an amount equal to or greater than the market value of the liabilities under the total return swap agreement or the amount it would have cost the Fund initially to make an equivalent direct investment, plus or minus any amount the Fund is obligated to pay or is to receive under the total return swap agreement.

Types of Options

Options on Securities and Securities Indices. A Fund may engage in transactions in options on individual securities, baskets of securities or securities indices, or particular measurements of value or rates (an “index”), such as an index of the price of treasury securities or an index representative of short-term interest rates. Such investments may be made on exchanges and in the over-the-counter (“OTC”) markets. In general, exchange-traded options have standardized exercise prices and expiration dates and require the parties to post margin against their obligations, and the performance of the parties’ obligations in connection with such options is guaranteed by the exchange or a related clearing corporation. OTC options have more flexible terms negotiated between the buyer and

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the seller, but generally do not require the parties to post margin and are subject to greater credit risk. OTC options also involve greater liquidity risk. See “Additional Risk Factors of OTC Transactions; Limitations on the Use of OTC Derivatives” below.

Call Options. A Fund may purchase call options on any of the types of securities or instruments in which it may invest. A purchased call option gives a Fund the right to buy, and obligates the seller to sell, the underlying security at the exercise price at any time during the option period. A Fund also may purchase and sell call options on indices. Index options are similar to options on securities except that, rather than taking or making delivery of securities underlying the option at a specified price upon exercise, an index option gives the holder the right to receive cash upon exercise of the option if the level of the index upon which the option is based is greater than the exercise price of the option.

A Fund also is authorized to write (i.e., sell) covered call options on the securities or instruments in which it may invest and to enter into closing purchase transactions with respect to certain of such options. A covered call option is an option in which a Fund, in return for a premium, gives another party a right to buy specified securities owned by the Fund at a specified future date and price set at the time of the contract. The principal reason for writing call options is the attempt to realize, through the receipt of premiums, a greater return than would be realized on the securities alone. By writing covered call options, a Fund gives up the opportunity, while the option is in effect, to profit from any price increase in the underlying security above the option exercise price. In addition, a Fund’s ability to sell the underlying security will be limited while the option is in effect unless the Fund enters into a closing purchase transaction. A closing purchase transaction cancels out a Fund’s position as the writer of an option by means of an offsetting purchase of an identical option prior to the expiration of the option it has written. Covered call options also serve as a partial hedge to the extent of the premium received against the price of the underlying security declining.

A call option is considered to be covered if a Fund holds a call on the same security or index as the call written where the exercise price of the call held is (i) equal to or less than the exercise price of the call written, or (ii) greater than the exercise price of the call written provided the difference is maintained by the Fund in liquid assets designated on the Manager’s or sub-adviser’s books and records to the extent required by SEC guidelines.

A Fund also is authorized to write (i.e., sell) uncovered call options on securities or instruments in which it may invest but that are not currently held by the Fund. The principal reason for writing uncovered call options is to realize income without committing capital to the ownership of the underlying securities or instruments. When writing uncovered call options, a Fund must deposit and maintain sufficient margin with the broker-dealer through which it made the uncovered call option as collateral to ensure that the securities can be purchased for delivery if and when the option is exercised. In addition, in connection with each such transaction a Fund will segregate unencumbered liquid securities or cash with a value at least equal to the Fund’s exposure (the difference between the unpaid amounts owed by the Fund on such transaction minus any collateral deposited with the broker-dealer), on a marked-to-market basis (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the Commission). Such segregation will ensure that the Fund has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction and will avoid any potential leveraging of the Fund’s portfolio. Such segregation will not limit the Fund’s exposure to loss. During periods of declining securities prices or when prices are stable, writing uncovered calls can be a profitable strategy to increase a Fund’s income with minimal capital risk. Uncovered calls are riskier than covered calls because there is no underlying security held by a Fund that can act as a partial hedge. Uncovered calls have speculative characteristics and the potential for loss is unlimited. When an uncovered call is exercised, a Fund must purchase the underlying security to meet its call obligation. There is also a risk, especially with less liquid preferred and debt securities, that the securities may not be available for purchase. If the purchase price exceeds the exercise price, a Fund will lose the difference.

Put Options. A Fund is authorized to purchase put options to seek to hedge against a decline in the value of its securities or to enhance its return. By buying a put option, a Fund acquires a right to sell the underlying securities or instruments at the exercise price, thus limiting the Fund’s risk of loss through a decline in the market value of the securities or instruments until the put option expires. The amount of any appreciation in the value of the underlying securities or instruments will be partially offset by the amount of the premium paid for the put option and any related transaction costs. Prior to its expiration, a put option may be sold in a closing sale transaction and profit or loss from the sale will depend on whether the amount received is more or less than the premium paid for the put option plus the related transaction costs. A closing sale transaction cancels out a Fund’s position as the purchaser of an option by means of an offsetting sale of an identical option prior to the expiration of the option it has purchased. A Fund also may purchase uncovered put options.

A Fund also has authority to write (i.e., sell) put options on the types of securities or instruments that may be held by the Fund, provided that such put options are covered, meaning that such options are secured by segregated, liquid assets. A Fund will receive a premium for writing a put option, which increases the Fund’s return. A Fund will not sell puts if, as a result, more than 50% of the Fund’s assets would be required to cover its potential obligations under its hedging and other investment transactions.

A Fund is also authorized to write (i.e., sell) uncovered put options on securities or instruments in which it may invest but with respect to which the Fund does not currently have a corresponding short position or has not deposited as collateral cash equal to the exercise value of the put option with the broker-dealer through which it made the uncovered put option. The principal reason for writing uncovered put options is to receive premium income and to acquire such securities or instruments at a net cost below the current market value. A Fund has the obligation to buy the securities or instruments at an agreed upon price if the price of the securities or

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instruments decreases below the exercise price. If the price of the securities or instruments increases during the option period, the option will expire worthless and a Fund will retain the premium and will not have to purchase the securities or instruments at the exercise price. In connection with such a transaction, a Fund will segregate unencumbered liquid assets with a value at least equal to the Fund’s exposure, on a marked-to-market basis (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the Commission). Such segregation will ensure that a Fund has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction and will avoid any potential leveraging of the Fund’s portfolio. Such segregation will not limit the Fund’s exposure to loss.

Risks Associated with Options. There are several risks associated with transactions in options on securities and indexes. For example, there are significant differences between the securities and options markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between these markets, causing a given transaction not to achieve its objectives. In addition, a liquid secondary market for particular options, whether traded over-the-counter or on a national securities exchange may be absent for reasons which include the following: there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; restrictions may be imposed by a national securities exchange on opening transactions or closing transactions or both; trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options or underlying securities; unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on a national securities exchange; the facilities of a national securities exchange or the Options Clearing Corporation may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or one or more national securities exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options), in which event the secondary market on that national securities exchange (or in that class or series of options) would cease to exist, although outstanding options that had been issued by the Options Clearing Corporation as a result of trades on that national securities exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.

Futures. A Fund may engage in transactions in futures and options on futures. Futures are standardized, exchange-traded contracts that obligate a purchaser to take delivery, and a seller to make delivery, of a specific amount of an asset at a specified future date at a specified price. No price is paid upon entering into a futures contract. Rather, upon purchasing or selling a futures contract a Fund is required to deposit collateral (“margin”) equal to a percentage (generally less than 10%) of the contract value. Each day thereafter until the futures position is closed, the Fund will pay additional margin representing any loss experienced as a result of the futures position the prior day or be entitled to a payment representing any profit experienced as a result of the futures position the prior day. Futures involve substantial leverage risk.

The sale of a futures contract limits a Fund’s risk of loss from a decline in the market value of portfolio holdings correlated with the futures contract prior to the futures contract’s expiration date. In the event the market value of the portfolio holdings correlated with the futures contract increases rather than decreases, however, a Fund will realize a loss on the futures position and a lower return on the portfolio holdings than would have been realized without the purchase of the futures contract.

The purchase of a futures contract may protect a Fund from having to pay more for securities as a consequence of increases in the market value for such securities during a period when the Fund was attempting to identify specific securities in which to invest in a market the Fund believes to be attractive. In the event that such securities decline in value or a Fund determines not to complete an anticipatory hedge transaction relating to a futures contract, however, the Fund may realize a loss relating to the futures position.

A Fund is also authorized to purchase or sell call and put options on futures contracts including financial futures and stock indices. Generally, these strategies would be used under the same market and market sector conditions (i.e., conditions relating to specific types of investments) in which the Fund entered into futures transactions. A Fund may purchase put options or write call options on futures contracts and stock indices in lieu of selling the underlying futures contract in anticipation of a decrease in the market value of its securities. Similarly, a Fund can purchase call options, or write put options on futures contracts and stock indices, as a substitute for the purchase of such futures to hedge against the increased cost resulting from an increase in the market value of securities which the Fund intends to purchase.

To maintain greater flexibility, a Fund may invest in instruments which have characteristics similar to futures contracts. These instruments may take a variety of forms, such as debt securities with interest or principal payments determined by reference to the value of a security, an index of securities or a commodity at a future point in time. The risks of such investments could reflect the risks of investing in futures and securities, including volatility and illiquidity.

Risks Associated with Futures. The primary risks associated with the use of futures contracts and options are (a) the imperfect correlation between the change in market value of the instruments held by a Fund and the price of the futures contract or option; (b) possible lack of a liquid secondary market for a futures contract and the resulting inability to close a futures contract when desired; (c) losses caused by unanticipated market movements, which are potentially unlimited; (d) the Manager’s or sub-adviser’s inability to predict correctly the direction of securities prices, interest rates, currency exchange rates and other economic factors; and (e) the possibility that the counterparty will default in the performance of its obligations.

Foreign Exchange Transactions. A Fund may engage in spot and forward foreign exchange transactions and currency swaps, purchase and sell options on currencies and purchase and sell currency futures and related options thereon (collectively, “Currency Instruments”) for purposes of hedging against the decline in the value of currencies in which its portfolio holdings are denominated against the U.S.

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dollar or, with respect to certain Funds, to seek to enhance returns. Such transactions could be effected with respect to hedges on foreign dollar denominated securities owned by a Fund, sold by a Fund but not yet delivered, or committed or anticipated to be purchased by a Fund. As an illustration, a Fund may use such techniques to hedge the stated value in U.S. dollars of an investment in a yen-denominated security. In such circumstances, for example, the Fund may purchase a foreign currency put option enabling it to sell a specified amount of yen for dollars at a specified price by a future date. To the extent the hedge is successful, a loss in the value of the yen relative to the dollar will tend to be offset by an increase in the value of the put option. To offset, in whole or in part, the cost of acquiring such a put option, the Fund may also sell a call option which, if exercised, requires it to sell a specified amount of yen for dollars at a specified price by a future date (a technique called a “straddle”). By selling such a call option in this illustration, the Fund gives up the opportunity to profit without limit from increases in the relative value of the yen to the dollar. “Straddles” of the type that may be used by a Fund are considered to constitute hedging transactions. Certain Funds have a fundamental investment restriction that restricts currency option strategies. No Fund will attempt to hedge all of its foreign portfolio positions.

Forward Foreign Exchange Transactions. Forward foreign exchange transactions are OTC contracts to purchase or sell a specified amount of a specified currency or multinational currency unit at a price and future date set at the time of the contract. Spot foreign exchange transactions are similar but require current, rather than future, settlement. A Fund will enter into foreign exchange transactions for purposes of hedging either a specific transaction or a portfolio position, or, with respect to certain Funds, to seek to enhance returns. A Fund may enter into a foreign exchange transaction for purposes of hedging a specific transaction by, for example, purchasing a currency needed to settle a security transaction or selling a currency in which the Fund has received or anticipates receiving a dividend or distribution. A Fund may enter into a foreign exchange transaction for purposes of hedging a portfolio position by selling forward a currency in which a portfolio position of the Fund is denominated or by purchasing a currency in which the Fund anticipates acquiring a portfolio position in the near future. A Fund may also hedge portfolio positions through currency swaps, which are transactions in which one currency is simultaneously bought for a second currency on a spot basis and sold for the second currency on a forward basis. A Fund may also engage in proxy hedging transactions to reduce the effect of currency fluctuations on the value of existing or anticipated holdings of portfolio securities. Proxy hedging is often used when the currency to which the Fund is exposed is difficult to hedge or to hedge against the dollar. Proxy hedging entails entering into a forward contract to sell a currency whose changes in value are generally considered to be linked to a currency or currencies in which some or all of the Fund’s securities are, or are expected to be, denominated, and to buy U.S. dollars. Proxy hedging involves some of the same risks and considerations as other transactions with similar instruments. Currency transactions can result in losses to the Fund if the currency being hedged fluctuates in value to a degree or in a direction that is not anticipated. In addition, there is the risk that the perceived linkage between various currencies may not be present or may not be present during the particular time that a Fund is engaged in proxy hedging. A Fund may also cross-hedge currencies by entering into forward contracts to sell one or more currencies that are expected to decline in value relative to other currencies to which the Fund has or in which the Fund expects to have portfolio exposure. For example, a Fund may hold both Canadian government bonds and Japanese government bonds, and the Manager or sub-adviser may believe that Canadian dollars will deteriorate against Japanese yen. This strategy would be a hedge against a decline in the value of Canadian dollars, although it would expose the Fund to declines in the value of the Japanese yen relative to the US dollar. Forward foreign exchange transactions involve substantial currency risk, and also involve credit and liquidity risk. A Fund may also hedge a currency by entering into a transaction in a Currency Instrument denominated in a currency other than the currency being hedged (a “cross-hedge”). A Fund will only enter into a cross-hedge if the Manager believes that (i) there is a demonstrably high correlation between the currency in which the cross-hedge is denominated and the currency being hedged, and (ii) executing a cross-hedge through the currency in which the cross-hedge is denominated will be significantly more cost-effective or provide substantially greater liquidity than executing a similar hedging transaction by means of the currency being hedged.

Some of the forward foreign currency contracts entered into by the Funds are classified as non-deliverable forwards (“NDF”). NDFs are cash-settled, short-term forward contracts that may be thinly traded or are denominated in non-convertible foreign currency, where the profit or loss at the time at the settlement date is calculated by taking the difference between the agreed upon exchange rate and the spot rate at the time of settlement, for an agreed upon notional amount of funds. All NDFs have a fixing date and a settlement date. The fixing date is the date at which the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate and the agreed upon exchange rate is calculated. The settlement date is the date by which the payment of the difference is due to the party receiving payment. NDFs are commonly quoted for time periods of one month up to two years, and are normally quoted and settled in U.S. dollars. They are often used to gain exposure to and/or hedge exposure to foreign currencies that are not internationally traded.

Currency Futures. A Fund may also seek to enhance returns or hedge against the decline in the value of a currency through use of currency futures or options thereon. Currency futures are similar to forward foreign exchange transactions except that futures are standardized, exchange-traded contracts while forward foreign exchange transactions are traded in the OTC market. Currency futures involve substantial currency risk, and also involve leverage risk.

Currency Options. A Fund may also seek to enhance returns or hedge against the decline in the value of a currency through the use of currency options. Certain Funds have fundamental investment restrictions that permit the purchase of currency options, but prohibit the writing of currency options. Currency options are similar to options on securities. For example, in consideration for an option premium the writer of a currency option is obligated to sell (in the case of a call option) or purchase (in the case of a put option) a specified amount of a specified currency on or before the expiration date for a specified amount of another currency. A Fund may engage in transactions in options on currencies either on exchanges or OTC markets. Where a Fund is permitted to write currency options, it may

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write covered call options on up to 100% of the currencies in its portfolio. See “Types of Options” above and “Additional Risk Factors of OTC Transactions; Limitations on the Use of OTC Derivatives” below. Currency options involve substantial currency risk, and may also involve credit, leverage or liquidity risk.

Currency Swaps. In order to protect against currency fluctuations, a Fund may enter into currency swaps. A Fund may also hedge portfolio positions through currency swaps, which are transactions in which one currency is simultaneously bought for a second currency on a spot basis and sold for the second currency on a forward basis. Currency swaps involve the exchange of the rights of a Fund and another party to make or receive payments in specified currencies. Currency swaps usually involve the delivery of the entire principal value of one designated currency in exchange for the other designated currency. Because currency swaps usually involve the delivery of the entire principal value of one designated currency in exchange for the other designated currency, the entire principal value of a currency swap is subject to the risk that the other party to the swap will default on its contractual delivery obligations.

Limitations on Currency Transactions. A Fund will not hedge a currency in excess of the aggregate market value of the securities that it owns (including receivables for unsettled securities sales), or has committed to purchase or anticipates purchasing, which are denominated in such currency. Open positions in forward foreign exchange transactions used for non-hedging purposes will be covered by the segregation of liquid assets and are marked to market daily. A Fund’s exposure to futures or options on currencies will be covered as described below under “Risk Factors in Derivatives.”

Risk Factors in Hedging Foreign Currency. Hedging transactions involving Currency Instruments involve substantial risks, including correlation risk. While a Fund’s use of Currency Instruments to effect hedging strategies is intended to reduce the volatility of the net asset value of the Fund’s shares, the net asset value of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate. Moreover, although Currency Instruments will be used with the intention of hedging against adverse currency movements, transactions in Currency Instruments involve the risk that anticipated currency movements will not be accurately predicted and that the Fund’s hedging strategies will be ineffective. To the extent that a Fund hedges against anticipated currency movements that do not occur, the Fund may realize losses and decrease its total return as the result of its hedging transactions. Furthermore, a Fund will only engage in hedging activities from time to time and may not be engaging in hedging activities when movements in currency exchange rates occur.

In connection with its trading in forward foreign currency contracts, a Fund will contract with a foreign or domestic bank, or foreign or domestic securities dealer, to make or take future delivery of a specified amount of a particular currency. There are no limitations on daily price moves in such forward contracts, and banks and dealers are not required to continue to make markets in such contracts. There have been periods during which certain banks or dealers have refused to quote prices for such forward contracts or have quoted prices with an unusually wide spread between the price at which the bank or dealer is prepared to buy and that at which it is prepared to sell. Governmental imposition of credit controls might limit any such forward contract trading. With respect to its trading of forward contracts, if any, a Fund will be subject to the risk of bank or dealer failure and the inability of, or refusal by, a bank or dealer to perform with respect to such contracts. Any such default would deprive the Fund of any profit potential or force the Fund to cover its commitments for resale, if any, at the then market price and could result in a loss to the Fund.

It may not be possible for a Fund to hedge against currency exchange rate movements, even if correctly anticipated, in the event that (i) the currency exchange rate movement is so generally anticipated that the Fund is not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an effective price, or (ii) the currency exchange rate movement relates to a market with respect to which Currency Instruments are not available and it is not possible to engage in effective foreign currency hedging. The cost to a Fund of engaging in foreign currency transactions varies with such factors as the currencies involved, the length of the contract period and the market conditions then prevailing. Since transactions in foreign currency exchange usually are conducted on a principal basis, no fees or commissions are involved.

Risk Factors in Derivatives

Derivatives are volatile and involve significant risks, including:

Credit Risk — the risk that the counterparty in a derivative transaction will be unable to honor its financial obligation to a Fund, or the risk that the reference entity in a credit default swap or similar derivative will not be able to honor its financial obligations.

Currency Risk — the risk that changes in the exchange rate between two currencies will adversely affect the value (in U.S. dollar terms) of an investment.

Leverage Risk — the risk associated with certain types of investments or trading strategies (such as, for example, borrowing money to increase the amount of investments) that relatively small market movements may result in large changes in the value of an investment. Certain investments or trading strategies that involve leverage can result in losses that greatly exceed the amount originally invested.

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Liquidity Risk — the risk that certain securities may be difficult or impossible to sell at the time that the seller would like or at the price that the seller believes the security is currently worth.

Correlation Risk — the risk that changes in the value of a derivative will not match the changes in the value of the portfolio holdings that are being hedged or of the particular market or security to which the Fund seeks exposure.

Index Risk — If the derivative is linked to the performance of an index, it will be subject to the risks associated with changes in that index. If the index changes, a Fund could receive lower interest payments or experience a reduction in the value of the derivative to below what that Fund paid. Certain indexed securities, including inverse securities (which move in an opposite direction to the index), may create leverage, to the extent that they increase or decrease in value at a rate that is a multiple of the changes in the applicable index.

A Fund intends to enter into transactions involving derivatives only if there appears to be a liquid secondary market for such instruments or, in the case of illiquid instruments traded in OTC transactions, such instruments satisfy the criteria set forth below under “Additional Risk Factors of OTC Transactions; Limitations on the Use of OTC Derivatives.” However, there can be no assurance that, at any specific time, either a liquid secondary market will exist for a derivative or the Fund will otherwise be able to sell such instrument at an acceptable price. It may, therefore, not be possible to close a position in a derivative without incurring substantial losses, if at all.

Certain transactions in derivatives (such as futures transactions or sales of put options) involve substantial leverage risk and may expose a Fund to potential losses that exceed the amount originally invested by the Fund. When a Fund engages in such a transaction, the Fund will segregate liquid assets with a value at least equal to the Fund’s exposure, on a mark-to-market basis, to the transaction (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the Commission).

Additional Risk Factors of OTC Transactions; Limitations on the Use of OTC Derivatives. Certain derivatives traded in OTC markets, including indexed securities, swaps and OTC options, involve substantial liquidity risk. The absence of liquidity may make it difficult or impossible for a Fund to sell such instruments promptly at an acceptable price. The absence of liquidity may also make it more difficult for a Fund to ascertain a market value for such instruments. A Fund will, therefore, acquire illiquid OTC instruments (i) if the agreement pursuant to which the instrument is purchased contains a formula price at which the instrument may be terminated or sold, or (ii) for which the Manager anticipates the Fund can receive on each business day at least two independent bids or offers, unless a quotation from only one dealer is available, in which case that dealer’s quotation may be used.

Because derivatives traded in OTC markets are not guaranteed by an exchange or clearing corporation and generally do not require payment of margin, to the extent that a Fund has unrealized gains in such instruments or has deposited collateral with its counterparty the Fund is at risk that its counterparty will become bankrupt or otherwise fail to honor its obligations. A Fund will attempt to minimize these risks by engaging in transactions in derivatives traded in OTC markets only with financial institutions that have substantial capital or that have provided the Fund with a third-party guaranty or other credit enhancement.

Distressed Securities. A Fund may invest in securities, including loans purchased in the secondary market, that are the subject of bankruptcy proceedings or otherwise in default or in risk of being in default as to the repayment of principal and/or interest at the time of acquisition by the Fund or that are rated in the lower rating categories by one or more nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (for example, Ca or lower by Moody’s and CC or lower by S&P or Fitch or, if unrated, are in the judgment of the Manager of equivalent quality (“Distressed Securities”). Investment in Distressed Securities is speculative and involves significant risks.

A Fund will generally make such investments only when the Manager believes it is reasonably likely that the issuer of the Distressed Securities will make an exchange offer or will be the subject of a plan of reorganization pursuant to which the Fund will receive new securities in return for the Distressed Securities. However, there can be no assurance that such an exchange offer will be made or that such a plan of reorganization will be adopted. In addition, a significant period of time may pass between the time at which a Fund makes its investment in Distressed Securities and the time that any such exchange offer or plan of reorganization is completed. During this period, it is unlikely that a Fund will receive any interest payments on the Distressed Securities, the Fund will be subject to significant uncertainty as to whether or not the exchange offer or plan of reorganization will be completed and the Fund may be required to bear certain extraordinary expenses to protect and recover its investment. Therefore, to the extent the Fund seeks capital appreciation through investment in distressed securities, the Fund’s ability to achieve current income for its shareholders may be diminished. The Fund also will be subject to significant uncertainty as to when and in what manner and for what value the obligations evidenced by the distressed securities will eventually be satisfied (e.g., through a liquidation of the obligor’s assets, an exchange offer or plan of reorganization involving the distressed securities or a payment of some amount in satisfaction of the obligation). Even if an exchange offer is made or plan of reorganization is adopted with respect to Distressed Securities held by a Fund, there can be no assurance that the securities or other assets received by a Fund in connection with such exchange offer or plan of reorganization will not have a lower value or income potential than may have been anticipated when the investment was made or no value. Moreover, any securities received by a Fund upon completion of an exchange offer or plan of reorganization may be restricted as to resale. Similarly, if a Fund participates in negotiations with respect to any exchange offer or plan of reorganization with respect to an issuer of Distressed Securities, the Fund may be restricted from disposing of such securities. To the extent that a Fund becomes involved in such

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proceedings, the Fund may have a more active participation in the affairs of the issuer than that assumed generally by an investor. The Fund, however, will not make investments for the purpose of exercising day-to-day management of any issuer’s affairs.

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

Dollar rolls involve the risk that the market value of the securities subject to a Fund’s forward purchase commitment may decline below, or the market value of the securities subject to a Fund’s forward sale commitment may increase above, the exercise price of the forward commitment. In the event the buyer of the securities files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, a Fund’s use of the proceeds of the current sale portion of the transaction may be restricted pending a determination by the other party, or its trustee or receiver, whether to enforce the Fund’s obligation to purchase the similar securities in the forward transaction. Dollar rolls are speculative techniques that can be deemed to involve leverage. At the time a Fund sells securities and agrees to repurchase securities at a future date, the Fund will segregate liquid assets with a value equal to the repurchase price. A Fund may engage in dollar roll transactions to enhance return. Each dollar roll transaction is accounted for as a sale or purchase of a portfolio security and a subsequent purchase or sale of a substantially similar security in the forward market. Successful use of mortgage dollar rolls may depend upon the Manager’s ability to correctly predict interest rates and prepayments. There is no assurance that dollar rolls can be successfully employed.

Equity Securities. Certain Funds may invest in equity securities, which include common stock and, for certain Funds, preferred stock (including convertible preferred stock); bonds, notes and debentures convertible into common or preferred stock; stock purchase warrants and rights; equity interests in trusts; general and limited partnerships and limited liability companies; and depositary receipts. For a discussion of the types of equity securities in which your Fund may invest and the risks associated with investing in such equity securities, see your Fund’s Prospectus.

Exchange Traded Notes (“ETNs”). Certain Funds may invest in ETNs. ETNs are generally notes representing debt of the issuer, usually a financial institution. ETNs combine both aspects of bonds and ETFs. An ETN’s returns are based on the performance of one or more underlying assets, reference rates or indexes, minus fees and expenses. Similar to ETFs, ETNs are listed on an exchange and traded in the secondary market. However, unlike an ETF, an ETN can be held until the ETN’s maturity, at which time the issuer will pay a return linked to the performance of the specific asset, index or rate (“reference instrument”) to which the ETN is linked minus certain fees. Unlike regular bonds, ETNs do not make periodic interest payments, and principal is not protected.

The value of an ETN may be influenced by, among other things, time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in underlying markets, changes in the applicable interest rates, the performance of the reference instrument, changes in the issuer’s credit rating and economic, legal, political or geographic events that affect the reference instrument. An ETN that is tied to a reference instrument may not replicate the performance of the reference instrument. ETNs also incur certain expenses not incurred by their applicable reference instrument. Some ETNs that use leverage can, at times, be relatively illiquid and, thus, they may be difficult to purchase or sell at a fair price. Levered ETNs are subject to the same risk as other instruments that use leverage in any form. While leverage allows for greater potential return, the potential for loss is also greater. Finally, additional losses may be incurred if the investment loses value because, in addition to the money lost on the investment, the loan still needs to be repaid.

Because the return on the ETN is dependent on the issuer’s ability or willingness to meet its obligations, the value of the ETN may change due to a change in the issuer’s credit rating, despite no change in the underlying reference instrument. The market value of ETN shares may differ from the value of the reference instrument. This difference in price may be due to the fact that the supply and demand in the market for ETN shares at any point in time is not always identical to the supply and demand in the market for the assets underlying the reference instrument that the ETN seeks to track.

There may be restrictions on the Fund’s right to redeem its investment in an ETN, which are generally meant to be held until maturity. The Fund’s decision to sell its ETN holdings may be limited by the availability of a secondary market. An investor in an ETN could lose some or all of the amount invested.

Foreign Investment Risks. Certain Funds may invest in foreign securities, including securities from issuers located in emerging market countries. These securities may be denominated in U.S. dollars or in a foreign currency. Investing in foreign securities involves risks not typically associated with investing in securities of companies organized and operated in the United States that can increase the chances that a Fund will lose money.

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Securities issued by certain companies organized outside the United States may not be deemed to be foreign securities (but rather deemed to be U.S. securities) if (i) the company’s principal operations are conducted from the U.S., (ii) the company’s equity securities trade principally on a U.S. stock exchange, (iii) the company does a substantial amount of business in the U.S. or (iv) the issuer of securities is included in the Fund’s primary U.S. benchmark index.

In addition to equity securities, foreign investments of the Funds may include: (a) debt obligations issued or guaranteed by foreign sovereign governments or their agencies, authorities, instrumentalities or political subdivisions, including a foreign state, province or municipality; (b) debt obligations of supranational organizations; (c) debt obligations of foreign banks and bank holding companies; (d) debt obligations of domestic banks and corporations issued in foreign currencies; (e) debt obligations denominated in the Euro; and (f) foreign corporate debt securities and commercial paper. Such securities may include loan participations and assignments, convertible securities and zero-coupon securities.

Dividends or interest on, or proceeds from the sale of, foreign securities may be subject to foreign withholding taxes.

Foreign Market Risk. Funds that may invest in foreign securities offer the potential for more diversification than a Fund that invests only in the United States because securities traded on foreign markets have often (though not always) performed differently from securities traded in the United States. However, such investments often involve risks not present in U.S. investments that can increase the chances that a Fund will lose money. In particular, a Fund is subject to the risk that, because there are generally fewer investors on foreign exchanges and a smaller number of shares traded each day, it may be difficult for the Fund to buy and sell securities on those exchanges. In addition, prices of foreign securities may fluctuate more than prices of securities traded in the United States. Investments in foreign markets may also be adversely affected by governmental actions such as the imposition of punitive taxes. In addition, the governments of certain countries may prohibit or impose substantial restrictions on foreign investing in their capital markets or in certain industries. Any of these actions could severely affect security prices, impair a Fund’s ability to purchase or sell foreign securities or transfer the Fund’s assets or income back into the United States, or otherwise adversely affect a Fund’s operations. Other potential foreign market risks include exchange controls, difficulties in pricing securities, defaults on foreign government securities, difficulties in enforcing favorable legal judgments in foreign courts, and political and social conditions, such as diplomatic relations, confiscatory taxation, expropriation, limitation on the removal of funds or assets, or imposition of (or change in) exchange control regulations. Legal remedies available to investors in certain foreign countries may be less extensive than those available to investors in the United States or other foreign countries. In addition, changes in government administrations or economic or monetary policies in the U.S. or abroad could result in appreciation or depreciation of portfolio securities and could favorably or adversely affect a Fund’s operations. Also, brokerage commissions and other costs of buying or selling securities often are higher in foreign countries than they are in the United States. This reduces the amount the Fund can earn on its investments.

Foreign Economy Risk. The economies of certain foreign markets often do not compare favorably with that of the United States with respect to such issues as growth of gross national product, reinvestment of capital, resources, and balance of payments position. Certain such economies may rely heavily on particular industries or foreign capital and are more vulnerable to diplomatic developments, the imposition of economic sanctions against a particular country or countries, changes in international trading patterns, trade barriers, and other protectionist or retaliatory measures.

Currency Risk and Exchange Risk. Because foreign securities generally are denominated and pay dividends or interest in foreign currencies, the value of a Fund that invests in foreign securities as measured in U.S. dollars will be affected favorably or unfavorably by changes in exchange rates. Generally, when the U.S. dollar rises in value against a foreign currency, a security denominated in that currency loses value because the currency is worth fewer U.S. dollars. Conversely, when the U.S. dollar decreases in value against a foreign currency, a security denominated in that currency gains value because the currency is worth more U.S. dollars. This risk, generally known as “currency risk,” means that a stronger U.S. dollar will reduce returns for U.S. investors while a weak U.S. dollar will increase those returns.

Governmental Supervision and Regulation/Accounting Standards. Many foreign governments supervise and regulate stock exchanges, brokers and the sale of securities less than does the United States. Some countries may not have laws to protect investors comparable to the U.S. securities laws. For example, some foreign countries may have no laws or rules against insider trading. Insider trading occurs when a person buys or sells a company’s securities based on nonpublic information about that company. Accounting standards in other countries are not necessarily the same as in the United States. If the accounting standards in another country do not require as much detail as U.S. accounting standards, it may be harder for Fund management to completely and accurately determine a company’s financial condition. In addition, the U.S. Government has from time to time in the past imposed restrictions, through penalties and otherwise, on foreign investments by U.S. investors such as the Fund. If such restrictions should be reinstituted, it might become necessary for the Fund to invest all or substantially all of its assets in U.S. securities.

Certain Risks of Holding Fund Assets Outside the United States. A Fund generally holds its foreign securities and cash in foreign banks and securities depositories. Some foreign banks and securities depositories may be recently organized or new to the foreign custody business. In addition, there may be limited or no regulatory oversight over their operations. Also, the laws of certain countries may put limits on a Fund’s ability to recover its assets if a foreign bank or depository or issuer of a security or any of their agents goes bankrupt. In addition, it is often more expensive for a Fund to buy, sell and hold securities in certain foreign markets than in the United States.

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The increased expense of investing in foreign markets reduces the amount a Fund can earn on its investments and typically results in a higher operating expense ratio for the Fund as compared to investment companies that invest only in the United States.

Publicly Available Information. In general, less information is publicly available with respect to foreign issuers than is available with respect to U.S. companies. Most foreign companies are also not subject to the uniform accounting and financial reporting requirements applicable to issuers in the United States. While the volume of transactions effected on foreign stock exchanges has increased in recent years, it remains appreciably below that of the New York Stock Exchange. Accordingly, a Fund’s foreign investments may be less liquid and their prices may be more volatile than comparable investments in securities in U.S. companies. In addition, there is generally less government supervision and regulation of securities exchanges, brokers and issuers in foreign countries than in the United States.

Settlement Risk. Settlement and clearance procedures in certain foreign markets differ significantly from those in the United States. Foreign settlement procedures and trade regulations also may involve certain risks (such as delays in payment for or delivery of securities) not typically generated by the settlement of U.S. investments. Communications between the United States and emerging market countries may be unreliable, increasing the risk of delayed settlements or losses of security certificates in markets that still rely on physical settlement. Settlements in certain foreign countries at times have not kept pace with the number of securities transactions; these problems may make it difficult for a Fund to carry out transactions. If a Fund cannot settle or is delayed in settling a purchase of securities, it may miss attractive investment opportunities and certain of its assets may be uninvested with no return earned thereon for some period. If a Fund cannot settle or is delayed in settling a sale of securities, it may lose money if the value of the security then declines or, if it has contracted to sell the security to another party, the Fund could be liable to that party for any losses incurred.

Funding Agreements. Certain Funds may invest in Guaranteed Investment Contracts and similar funding agreements. In connection with these investments, a Fund makes cash contributions to a deposit fund of an insurance company’s general account. The insurance company then credits to the Fund on a monthly basis guaranteed interest, which is based on an index (such as LIBOR). The funding agreements provide that this guaranteed interest will not be less than a certain minimum rate. The purchase price paid for a funding agreement becomes part of the general assets of the insurance company, and the contract is paid from the general assets of the insurance company. Generally, funding agreements are not assignable or transferable without the permission of the issuing insurance companies, and an active secondary market in some funding agreements does not currently exist.

Guarantees. A Fund may purchase securities which contain guarantees issued by an entity separate from the issuer of the security. Generally, the guarantor of a security (often an affiliate of the issuer) will fulfill an issuer’s payment obligations under a security if the issuer is unable to do so.

Illiquid or Restricted Securities. Each Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in securities that lack an established secondary trading market or otherwise are considered illiquid. Liquidity of a security relates to the ability to dispose easily of the security and the price to be obtained upon disposition of the security, which may be less than would be obtained for a comparable more liquid security. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments. Investment of a Fund’s assets in illiquid securities may restrict the ability of the Fund to dispose of its investments in a timely fashion and for a fair price as well as its ability to take advantage of market opportunities. The risks associated with illiquidity will be particularly acute where a Fund’s operations require cash, such as when the Fund redeems shares or pays dividends, and could result in the Fund borrowing to meet short-term cash requirements or incurring capital losses on the sale of illiquid investments.

A Fund may invest in securities that are not registered under the Securities Act (“restricted securities”). Restricted securities may be sold in private placement transactions between issuers and their purchasers and may be neither listed on an exchange nor traded in other established markets. In many cases, privately placed securities may not be freely transferable under the laws of the applicable jurisdiction or due to contractual restrictions on resale. As a result of the absence of a public trading market, privately placed securities may be less liquid and more difficult to value than publicly traded securities. To the extent that privately placed securities may be resold in privately negotiated transactions, the prices realized from the sales, due to illiquidity, could be less than those originally paid by the Fund or less than their fair market value. In addition, issuers whose securities are not publicly traded may not be subject to the disclosure and other investor protection requirements that may be applicable if their securities were publicly traded. If any privately placed securities held by a Fund are required to be registered under the securities laws of one or more jurisdictions before being resold, the Fund may be required to bear the expenses of registration. Certain of the Fund’s investments in private placements may consist of direct investments and may include investments in smaller, less seasoned issuers, which may involve greater risks. These issuers may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources, or they may be dependent on a limited management group. In making investments in such securities, a Fund may obtain access to material nonpublic information, which may restrict the Fund’s ability to conduct portfolio transactions in such securities.

Some of these securities are new and complex, and trade only among institutions; the markets for these securities are still developing, and may not function as efficiently as established markets. Owning a large percentage of restricted or illiquid securities could hamper the Fund’s ability to raise cash to meet redemptions. Also, because there may not be an established market price for these securities, the Fund may have to estimate their value, which means that their valuation (and, to a much smaller extent, the valuation of the Fund) may have a subjective element. Transactions in restricted or illiquid securities may entail registration expense and other transaction costs that are higher than those for transactions in unrestricted or liquid securities. Where registration is required for restricted or illiquid

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securities a considerable time period may elapse between the time the Fund decides to sell the security and the time it is actually permitted to sell the security under an effective registration statement. If during such period, adverse market conditions were to develop, the Fund might obtain less favorable pricing terms that when it decided to sell the security.

Inflation-Indexed Bonds. Certain Funds may invest in inflation-indexed bonds, which are fixed-income securities or other instruments whose principal value is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation. Two structures are common. The U.S. Treasury and some other issuers use a structure that accrues inflation into the principal value of the bond. Most other issuers pay out the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) accruals as part of a semi-annual coupon.

Inflation-indexed securities issued by the U.S. Treasury have maturities of five, ten or thirty years, although it is possible that securities with other maturities will be issued in the future. The U.S. Treasury securities pay interest on a semi-annual basis, equal to a fixed percentage of the inflation-adjusted principal amount. For example, if a Fund purchased an inflation-indexed bond with a par value of $1,000 and a 3% real rate of return coupon (payable 1.5% semi-annually), and inflation over the first six months was 1%, the mid-year par value of the bond would be $1,010 and the first semi-annual interest payment would be $15.15 ($1,010 times 1.5%). If inflation during the second half of the year resulted in the whole year’s inflation equaling 3%, the end-of-year par value of the bond would be $1,030 and the second semi-annual interest payment would be $15.45 ($1,030 times 1.5%).

If the periodic adjustment rate measuring inflation falls, the principal value of inflation-indexed bonds will be adjusted downward, and, consequently, the interest payable on these securities (calculated with respect to a smaller principal amount) will be reduced. Repayment of the original bond principal upon maturity (as adjusted for inflation) is guaranteed in the case of U.S. Treasury inflation-indexed bonds, even during a period of deflation. However, the current market value of the bonds is not guaranteed, and will fluctuate. Certain Funds may also invest in other inflation related bonds which may or may not provide a similar guarantee. If a guarantee of principal is not provided, the adjusted principal value of the bond repaid at maturity may be less than the original principal. In addition, if the Fund purchases inflation-indexed bonds offered by foreign issuers, the rate of inflation measured by the foreign inflation index may not be correlated to the rate of inflation in the United States.

The value of inflation-indexed bonds is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates, in turn, are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. Therefore, if inflation were to rise at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates might decline, leading to an increase in value of inflation-indexed bonds. In contrast, if nominal interest rates increased at a faster rate than inflation, real interest rates might rise, leading to a decrease in value of inflation-indexed bonds. There can be no assurance, however, that the value of inflation-indexed bonds will be directly correlated to changes in interest rates.

While these securities are expected to be protected from long-term inflationary trends, short-term increases in inflation may lead to a decline in value. If interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation (for example, due to changes in currency exchange rates), investors in these securities may not be protected to the extent that the increase is not reflected in the bond’s inflation measure.

In general, the measure used to determine the periodic adjustment of U.S. inflation-indexed bonds is the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”), which is calculated monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-U is a measurement of changes in the cost of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation and energy. Inflation-indexed bonds issued by a foreign government are generally adjusted to reflect a comparable inflation index, calculated by that government. There can be no assurance that the CPI-U or any foreign inflation index will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services. Moreover, there can be no assurance that the rate of inflation in a foreign country will be correlated to the rate of inflation in the United States.

Any increase in the principal amount of an inflation-indexed bond will be considered taxable ordinary income, even though investors do not receive their principal until maturity.

Inflation Risk. Like all mutual funds, the Funds are subject to inflation risk. Inflation risk is the risk that the present value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of a Fund’s assets can decline as can the value of a Fund’s distributions.

Information Concerning the Indexes.

Standard & Poor’s® 500 Index (“S&P 500”). “Standard & Poor’s®,” “S&P®,” “S&P 500®,” “Standard & Poor’s 500,” and “500” are trademarks of McGraw-Hill Financial and have been licensed for use by certain BlackRock Funds. No Fund is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by S&P, a division of McGraw-Hill Financial. S&P makes no representation regarding the advisability of investing in any Fund. S&P makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of a Fund or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in a Fund particularly or the ability of the S&P 500 to track general stock market performance. S&P’s only relationship to certain Funds is the licensing of certain trademarks and trade names of S&P and of the S&P 500 which is determined, composed and calculated by S&P without regard to the Funds. S&P has no obligation to take the needs of a Fund or the owners of shares of a Fund into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the S&P 500. S&P is not

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responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the prices and amount of any Fund or the timing of the issuance or sale of shares of a Fund or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which a Fund is to be converted into cash. S&P has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of any Fund.

S&P does not guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the S&P 500 Index or any data included therein, and S&P shall have no liability for any errors, omissions, or interruptions therein. S&P makes no warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by a Fund, owners of shares of a Fund, or any other person or entity from the use of the S&P 500 Index or any data included therein. S&P makes no express or implied warranties and expressly disclaims all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or use with respect to the S&P 500 Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall S&P have any liability for any special, punitive, indirect, or consequential damages (including lost profits), even if notified of the possibility of such damages.

Russell® Indexes. No Fund is promoted, sponsored or endorsed by, nor in any way affiliated with Russell Investments. Russell Investments is not responsible for and has not reviewed any Fund nor any associated literature or publications and Russell Investments makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to their accuracy, or completeness, or otherwise.

Russell Investments reserves the right, at any time and without notice, to alter, amend, terminate or in any way change a Russell Index. Russell Investments has no obligation to take the needs of any particular Fund or its participants or any other product or person into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Russell Index.

Russell Investments’ publication of the Russell Indexes in no way suggests or implies an opinion by Russell Investments as to the attractiveness or appropriateness of investment in any or all securities upon which the Russell Indexes is based. Russell Investments makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee as to the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or otherwise of the Russell Indexes or any data included in the Russell Indexes. Russell Investments makes no representation or warranty regarding the use, or the results of use, of the Russell Indexes or any data included therein, or any security (or combination thereof) comprising the Russell Indexes. Russell Investments makes no other express or implied warranty, and expressly disclaims any warranty, of any kind, including, without means of limitation, any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to the Russell Indexes or any data or any security (or combination thereof) included therein.

MSCI Indexes. The MSCI Europe, Australasia and Far East (Capitalization Weighted) Index (“EAFE Index”) and the MSCI All-Country World ex-US Index (“ACWI ex-US Index” and together with the EAFE Index, the “MSCI Indexes” and individually an “MSCI Index”) are the exclusive property of MSCI, Inc. (“MSCI”). The EAFE Index and ACWI ex-US Index are service marks of MSCI and have been licensed for use by the Manager and its affiliates.

No Fund is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by MSCI. MSCI makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of a Fund or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in a Fund particularly or the ability of an MSCI Index to track general stock market performance. MSCI is the licensor of certain trademarks, service marks and trade names of MSCI and of the MSCI Indexes. MSCI has no obligation to take the needs of any Fund or the owners of shares of a Fund into consideration in determining, composing or calculating an MSCI Index. MSCI is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices at, or quantities of shares of any Fund to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the shares of a Fund are redeemable for cash. MSCI has no obligation or liability to owners of shares of a Fund in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Fund.

Although MSCI shall obtain information for inclusion in or for use in the calculation of an MSCI Index from sources which MSCI considers reliable, MSCI does not guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the MSCI Index or any data included therein. MSCI makes no warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by licensee, licensee’s customers and counterparties, owners of shares of a Fund, or any other person or entity from the use of an MSCI Index or any data included therein in connection with the rights licensed hereunder or for any other use. MSCI makes no express or implied warranties, and hereby expressly disclaims all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to an MSCI Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall MSCI 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.

FTSE (“Financial Times Stock Exchange”) Indexes.  No Fund is promoted, sponsored or endorsed by, nor in any way affiliated with FTSE. FTSE is not responsible for and has not reviewed any Fund nor any associated literature or publications and FTSE makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to their accuracy, or completeness, or otherwise.

FTSE reserves the right, at any time and without notice, to alter, amend, terminate or in any way change a FTSE Index. FTSE has no obligation to take the needs of any particular Fund or its participants or any other product or person into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the FTSE Index.

Initial Public Offering (“IPO”) Risk. The volume of initial public offerings and the levels at which the newly issued stocks trade in the secondary market are affected by the performance of the stock market overall. If initial public offerings are brought to the market, availability may be limited and a Fund may not be able to buy any shares at the offering price, or if it is able to buy shares, it may not be able to buy as many shares at the offering price as it would like. In addition, the prices of securities involved in initial public offerings are often subject to greater and more unpredictable price changes than more established stocks. IPOs have the potential to produce

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substantial gains. There is no assurance that any Fund will have access to profitable IPOs and therefore investors should not rely on any past gains from IPOs as an indication of future performance. The investment performance of a Fund during periods when it is unable to invest significantly or at all in IPOs may be lower than during periods when it is able to do so. In addition, as a Fund increases in size, the impact of IPOs on its performance will generally decrease. Securities issued in IPOs are subject to many of the same risks as investing in companies with smaller market capitalizations. Securities issued in IPOs have no trading history, and information about the companies may be available for very limited periods.

Investment Grade Debt Obligations. Certain Funds may invest in “investment grade securities,” which are securities rated in the four highest rating categories of a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) or deemed to be of equivalent quality by a Fund’s Manager. Certain Funds may invest in debt securities rated Aaa by Moody’s or AAA by S&P. It should be noted that debt obligations rated in the lowest of the top four ratings (i.e., “Baa” by Moody’s or “BBB” by S&P) are considered to have some speculative characteristics and are more sensitive to economic change than higher rated securities. If an investment grade security of a Fund is subsequently downgraded below investment grade, the Fund’s Manager will consider such an event in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the security. Subject to its investment strategies, there is no limit on the amount of such downgraded securities a Fund may hold, although under normal market conditions the manager do not expect to hold these securities to a material extent.

See Appendix A to this SAI for a description of applicable securities ratings.

Investment in Emerging Markets. Certain Funds may invest in the securities of issuers domiciled in various countries with emerging capital markets. Specifically, a country with an emerging capital market is any country that the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the United Nations or its authorities has determined to have a low or middle income economy. Countries with emerging markets can be found in regions such as Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa.

Investments in the securities of issuers domiciled in countries with emerging capital markets involve certain additional risks that do not generally apply to investments in securities of issuers in more developed capital markets, such as (i) low or non-existent trading volume, resulting in a lack of liquidity and increased volatility in prices for such securities, as compared to securities of comparable issuers in more developed capital markets; (ii) uncertain national policies and social, political and economic instability, increasing the potential for expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxation, high rates of inflation or unfavorable diplomatic developments; (iii) possible fluctuations in exchange rates, differing legal systems and the existence or possible imposition of exchange controls, custodial restrictions or other foreign or U.S. governmental laws or restrictions applicable to such investments; (iv) national policies that may limit a Fund’s investment opportunities such as restrictions on investment in issuers or industries deemed sensitive to national interests; and (v) the lack or relatively early development of legal structures governing private and foreign investments and private property. In addition to withholding taxes on investment income, some countries with emerging markets may impose differential capital gains taxes on foreign investors.

Political and economic structures in emerging market countries may be undergoing significant evolution and rapid development, and these countries may lack the social, political and economic stability characteristic of more developed countries. In such a dynamic environment, there can be no assurance that any or all of these capital markets will continue to present viable investment opportunities for a Fund. In the past, governments of such nations have expropriated substantial amounts of private property, and most claims of the property owners have never been fully settled. There is no assurance that such expropriations will not reoccur. In such an event, it is possible that a Fund could lose the entire value of its investments in the affected market. As a result the risks described above, including the risks of nationalization or expropriation of assets, may be heightened. In addition, unanticipated political or social developments may affect the value of investments in these countries and the availability to a Fund of additional investments. The small size and inexperience of the securities markets in certain of these countries and the limited volume of trading in securities in these countries may make investments in the countries illiquid and more volatile than investments in Japan or most Western European countries.

Also, there may be less publicly available information about issuers in emerging markets than would be available about issuers in more developed capital markets, and such issuers may not be subject to accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and requirements comparable to those to which U.S. companies are subject. In certain countries with emerging capital markets, reporting standards vary widely. As a result, traditional investment measurements used in the United States, such as price/earnings ratios, may not be applicable. Emerging market securities may be substantially less liquid and more volatile than those of mature markets, and company shares may be held by a limited number of persons. This may adversely affect the timing and pricing of the Fund’s acquisition or disposal of securities.

Practices in relation to settlement of securities transactions in emerging markets involve higher risks than those in developed markets, in part because a Fund will need to use brokers and counterparties that are less well capitalized, and custody and registration of assets in some countries may be unreliable. The possibility of fraud, negligence, undue influence being exerted by the issuer or refusal to recognize ownership exists in some emerging markets, and, along with other factors, could result in ownership registration being completely lost. A Fund would absorb any loss resulting from such registration problems and may have no successful claim for compensation.

Investment in non-dollar denominated securities including securities from issuers located in emerging market countries may be on either a currency hedged or unhedged basis, and the Funds may hold from time to time various foreign currencies pending investment

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or conversion into U.S. dollars. Some of these instruments may have the characteristics of futures contracts. In addition, certain Funds may engage in foreign currency exchange transactions to seek to protect against changes in the level of future exchange rates which would adversely affect the Fund’s performance. These investments and transactions involving foreign securities, currencies, options (including options that relate to foreign currencies), futures, hedging and cross-hedging are described below and under “Derivatives—Futures” and “Foreign Exchange Transactions.”

Risks of Investing in Asia-Pacific Countries. In addition to the risks of foreign investing and the risks of investing in developing markets, the developing market Asia-Pacific countries in which a Fund may invest are subject to certain additional or specific risks. Certain Funds may make substantial investments in Asia-Pacific countries. In many of these markets, there is a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of investors and financial intermediaries. Many of these markets also may be affected by developments with respect to more established markets in the region such as in Japan and Hong Kong. Brokers in developing market Asia-Pacific countries typically are fewer in number and less well capitalized than brokers in the United States. These factors, combined with the U.S. regulatory requirements for open-end investment companies and the restrictions on foreign investment discussed below, result in potentially fewer investment opportunities for a Fund and may have an adverse impact on the investment performance of the Fund.

Many of the developing market Asia-Pacific countries may be subject to a greater degree of economic, political and social instability than is the case in the United States and Western European countries. Such instability may result from, among other things: (i) authoritarian governments or military involvement in political and economic decision-making, including changes in government through extra-constitutional means; (ii) popular unrest associated with demands for improved political, economic and social conditions; (iii) internal insurgencies; (iv) hostile relations with neighboring countries; and (v) ethnic, religious and racial disaffection. In addition, the governments of many of such countries, such as Indonesia, have a substantial role in regulating and supervising the economy. Another risk common to most such countries is that the economy is heavily export oriented and, accordingly, is dependent upon international trade. The existence of overburdened infrastructure and obsolete financial systems also presents risks in certain countries, as do environmental problems. Certain economies also depend to a significant degree upon exports of primary commodities and, therefore, are vulnerable to changes in commodity prices that, in turn, may be affected by a variety of factors.

The legal systems in certain developing market Asia-Pacific countries also may have an adverse impact on the Fund. For example, while the potential liability of a shareholder in a U.S. corporation with respect to acts of the corporation is generally limited to the amount of the shareholder’s investment, the notion of limited liability is less clear in certain emerging market Asia-Pacific countries. Similarly, the rights of investors in developing market Asia-Pacific companies may be more limited than those of shareholders of U.S. corporations. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain and/or enforce a judgment in a developing market Asia-Pacific country.

Governments of many developing market Asia-Pacific countries have exercised and continue to exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector. In certain cases, the government owns or controls many companies, including the largest in the country. Accordingly, government actions in the future could have a significant effect on economic conditions in developing market Asia-Pacific countries, which could affect private sector companies and a Fund itself, as well as the value of securities in the Fund’s portfolio. In addition, economic statistics of developing market Asia-Pacific countries may be less reliable than economic statistics of more developed nations.

In addition to the relative lack of publicly available information about developing market Asia-Pacific issuers and the possibility that such issuers may not be subject to the same accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards as U.S. companies, inflation accounting rules in some developing market Asia-Pacific countries require companies that keep accounting records in the local currency, for both tax and accounting purposes, to restate certain assets and liabilities on the company’s balance sheet in order to express items in terms of currency of constant purchasing power. Inflation accounting may indirectly generate losses or profits for certain developing market Asia-Pacific companies.

Satisfactory custodial services for investment securities may not be available in some developing Asia-Pacific countries, which may result in the Fund incurring additional costs and delays in providing transportation and custody services for such securities outside such countries.

Certain developing Asia-Pacific countries, such as the Philippines, India and Turkey, are especially large debtors to commercial banks and foreign governments.

On March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami struck northeastern Japan causing major damage along the coast, including damage to nuclear power plants in the region. This disaster, and the resulting damage, could have a severe and negative impact on a Fund’s investment portfolio and, in the longer term, could impair the ability of issuers in which the Fund invests to conduct their businesses in the manner normally conducted.

Fund management may determine that, notwithstanding otherwise favorable investment criteria, it may not be practicable or appropriate to invest in a particular developing Asia-Pacific country. A Fund may invest in countries in which foreign investors, including management of the Fund, have had no or limited prior experience.

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Restrictions on Foreign Investments in Asia-Pacific Countries. Some developing Asia-Pacific countries prohibit or impose substantial restrictions on investments in their capital markets, particularly their equity markets, by foreign entities such as a Fund. As illustrations, certain countries may require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons or limit the amount of investment by foreign persons in a particular company or limit the investment by foreign persons to only a specific class of securities of a company which may have less advantageous terms (including price and shareholder rights) than securities of the company available for purchase by nationals. There can be no assurance that a Fund will be able to obtain required governmental approvals in a timely manner. In addition, changes to restrictions on foreign ownership of securities subsequent to a Fund’s purchase of such securities may have an adverse effect on the value of such shares. Certain countries may restrict investment opportunities in issuers or industries deemed important to national interests.

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

Substantial limitations may exist in certain countries with respect to a Fund’s ability to repatriate investment income, capital or the proceeds of sales of securities by foreign investors. A Fund could be adversely affected by delays in, or a refusal to grant, any required governmental approval for repatriation of capital, as well as by the application to the Fund of any restrictions on investments. It is possible that certain countries may impose currency controls or other restrictions relating to their currencies or to securities of issuers in those countries. To the extent that such restrictions have the effect of making certain investments illiquid, securities may not be available for sale to meet redemptions. Depending on a variety of financial factors, the percentage of a Fund’s portfolio subject to currency controls may increase. In the event other countries impose similar controls, the portion of the Fund’s assets that may be used to meet redemptions may be further decreased. Even where there is no outright restriction on repatriation of capital, the mechanics of repatriation may affect certain aspects of the operations of a Fund (for example, if funds may be withdrawn only in certain currencies and/or only at an exchange rate established by the government).

In certain countries, banks or other financial institutions may be among the leading companies or have actively traded securities available for investment. The Investment Company Act restricts a Fund’s investments in any equity securities of an issuer that, in its most recent fiscal year, derived more than 15% of its revenues from “securities related activities,” as defined by the rules thereunder. These provisions may restrict a Fund’s investments in certain foreign banks and other financial institutions.

Political and economic structures in emerging market countries may be undergoing significant evolution and rapid development, and these countries may lack the social, political and economic stability characteristic of more developed countries. Some of these countries may have in the past failed to recognize private property rights and have at times nationalized or expropriated the assets of private companies. As a result the risks described above, including the risks of nationalization or expropriation of assets, may be heightened. In addition, unanticipated political or social developments may affect the value of investments in these countries and the availability to a Fund of additional investments in emerging market countries. The small size and inexperience of the securities markets in certain of these countries and the limited volume of trading in securities in these countries may make investments in the countries illiquid and more volatile than investments in Japan or most Western European countries. There may be little financial or accounting information available with respect to issuers located in certain emerging market countries, and it may be difficult to assess the value or prospects of an investment in such issuers.

The expense ratios of the Funds investing significantly in foreign securities can be expected to be higher than those of Funds investing primarily in domestic securities. The costs attributable to investing abroad are usually higher for several reasons, such as the higher cost of custody of foreign securities, higher commissions paid on comparable transactions on foreign markets and additional costs arising from delays in settlements of transactions involving foreign securities.

Risks of Investments in Russia. A Fund may invest a portion of its assets in securities issued by companies located in Russia. The Russian securities market suffers from a variety of problems described above in “Investments in Emerging Markets” not encountered in more developed markets. The Russian securities market is relatively new, and a substantial portion of securities transactions are privately negotiated outside of stock exchanges. The inexperience of the Russian securities market and the limited volume of trading in securities in the market may make obtaining accurate prices on portfolio securities from independent sources more difficult than in more developed markets.

Because of the recent formation of the Russian securities markets, the underdeveloped state of Russia’s banking and telecommunication system and the legal and regulatory framework in Russia, settlement, clearing and registration of securities transactions are subject to additional risks. Prior to 2013, there was no central registration system for equity share registration in Russia and registration was carried out either by the issuers themselves or by registrars located throughout Russia. These registrars

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may not have been subject to effective state supervision or licensed with any governmental entity. In 2013, Russia established the National Settlement Depository (“NSD”) as a recognized central securities depository, and title to Russian equities is now based on the records of the NSD and not on the records of the local registrars. The implementation of the NSD is generally expected to decrease the risk of loss in connection with recording and transferring title to securities; however, loss may still occur. Additionally, issuers and registrars remain prominent in the validation and approval of documentation requirements for corporate action processing in Russia, and there remain inconsistent market standards in the Russian market with respect to the completion and submission of corporate action elections. To the extent that a Fund suffers a loss relating to title or corporate actions relating to its portfolio securities, it may be difficult for the Fund to enforce its rights or otherwise remedy the loss. In addition, Russia also may attempt to assert its influence in the region through economic or even military measures, as it did with Georgia in the summer of 2008 and the Ukraine in 2014. Such measures may have an adverse effect on the Russian economy, which may, in turn, negatively impact the Fund.

The United States and the European Union have imposed economic sanctions on certain Russian individuals and a financial institution. The United States or the European Union could also institute broader sanctions on Russia. These sanctions, or even the threat of further sanctions, may result in the decline of the value and liquidity of Russian securities, a weakening of the ruble or other adverse consequences to the Russian economy. These sanctions could also result in the immediate freeze of Russian securities, impairing the ability of a Fund to buy, sell, receive or deliver those securities. Sanctions could also result in Russia taking counter measures or retaliatory actions which may further impair the value and liquidity of Russian securities.

Brady Bonds. Certain Funds may invest in Brady Bonds. A Fund’s emerging market debt securities may include emerging market governmental debt obligations commonly referred to as Brady Bonds. Brady Bonds are securities created through the exchange of existing commercial bank loans to sovereign entities for new obligations in connection with debt restructurings under a debt restructuring plan introduced by former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Nicholas F. Brady (the “Brady Plan”). Brady Plan debt restructurings have been implemented in a number of countries, including: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jordan, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Brady Bonds may be collateralized or uncollateralized, are issued in various currencies (primarily the U.S. dollar) and are actively traded in the over-the-counter secondary market. Brady Bonds are not considered to be U.S. Government securities. U.S. dollar-denominated, collateralized Brady Bonds, which may be fixed rate par bonds or floating rate discount bonds, are generally collateralized in full as to principal by U.S. Treasury zero-coupon bonds having the same maturity as the Brady Bonds. Interest payments on these Brady Bonds generally are collateralized on a one-year or longer rolling-forward basis by cash or securities in an amount that, in the case of fixed rate bonds, is equal to at least one year of interest payments or, in the case of floating rate bonds, initially is equal to at least one year’s interest payments based on the applicable interest rate at that time and is adjusted at regular intervals thereafter. Certain Brady Bonds are entitled to “value recovery payments” in certain circumstances, which in effect constitute supplemental interest payments but generally are not collateralized. For example, some Mexican and Venezuelan Brady Bonds include attached value recovery options, which increase interest payments if oil revenues rise. Brady Bonds are often viewed as having three or four valuation components: (i) the collateralized repayment of principal at final maturity; (ii) the collateralized interest payments; (iii) the uncollateralized interest payments; and (iv) any uncollateralized repayment of principal at maturity (the uncollateralized amounts constitute the “residual risk”).

Most Mexican Brady Bonds issued to date have principal repayments at final maturity fully collateralized by U.S. Treasury zero-coupon bonds (or comparable collateral denominated in other currencies) and interest coupon payments collateralized on an 18-month rolling-forward basis by funds held in escrow by an agent for the bondholders. A significant portion of the Venezuelan Brady Bonds and the Argentine Brady Bonds issued to date have repayments at final maturity collateralized by U.S. Treasury zero-coupon bonds (or comparable collateral denominated in other currencies) and/or interest coupon payments collateralized on a 14-month (for Venezuela) or 12-month (for Argentina) rolling-forward basis by securities held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as collateral agent.

Brady Bonds involve various risk factors described above associated with investing in foreign securities, including the history of defaults with respect to commercial bank loans by public and private entities of countries issuing Brady Bonds. In light of the residual risk of Brady Bonds and, among other factors, the history of defaults, investments in Brady Bonds are considered speculative. There can be no assurance that Brady Bonds in which the Funds may invest will not be subject to restructuring arrangements or to requests for new credit, which may cause the Funds to suffer a loss of interest or principal on any of its holdings.

Investment in Other Investment Companies. Each Fund may, subject to applicable law, invest in other investment companies (including investment companies managed by BlackRock and its affiliates), including money market funds and exchange traded funds (“ETFs”), which are typically open-end funds or unit investment trusts listed on a stock exchange. In accordance with the Investment Company Act, a Fund may invest up to 10% of its total assets in securities of other investment companies (measured at the time of such investment). In addition, under the Investment Company Act a Fund may not acquire securities of an investment company if such acquisition would cause the Fund to own more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of such investment company and a Fund may not invest in another investment company if such investment would cause more than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets to be invested in securities of such investment company. (These limits do not restrict a Feeder Fund from investing all of its assets in shares of its Master

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Portfolio.) In addition to the restrictions on investing in other investment companies discussed above, a Fund may not invest in a registered closed-end investment company if such investment would cause the Fund and other BlackRock-advised investment companies to own more than 10% of the total outstanding voting stock of such closed-end investment company. Pursuant to the Investment Company Act (or alternatively, pursuant to exemptive orders received from the Commission) these percentage limitations do not apply to investments in affiliated money market funds, and under certain circumstances, do not apply to investments in affiliated investment companies, including ETFs. In addition, many third-party ETFs have obtained exemptive relief from the Commission to permit unaffiliated funds (such as the Funds) to invest in their shares beyond the statutory limits, subject to certain conditions and pursuant to contractual arrangements between the ETFs and the investing funds. A Fund may rely on these exemptive orders in investing in ETFs. Further, under certain circumstances a Fund may be able to rely on certain provisions of the Investment Company Act to invest in shares of unaffiliated investment companies beyond the statutory limits noted above, but subject to certain other statutory restrictions.

As with other investments, investments in other investment companies are subject to market and selection risk.

Shares of investment companies, such as closed-end fund investment companies, that trade on an exchange may at times be acquired at market prices representing premiums to their net asset values. In addition, investment companies held by a Fund that trade on an exchange could trade at a discount from net asset value, and such discount could increase while the Fund holds the shares. If the market price of shares of an exchange-traded investment company decreases below the price that the Fund paid for the shares and the Fund were to sell its shares of such investment company at a time when the market price is lower than the price at which it purchased the shares, the Fund would experience a loss.

In addition, if a Fund acquires shares in investment companies, including affiliated investment companies, shareholders would bear both their proportionate share of expenses in the Fund and, indirectly, the expenses of such investment companies. Such expenses, both at the Fund level and acquired investment company level, would include management and advisory fees, unless such fees have been waived by BlackRock. Please see the relevant Fund’s prospectus to determine whether any such management and advisory fees have been waived by BlackRock. Investments by a Fund in wholly owned investment entities created under the laws of certain countries will not be deemed an investment in other investment companies. Pursuant to guidance issued by the staff of the Commission, fees and expenses of money market funds used for the investment of cash collateral received in connection with loans of Fund securities are not treated as “acquired fund fees and expenses,” which are fees and expenses charged by other investment companies and pooled investment vehicles in which a Fund invests a portion of its assets.

To the extent shares of a Fund are held by an affiliated fund, the ability of the Fund itself to purchase other affiliated investment companies may be limited. In addition, a fund-of-funds (e.g., an investment company that seeks to meet its investment objective by investing significantly in other investment companies) may be limited in its ability to purchase affiliated underlying funds if such affiliated underlying funds themselves own shares of affiliated funds.

A number of publicly traded closed-end investment companies have been organized to facilitate indirect foreign investment in developing countries, and certain of such countries, such as Thailand, South Korea, Chile and Brazil, have specifically authorized such funds. There also are investment opportunities in certain of such countries in pooled vehicles that resemble open-end investment companies. The restrictions on investments in securities of investment companies set forth above may limit opportunities for a Fund to invest indirectly in certain developing countries.

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

The major risks in junk bond investments include the following:

    Junk bonds may be issued by less creditworthy companies. These securities are vulnerable to adverse changes in the issuer’s industry and to general economic conditions. Issuers of junk bonds may be unable to meet their
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      interest or principal payment obligations because of an economic downturn, specific issuer developments or the unavailability of additional financing.
       
    The issuers of junk bonds may have a larger amount of outstanding debt relative to their assets than issuers of investment grade bonds. If the issuer experiences financial stress, it may be unable to meet its debt obligations. The issuer’s ability to pay its debt obligations also may be lessened by specific issuer developments, or the unavailability of additional financing. Issuers of high yield securities are often in the growth stage of their development and/or involved in a reorganization or takeover.
       
    Junk bonds are frequently ranked junior to claims by other creditors. If the issuer cannot meet its obligations, the senior obligations are generally paid off before the junior obligations, which will potentially limit a Fund’s ability to fully recover principal or to receive interest payments when senior securities are in default. Thus, investors in high yield securities have a lower degree of protection with respect to principal and interest payments then do investors in higher rated securities.
       
    Junk bonds frequently have redemption features that permit an issuer to repurchase the security from a Fund before it matures. If an issuer redeems the junk bonds, a Fund may have to invest the proceeds in bonds with lower yields and may lose income.
       
    Prices of junk bonds are subject to extreme price fluctuations. Negative economic developments may have a greater impact on the prices of junk bonds than on those of other higher rated fixed-income securities.
       
    Junk bonds may be less liquid than higher rated fixed-income securities even under normal economic conditions. Under certain economic and/or market conditions, a Fund may have difficulty disposing of certain high yield securities due to the limited number of investors in that sector of the market. There are fewer dealers in the junk bond market, and there may be significant differences in the prices quoted for junk bonds by the dealers, and such quotations may not be the actual prices available for a purchase or sale. Because junk bonds are less liquid, judgment may play a greater role in valuing certain of a Fund’s portfolio securities than in the case of securities trading in a more liquid market.
       
   

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

       
    A Fund may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting issuer.
       
    The junk bond markets may react strongly to adverse news about an issuer or the economy, or to the perception or expectation of adverse news, whether or not it is based on fundamental analysis. Additionally, prices for high yield securities may be affected by legislative and regulatory developments. These developments could adversely affect a Fund’s net asset value and investment practices, the secondary market for high yield securities, the financial condition of issuers of these securities and the value and liquidity of outstanding high yield securities, especially in a thinly traded market. For example, federal legislation requiring the divestiture by federally insured savings and loan associations of their investments in high yield bonds and limiting the deductibility of interest by certain corporate issuers of high yield bonds adversely affected the market in the past.
       
    The rating assigned by a rating agency evaluates the issuing agency’s assessment of the safety of a non-
       
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      investment grade security’s principal and interest payments, but does not address market value risk. Because such ratings of the ratings agencies may not always reflect current conditions and events, in addition to using recognized rating agencies and other sources, the sub-adviser performs its own analysis of the issuers whose non-investment grade securities a Fund holds. Because of this, the Fund’s performance may depend more on the sub-adviser’s own credit analysis than in the case of mutual funds investing in higher-rated securities.
 

In selecting non-investment grade securities, the adviser or sub-adviser considers factors such as those relating to the creditworthiness of issuers, the ratings and performance of the securities, the protections afforded the securities and the diversity of the Fund. The sub-adviser continuously monitors the issuers of non-investment grade securities held by the Fund for their ability to make required principal and interest payments, as well as in an effort to control the liquidity of the Fund so that it can meet redemption requests. If a security’s rating is reduced below the minimum credit rating that is permitted for a Fund, the Fund’s sub-adviser will consider whether the Fund should continue to hold the security.

In the event that a Fund investing in high yield securities experiences an unexpected level of net redemptions, the Fund could be forced to sell its holdings without regard to the investment merits, thereby decreasing the assets upon which the Fund’s rate of return is based.

The costs attributable to investing in the junk bond markets are usually higher for several reasons, such as higher investment research costs and higher commission costs.

Lease Obligations. A Fund may hold participation certificates in a lease, an installment purchase contract, or a conditional sales contract (“lease obligations”).

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

Municipal leases, like other municipal debt obligations, are subject to the risk of non-payment. The ability of issuers of municipal leases to make timely lease payments may be adversely impacted in general economic downturns and as relative governmental cost burdens are allocated and reallocated among Federal, state and local governmental units. Such non-payment would result in a reduction of income to a Fund, and could result in a reduction in the value of the municipal lease experiencing non-payment and a potential decrease in the net asset value of a Fund. Issuers of municipal securities might seek protection under the bankruptcy laws. In the event of bankruptcy of such an issuer, a Fund could experience delays and limitations with respect to the collection of principal and interest on such municipal leases and a Fund may not, in all circumstances, be able to collect all principal and interest to which it is entitled. To enforce its rights in the event of a default in lease payments, a Fund might take possession of and manage the assets securing the issuer’s obligations on such securities, which may increase the Fund’s operating expenses and adversely affect the net asset value of the Fund. When the lease contains a non-appropriation clause, however, the failure to pay would not be a default and a Fund would not have the right to take possession of the assets. Any income derived from a Fund’s ownership or operation of such assets may not be tax-exempt. In addition, a Fund’s intention to qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), may limit the extent to which a Fund may exercise its rights by taking possession of such assets, because as a regulated investment company a Fund is subject to certain limitations on its investments and on the nature of its income.

Liquidity Management. As a temporary defensive measure, if its Manager determines that market conditions warrant, certain Funds may invest without limitation in high quality money market instruments. Certain Funds may also invest in high quality money market instruments pending investment or to meet anticipated redemption requests. High quality money market instruments include U.S. government obligations, U.S. government agency obligations, dollar denominated obligations of foreign issuers, bank obligations, including U.S. subsidiaries and branches of foreign banks, corporate obligations, commercial paper, repurchase agreements and obligations of supranational organizations. Generally, such obligations will mature within one year from the date of settlement, but may mature within two years from the date of settlement.

Master Limited Partnerships. Certain Funds may invest in publicly traded master limited partnerships (“MLPs”) which are limited partnerships or limited liability companies taxable as partnerships. MLPs may derive income and gains from the exploration, development, mining or production, processing, refining, transportation (including pipelines transporting gas, oil, or products thereof), or the marketing of any mineral or natural resources. MLPs generally have two classes of owners, the general partner and limited partners. When investing in an MLP, a Fund intends to purchase publicly traded common units issued to limited partners of the MLP. The general partner is typically owned by a major energy company, an investment fund, the direct management of the MLP or is an entity owned by one or more of such parties. The general partner may be structured as a private or publicly traded corporation or other entity. The general partner typically controls the operations and management of the MLP through an up to 2% equity interest in the MLP

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plus, in many cases, ownership of common units and subordinated units. Limited partners own the remainder of the partnership, through ownership of common units, and have a limited role in the partnership’s operations and management.

MLPs are typically structured such that common units and general partner interests have first priority to receive quarterly cash distributions up to an established minimum amount (“minimum quarterly distributions” or “MQD”). Common and general partner interests also accrue arrearages in distributions to the extent the MQD is not paid. Once common and general partner interests have been paid, subordinated units receive distributions of up to the MQD; however, subordinated units do not accrue arrearages. Distributable cash in excess of the MQD paid to both common and subordinated units is distributed to both common and subordinated units generally on a pro rata basis. The general partner is also eligible to receive incentive distributions if the general partner operates the business in a manner which results in distributions paid per common unit surpassing specified target levels. As the general partner increases cash distributions to the limited partners, the general partner receives an increasingly higher percentage of the incremental cash distributions. A common arrangement provides that the general partner can reach a tier where it receives 50% of every incremental dollar paid to common and subordinated unit holders. These incentive distributions encourage the general partner to streamline costs, increase capital expenditures and acquire assets in order to increase the partnership’s cash flow and raise the quarterly cash distribution in order to reach higher tiers. Such results benefit all security holders of the MLP.

MLP common units represent a limited partnership interest in the MLP. Common units are listed and traded on U.S. securities exchanges, with their value fluctuating predominantly based on prevailing market conditions and the success of the MLP. Certain Funds intend to purchase common units in market transactions. Unlike owners of common stock of a corporation, owners of common units have limited voting rights and have no ability annually to elect directors. In the event of liquidation, common units have preference over subordinated units, but not over debt or preferred units, to the remaining assets of the MLP.

Merger Transaction Risk. In replicating its target index, a Fund may buy stock of the target company in an announced merger transaction prior to the consummation of such transaction. In that circumstance, a Fund would expect to receive an amount (whether in cash, stock of the acquiring company or a combination of both) in excess of the purchase price paid by the Fund for the target company’s stock. However, a Fund is subject to the risk that the merger transaction may be canceled, delayed or restructured, in which case a Fund’s holding of the target company’s stock may not result in any profit for the Fund and may lose significant value.

Mezzanine Investments. Certain Funds, consistent with restrictions on investing in securities of a specific credit quality, may invest in certain high yield securities known as mezzanine investments, which are subordinated debt securities which are generally issued in private placements in connection with an equity security (e.g., with attached warrants). Such mezzanine investments may be issued with or without registration rights. Similar to other high yield securities, maturities of mezzanine investments are typically seven to ten years, but the expected average life is significantly shorter at three to five years. Mezzanine investments are usually unsecured and subordinate to other obligations of the issuer.

Money Market Obligations of Domestic Banks, Foreign Banks and Foreign Branches of U.S. Banks. Certain Funds may invest in a broad range of short-term, high quality, U.S. dollar-denominated instruments, such as government, bank, commercial and other obligations that are available in the money markets. Bank obligations include certificates of deposit (“CDs”), notes, bankers’ acceptances (“BAs”) and time deposits, including instruments issued or supported by the credit of U.S. or foreign banks or savings institutions, domestic branches of foreign banks, and also foreign branches of domestic banks having total assets at the time of purchase in excess of $1 billion. These obligations may be general obligations of the parent bank or may be limited to the issuing branch or subsidiary by the terms of a specific obligation or by government regulation. In particular, the Funds may invest in:

  (a)   U.S. dollar-denominated obligations issued or supported by the credit of U.S. or foreign banks or savings institutions with total assets in excess of $1 billion (including assets of domestic and foreign branches of such banks);
       
  (b)   high quality commercial paper and other obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. and foreign corporations and other issuers rated (at the time of purchase) A-2 or higher by S&P, Prime-2 or higher by Moody’s or F-2 or higher by Fitch, as well as high quality corporate bonds rated (at the time of purchase) A or higher by those rating agencies;
       
  (c)   unrated notes, paper and other instruments that are of comparable quality to the instruments described in (b) above as determined by the Fund’s Manager;
        
  (d)   asset-backed securities (including interests in pools of assets such as mortgages, installment purchase obligations and credit card receivables);
       
  (e)   securities issued or guaranteed as to principal and interest by the U.S. Government or by its agencies or authorities and related custodial receipts;
       
  (f)   dollar-denominated securities issued or guaranteed by foreign governments or their political subdivisions, agencies
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      or authorities;
       
  (g)   funding agreements issued by highly-rated U.S. insurance companies;
       
  (h)   securities issued or guaranteed by state or local governmental bodies;
       
  (i)   repurchase agreements relating to the above instruments;
       
  (j)   municipal bonds and notes whose principal and interest payments are guaranteed by the U.S. Government or one of its agencies or instrumentalities or which otherwise depend directly or indirectly on the credit of the United States;
       
  (k)   fixed and variable rate notes and similar debt instruments rated MIG-2, VMIG-2 or Prime-2 or higher by Moody’s, SP-2 or A-2 or higher by S&P, or F-2 or higher by Fitch;
       
  (l)   tax-exempt commercial paper and similar debt instruments rated Prime-2 or higher by Moody’s, A-2 or higher by S&P, or F-2 or higher by Fitch;
       
  (m)   municipal bonds rated A or higher by Moody’s, S&P or Fitch;
       
  (n)   unrated notes, paper or other instruments that are of comparable quality to the instruments described above, as determined by the Fund’s Manager under guidelines established by the Board; and
       
  (o)   municipal bonds and notes which are guaranteed as to principal and interest by the U.S. Government or an agency or instrumentality thereof or which otherwise depend directly or indirectly on the credit of the United States.

 

To the extent consistent with their investment objectives, a Fund may invest in debt obligations of domestic or foreign corporations and banks, and may acquire commercial obligations issued by Canadian corporations and Canadian counterparts of U.S. corporations, as well as Europaper, which is U.S. dollar-denominated commercial paper of a foreign issuer.

Mortgage-Related Securities

Mortgage-Backed Securities. Mortgage-backed securities represent interests in pools of mortgages in which payments of both principal and interest on the securities are generally made monthly, in effect “passing through” monthly payments made by borrowers on the residential or commercial mortgage loans that underlie the securities (net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of the securities). Mortgage-backed securities differ from other forms of debt securities, which normally provide for periodic payment of interest in fixed amounts with principal payments at maturity or specified call dates.

Mortgage-backed securities are subject to the general risks associated with investing in real estate securities; that is, they may lose value if the value of the underlying real estate to which a pool of mortgages relates declines. In addition, investments in mortgage-backed securities involve certain specific risks. These risks include the failure of a party to meet its commitments under the related operative documents, adverse interest rate changes and the effects of prepayments on mortgage cash flows. Mortgage-backed securities are “pass-through” securities, meaning that principal and interest payments made by the borrower on the underlying mortgages are passed through to a Fund. The value of mortgage-backed securities, like that of traditional fixed-income securities, typically increases when interest rates fall and decreases when interest rates rise. However, mortgage-backed securities differ from traditional fixed-income securities because of their potential for prepayment without penalty. The price paid by a Fund for its mortgage-backed securities, the yield the Fund expects to receive from such securities and the weighted average life of the securities are based on a number of factors, including the anticipated rate of prepayment of the underlying mortgages. In a period of declining interest rates, borrowers may prepay the underlying mortgages more quickly than anticipated, thereby reducing the yield to maturity and the average life of the mortgage-backed securities. Moreover, when a Fund reinvests the proceeds of a prepayment in these circumstances, it will likely receive a rate of interest that is lower than the rate on the security that was prepaid.

To the extent that a Fund purchases mortgage-backed securities at a premium, mortgage foreclosures and principal prepayments may result in a loss to the extent of the premium paid. If a Fund buys such securities at a discount, both scheduled payments of principal and unscheduled prepayments will increase current and total returns and will accelerate the recognition of income, which, when distributed to shareholders, will be taxable as ordinary income. In a period of rising interest rates, prepayments of the underlying mortgages may occur at a slower than expected rate, creating maturity extension risk. This particular risk may effectively change a security that was considered short- or intermediate-term at the time of purchase into a long-term security. Since the value of long-term securities generally fluctuates more widely in response to changes in interest rates than that of shorter-term securities, maturity

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extension risk could increase the inherent volatility of the Fund. Under certain interest rate and prepayment scenarios, a Fund may fail to recoup fully its investment in mortgage-backed securities notwithstanding any direct or indirect governmental or agency guarantee.

There are currently three types of mortgage pass-through securities: (1) those issued by the U.S. government or one of its agencies or instrumentalities, such as the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”); (2) those issued by private issuers that represent an interest in or are collateralized by pass-through securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or one of its agencies or instrumentalities; and (3) those issued by private issuers that represent an interest in or are collateralized by whole mortgage loans or pass-through securities without a government guarantee but that usually have some form of private credit enhancement.

Ginnie Mae is a wholly owned U.S. government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ginnie Mae is authorized to guarantee, with the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, the timely payment of principal and interest on securities issued by the institutions approved by Ginnie Mae (such as savings and loan institutions, commercial banks and mortgage banks), and backed by pools of Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”)-insured or Veterans’ Administration (“VA”)-guaranteed mortgages. Pass-through certificates guaranteed by Ginnie Mae (such certificates are also known as “Ginnie Maes”) are guaranteed as to the timely payment of principal and interest by Ginnie Mae, whose guarantee is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Ginnie Mae is a wholly-owned U.S. Government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ginnie Mae certificates also are supported by the authority of Ginnie Mae to borrow funds from the U.S. Treasury Department to make payments under its guarantee. Mortgage-related securities issued by Fannie Mae include Fannie Mae guaranteed Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates (also known as “Fannie Maes”), which are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest by Fannie Mae. They are not backed by or entitled to the full faith and credit of the United States, but are supported by the right of Fannie Mae to borrow from the U.S. Treasury Department. Fannie Mae was established as a federal agency in 1938 and in 1968 was chartered by Congress as a private shareholder-owned company. Mortgage-related securities issued by the Freddie Mac include Freddie Mac Mortgage Participation Certificates (also known as “Freddie Macs” or “PCs”). Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation chartered by Congress in 1970. Freddie Macs are not guaranteed by the United States or by any Federal Home Loan Banks and do not constitute a debt or obligation of the United States or of any Federal Home Loan Bank. Freddie Macs entitle the holder to timely payment of interest, which is guaranteed by Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac guarantees either ultimate collection or timely payment of all principal payments on the underlying mortgage loans. While Freddie Mac generally does not guarantee timely payment of principal, Freddie Mac may remit the amount due on account of its guarantee of ultimate payment of principal at any time after default on an underlying mortgage, but in no event later than one year after it becomes payable. On September 6, 2008, Director James Lockhart of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) appointed FHFA as conservator of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In addition the U.S. Treasury Department agreed to provide Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac up to $100 billion of capital each on an as needed basis to insure that they continue to provide liquidity to the housing and mortgage markets.

Private mortgage pass-through securities are structured similarly to Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac mortgage pass-through securities and are issued by originators of and investors in mortgage loans, including depository institutions, mortgage banks, investment banks and special purpose subsidiaries of the foregoing.

Pools created by private mortgage pass-through issuers generally offer a higher rate of interest than government and government-related pools because there are no direct or indirect government or agency guarantees of payments in the private pools. However, timely payment of interest and principal of these pools may be supported by various forms of insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance and letters of credit. The insurance and guarantees are issued by governmental entities, private insurers and the mortgage poolers. The insurance and guarantees and the creditworthiness of the issuers thereof will be considered in determining whether a mortgage-related security meets a Fund’s investment quality standards. There can be no assurance that the private insurers or guarantors can meet their obligations under the insurance policies or guarantee arrangements. Private mortgage pass-through securities may be bought without insurance or guarantees if, through an examination of the loan experience and practices of the originator/servicers and poolers, the Manager determines that the securities meet a Fund’s quality standards. Any mortgage-related securities that are issued by private issuers have some exposure to subprime loans as well as to the mortgage and credit markets generally.

In addition, mortgage-related securities that are issued by private issuers are not subject to the underwriting requirements for the underlying mortgages that are applicable to those mortgage-related securities that have a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee. As a result, the mortgage loans underlying private mortgage-related securities may, and frequently do, have less favorable collateral, credit risk or other underwriting characteristics than government or government-sponsored mortgage-related securities and have wider variances in a number of terms including interest rate, term, size, purpose and borrower characteristics. Privately issued pools more frequently include second mortgages, high loan-to-value mortgages and manufactured housing loans. The coupon rates and maturities of the underlying mortgage loans in a private-label mortgage-related securities pool may vary to a greater extent than those included in a government guaranteed pool, and the pool may include subprime mortgage loans. Subprime loans refer to loans

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made to borrowers with weakened credit histories or with a lower capacity to make timely payments on their loans. For these reasons, the loans underlying these securities have had in many cases higher default rates than those loans that meet government underwriting requirements.

The risk of non-payment is greater for mortgage-related securities that are backed by mortgage pools that contain subprime loans, but a level of risk exists for all loans. Market factors adversely affecting mortgage loan repayments may include a general economic turndown, high unemployment, a general slowdown in the real estate market, a drop in the market prices of real estate, or an increase in interest rates resulting in higher mortgage payments by holders of adjustable rate mortgages.

Privately issued mortgage-related securities are not traded on an exchange and there may be a limited market for the securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, mortgage-related securities held in a fund’s portfolio may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying mortgage loans.

A Fund from time to time may purchase in the secondary market (i) certain mortgage pass-through securities packaged and master serviced by PNC Mortgage Securities Corp. (“PNC Mortgage”) or Midland Loan Services, Inc. (“Midland”), or (ii) mortgage-related securities containing loans or mortgages originated by PNC Bank, National Association (“PNC Bank”) or its affiliates. It is possible that under some circumstances, PNC Mortgage, Midland or other affiliates could have interests that are in conflict with the holders of these mortgage-backed securities, and such holders could have rights against PNC Mortgage, Midland or their affiliates. For example, if PNC Mortgage, Midland or their affiliates engaged in negligence or willful misconduct in carrying out its duties as a master servicer, then any holder of the mortgage-backed security could seek recourse against PNC Mortgage, Midland or their affiliates, as applicable. Also, as a master servicer, PNC Mortgage, Midland or their affiliates may make certain representations and warranties regarding the quality of the mortgages and properties underlying a mortgage-backed security. If one or more of those representations or warranties is false, then the holders of the mortgage-backed securities could trigger an obligation of PNC Mortgage, Midland or their affiliates, as applicable, to repurchase the mortgages from the issuing trust. Finally, PNC Mortgage, Midland or their affiliates may own securities that are subordinate to the senior mortgage-backed securities owned by a Fund.

Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (“CMOs”). CMOs are debt obligations collateralized by residential or commercial mortgage loans or residential or commercial mortgage pass-through securities. Interest and prepaid principal are generally paid monthly. CMOs may be collateralized by whole mortgage loans or private mortgage pass-through securities but are more typically collateralized by portfolios of mortgage pass-through securities guaranteed by Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Fannie Mae. The issuer of a series of CMOs may elect to be treated as a Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (“REMIC”). All future references to CMOs also include REMICs.

CMOs are structured into multiple classes, often referred to as a “tranche,” each issued at a specific adjustable or fixed interest rate, and bearing a different stated maturity date and each must be fully retired no later than its final distribution date. Actual maturity and average life will depend upon the prepayment experience of the collateral, which is ordinarily unrelated to the stated maturity date. CMOs often provide for a modified form of call protection through a de facto breakdown of the underlying pool of mortgages according to how quickly the loans are repaid. Monthly payment of principal received from the pool of underlying mortgages, including prepayments, is first returned to investors holding the shortest maturity class. Investors holding the longer maturity classes usually receive principal only after the first class has been retired. An investor may be partially protected against a sooner than desired return of principal because of the sequential payments.

Certain issuers of CMOs are not considered investment companies pursuant to a rule adopted by the Commission, and a Fund may invest in the securities of such issuers without the limitations imposed by the Investment Company Act on investments by a Fund in other investment companies. In addition, in reliance on an earlier Commission interpretation, a Fund’s investments in certain other qualifying CMOs, which cannot or do not rely on the rule, are also not subject to the limitation of the Investment Company Act on acquiring interests in other investment companies. In order to be able to rely on the Commission’s interpretation, these CMOs must be unmanaged, fixed asset issuers, that: (1) invest primarily in mortgage-backed securities; (2) do not issue redeemable securities; (3) operate under general exemptive orders exempting them from all provisions of the Investment Company Act; and (4) are not registered or regulated under the Investment Company Act as investment companies. To the extent that a Fund selects CMOs that cannot rely on the rule or do not meet the above requirements, the Fund may not invest more than 10% of its assets in all such entities and may not acquire more than 3% of the voting securities of any single such entity.

A Fund may also invest in, among other things, parallel pay CMOs, Planned Amortization Class CMOs (“PAC bonds”), sequential pay CMOs, and floating rate CMOs. Parallel pay CMOs are structured to provide payments of principal on each payment date to more than one class. PAC bonds generally require payments of a specified amount of principal on each payment date. Sequential pay CMOs generally pay principal to only one class at a time while paying interest to several classes. Floating rate CMOs are securities whose coupon rate fluctuates according to some formula related to an existing market index or rate. Typical indices would include the eleventh district cost-of-funds index (“COFI”), LIBOR, one-year Treasury yields, and ten-year Treasury yields.

Classes of CMOs also include planned amortization classes (“PACs”) and targeted amortization classes (“TACs”). PAC bonds generally require payments of a specified amount of principal on each payment date. The scheduled principal

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payments for PAC Certificates generally have the highest priority on each payment date after interest due has been paid to all classes entitled to receive interest currently. Shortfalls, if any, are added to the amount payable on the next payment date. The PAC Certificate payment schedule is taken into account in calculating the final distribution date of each class of PAC. In order to create PAC tranches, one or more tranches generally must be created that absorb most of the volatility in the underlying mortgage assets. These tranches (often called “supports” or “companion” tranches) tend to have market prices and yields that are more volatile than the PAC classes.

TACs are similar to PACs in that they require that specified amounts of principal be applied on each payment date to one or more classes of REMIC Certificates. A PAC’s payment schedule, however, remains in effect as long as prepayment rates on the underlying mortgages do not exceed certain ranges. In contrast, a TAC provides investors with protection, to a certain level, against either faster than expected or slower than expected prepayment rates, but not both. TACs thus provide more cash flow stability than a regular sequential paying class, but less than a PAC. TACs also tend to have market prices and yields that are more volatile than PACs.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage Securities. Adjustable rate mortgage securities (“ARMs”) are pass-through securities collateralized by mortgages with adjustable rather than fixed rates. ARMs eligible for inclusion in a mortgage pool generally provide for a fixed initial mortgage interest rate for a set number of scheduled monthly payments. After that schedule of payments has been completed, the interest rates are subject to periodic adjustment based on changes to a designated benchmark index.

ARMs contain maximum and minimum rates beyond which the mortgage interest rate may not vary over the lifetime of the security. In addition, certain ARMs provide for additional limitations on the maximum amount by which the mortgage interest rate may adjust for any single adjustment period. In the event that market rates of interest rise more rapidly to levels above that of the ARM’s maximum rate, the ARM’s coupon may represent a below market rate of interest. In these circumstances, the market value of the ARM security will likely have fallen.

Certain ARMs contain limitations on changes in the required monthly payment. In the event that a monthly payment is not sufficient to pay the interest accruing on an ARM, any such excess interest is added to the principal balance of the mortgage loan, which is repaid through future monthly payments. If the monthly payment for such an instrument exceeds the sum of the interest accrued at the applicable mortgage interest rate and the principal payment required at such point to amortize the outstanding principal balance over the remaining term of the loan, the excess is then used to reduce the outstanding principal balance of the ARM.

CMO Residuals. CMO residuals are derivative mortgage securities issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, homebuilders, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks, and special purpose entities of the foregoing. The cash flow generated by the mortgage assets underlying a series of CMOs is applied first to make required payments of principal and interest on the CMOs and second to pay the related administrative expenses of the issuer. The residual in a CMO structure generally represents the interest in any excess cash flow remaining after making the foregoing payments. Each payment of such excess cash flow to a holder of the related CMO residual represents income and/or a return of capital. The amount of residual cash flow resulting from a CMO will depend on, among other things, the characteristics of the mortgage assets, the coupon rate of each class of CMO, prevailing interest rates, the amount of administrative expenses and the prepayment experience on the mortgage assets. In part, the yield to maturity on the CMO residuals is extremely sensitive to prepayments on the related underlying mortgage assets, in the same manner as an interest-only (“IO”) class of stripped mortgage-related securities. In addition, if a series of a CMO includes a class that bears interest at an adjustable rate, the yield to maturity on the related CMO residual will also be extremely sensitive to changes in the level of the index upon which interest rate adjustments are based. In certain circumstances, a Fund may fail to recoup fully its initial investment in a CMO residual.

CMO residuals are generally purchased and sold by institutional investors through one or more investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers. The CMO residual market has developed relatively recently and CMO residuals may not have the liquidity of other more established securities trading in other markets. Transactions in CMO residuals are generally completed only after careful review of the characteristics of the securities in question. In addition, CMO residuals may or, pursuant to an exemption therefrom, may not have been registered under the Securities Act. Residual interests generally are junior to, and may be significantly more volatile than, “regular” CMO and REMIC interests.

Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities. A Fund may invest in stripped mortgage-backed securities (“SMBSs”) issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the United States. SMBSs are derivative multi-class mortgage-backed securities. SMBS arrangements commonly involve two classes of securities that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of mortgage assets. A common variety of SMBS is where one class (the principal only or PO class) receives some of the interest and most of the principal from the underlying assets, while the other class (the interest only or IO class) receives most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. In the most extreme case, the IO class receives all of the interest, while the PO class receives all of the principal. While a Fund may purchase securities of a PO class, a Fund is more likely to purchase the securities of an IO class. The yield to maturity of an IO class is extremely sensitive to the rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the related underlying assets, and a rapid rate of principal payments in excess of that considered in pricing the securities will have a material adverse effect on an IO

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security’s yield to maturity. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated payments of principal, a Fund may fail to recoup fully its initial investment in IOs. In addition, there are certain types of IOs that represent the interest portion of a particular class as opposed to the interest portion of the entire pool. The sensitivity of this type of IO to interest rate fluctuations may be increased because of the characteristics of the principal portion to which they relate. As a result of the above factors, a Fund generally will purchase IOs only as a component of so called “synthetic” securities. This means that purchases of IOs will be matched with certain purchases of other securities, such as POs, inverse floating rate CMOs or fixed rate securities; as interest rates fall, presenting a greater risk of unanticipated prepayments of principal, the negative effect on a Fund because of its holdings of IOs should be diminished somewhat because of the increased yield on the inverse floating rate CMOs or the increased appreciation on the POs or fixed rate securities.

Tiered Index Bonds. Tiered index bonds are relatively new forms of mortgage-related securities. The interest rate on a tiered index bond is tied to a specified index or market rate. So long as this index or market rate is below a predetermined “strike” rate, the interest rate on the tiered index bond remains fixed. If, however, the specified index or market rate rises above the “strike” rate, the interest rate of the tiered index bond will decrease. Thus, under these circumstances, the interest rate on a tiered index bond, like an inverse floater, will move in the opposite direction of prevailing interest rates, with the result that the price of the tiered index bond may be considerably more volatile than that of a fixed-rate bond.

TBA Commitments. Certain Funds may enter into “to be announced” or “TBA” commitments. TBA commitments are forward agreements for the purchase or sale of securities, including mortgage-backed securities for a fixed price, with payment and delivery on an agreed upon future settlement date. The specific securities to be delivered are not identified at the trade date. However, delivered securities must meet specified terms, including issuer, rate and mortgage terms. See “When Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments” below.

Municipal Bonds. Certain Funds may invest in obligations issued by or on behalf of states, territories and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities, the payments from which, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, are excludable from gross income for Federal income tax purposes (“Municipal Bonds”). Municipal Bonds include debt obligations issued to obtain funds for various public purposes, including the construction of a wide range of public facilities, refunding of outstanding obligations and obtaining funds for general operating expenses and loans to other public institutions and facilities. In addition, certain types of bonds are issued by or on behalf of public authorities to finance various privately owned or operated facilities, including certain facilities for the local furnishing of electric energy or gas, sewage facilities, solid waste disposal facilities and other specialized facilities. Such obligations are included within the term Municipal Bonds if the interest paid thereon is excluded from gross income for Federal income tax purposes and any applicable state and local taxes. Other types of private activity bonds, the proceeds of which are used for the construction, equipment or improvement of privately operated industrial or commercial facilities, may constitute Municipal Bonds, although the current Federal tax laws place substantial limitations on the size of such issues. The interest on Municipal Bonds may bear a fixed rate or be payable at a variable or floating rate. The two principal classifications of Municipal Bonds are “general obligation” and “revenue” or “special obligation” bonds, which latter category includes private activity bonds (“PABs”) (or “industrial development bonds” under pre-1986 law).

General Obligation Bonds. General obligation bonds are secured by the issuer’s pledge of its full faith, credit and taxing power for the payment of principal and interest. The taxing power of any governmental entity may be limited, however, by provisions of its state constitution or laws, and an entity’s creditworthiness will depend on many factors, including potential erosion of its tax base due to population declines, natural disasters, declines in the state’s industrial base or inability to attract new industries, economic limits on the ability to tax without eroding the tax base, state legislative proposals or voter initiatives to limit ad valorem real property taxes and the extent to which the entity relies on Federal or state aid, access to capital markets or other factors beyond the state’s or entity’s control. Accordingly, the capacity of the issuer of a general obligation bond as to the timely payment of interest and the repayment of principal when due is affected by the issuer’s maintenance of its tax base.

Revenue Bonds. Revenue bonds are payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or, in some cases, from the proceeds of a special excise tax or other specific revenue source such as payments from the user of the facility being financed; accordingly, the timely payment of interest and the repayment of principal in accordance with the terms of the revenue or special obligation bond is a function of the economic viability of such facility or such revenue source.

Revenue bonds issued by state or local agencies to finance the development of low-income, multi-family housing involve special risks in addition to those associated with municipal bonds generally, including that the underlying properties may not generate sufficient income to pay expenses and interest costs. Such bonds are generally non-recourse against the property owner, may be junior to the rights of others with an interest in the properties, may pay interest that changes based in part on the financial performance of the property, may be prepayable without penalty and may be used to finance the construction of housing developments which, until completed and rented, do not generate income to pay interest. Increases in interest rates payable on senior obligations may make it more difficult for issuers to meet payment obligations on subordinated bonds.

PABs. PABs are, in most cases, tax-exempt securities issued by states, municipalities or public authorities to provide funds, usually through a loan or lease arrangement, to a private entity for the purpose of financing construction or improvement of a facility to be used

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by the entity. Such bonds are secured primarily by revenues derived from loan repayments or lease payments due from the entity, which may or may not be guaranteed by a parent company or otherwise secured. PABs generally are not secured by a pledge of the taxing power of the issuer of such bonds. Therefore, an investor should understand that repayment of such bonds generally depends on the revenues of a private entity and be aware of the risks that such an investment may entail. The continued ability of an entity to generate sufficient revenues for the payment of principal and interest on such bonds will be affected by many factors including the size of the entity, its capital structure, demand for its products or services, competition, general economic conditions, government regulation and the entity’s dependence on revenues for the operation of the particular facility being financed.

Participation Notes. A Fund may buy participation notes from a bank or broker-dealer (“issuer”) that entitle the Fund to a return measured by the change in value of an identified underlying security or basket of securities (collectively, the “underlying security”). Participation notes are typically used when a direct investment in the underlying security is restricted due to country-specific regulations.

The Fund is subject to counterparty risk associated with each issuer. Investment in a participation note is not the same as investment in the constituent shares of the company. A participation note represents only an obligation of the issuer to provide the Fund the economic performance equivalent to holding shares of an underlying security. A participation note does not provide any beneficial or equitable entitlement or interest in the relevant underlying security. In other words, shares of the underlying security are not in any way owned by the Fund. However each participation note synthetically replicates the economic benefit of holding shares in the underlying security. Because a participation note is an obligation of the issuer, rather than a direct investment in shares of the underlying security, the Fund may suffer losses potentially equal to the full value of the participation note if the issuer fails to perform its obligations. A Fund attempts to mitigate that risk by purchasing only from issuers which BlackRock deems to be creditworthy.

The counterparty may, but is not required to, purchase the shares of the underlying security to hedge its obligation. The fund may, but is not required to, purchase credit protection against the default of the issuer. When the participation note expires or a Fund exercises the participation note and closes its position, that Fund receives a payment that is based upon the then-current value of the underlying security converted into U.S. dollars (less transaction costs). The price, performance and liquidity of the participation note are all linked directly to the underlying security. A Fund’s ability to redeem or exercise a participation note generally is dependent on the liquidity in the local trading market for the security underlying the participation note.

Pay-in-kind Bonds. Certain Funds may invest in Pay-in-kind, or PIK, bonds. PIK bonds are bonds which pay interest through the issuance of additional debt or equity securities. Similar to zero coupon obligations, pay-in-kind bonds also carry additional risk as holders of these types of securities realize no cash until the cash payment date unless a portion of such securities is sold and, if the issuer defaults, a Fund may obtain no return at all on its investment. The market price of pay-in-kind bonds is affected by interest rate changes to a greater extent, and therefore tends to be more volatile, than that of securities which pay interest in cash. Additionally, current federal tax law requires the holder of certain pay-in-kind bonds to accrue income with respect to these securities prior to the receipt of cash payments. To maintain its qualification as a regulated investment company and avoid liability for federal income and excise taxes, each Fund may be required to distribute income accrued with respect to these securities and may have to dispose of portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances in order to generate cash to satisfy these distribution requirements.

Portfolio Turnover Rates. A Fund’s annual portfolio turnover rate will not be a factor preventing a sale or purchase when the Manager believes investment considerations warrant such sale or purchase. Although each of S&P 500 Index Fund, Small Cap Index Fund, International Index Fund and Index Equity will use an approach to investing that is largely a passive, indexing approach, each Fund may engage in a substantial number of portfolio transactions. With respect to these Funds, the rate of portfolio turnover will be a limiting factor when the Manager considers whether to purchase or sell securities for a Fund only to the extent that the Manager will consider the impact of transaction costs on a Fund’s tracking error. Portfolio turnover may vary greatly from year to year as well as within a particular year. High portfolio turnover (i.e., 100% or more) may result in increased transaction costs to a Fund, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of the securities and reinvestment in other securities. The sale of a Fund’s securities may result in the recognition of capital gain or loss. Given the frequency of sales, such gain or loss will likely be short-term capital gain or loss. These effects of higher than normal portfolio turnover may adversely affect a Fund’s performance.

Preferred Stock. Certain of the Funds may invest in preferred stocks. Preferred stock has a preference over common stock in liquidation (and generally dividends as well) but is subordinated to the liabilities of the issuer in all respects. As a general rule, the market value of preferred stock with a fixed dividend rate and no conversion element varies inversely with interest rates and perceived credit risk, while the market price of convertible preferred stock generally also reflects some element of conversion value. Because preferred stock is junior to debt securities and other obligations of the issuer, deterioration in the credit quality of the issuer will cause greater changes in the value of a preferred stock than in a more senior debt security with similar stated yield characteristics. Unlike interest payments on debt securities, preferred stock dividends are payable only if declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Preferred stock also may be subject to optional or mandatory redemption provisions.

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Real Estate Related Securities. Although no Fund may invest directly in real estate, certain Funds may invest in equity securities of issuers that are principally engaged in the real estate industry. Such investments are subject to certain risks associated with the ownership of real estate and with the real estate industry in general. These risks include, among others: possible declines in the value of real estate; risks related to general and local economic conditions; possible lack of availability of mortgage funds or other limitations on access to capital; overbuilding; risks associated with leverage; market illiquidity; extended vacancies of properties; increase in competition, property taxes, capital expenditures and operating expenses; changes in zoning laws or other governmental regulation; costs resulting from the clean-up of, and liability to third parties for damages resulting from, environmental problems; tenant bankruptcies or other credit problems; casualty or condemnation losses; uninsured damages from floods, earthquakes or other natural disasters; limitations on and variations in rents, including decreases in market rates for rents; investment in developments that are not completed or that are subject to delays in completion; and changes in interest rates. To the extent that assets underlying a Fund’s investments are concentrated geographically, by property type or in certain other respects, the Fund may be subject to certain of the foregoing risks to a greater extent. Investments by a Fund in securities of companies providing mortgage servicing will be subject to the risks associated with refinancings and their impact on servicing rights.

In addition, if a Fund receives rental income or income from the disposition of real property acquired as a result of a default on securities the Fund owns, the receipt of such income may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to retain its tax status as a regulated investment company because of certain income source requirements applicable to regulated investment companies under the Code.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”). In pursuing its investment strategy, a Fund may invest in shares of REITs. REITs possess certain risks which differ from an investment in common stocks. REITs are financial vehicles that pool investor’s capital to purchase or finance real estate. REITs may concentrate their investments in specific geographic areas or in specific property types, i.e., hotels, shopping malls, residential complexes and office buildings.

REITs are subject to management fees and other expenses, and so a Fund that invests in REITs will bear its proportionate share of the costs of the REITs’ operations. There are three general categories of REITs: Equity REITs, Mortgage REITs and Hybrid REITs. Equity REITs invest primarily in direct fee ownership or leasehold ownership of real property; they derive most of their income from rents. Mortgage REITs invest mostly in mortgages on real estate, which may secure construction, development or long-term loans; the main source of their income is mortgage interest payments. Hybrid REITs hold both ownership and mortgage interests in real estate.

Investing in REITs involves certain unique risks in addition to those risks associated with investing in the real estate industry in general. The market value of REIT shares and the ability of the REITs to distribute income may be adversely affected by several factors, including rising interest rates, changes in the national, state and local economic climate and real estate conditions, perceptions of prospective tenants of the safety, convenience and attractiveness of the properties, the ability of the owners to provide adequate management, maintenance and insurance, the cost of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act, increased competition from new properties, the impact of present or future environmental legislation and compliance with environmental laws, failing to maintain their exemptions from registration under the Investment Company Act, changes in real estate taxes and other operating expenses, adverse changes in governmental rules and fiscal policies, adverse changes in zoning laws and other factors beyond the control of the issuers of the REITs. In addition, distributions received by a Fund from REITs may consist of dividends, capital gains and/or return of capital. As REITs generally pay a higher rate of dividends (on a pre-tax basis) than operating companies, to the extent application of the Fund’s investment strategy results in the Fund investing in REIT shares, the percentage of the Fund’s dividend income received from REIT shares will likely exceed the percentage of the Fund’s portfolio which is comprised of REIT shares. Generally, dividends received by a Fund from REIT shares and distributed to the Fund’s shareholders will not constitute “qualified dividend income” eligible for the reduced tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income; therefore, the tax rate applicable to that portion of the dividend income attributable to REIT shares held by the Fund that shareholders of the Fund receive will be taxed at a higher rate than dividends eligible for the reduced tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income.

REITs (especially mortgage REITs) are also subject to interest rate risk. Rising interest rates may cause REIT investors to demand a higher annual yield, which may, in turn, cause a decline in the market price of the equity securities issued by a REIT. Rising interest rates also generally increase the costs of obtaining financing, which could cause the value of a Fund’s REIT investments to decline. During periods when interest rates are declining, mortgages are often refinanced. Refinancing may reduce the yield on investments in mortgage REITs. In addition, since REITs depend on payment under their mortgage loans and leases to generate cash to make distributions to their shareholders, investments in REITs may be adversely affected by defaults on such mortgage loans or leases.

Investing in certain REITs, which often have small market capitalizations, may also involve the same risks as investing in other small capitalization companies. REITs may have limited financial resources and their securities may trade less frequently and in limited volume and may be subject to more abrupt or erratic price movements than larger company securities. Historically, small capitalization stocks, such as REITs, have been more volatile in price than the larger capitalization stocks such as those included in the S&P 500 Index. The management of a REIT may be subject to conflicts of interest with respect to the operation of the business of the REIT and may be involved in real estate activities competitive with the REIT. REITs may own properties through joint ventures or in other circumstances in which the REIT may not have control over its investments. REITs may incur significant amounts of leverage.

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Repurchase Agreements and Purchase and Sale Contracts. Under repurchase agreements and purchase and sale contracts, the other party agrees, upon entering into the contract with a Fund, to repurchase a security sold to the Fund at a mutually agreed-upon time and price in a specified currency, thereby determining the yield during the term of the agreement.

A purchase and sale contract differs from a repurchase agreement in that the contract arrangements stipulate that securities are owned by the Fund and the purchaser receives any interest on the security paid during the period. In the case of repurchase agreements, the prices at which the trades are conducted do not reflect accrued interest on the underlying obligation; whereas, in the case of purchase and sale contracts, the prices take into account accrued interest. A Fund may enter into “tri-party” repurchase agreements. In “tri-party” repurchase agreements, an unaffiliated third party custodian maintains accounts to hold collateral for the Fund and its counterparties and, therefore, the Fund may be subject to the credit risk of those custodians.

Some repurchase agreements and purchase and sale contracts are structured to result in a fixed rate of return insulated from market fluctuations during the term of the agreement, although such return may be affected by currency fluctuations. However, in the event of a default under a repurchase agreement or under a purchase and sale contract, instead of the contractual fixed rate, the rate of return to the Fund would be dependent upon intervening fluctuations of the market values of the securities underlying the contract and the accrued interest on those securities. In such event, the Fund would have rights against the seller for breach of contract with respect to any losses arising from market fluctuations following the default.

Both types of agreement usually cover short periods, such as less than one week, although they may have longer terms, and may be construed to be collateralized loans by the purchaser to the seller secured by the securities transferred to the purchaser. In the case of a repurchase agreement, as a purchaser, a Fund’s Manager or sub-adviser will monitor the creditworthiness of the seller, and a Fund will require the seller to provide additional collateral if the market value of the securities falls below the repurchase price at any time during the term of the repurchase agreement. The Fund does not have this right to seek additional collateral as a purchaser in the case of purchase and sale contracts. The Fund’s Manager or sub-adviser will mark-to-market daily the value of the securities. Securities subject to repurchase agreements (other than tri-party repurchase agreements) and purchase and sale contracts will be held by the Fund’s custodian (or sub-custodian) in the Federal Reserve/Treasury book-entry system or by another authorized securities depository.

In the event of default by the seller under a repurchase agreement construed to be a collateralized loan, the underlying securities are not owned by the Fund but only constitute collateral for the seller’s obligation to pay the repurchase price. Therefore, the Fund may suffer time delays and incur costs or possible losses in connection with disposition of the collateral. If the seller becomes insolvent and subject to liquidation or reorganization under applicable bankruptcy or other laws, a Fund’s ability to dispose of the underlying securities may be restricted. Finally, it is possible that a Fund may not be able to substantiate its interest in the underlying securities. To minimize this risk, the securities underlying the repurchase agreement will be held by the applicable custodian at all times in an amount at least equal to the repurchase price, including accrued interest. If the seller fails to repurchase the securities, a Fund may suffer a loss to the extent proceeds from the sale of the underlying securities are less than the repurchase price.

In any repurchase transaction to which a Fund is a party, collateral for a repurchase agreement may include cash items and obligations issued by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities. For certain Funds, however, collateral may include instruments other than cash items and obligations issued by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities, including securities that the Fund could not hold directly under its investment strategies without the repurchase obligation.

The type of collateral underlying repurchase agreements may also pose certain risks for a Fund. Lower quality collateral and collateral with longer maturities may be subject to greater price fluctuations than higher quality collateral and collateral with shorter maturities. If the repurchase agreement counterparty were to default, lower quality collateral may be more difficult to liquidate than higher quality collateral. Should the counterparty default and the amount of collateral not be sufficient to cover the counterparty’s repurchase obligation, a Fund would retain the status of an unsecured creditor of the counterparty (i.e., the position the Fund would normally be in if it were to hold, pursuant to its investment policies, other unsecured debt securities of the defaulting counterparty) with respect to the amount of the shortfall. As an unsecured creditor, a Fund would be at risk of losing some or all of the principal and income involved in the transaction.

A Fund may not invest in repurchase agreements or purchase and sale contracts maturing in more than seven days if such investments, together with the Fund’s other illiquid investments, would exceed 15% of the Fund’s net assets. Repurchase agreements and purchase and sale contracts may be entered into only with financial institutions that have capital of at least $50 million or whose obligations are guaranteed by an entity that has capital of at least $50 million.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements. A Fund may enter into reverse repurchase agreements with the same parties with whom it may enter into repurchase agreements. Under a reverse repurchase agreement, a Fund sells securities to another party and agrees to repurchase them at a particular date and price. A Fund may enter into a reverse repurchase agreement when it is anticipated that the interest income to be earned from the investment of the proceeds of the transaction is greater than the interest expense of the transaction.

At the time a Fund enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it will segregate liquid assets with a value not less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest). The use of reverse repurchase agreements may be regarded as leveraging and, therefore, speculative. Furthermore, reverse repurchase agreements involve the risks that (i) the interest income earned in the investment of the proceeds will be less than the interest expense, (ii) the market value of the securities retained in lieu of sale by a Fund may decline below the price of the securities the Fund has sold but is obligated to repurchase, (iii) the market value of the securities sold will decline below the price at which the Fund is required to repurchase them and (iv) the securities will not be returned to the Fund.

In addition, if the buyer of securities under a reverse repurchase agreement files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, such buyer or its trustee or receiver may receive an extension of time to determine whether to enforce a Fund’s obligations to repurchase the securities and the Fund’s use of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement may effectively be restricted pending such decision.

Rights Offerings and Warrants to Purchase. Certain Funds may participate in rights offerings and may purchase warrants, which are privileges issued by corporations enabling the owners to subscribe to and purchase a specified number of shares of the corporation at a specified price during a specified period of time. Subscription rights normally have a short life span to expiration. The purchase of rights or warrants involves the risk that a Fund could lose the purchase value of a right or warrant if the right to subscribe to additional shares

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is not exercised prior to the rights’ and warrants’ expiration. Also, the purchase of rights and/or warrants involves the risk that the effective price paid for the right and/or warrant added to the subscription price of the related security may exceed the value of the subscribed security’s market price such as when there is no movement in the level of the underlying security. Buying a warrant does not make the Fund a shareholder of the underlying stock. The warrant holder has no voting or dividend rights with respect to the underlying stock. A warrant does not carry any right to assets of the issuer, and for this reason investment in warrants may be more speculative than other equity-based investments.

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

With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower may be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. The Funds are 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, a Fund is compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. Any cash collateral received by the Fund for such loans, and uninvested cash, may be invested, among other things, in a private investment company managed by an affiliate of the Manager or in registered money market funds advised by the Manager or its affiliates; such investments are subject to investment risk.

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 each Fund has agreed to pay a borrower), and credit, legal, counterparty and market risk. If a securities lending counterparty were to default, a Fund would be subject to the risk of a possible delay in receiving collateral or in recovering the loaned securities, or to a possible loss of rights in the collateral. In the event a borrower does not return a Fund’s securities as agreed, the Fund may experience losses if the proceeds received from liquidating the collateral do not at least equal the value of the loaned security at the time the collateral is liquidated, plus the transaction costs incurred in purchasing replacement securities. This event could trigger adverse tax consequences for a Fund. A Fund could lose money if its short-term investment of the collateral declines in value over the period of the loan. Substitute payments for dividends received by a Fund for securities loaned out by the Fund will not be considered qualified dividend income. The securities lending agent will take the tax effects on shareholders of this difference into account in connection with the Fund’s securities lending program. Substitute payments received on tax-exempt securities loaned out will not be tax-exempt income.

Securities of Smaller or Emerging Growth Companies. Investment in smaller or emerging growth companies involves greater risk than is customarily associated with investments in more established companies. The securities of smaller or emerging growth companies may be subject to more abrupt or erratic market movements than larger, more established companies or the market average in general. These companies may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources, or they may be dependent on a limited management group.

While smaller or emerging growth company issuers may offer greater opportunities for capital appreciation than large cap issuers, investments in smaller or emerging growth companies may involve greater risks and thus may be considered speculative. Fund management believes that properly selected companies of this type have the potential to increase their earnings or market valuation at a rate substantially in excess of the general growth of the economy. Full development of these companies and trends frequently takes time.

Small cap and emerging growth securities will often be traded only in the OTC market or on a regional securities exchange and may not be traded every day or in the volume typical of trading on a national securities exchange. As a result, the disposition by a Fund of portfolio securities to meet redemptions or otherwise may require the Fund to make many small sales over a lengthy period of time, or to sell these securities at a discount from market prices or during periods when, in Fund management’s judgment, such disposition is not desirable.

The process of selection and continuous supervision by Fund management does not, of course, guarantee successful investment results; however, it does provide access to an asset class not available to the average individual due to the time and cost involved. Careful initial selection is particularly important in this area as many new enterprises have promise but lack certain of the fundamental factors necessary to prosper. Investing in small cap and emerging growth companies requires specialized research and analysis. In addition, many investors cannot invest sufficient assets in such companies to provide wide diversification.

Small companies are generally little known to most individual investors although some may be dominant in their respective industries. Fund management believes that relatively small companies will continue to have the opportunity to develop into significant business enterprises. A Fund may invest in securities of small issuers in the relatively early stages of business development that have a new technology, a unique or proprietary product or service, or a favorable market position. Such companies may not be counted upon to

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develop into major industrial companies, but Fund management believes that eventual recognition of their special value characteristics by the investment community can provide above-average long-term growth to the portfolio.

Equity securities of specific small cap issuers may present different opportunities for long-term capital appreciation during varying portions of economic or securities market cycles, as well as during varying stages of their business development. The market valuation of small cap issuers tends to fluctuate during economic or market cycles, presenting attractive investment opportunities at various points during these cycles.

Smaller companies, due to the size and kinds of markets that they serve, may be less susceptible than large companies to intervention from the Federal government by means of price controls, regulations or litigation.

Short Sales. Certain Funds may make short sales of securities, either as a hedge against potential declines in value of a portfolio security or to realize appreciation when a security that the Fund does not own declines in value. Certain Funds have a fundamental investment restriction prohibiting short sales of securities other than short sales against-the-box. In a short sale against-the-box, at the time of the sale, the Fund owns or has the immediate and unconditional right to acquire the identical security at no additional cost. When a Fund makes a short sale, it borrows the security sold short and delivers it to the broker-dealer through which it made the short sale. A Fund may have to pay a fee to borrow particular securities and is often obligated to turn over any payments received on such borrowed securities to the lender of the securities.

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

Because making short sales in securities that it does not own exposes a Fund to the risks associated with those securities, such short sales involve speculative exposure risk. A Fund will incur a loss as a result of a short sale if the price of the security increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the borrowed security. As a result, if a Fund makes short sales in securities that increase in value, it will likely underperform similar mutual funds that do not make short sales in securities. A Fund will realize a gain on a short sale if the security declines in price between those dates. There can be no assurance that a Fund will be able to close out a short sale position at any particular time or at an acceptable price. Although a Fund’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is limited only by the maximum attainable price of the security, less the price at which the security was sold and may, theoretically, be unlimited.

Sovereign Debt. Investment in sovereign debt can involve a high degree of risk. The governmental entity that controls the repayment of sovereign debt may not be able or willing to repay the principal and/or interest when due in accordance with the terms of such debt. A governmental entity’s willingness or ability to repay principal and interest due in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its foreign reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign exchange on the date a payment is due, the relative size of the debt service burden to the economy as a whole, the governmental entity’s policy towards the International Monetary Fund and the political constraints to which a governmental entity may be subject. Governmental entities may also be dependent on expected disbursements from foreign governments, multilateral agencies and others abroad to reduce principal and interest arrearages on their debt. The commitment on the part of these governments, agencies and others to make such disbursements may be conditioned on the implementation of economic reforms and/or economic performance and the timely service of such debtor’s obligations. Failure to implement such reforms, achieve such levels of economic performance or repay principal or interest when due may result in the cancellation of such third parties’ commitments to lend funds to the governmental entity, which may further impair such debtor’s ability or willingness to timely service its debts. Consequently, governmental entities may default on their sovereign debt.

Holders of sovereign debt may be requested to participate in the rescheduling of such debt and to extend further loans to governmental entities. In the event of a default by a governmental entity, there may be few or no effective legal remedies for collecting on such debt.

Standby Commitment Agreements. Standby commitment agreements commit a Fund, for a stated period of time, to purchase a stated amount of securities that may be issued and sold to that Fund at the option of the issuer. The price of the security is fixed at the time of the commitment. At the time of entering into the agreement, the Fund is paid a commitment fee, regardless of whether or not the security is ultimately issued. A Fund will enter into such agreements for the purpose of investing in the security underlying the commitment at a price that is considered advantageous to the Fund. A Fund will limit its investment in such commitments so that the aggregate purchase price of securities subject to such commitments, together with the value of the Fund’s other illiquid investments, will not exceed 15% of its net assets taken at the time of the commitment. A Fund segregates liquid assets in an aggregate amount equal to the purchase price of the securities underlying the commitment.

There can be no assurance that the securities subject to a standby commitment will be issued, and the value of the security, if issued, on the delivery date may be more or less than its purchase price. Since the issuance of the security underlying the commitment is at the

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option of the issuer, the Fund may bear the risk of a decline in the value of such security and may not benefit from an appreciation in the value of the security during the commitment period.

The purchase of a security pursuant to a standby commitment agreement and the related commitment fee will be recorded on the date on which the security can reasonably be expected to be issued, and the value of the security thereafter will be reflected in the calculation of a Fund’s net asset value. The cost basis of the security will be adjusted by the amount of the commitment fee. In the event the security is not issued, the commitment fee will be recorded as income on the expiration date of the standby commitment.

Stand-by commitments will only be entered into with dealers, banks and broker-dealers which, in the Manager’s or sub-adviser’s opinion, present minimal credit risks. A Fund will acquire stand-by commitments solely to facilitate portfolio liquidity and not to exercise its rights thereunder for trading purposes. Stand-by commitments will be valued at zero in determining net asset value. Accordingly, where a Fund pays directly or indirectly for a stand-by commitment, its cost will be reflected as an unrealized loss for the period during which the commitment is held by such Fund and will be reflected as a realized gain or loss when the commitment is exercised or expires.

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

Structured Notes. Structured notes and other related instruments purchased by a Fund are generally privately negotiated debt obligations where the principal and/or interest is determined by reference to the performance of a specific asset, benchmark asset, market or interest rate (“reference measure”). Issuers of structured notes include corporations and banks. The interest rate or the principal amount payable upon maturity or redemption may increase or decrease, depending upon changes in the value of the reference measure. The terms of a structured note may provide that, in certain circumstances, no principal is due at maturity and, therefore, may result in a loss of invested capital by a Fund. The interest and/or principal payments that may be made on a structured product may vary widely, depending on a variety of factors, including the volatility of the reference measure.

Structured notes may be positively or negatively indexed, so the appreciation of the reference measure may produce an increase or a decrease in the interest rate or the value of the principal at maturity. The rate of return on structured notes may be determined by applying a multiplier to the performance or differential performance of reference measures. Application of a multiplier involves leverage that will serve to magnify the potential for gain and the risk of loss.

The purchase of structured notes exposes a Fund to the credit risk of the issuer of the structured product. Structured notes may also be more volatile, less liquid, and more difficult to price accurately than less complex securities and instruments or more traditional debt securities. The secondary market for structured notes could be illiquid making them difficult to sell when the Fund determines to sell them. The possible lack of a liquid secondary market for structured notes and the resulting inability of the Fund to sell a structured note could expose the Fund to losses and could make structured notes more difficult for the Fund to value accurately.

Supranational Entities. A Fund may invest in debt securities of supranational entities. Examples of such entities include the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank), the European Steel and Coal Community, the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. The government members, or “stockholders,” usually make initial capital contributions to the supranational entity and in many cases are committed to make additional capital contributions if the supranational entity is unable to repay its borrowings. There is no guarantee that one or more stockholders of a supranational entity will continue to make any necessary additional capital contributions. If such contributions are not made, the entity may be unable to pay interest or repay principal on its debt securities, and a Fund may lose money on such investments.

Trust Preferred Securities. Certain of the Funds may invest in trust preferred securities. Trust preferred securities are typically issued by corporations, generally in the form of interest bearing notes with preferred securities characteristics, or by an affiliated business trust of a corporation, generally in the form of beneficial interests in subordinated debentures or similarly structured securities. The trust preferred securities market consists of both fixed and adjustable coupon rate securities that are either perpetual in nature or have stated maturity dates.

Trust preferred securities are typically junior and fully subordinated liabilities of an issuer and benefit from a guarantee that is junior and fully subordinated to the other liabilities of the guarantor. In addition, trust preferred securities typically permit an issuer to defer the payment of income for five years or more without triggering an event of default. Because of their subordinated position in the capital structure of an issuer, the ability to defer payments for extended periods of time without default consequences to the issuer, and certain

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other features (such as restrictions on common dividend payments by the issuer or ultimate guarantor when full cumulative payments on the trust preferred securities have not been made), these trust preferred securities are often treated as close substitutes for traditional preferred securities, both by issuers and investors.

Trust preferred securities include but are not limited to trust originated preferred securities (“TOPRS®”); monthly income preferred securities (“MIPS®”); quarterly income bond securities (“QUIBS®” ); quarterly income debt securities (“QUIDS®”); quarterly income preferred securities (“QUIPSSM”); corporate trust securities (“CORTS®”); public income notes (“PINES®”); and other trust preferred securities.

Trust preferred securities are typically issued with a final maturity date, although some are perpetual in nature. In certain instances, a final maturity date may be extended and/or the final payment of principal may be deferred at the issuer’s option for a specified time without default. No redemption can typically take place unless all cumulative payment obligations have been met, although issuers may be able to engage in open-market repurchases without regard to whether all payments have been paid.

Many trust preferred securities are issued by trusts or other special purpose entities established by operating companies and are not a direct obligation of an operating company. At the time the trust or special purpose entity sells such preferred securities to investors, it purchases debt of the operating company (with terms comparable to those of the trust or special purpose entity securities), which enables the operating company to deduct for tax purposes the interest paid on the debt held by the trust or special purpose entity. The trust or special purpose entity is generally required to be treated as transparent for Federal income tax purposes such that the holders of the trust preferred securities are treated as owning beneficial interests in the underlying debt of the operating company. Accordingly, payments on the trust preferred securities are treated as interest rather than dividends for Federal income tax purposes. The trust or special purpose entity in turn would be a holder of the operating company’s debt and would have priority with respect to the operating company’s earnings and profits over the operating company’s common shareholders, but would typically be subordinated to other classes of the operating company’s debt. Typically a preferred share has a rating that is slightly below that of its corresponding operating company’s senior debt securities.

U.S. Government Obligations. A Fund may purchase obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government and U.S. Government agencies and instrumentalities. Obligations of certain agencies and instrumentalities of the U.S. Government are supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury. Others are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; and still others are supported only by the credit of the agency or instrumentality issuing the obligation. No assurance can be given that the U.S. Government will provide financial support to U.S. Government-sponsored instrumentalities if it is not obligated to do so by law. Certain U.S. Treasury and agency securities may be held by trusts that issue participation certificates (such as Treasury income growth receipts (“TIGRs”) and certificates of accrual on Treasury certificates (“CATs”)). These certificates, as well as Treasury receipts and other stripped securities, represent beneficial ownership interests in either future interest payments or the future principal payments on U.S. Government obligations. These instruments are issued at a discount to their “face value” and may (particularly in the case of stripped mortgage-backed securities) exhibit greater price volatility than ordinary debt securities because of the manner in which their principal and interest are returned to investors.

Examples of the types of U.S. Government obligations that may be held by the Funds include U.S. Treasury Bills, Treasury Notes and Treasury Bonds and the obligations of the Federal Housing Administration, Farmers Home Administration, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Small Business Administration, Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, Federal Financing Bank, General Services Administration, Student Loan Marketing Association, Central Bank for Cooperatives, Federal Home Loan Banks, Freddie Mac, Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, Federal Land Banks, Farm Credit Banks System, Maritime Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority and Washington D.C. Armory Board. The Funds may also invest in mortgage-related securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies and instrumentalities, including such instruments as obligations of the Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. See “Mortgage-Backed Securities” above.

U.S. Treasury Obligations. Treasury obligations may differ in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics. Obligations of U.S. Government agencies and authorities are supported by varying degrees of credit but generally are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. No assurance can be given that the U.S. Government will provide financial support to its agencies and authorities if it is not obligated by law to do so.

Utility Industries. Risks that are intrinsic to the utility industries include difficulty in obtaining an adequate return on invested capital, difficulty in financing large construction programs during an inflationary period, restrictions on operations and increased cost and delays attributable to environmental considerations and regulation, difficulty in raising capital in adequate amounts on reasonable terms in periods of high inflation and unsettled capital markets, technological innovations that may render existing plants, equipment or products obsolete, the potential impact of natural or man-made disasters, increased costs and reduced availability of certain types of fuel, occasional reduced availability and high costs of natural gas for resale, the effects of energy conservation, the effects of a national energy policy and lengthy delays and greatly increased costs and other problems associated with the design, construction, licensing, regulation and operation of nuclear facilities for electric generation, including, among other considerations, the problems associated with the use of radioactive materials and the disposal of radioactive wastes. There are substantial differences among the regulatory practices and policies of various jurisdictions, and any given regulatory agency may make major shifts in policy from time to time. There

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is no assurance that regulatory authorities will, in the future, grant rate increases or that such increases will be adequate to permit the payment of dividends on common stocks issued by a utility company. Additionally, existing and possible future regulatory legislation may make it even more difficult for utilities to obtain adequate relief. Certain of the issuers of securities held in the Fund’s portfolio may own or operate nuclear generating facilities. Governmental authorities may from time to time review existing policies and impose additional requirements governing the licensing, construction and operation of nuclear power plants. Prolonged changes in climatic conditions can also have a significant impact on both the revenues of an electric and gas utility as well as the expenses of a utility, particularly a hydro-based electric utility.

Utility companies in the United States and in foreign countries are generally subject to regulation. In the United States, most utility companies are regulated by state and/or federal authorities. Such regulation is intended to ensure appropriate standards of service and adequate capacity to meet public demand. Generally, prices are also regulated in the United States and in foreign countries with the intention of protecting the public while ensuring that the rate of return earned by utility companies is sufficient to allow them to attract capital in order to grow and continue to provide appropriate services. There can be no assurance that such pricing policies or rates of return will continue in the future.

The nature of regulation of the utility industries continues to evolve both in the United States and in foreign countries. In recent years, changes in regulation in the United States increasingly have allowed utility companies to provide services and products outside their traditional geographic areas and lines of business, creating new areas of competition within the industries. In some instances, utility companies are operating on an unregulated basis. Because of trends toward deregulation and the evolution of independent power producers as well as new entrants to the field of telecommunications, non-regulated providers of utility services have become a significant part of their respective industries. The Manager believes that the emergence of competition and deregulation will result in certain utility companies being able to earn more than their traditional regulated rates of return, while others may be forced to defend their core business from increased competition and may be less profitable. Reduced profitability, as well as new uses of funds (such as for expansion, operations or stock buybacks) could result in cuts in dividend payout rates. The Manager seeks to take advantage of favorable investment opportunities that may arise from these structural changes. Of course, there can be no assurance that favorable developments will occur in the future.

Foreign utility companies are also subject to regulation, although such regulations may or may not be comparable to those in the United States. Foreign utility companies may be more heavily regulated by their respective governments than utilities in the United States and, as in the United States, generally are required to seek government approval for rate increases. In addition, many foreign utilities use fuels that may cause more pollution than those used in the United States, which may require such utilities to invest in pollution control equipment to meet any proposed pollution restrictions. Foreign regulatory systems vary from country to country and may evolve in ways different from regulation in the United States.

A Fund’s investment policies are designed to enable it to capitalize on evolving investment opportunities throughout the world. For example, the rapid growth of certain foreign economies will necessitate expansion of capacity in the utility industries in those countries. Although many foreign utility companies currently are government-owned, thereby limiting current investment opportunities for a Fund, the Manager believes that, in order to attract significant capital for growth, foreign governments are likely to seek global investors through the privatization of their utility industries. Privatization, which refers to the trend toward investor ownership of assets rather than government ownership, is expected to occur in newer, faster-growing economies and in mature economies. Of course, there is no assurance that such favorable developments will occur or that investment opportunities in foreign markets will increase.

The revenues of domestic and foreign utility companies generally reflect the economic growth and development in the geographic areas in which they do business. The Manager will take into account anticipated economic growth rates and other economic developments when selecting securities of utility companies.

Electric. The electric utility industry consists of companies that are engaged principally in the generation, transmission and sale of electric energy, although many also provide other energy-related services. In the past, electric utility companies, in general, have been favorably affected by lower fuel and financing costs and the full or near completion of major construction programs. In addition, many of these companies have generated cash flows in excess of current operating expenses and construction expenditures, permitting some degree of diversification into unregulated businesses. Some electric utilities have also taken advantage of the right to sell power outside of their traditional geographic areas. Electric utility companies have historically been subject to the risks associated with increases in fuel and other operating costs, high interest costs on borrowings needed for capital construction programs, costs associated with compliance with environmental and safety regulations and changes in the regulatory climate. As interest rates declined, many utilities refinanced high cost debt and in doing so improved their fixed charges coverage. Regulators, however, lowered allowed rates of return as interest rates declined and thereby caused the benefits of the rate declines to be shared wholly or in part with customers. In a period of rising interest rates, the allowed rates of return may not keep pace with the utilities’ increased costs. The construction and operation of nuclear power facilities are subject to strict scrutiny by, and evolving regulations of, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state agencies which have comparable jurisdiction. Strict scrutiny might result in higher operating costs and higher capital expenditures, with the risk that the regulators may disallow inclusion of these costs in rate authorizations or the risk that a company may not be permitted to operate or complete construction of a facility. In addition, operators of nuclear power plants may be subject to significant costs for disposal of nuclear fuel and for decommissioning such plants.

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The rating agencies look closely at the business profile of utilities. Ratings for companies are expected to be impacted to a greater extent in the future by the division of their asset base. Electric utility companies that focus more on the generation of electricity may be assigned less favorable ratings as this business is expected to be competitive and the least regulated. On the other hand, companies that focus on transmission and distribution, which is expected to be the least competitive and the more regulated part of the business, may see higher ratings given the greater predictability of cash flow.

A number of states are considering or have enacted deregulation proposals. The introduction of competition into the industry as a result of such deregulation has at times resulted in lower revenue, lower credit ratings, increased default risk, and lower electric utility security prices. Such increased competition may also cause long-term contracts, which electric utilities previously entered into to buy power, to become “stranded assets” which have no economic value. Any loss associated with such contracts must be absorbed by ratepayers and investors. In addition, some electric utilities have acquired electric utilities overseas to diversify, enhance earnings and gain experience in operating in a deregulated environment. In some instances, such acquisitions have involved significant borrowings, which have burdened the acquirer’s balance sheet. There is no assurance that current deregulation proposals will be adopted. However, deregulation in any form could significantly impact the electric utilities industry.

Telecommunications. The telecommunications industry today includes both traditional telephone companies, with a history of broad market coverage and highly regulated businesses, and cable companies, which began as small, lightly regulated businesses focused on limited markets. Today these two historically different businesses are converging in an industry that is trending toward larger, competitive national and international markets with an emphasis on deregulation. Companies that distribute telephone services and provide access to the telephone networks still comprise the greatest portion of this segment, but non-regulated activities such as wireless telephone services, paging, data transmission and processing, equipment retailing, computer software and hardware and internet services are becoming increasingly significant components as well. In particular, wireless and internet telephone services continue to gain market share at the expense of traditional telephone companies. The presence of unregulated companies in this industry and the entry of traditional telephone companies into unregulated or less regulated businesses provide significant investment opportunities with companies that may increase their earnings at faster rates than had been allowed in traditional regulated businesses. Still, increasing competition, technological innovations and other structural changes could adversely affect the profitability of such utilities and the growth rate of their dividends. Given mergers and proposed legislation and enforcement changes, it is likely that both traditional telephone companies and cable companies will continue to provide an expanding range of utility services to both residential, corporate and governmental customers.

Gas. Gas transmission companies and gas distribution companies are undergoing significant changes. In the United States, interstate transmission companies are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is reducing its regulation of the industry. Many companies have diversified into oil and gas exploration and development, making returns more sensitive to energy prices. In the recent decade, gas utility companies have been adversely affected by disruptions in the oil industry and have also been affected by increased concentration and competition. In the opinion of the Manager, however, environmental considerations could improve the gas industry outlook in the future. For example, natural gas is the cleanest of the hydrocarbon fuels, and this may result in incremental shifts in fuel consumption toward natural gas and away from oil and coal, even for electricity generation. However, technological or regulatory changes within the industry may delay or prevent this result.

Water. Water supply utilities are companies that collect, purify, distribute and sell water. In the United States and around the world the industry is highly fragmented because most of the supplies are owned by local authorities. Companies in this industry are generally mature and are experiencing little or no per capita volume growth. In the opinion of the Manager, there may be opportunities for certain companies to acquire other water utility companies and for foreign acquisition of domestic companies. The Manager believes that favorable investment opportunities may result from consolidation of this segment. As with other utilities, however, increased regulation, increased costs and potential disruptions in supply may adversely affect investments in water supply utilities.

Utility Industries Generally. There can be no assurance that the positive developments noted above, including those relating to privatization and changing regulation, will occur or that risk factors other than those noted above will not develop in the future.

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

Pursuant to recommendations of the Treasury Market Practices Group, which is sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, beginning January 1, 2014, a Fund or its counterparty generally will be required to post collateral when entering into certain forward-settling transactions, including without limitation TBA transactions.

There can be no assurance that a security purchased on a when issued basis will be issued or that a security purchased or sold on a delayed delivery basis or through a forward commitment will be delivered. Also, the value of securities in these transactions on the

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delivery date may be more or less than the price paid by the Fund to purchase the securities. The Fund will lose money if the value of the security in such a transaction declines below the purchase price and will not benefit if the value of the security appreciates above the sale price during the commitment period.

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

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

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

Yields and Ratings. The yields on certain obligations are dependent on a variety of factors, including general market conditions, conditions in the particular market for the obligation, the financial condition of the issuer, the size of the offering, the maturity of the obligation and the ratings of the issue. The ratings of Moody’s, Fitch and S&P represent their respective opinions as to the quality of the obligations they undertake to rate. Ratings, however, are general and are not absolute standards of quality. Consequently, obligations with the same rating, maturity and interest rate may have different market prices. Subsequent to its purchase by a Fund, a rated security may cease to be rated. A Fund’s Manager or sub-adviser will consider such an event in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the security.

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

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

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

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

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

Suitability (All Funds)

The economic benefit of an investment in any Fund depends upon many factors beyond the control of the Fund, the Manager and its affiliates. Each Fund should be considered a vehicle for diversification and not as a balanced investment program. The suitability for any particular investor of a purchase of shares in a Fund will depend upon, among other things, such investor’s investment objectives and such investor’s ability to accept the risks associated with investing in securities, including the risk of loss of principal.

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Investment Restrictions (All Funds)

See “Investment Restrictions” in Part I of each Fund’s SAI for the specific fundamental and non-fundamental investment restrictions adopted by each Fund. In addition to those investment restrictions, each Fund is also subject to the restrictions discussed below.

The staff of the Commission has taken the position that purchased OTC options and the assets used as cover for written OTC options are illiquid securities. Therefore, each Fund has adopted an investment policy pursuant to which it will not purchase or sell OTC options (including OTC options on futures contracts) if, as a result of any such transaction, the sum of the market value of OTC options currently outstanding that are held by the Fund, the market value of the underlying securities covered by OTC call options currently outstanding that were sold by the Fund and margin deposits on the Fund’s existing OTC options on financial futures contracts would exceed 15% of the net assets of the Fund, taken at market value, together with all other assets of the Fund that are determined to be illiquid. However, if an OTC option is sold by a Fund to a primary U.S. Government securities dealer recognized by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and if the Fund has the unconditional contractual right to repurchase such OTC option from the dealer at a predetermined price, then the Fund will treat as illiquid only such amount of the underlying securities as is equal to the repurchase price less the amount by which the option is “in-the-money” (i.e., current market value of the underlying securities minus the option’s strike price). The repurchase price with the primary dealers is typically a formula price that is generally based on a multiple of the premium received for the option, plus the amount by which the option is “in-the-money.” This policy as to OTC options is not a fundamental policy of any Fund and may be amended by the Board of Directors of the Fund without the approval of the Fund’s shareholders.

Each Fund’s investments will be limited in order to allow the Fund to qualify as a “regulated investment company” for purposes of the Code. See “Dividends and Taxes — Taxes.” To qualify, among other requirements, each Fund will limit its investments so that, at the close of each quarter of the taxable year, (i) at least 50% of the market value of each Fund’s assets is represented by cash, securities of other regulated investment companies, U.S. government securities and other securities, with such other securities limited, in respect of any one issuer, to an amount not greater than 5% of the Fund’s assets and not greater than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer and (ii) not more than 25% of the value of its assets is invested in the securities (other than U.S. government securities or securities of other regulated investment companies) of any one issuer, any two or more issuers that the Fund controls and that are determined to be engaged in the same or similar trades or businesses or related trades or businesses or in the securities of one or more qualified publicly traded partnerships (i.e., partnerships that are traded on an established securities market or tradable on a secondary market, other than partnerships that derive 90% of their income from interest, dividends, capital gains, and other traditionally permitted mutual fund income).

Foreign government securities (unlike U.S. government securities) are not exempt from the diversification requirements of the Code and the securities of each foreign government issuer are considered to be obligations of a single issuer. These tax-related limitations may be changed by the Directors of a Fund to the extent necessary to comply with changes to the Federal tax requirements. A Fund that is “diversified” under the Investment Company Act must satisfy the foregoing 5% and 10% requirements with respect to 75% of its total assets.

Management and Other Service Arrangements

Directors and Officers

See “Information on Directors and Officers, ‘—Biographical Information,’ ‘—Share Ownership’ and ‘— Compensation of Directors’” in Part I of each Fund’s SAI for biographical and certain other information relating to the Directors and officers of your Fund, including Directors’ compensation.

Management Arrangements

Management Services. The Manager provides each Fund with investment advisory and management services. Subject to the oversight of the Board of Directors, the Manager is responsible for the actual management of a Fund’s portfolio and reviews the Fund’s holdings in light of its own research analysis and that from other relevant sources.

The responsibility for making decisions to buy, sell or hold a particular security rests with the Manager. The Manager performs certain of the other administrative services and provides all the office space, facilities, equipment and necessary personnel for management of each Fund.

Each Feeder Fund invests all or a portion of its assets in shares of a Master Portfolio. To the extent a Feeder Fund invests all of its assets in a Master Portfolio, it does not invest directly in portfolio securities and does not require management services. For such Feeder Funds, portfolio management occurs at the Master Portfolio level.

Management Fee. Each Fund has entered into a Management Agreement with the Manager pursuant to which the Manager receives for its services to the Fund monthly compensation at an annual rate based on the average daily net assets of the Fund. For information regarding specific fee rates for your Fund and the fees paid by your Fund to the Manager for the Fund’s last three fiscal years or other applicable periods, see “Management and Advisory Arrangements” in Part I of each Fund’s SAI.

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For Funds that do not have an administrator, each Management Agreement obligates the Manager to provide management services and to pay all compensation of and furnish office space for officers and employees of a Fund in connection with investment and economic research, trading and investment management of the Fund, as well as the fees of all Directors of the Fund who are interested persons of the Fund. Each Fund pays all other expenses incurred in the operation of that Fund, including among other things: taxes; expenses for legal and auditing services; costs of preparing, printing and mailing proxies, shareholder reports, prospectuses and statements of additional information, except to the extent paid by BlackRock Investments, LLC (“BRIL” or the “Distributor”); charges of the custodian and sub-custodian, and the transfer agent; expenses of redemption of shares; Commission fees; expenses of registering the shares under Federal, state or foreign laws; fees and expenses of Directors who are not interested persons of a Fund as defined in the Investment Company Act; accounting and pricing costs (including the daily calculations of net asset value); insurance; interest; brokerage costs; litigation and other extraordinary or non-recurring expenses; and other expenses properly payable by the Fund. Certain accounting services are provided to each Fund by State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) or BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc. (“BNY Mellon”) pursuant to an agreement between State Street or BNY Mellon and each Fund. Each Fund pays a fee for these services. In addition, the Manager provides certain accounting services to each Fund and the Fund pays the Manager a fee for such services. The Distributor pays certain promotional expenses of the Funds incurred in connection with the offering of shares of the Funds. Certain expenses are financed by each Fund pursuant to distribution plans in compliance with Rule 12b-1 under the Investment Company Act. See “Purchase of Shares — Distribution Plans.”

Sub-Advisory Fee. The Manager of certain Funds has entered into one or more sub-advisory agreements (the “Sub-Advisory Agreements”) with the sub-adviser or sub-advisers identified in each such Fund’s Prospectus (the “Sub-Adviser”) pursuant to which the Sub-Adviser provides sub-advisory services to the Manager with respect to the Fund. For information relating to the fees, if any, paid by the Manager to the Sub-Adviser pursuant to the Sub-Advisory Agreement for the Fund’s last three fiscal years or other applicable periods, see “Management and Advisory Arrangements” in Part I of each Fund’s SAI.

Organization of the Manager. BlackRock Advisors, LLC is a Delaware limited liability company and BlackRock Fund Advisors is a California corporation. Each Manager is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. BlackRock, Inc., through its subsidiaries and divisions, provides (i) investment management services to individuals and institutional investors through separate account management, non-discretionary advisory programs and commingled investment vehicles; (ii) risk management services, investment accounting and trade processing tools; (iii) transition management services, and (iv) securities lending services.

Duration and Termination. Unless earlier terminated as described below, each Management Agreement and each Sub-Advisory Agreement will remain in effect for an initial two year period and from year to year thereafter if approved annually (a) by the Board of Directors or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of a Fund and (b) by a majority of the Directors of the Fund who are not parties to such agreement or interested persons (as defined in the Investment Company Act) of any such party. Each Agreement automatically terminates on assignment and may be terminated without penalty on 60 days’ written notice at the option of either party thereto or by the vote of the shareholders of the applicable Fund.

Other Service Arrangements

Administrative Services and Administrative Fee. Certain Funds have entered into an administration agreement (the “Administration Agreement”) with an administrator identified in the Fund’s Prospectus and Part I of the Fund’s SAI (each an “Administrator”). For its services to a Fund, the Administrator receives monthly compensation at the annual rate set forth in each applicable Fund’s Prospectus. For information regarding any administrative fees paid by your Fund to the Administrator for the periods indicated, see “Management and Advisory Arrangements” in Part I of that Fund’s SAI.

For Funds that have an Administrator, the Administration Agreement obligates the Administrator to provide certain administrative services to the Fund and to pay, or cause its affiliates to pay, for maintaining its staff and personnel and to provide office space, facilities and necessary personnel for the Fund. Each Administrator is also obligated to pay, or cause its affiliates to pay, the fees of those officers and Directors of the Fund who are affiliated persons of the Administrator or any of its affiliates.

Duration and Termination of Administration Agreement. Unless earlier terminated as described below, each Administration Agreement will continue for an initial two year period and from year to year if approved annually (a) by the Board of Directors of each applicable Fund or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of such Fund and (b) by a majority of the Directors of the Fund who are not parties to such contract or interested persons (as defined in the Investment Company Act) of any such party. Such contract is not assignable and may be terminated without penalty on written notice at the option of either party thereto or by the vote of the shareholders of the Fund.

Transfer Agency Services. BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc. (in this capacity, the “Transfer Agent”), a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, acts as each Fund’s Transfer Agent pursuant to a Transfer Agency, Dividend Disbursing Agency and Shareholder Servicing Agency Agreement (the “Transfer Agency Agreement”) with the Funds. Pursuant to the Transfer Agency Agreement, the Transfer Agent is responsible for the issuance, transfer and redemption of shares and the opening and maintenance of

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shareholder accounts. Each Fund pays the Transfer Agent a fee for the services it receives based on the type of account and the level of services required. Each Fund reimburses the Transfer Agent’s reasonable out-of-pocket expenses and pays a fee of 0.10% of account assets for certain accounts that participate in certain fee-based programs sponsored by the Manager or its affiliates. For purposes of each Transfer Agency Agreement, the term “account” includes a shareholder account maintained directly by the Transfer Agent and any other account representing the beneficial interest of a person in the relevant share class on a recordkeeping system. Effective July 1, 2010, the Transfer Agent ceased to be an affiliate of the Funds.

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm. The Audit Committee of each Fund, the members of which are non-interested Directors of the Fund, has selected an independent registered public accounting firm for that Fund that audits the Fund’s financial statements. Please see the inside back cover page of your Fund’s Prospectus and Part I of this SAI for information on your Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm.

Custodian Services. The name and address of the custodian (the “Custodian”) of each Fund are provided on the inside back cover page of the Fund’s Prospectus. The Custodian is responsible for safeguarding and controlling the Fund’s cash and securities, handling the receipt and delivery of securities and collecting interest and dividends on the Fund’s investments. The Custodian is authorized to establish separate accounts in foreign currencies and to cause foreign securities owned by the Fund to be held in its offices outside the United States and with certain foreign banks and securities depositories.

For certain Feeder Funds, the Custodian also acts as the custodian of the Master Portfolio’s assets.

With respect to each Fund, under an arrangement effective January 1, 2010, on a monthly basis, the Custodian nets the Fund’s daily positive and negative cash balances and calculates a credit (“custody credit”) or a charge based on that net amount. The custodian fees, including the amount of any overdraft charges, may be reduced by the amount of such custody credits, and any unused credits at the end of a given month may be carried forward to a subsequent month. Any such credits unused by the end of a Fund’s fiscal year will not expire. Net debits at the end of a given month are added to the Fund’s custody bill and paid by the Fund.

Accounting Services. Each Fund has entered into an agreement with State Street or BNY Mellon, pursuant to which State Street or BNY Mellon provides certain accounting and administrative services to the Fund. Each Fund pays a fee for these services. State Street or BNY Mellon provides similar accounting services to the Master LLCs. The Manager or the Administrator also provides certain accounting services to each Fund and each Fund reimburses the Manager or the Administrator for these services.

See “Management and Advisory Arrangements — Accounting Services” in Part I of each Fund’s SAI for information on the amounts paid by your Fund and, if applicable, Master LLC to State Street or BNY Mellon and the Manager or, if applicable, the Administrator for the periods indicated.

Distribution Expenses. Each Fund has entered into a distribution agreement with the Distributor in connection with the continuous offering of each class of shares of the Fund (the “Distribution Agreement”). The Distribution Agreement obligates the Distributor to pay certain expenses in connection with the offering of each class of shares of the Funds. After the prospectuses, statements of additional information and periodic reports have been prepared, set in type and mailed to shareholders, the Distributor pays for the printing and distribution of these documents used in connection with the offering to dealers and investors. The Distributor also pays for other supplementary sales literature and advertising costs. The Distribution Agreement is subject to the same renewal requirements and termination provisions as the Management Agreement described above.

Code of Ethics

Each Fund, the Manager, each Sub-Adviser and the Distributor has adopted a Code of Ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the Investment Company Act. The Codes of Ethics establish procedures for personal investing and restrict certain transactions. Employees subject to the Code of Ethics may invest in securities for their personal investment accounts, including securities that may be purchased or held by a Fund.

Selective Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings

The Board of Directors of each Fund and the Board of Directors of the Manager have each approved Portfolio Information Distribution Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) regarding the disclosure of each Fund’s portfolio securities, as applicable, and other portfolio information. The purpose of the Guidelines is to ensure that (i) shareholders and prospective shareholders of the Funds have equal access to portfolio holdings and characteristics and (ii) third parties (such as consultants, intermediaries and third-party data providers) have access to such information no more frequently than shareholders and prospective shareholders.

Pursuant to the Guidelines, each Fund and the Manager may, under certain circumstances as set forth below, make selective disclosure with respect to a Fund’s portfolio holdings. Each Board of Directors has approved the adoption by the Fund of the Guidelines, and employees of the Manager are responsible for adherence to the Guidelines. The Board of Directors provides ongoing

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oversight of the Fund’s and Manager’s compliance with the Guidelines. Examples of the types of information that may be disclosed pursuant to the Guidelines are provided below. This information may be both material non-public information (“Confidential Information”) and proprietary information of BlackRock. Information that is non-material or that may be obtained from public sources (i.e., information that has been publicly disclosed via a filing with the Commission (e.g., fund annual report), through a press release or placement on a publicly-available internet web site) shall not be deemed Confidential Information.

Except as otherwise provided in the Guidelines, Confidential Information relating to a Fund may not be distributed to persons not employed by BlackRock unless the Fund has a legitimate business purpose for doing so. Confidential Information may also be disclosed to the Fund’s Directors and their respective counsel, outside counsel for the Fund and the Fund’s auditors, and may be disclosed to the Fund’s service providers and other appropriate parties with the approval of the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer, BlackRock’s General Counsel, BlackRock’s Chief Compliance Officer or the designee of such persons, and in addition, in the case of disclosure to third parties, subject to a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement, as necessary, in accordance with the Guidelines. Information may also be disclosed as required by applicable laws and regulation.

Examples of instances in which selective disclosure of a Fund’s portfolio securities or other portfolio information may be appropriate include: (i) disclosure for due diligence purposes to an investment adviser that is in merger or acquisition talks with BlackRock; (ii) disclosure to a newly-hired investment adviser or sub-adviser prior to its commencing its duties; (iii) disclosure to a third-party feeder fund consistent with its agreement with a master portfolio advised by BlackRock; (iv) disclosure to third-party service providers of legal, auditing, custody, proxy voting, pricing and other services to the Fund or a third-party feeder fund or (v) disclosure to a rating or ranking organization.

Asset and Return Information. Data on NAVs, asset levels (by total fund and share class), accruals, yields, capital gains, dividends and fund returns (net of fees by share class) are generally available to shareholders, prospective shareholders, consultants and third-party data providers upon request, as soon as such data is available. Data on number of shareholders (total and by share class) and benchmark returns (including performance measures such as standard deviation, information ratio, Sharpe ratio, alpha, and beta) are generally available to shareholders, prospective shareholders, consultants and third-party data providers as soon as such data is released after month-end.

Portfolio Characteristics. Examples of portfolio characteristics include sector allocation, credit quality breakdown, maturity distribution, duration and convexity measures, average credit quality, average maturity, average coupon, top 10 holdings with percent of the fund held, average market capitalization, capitalization range, ROE, P/E, P/B, P/CF, P/S and EPS.

  1.      Month-end portfolio characteristics are available to shareholders, prospective shareholders, intermediaries and consultants on the fifth calendar day after month-end.1
 
  2.      Fund Fact Sheets, which contain certain portfolio characteristics, are available, in both hard copy and electronically, to shareholders, prospective shareholders, intermediaries and consultants on a monthly or quarterly basis no earlier than the fifth calendar day after the end of a month or quarter.
     
  3. Money Market Performance Reports, which contain money market fund performance for the recent month, rolling 12-month average yields and benchmark performance, are available on a monthly basis to shareholders, prospective shareholders, intermediaries and consultants by the tenth calendar day of the month. This information may also be obtained electronically upon request.
     

Portfolio Holdings. In addition to position description, portfolio holdings may also include issuer name, CUSIP, ticker symbol, total shares and market value for equity portfolios and issuer name, CUSIP, ticker symbol, coupon, maturity, current face value and market value for fixed-income portfolios. Other information that may be provided includes quantity, SEDOL, market price, yield, weighted average life, duration and convexity of each security in a Fund as of a specific date.

The following shall not be deemed to be a disclosure of Confidential Information:

Generally, month-end portfolio holdings may be made available to fund shareholders, prospective shareholders, intermediaries, consultants and third party data providers (e.g., Lipper, Morningstar and Bloomberg) on the 20th calendar day after the end of each month, except for BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc., Global Allocation Portfolio of BlackRock Series Fund, Inc. and BlackRock Global Allocation V.I. Fund of BlackRock Variable Series Funds, Inc., whose holdings may be made available on the 40th calendar day after the end of the quarter (based on each Fund’s fiscal year end).1
 
1The precise number of days specified above may vary slightly from period to period depending on whether the specified calendar day falls on a weekend or holiday.

 

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The following information as it relates to money market funds, unless made available to the public, shall be deemed a disclosure of Confidential Information and, subject to the Guidelines, requires a confidentiality or non-disclosure arrangement:

Weekly portfolio holdings made available to fund shareholders, prospective shareholders, intermediaries and consultants on the next business day after the end of the weekly period.
Weekly portfolio holdings and characteristics made available to third-party data providers (e.g., Lipper, Morningstar, Bloomberg, S&P, Fitch, Moody’s, Crane Data and iMoneyNet, Inc.) on the next business day after the end of the weekly period.

Other Information. The Guidelines shall also apply to other Confidential Information of a Fund such as attribution analyses or security-specific information (e.g., information about Fund holdings where an issuer has been downgraded, been acquired or declared bankruptcy).

Implementation. All BlackRock employees must adhere to the Guidelines when responding to inquiries from shareholders, prospective shareholders, consultants, and third-party databases. A Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer is responsible for oversight of compliance with the Guidelines and will recommend to the Board of Directors any changes to the Guidelines that he or she deems necessary or appropriate to ensure the Fund’s and BlackRock’s compliance.

Ongoing Arrangements. The Manager has entered into ongoing agreements to provide selective disclosure of Fund portfolio holdings to the following persons or entities:

     1. Fund’s Board of Directors and, if necessary, Independent Directors’ counsel and Fund counsel.

     2. Fund’s Transfer Agent

     3. Fund’s Custodian

     4. Fund’s Administrator, if applicable.

     5. Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm.

     6. Fund’s accounting services provider

     7. Independent rating agencies — Morningstar, Inc., Lipper Inc., S&P, Moody’s, Fitch

     8. Information aggregators — Markit on Demand, Thomson Financial and Bloomberg, eVestments Alliance, Informa/PSN Investment Solutions, Crane Data, and iMoneyNet.

     9. Sponsors of 401(k) plans that include BlackRock-advised funds — E.I. Dupont de Nemours and Company, Inc.

     10. Consultants for pension plans that invest in BlackRock-advised funds — Rocaton Investment Advisors, LLC, Mercer Investment Consulting, Callan Associates, Brockhouse & Cooper, Cambridge Associates, Morningstar/Investorforce, Russell Investments (Mellon Analytical Solutions) and Wilshire Associates.

     11. Pricing Vendors — Reuters Pricing Service, Bloomberg, FT Interactive Data (FT IDC), ITG, Telekurs Financial, FactSet Research Systems, Inc., JP Morgan Pricing Direct (formerly Bear Stearns Pricing Service), Standard and Poor’s Security Evaluations Service, Lehman Index Pricing, Bank of America High Yield Index, Loan Pricing Corporation (LPC), LoanX, Super Derivatives, IBOXX Index, Barclays Euro Gov’t Inflation-Linked Bond Index, JPMorgan Emerging & Developed Market Index, Reuters/WM Company, Nomura BPI Index, Japan Securities Dealers Association, Valuation Research Corporation and Murray, Devine & Co., Inc.

     12. Portfolio Compliance Consultants — Oracle/i-Flex Solutions, Inc.

     13. Third-party feeder funds — Hewitt Money Market Fund, Hewitt Series Fund, Hewitt Financial Services LLC, Homestead, Inc., Transamerica, State Farm Mutual Fund and Sterling Capital Funds and their respective boards, sponsors, administrators and other service providers.

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     14. Affiliated feeder funds — BlackRock Cayman Prime Money Market Fund, Ltd. and BlackRock Cayman Treasury Money Market Fund Ltd., and their respective boards, sponsors, administrators and other service providers.

     15. Other — Investment Company Institute and Mizuho Asset Management Co., Ltd.

With respect to each such arrangement, a Fund has a legitimate business purpose for the release of information. The release of the information is subject to confidential treatment to prohibit the entity from sharing with an unauthorized source or trading upon the information provided. The Funds, BlackRock and their affiliates do not receive any compensation or other consideration in connection with such arrangements.

The Funds and the Manager monitor, to the extent possible, the use of Confidential Information by the individuals or firms to which it has been disclosed. To do so, in addition to the requirements of any applicable confidentiality agreement and/or the terms and conditions of the Fund’s and Manager’s Codes of Ethics — all of which require persons or entities in possession of Confidential Information to keep such information confidential and not to trade on such information for their own benefit — the Manager’s compliance personnel under the supervision of the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer, monitor the Manager’s securities trading desks to determine whether individuals or firms who have received Confidential Information have made any trades on the basis of that information. In addition, the Manager maintains an internal restricted list to prevent trading by the personnel of the Manager or its affiliates in securities — including securities held by a Fund — about which the Manager has Confidential Information. There can be no assurance, however, that the Fund’s policies and procedures with respect to the selective disclosure of portfolio holdings will prevent the misuse of such information by individuals or firms that receive such information.

Potential Conflicts of Interest

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”) has a significant economic interest in BlackRock, Inc., the parent of BlackRock Advisors, LLC and BlackRock Fund Advisors, each of which is the investment adviser to certain Funds. PNC is considered to be an affiliate of BlackRock, Inc., under the Investment Company Act. Certain activities of BlackRock Advisors, LLC, BlackRock Fund Advisors, BlackRock, Inc. and their affiliates (collectively referred to in this section as “BlackRock”) and PNC and its affiliates (collectively, “PNC” and together with BlackRock, “Affiliates”), with respect to the Funds and/or other accounts managed by BlackRock or PNC, may give rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest such as those described below.

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

BlackRock and its Affiliates have proprietary interests in, and may manage or advise with respect to, accounts or funds (including separate accounts and other funds and collective investment vehicles) that have investment objectives similar to those of a Fund and/or that engage in transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and instruments as the Fund. One or more Affiliates are also major participants in the global currency, equities, swap and fixed-income markets, in each case both on a proprietary basis and for the accounts of customers. As such, one or more Affiliates are or may be actively engaged in transactions in the same securities, currencies, and instruments in which a Fund invests. Such activities could affect the prices and availability of the securities, currencies, and instruments in which a Fund invests, which could have an adverse impact on the Fund’s performance. Such transactions, particularly in respect of most proprietary accounts or customer accounts, will be executed independently of a Fund’s transactions and thus at prices or rates that may be more or less favorable than those obtained by the Fund.

When BlackRock and its Affiliates seek to purchase or sell the same assets for their managed accounts, including a Fund, the assets actually purchased or sold may be allocated among the accounts on a basis determined in their good faith discretion to be equitable. In some cases, this system may adversely affect the size or price of the assets purchased or sold for a Fund. In addition, transactions in investments by one or more other accounts managed by BlackRock or its Affiliates may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of a Fund, particularly, but not limited to, with respect to small capitalization, emerging market or less liquid strategies. This may occur when investment decisions regarding a Fund are based on research or other information that is also used to support decisions for other accounts. When BlackRock or its Affiliates implements a portfolio decision or strategy on behalf of another account ahead of, or contemporaneously with, similar decisions or strategies for a Fund, market impact, liquidity constraints, or other factors could result in the Fund receiving less favorable trading results and the costs of implementing such decisions or strategies could be increased or the Fund could otherwise be disadvantaged. BlackRock or its Affiliates may, in certain cases, elect to implement internal policies and procedures designed to limit such consequences, which may cause a Fund to be unable to engage in certain activities, including purchasing or disposing of securities, when it might otherwise be desirable for it to do so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prevailing trading activity frequently may make impossible the receipt of the same price or execution on the entire volume of securities purchased or sold. When this occurs, the various prices may be averaged, and the Funds will be charged or credited with the average price. Thus, the effect of the aggregation may operate on some occasions to the disadvantage of the Funds. In addition, under certain circumstances, the Funds will not be charged the same commission or commission equivalent rates in connection with a bunched or aggregated order.

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

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

BlackRock may endeavor to execute trades through brokers who, pursuant to such arrangements, provide research or other services in order to ensure the continued receipt of research or other services BlackRock believes are useful in its investment decision-making process. BlackRock may from time to time choose not to engage in the above described arrangements to varying degrees. BlackRock may also enter into commission sharing arrangements under which BlackRock may execute transactions through a broker-dealer, including, where permitted, an Affiliate, and request that the broker-dealer allocate a portion of the commissions or commission credits to another firm that provides research to BlackRock. To the extent that BlackRock engages in commission sharing arrangements, many of the same conflicts related to traditional soft dollars may exist.

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

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

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

It is possible that a Fund may invest in securities of companies with which an Affiliate has or is trying to develop investment banking relationships as well as securities of entities in which BlackRock or its Affiliates has significant debt or equity investments or in which an Affiliate makes a market. A Fund also may invest in securities of companies to which an Affiliate provides or may some day provide research coverage. Such investments could cause conflicts between the interests of a Fund and the interests of other clients of BlackRock or its Affiliates. In making investment decisions for a Fund, BlackRock is not permitted to obtain or use material non-public information acquired by any division, department or Affiliate of BlackRock in the course of these activities. In addition, from time to time, the activities of an Affiliate may limit a Fund’s flexibility in purchases and sales of securities. When an Affiliate is engaged in an underwriting or other distribution of securities of an entity, BlackRock may be prohibited from purchasing or recommending the purchase of certain securities of that entity for a Fund. As indicated below, BlackRock or its Affiliates may engage in transactions with companies in which BlackRock-advised funds or other clients have an investment.

BlackRock and Ace Limited (“ACE”), 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 will also have a less than ½ of 1% ownership interest in Re Co. BlackRock will manage the investment portfolio of Re Co, which will be held in a wholly-owned subsidiary. Re Co will participate as a reinsurer with reinsurance contracts underwritten by subsidiaries of ACE. An independent director of certain BlackRock-advised funds also serves as an independent director of ACE and has no interest or involvement in the Re Co transaction.

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

BlackRock and its Affiliates and their personnel may receive greater compensation or greater profit in connection with an account for which BlackRock serves as an adviser than with an account advised by an unaffiliated investment adviser. Differentials in compensation may be related to the fact that BlackRock may pay a portion of its advisory fee to its Affiliate, or relate to compensation arrangements, including for portfolio management, brokerage transactions or account servicing. Any differential in compensation may create a financial incentive on the part of BlackRock or its Affiliates and their personnel to recommend BlackRock over unaffiliated investment advisers or to effect transactions differently in one account over another.

BlackRock and its Affiliates may provide valuation assistance to certain clients with respect to certain securities or other investments and the valuation recommendations made for their clients’ accounts may differ from the valuations for the same securities or investments assigned by a Fund’s pricing vendors, especially if such valuations are based on broker-dealer quotes or other data sources unavailable to the Fund’s pricing vendors. While BlackRock will generally communicate its valuation information or determinations to a Fund’s pricing vendors and/or fund accountants, there may be instances where the Fund’s pricing vendors or fund accountants assign a different valuation to a security or other investment than the valuation for such security or investment determined or recommended by BlackRock.

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As disclosed in more detail in “Pricing of Shares — Determination of Net Asset Value” in this SAI, when market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BlackRock to be unreliable, a Fund’s investments may be valued at fair value by BlackRock, pursuant to procedures adopted by the Funds’ Board of Directors. When determining an asset’s “fair value,” BlackRock seeks to determine the price that a Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset in an arm’s-length transaction. The price generally may not be determined based on what a Fund might reasonably expect to receive for selling an asset at a later time or if it holds the asset to maturity. While fair value determinations will be based upon all available factors that BlackRock deems relevant at the time of the determination, and may be based on analytical values determined by BlackRock using proprietary or third party valuation models, fair value represents only a good faith approximation of the value of a security. The fair value of one or more securities may not, in retrospect, be the price at which those assets could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used in determining a Fund’s net asset value. As a result, a Fund’s sale or redemption of its shares at net asset value, at a time when a holding or holdings are valued by BlackRock (pursuant to Board-adopted procedures) at fair value, may have the effect of diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders.

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

BlackRock and its Affiliates and their directors, officers and employees, may buy and sell securities or other investments for their own accounts, and may have conflicts of interest with respect to investments made on behalf of a Fund. As a result of differing trading and investment strategies or constraints, positions may be taken by directors, officers, employees and Affiliates of BlackRock that are the same, different from or made at different times than positions taken for the Fund. To lessen the possibility that a Fund will be adversely affected by this personal trading, the Fund, BRIL and BlackRock each have adopted a Code of Ethics in compliance with Section 17(j) of the Investment Company Act that restricts securities trading in the personal accounts of investment professionals and others who normally come into possession of information regarding the Fund’s portfolio transactions. Each Code of Ethics can be reviewed and copied at the Commission’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. Information about obtaining documents on the Commission’s website may be obtained by calling the Commission at (800) SEC-0330. Each Code of Ethics is also available on the EDGAR Database on the Commission’s Internet site at http://www.sec.gov, and copies may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by e-mail at publicinfo@sec.gov or by writing the Commission’s Public Reference Section, Washington, DC 20549-0102.

BlackRock and its Affiliates will not purchase securities or other property from, or sell securities or other property to, a Fund, except that the Fund may in accordance with rules adopted under the Investment Company Act engage in transactions with accounts that are affiliated with the Fund as a result of common officers, directors, or investment advisers or pursuant to exemptive orders granted to the Funds and/or BlackRock by the Commission. These transactions would be affected in circumstances in which BlackRock determined that it would be appropriate for the Fund to purchase and another client of BlackRock to sell, or the Fund to sell and another client of BlackRock to purchase, the same security or instrument on the same day. From time to time, the activities of a Fund may be restricted because of regulatory requirements applicable to BlackRock or its Affiliates and/or BlackRock’s internal policies designed to comply with, limit the applicability of, or otherwise relate to such requirements. A client not advised by BlackRock would not be subject to some of those considerations. There may be periods when BlackRock may not initiate or recommend certain types of transactions, or may otherwise restrict or limit their advice in certain securities or instruments issued by or related to companies for which an Affiliate is performing investment banking, market making, advisory or other services or has proprietary positions. For example, when an Affiliate is engaged in an underwriting or other distribution of securities of, or advisory services for, a company, the Funds may be prohibited from or limited in purchasing or selling securities of that company. In addition, when BlackRock is engaged to provide advisory or risk management services for a company, BlackRock may be prohibited from or limited in purchasing or selling securities of that company on behalf of a Fund, particularly where such services result in BlackRock obtaining material non-public information about the company. Similar situations could arise if personnel of BlackRock or its Affiliates serve as directors of companies the securities of which the Funds wish to purchase or sell. However, if permitted by applicable law, and where consistent with BlackRock’s policies and procedures (including the necessary implementation of appropriate information barriers), the Funds may purchase securities or instruments that are issued by such companies, are the subject of an underwriting, distribution, or advisory assignment by an Affiliate or are the subject of an advisory or risk management assignment by BlackRock, or where personnel of BlackRock or its Affiliates are directors or officers of the issuer.

In certain circumstances where the Funds invest in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries, in certain emerging or international markets, or are subject to corporate or regulatory ownership definitions, there may be limits on the aggregate amount invested by Affiliates (including BlackRock) for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including the Funds) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent, or, if exceeded, may cause BlackRock, the Funds or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions. As a result, BlackRock on behalf of its clients (including the Funds) may limit purchases, sell existing investments, or otherwise restrict or limit the exercise of rights (including voting rights) when BlackRock, in its sole discretion, deems it appropriate in light of potential regulatory or other restrictions on ownership or other consequences resulting from reaching investment thresholds.

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In those circumstances where ownership thresholds or limitations must be observed, BlackRock seeks to allocate limited investment opportunities equitably among clients (including the Funds), taking into consideration benchmark weight and investment strategy. When ownership in certain securities nears an applicable threshold, BlackRock may limit purchases in such securities to the issuer’s weighting in the applicable benchmark used by BlackRock to manage the Fund. If client (including Fund) holdings of an issuer exceed an applicable threshold and BlackRock is unable to obtain relief to enable the continued holding of such investments, it may be necessary to sell down these positions to meet the applicable limitations. In these cases, benchmark overweight positions will be sold prior to benchmark positions being reduced to meet applicable limitations.

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

BlackRock and its Affiliates may serve as Authorized Participants in the creation and redemption of exchange traded funds, including funds advised by affiliates of BlackRock. BlackRock and its Affiliates may therefore be deemed to be participants in a distribution of such exchange traded funds, which could render them statutory underwriters.

The custody arrangement described in “Management and Other Service Arrangements” may lead to potential conflicts of interest with BlackRock where BlackRock has agreed to waive fees and/or reimburse ordinary operating expenses in order to cap expenses of the Funds. This is because the custody arrangements with the Funds’ custodian may have the effect of reducing custody fees when the Funds leave cash balances uninvested. 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. This could be viewed as having the potential to provide BlackRock an incentive to keep high positive cash balances for Funds with expense caps in order to offset fund custody fees that BlackRock might otherwise reimburse. 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.

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

Purchase of Shares

Most BlackRock-advised open-end funds offer multiple classes of shares under a plan adopted under Rule 18f-3 under the Investment Company Act. Investor A Shares are sold to investors choosing the initial sales charge alternative and Investor B and Investor C Shares are sold to investors choosing the deferred sales charge alternative. Effective July 1, 2009, Investor B Shares of each Fund are no longer available for purchase except through exchanges, dividend reinvestments, and for purchase by certain employer-sponsored retirement plans. Shareholders with investments in Investor B Shares as of July 1, 2009 may continue to hold such shares until they automatically convert to Investor A Shares under the existing conversion schedule. All other features of Investor B Shares, including the Rule 12b-1 distribution and service fees, contingent deferred sales charge schedules and conversion features, remain unchanged and continue in effect. Institutional Shares are sold to certain eligible investors without a sales charge. Certain Funds offer Class R Shares, which are available only to certain employer-sponsored retirement plans and are sold without a sales charge. In addition, certain Funds offer Service Shares, BlackRock Shares and/or Class K Shares that are available only to certain eligible investors. Please see the appropriate Prospectus for your Fund to determine which classes are offered by your Fund and under what circumstances. Each class has different exchange privileges. See “Shareholder Services — Exchange Privilege.”

The applicable offering price for purchase orders is based on the net asset value of a Fund next determined after receipt of the purchase order by a dealer or other financial intermediary (“Selling Dealer”) that has been authorized by the Distributor by contract to accept such orders. As to purchase orders received by Selling Dealers prior to the close of business on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (generally, the NYSE closes at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time), on the day the order is placed, including orders received after the close of business on the previous day, the applicable offering price is based on the net asset value determined as of the close of business on the NYSE on that day. If the purchase orders are not received by the Selling Dealer before the close of business on the NYSE, such orders are deemed received on the next business day. It is the responsibility of brokers to transmit purchase orders and

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payment on a timely basis. Generally, if payment is not received within the period described in the Prospectuses, the order will be canceled, notice thereof will be given, and the broker and its customers will be responsible for any loss to the Fund or its shareholders. Orders of less than $500 may be mailed by a broker to the Transfer Agent.

The minimum investment for the initial purchase of shares is set forth in the Prospectus for each Fund. Each Fund has lower investment minimums for other categories of shareholders eligible to purchase Institutional Shares, including selected fee-based programs. Each Fund may permit a lower initial investment for certain investors if their purchase, combined with purchases by other investors received together by the Fund, meets the minimum investment requirement. Each Fund may, in its discretion, reject any purchase order, modify or waive the minimum initial or subsequent investment requirements, reject any order for any class of shares and suspend and resume the sale of any share class of any Fund at any time. The minimum initial investment for employees of a Fund, a Fund’s Manager, Sub-Advisers or BRIL, or employees of their affiliates, is $100, unless payment is made through a payroll deduction program, in which case the minimum investment is $25.

Under certain circumstances, subject to approval by BlackRock, each Fund may permit firms to convert shares of a Fund from one class of shares to another class of shares of the same Fund. Shareholders should consult with their own tax advisors regarding any tax consequences relating to such conversions.

Each Fund or the Distributor may suspend the continuous offering of the Fund’s shares of any class at any time in response to conditions in the securities markets or otherwise and may resume offering the shares from time to time. Any order may be rejected by a Fund or the Distributor. Neither the Distributor, the securities dealers nor other financial intermediaries are permitted to withhold placing orders to benefit themselves by a price change.

The term “purchase,” as used in the Prospectus and this SAI, refers to (i) a single purchase by an individual, (ii) concurrent purchases by an individual, his or her spouse and their children purchasing shares for his, her or their own account, and (iii) single purchases by a trustee or other fiduciary purchasing shares for a single trust estate or single fiduciary account although more than one beneficiary may be involved. The term “purchase” also includes purchases by any “company,” as that term is defined in the Investment Company Act, but does not include purchases by (i) any company that has not been in existence for at least six months, (ii) a company that has no purpose other than the purchase of shares of a Fund or shares of other registered investment companies at a discount, or (iii) any group of individuals whose sole organizational nexus is that its participants are credit cardholders of a company, policyholders of an insurance company, customers of either a bank or broker-dealer or clients of an investment adviser.

With certain limited exceptions, the Funds are generally available only to investors residing in the United States and may not be distributed by a foreign financial intermediary. Under this policy, in order to accept new accounts or additional investments (including by way of exchange from another Fund) into existing accounts, a Fund generally requires that (i) a shareholder that is a natural person be a U.S. citizen or resident alien, in each case residing within the United States or a U.S. territory (including APO/FPO/DPO addresses), and have a valid U.S. taxpayer identification number, and (ii) a financial intermediary or a shareholder that is an entity be domiciled in the United States and have a valid U.S. taxpayer identification number or be domiciled in a U.S. territory and have a valid U.S. taxpayer identification number or IRS Form W-8. Any existing account that is updated to reflect a non-U.S. address will also be restricted from making additional investments.

In-Kind Purchases. Payment for shares of a Fund may, at the discretion of BlackRock, be made in the form of securities that are permissible investments for the Fund and that meet the investment objective, policies and limitations of the Fund as described herein. In connection with an in-kind securities payment, the Fund may require, among other things, that the securities: (i) be valued on the day of purchase in accordance with the pricing methods used by the Fund; (ii) be accompanied by satisfactory assurance that the Fund will have good and marketable title to such securities; (iii) not be subject to any restrictions upon resale by the Fund; (iv) be in proper form for transfer to the Fund; and (v) be accompanied by adequate information concerning the basis and other tax matters relating to the securities. All dividends, interest, subscription or other rights pertaining to such securities shall become the property of the Fund engaged in the in-kind purchase transaction and must be delivered to the Fund by the investor upon receipt from the issuer. Shares purchased in exchange for securities generally cannot be redeemed until the transfer has settled.

Institutional Shares

Institutional Shares may be purchased at net asset value without a sales charge. Only certain investors are eligible to purchase Institutional Shares. Investors who are eligible to purchase Institutional Shares should purchase Institutional Shares because they are not subject to any sales charge and have lower ongoing expenses than Investor A, Investor B, Investor C, Class R, or Service Shares.

Eligible Institutional Share Investors.

Institutional Shares of the Funds may be purchased by customers of broker-dealers and agents that have established a servicing relationship with the Fund on behalf of their customers. These broker-dealers and agents may impose additional or different conditions on the purchase or redemption of Fund shares by their customers and may charge their customers transaction, account or other fees on the purchase and redemption of Fund shares. Each broker-dealer or agent is responsible for transmitting to its customers a

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schedule of any such fees and information regarding any additional or different conditions regarding purchases and redemptions. Shareholders who are customers of such broker-dealers or agents should consult them for information regarding these fees and conditions.

Payment for Institutional Shares must normally be made in Federal funds or other funds immediately available by 4 p.m. (Eastern time) on the first business day following receipt of the order. If payment for a purchase order is not received by the prescribed time, an investor may be liable for any resulting losses or expenses incurred by the Fund.

Investors who currently own Institutional Shares in a shareholder account are entitled to purchase additional Institutional Shares of a Fund in that account. In addition, the following investors may purchase Institutional Shares: employees, officers and directors/trustees of BlackRock, Inc., BlackRock Funds, The PNC Financial Services Group Inc., Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”), Barclays PLC or their respective affiliates and any trust, pension, profit-sharing or other benefit plan for such persons; institutional and individual retail investors with a minimum investment of $2 million who purchase through certain broker-dealers or directly from the Fund; certain employer-sponsored retirement plans; investors in selected fee based programs; clients of registered investment advisers who have $250,000 invested in the Funds; clients of the trust departments of PNC Bank and Bank of America, N.A. and their affiliates for whom they (i) act in a fiduciary capacity (excluding participant directed employee benefit plans); (ii) otherwise have investment discretion; or (iii) act as custodian for at least $2 million in assets; unaffiliated banks, thrifts or trust companies that have agreements with the Distributor; certain state sponsored 529 college savings plans; and holders of certain BofA Corp. sponsored unit investment trusts (UITs) who reinvest dividends received from such UITs in shares of a Fund.

Purchase Privileges of Certain Persons. Employees, officers, directors/trustees of BlackRock, Inc., BlackRock Funds, BofA Corp., The PNC Financial Services Group Inc., or their respective affiliates; and any trust, pension, profit-sharing or other benefit plan for such persons may purchase Institutional Shares at lower minimums as stated in each Fund’s prospectus. In addition, employees, officers, directors/trustees previously associated with PNC Global Investment Servicing (U.S.) Inc. in its capacity as the Funds’ former Transfer Agent and/or accounting agent, and who, prior to July 1, 2010, acquired Investor A Shares in a Fund without paying a sales charge based on a waiver for such persons previously in effect, may continue to buy Investor A Shares in such Fund without paying a sales charge. A Fund realizes economies of scale and reduction of sales-related expenses by virtue of the familiarity of these persons with the Fund. Employees, directors, and board members of other funds wishing to purchase shares of a Fund must satisfy the Fund’s suitability standards.

Initial Sales Charge Alternative — Investor A Shares

Investors who prefer an initial sales charge alternative may elect to purchase Investor A Shares. Investor A1 Shares generally are not continuously offered but are offered (i) for purchase by certain employer-sponsored retirement plans and fee-based programs that have been previously approved by certain Funds, and (ii) to certain investors who currently hold Investor A1 Shares for dividend and capital gain reinvestment only. For ease of reference, Investor A Shares are sometimes referred to herein as “front-end load shares.”

Investors qualifying for significantly reduced initial sales charges may find the initial sales charge alternative particularly attractive because similar sales charge reductions are not available with respect to the deferred sales charges imposed in connection with investments in Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3 and Investor C Shares (sometimes referred to herein as “CDSC shares”). Investors who do not qualify for reduced initial sales charges and who expect to maintain their investment for an extended period of time also may elect to purchase Investor A Shares, because over time the accumulated ongoing service and distribution fees on CDSC shares may exceed the front-end sales charge shares’ initial sales charge and service fee. Although some investors who previously purchased Institutional Shares may no longer be eligible to purchase Institutional Shares of other Funds, those previously purchased Institutional Shares, together with all BlackRock front-end load and CDSC share holdings, will count toward a right of accumulation that may qualify the investor for a reduced initial sales charge on new initial sales charge purchases. In addition, the ongoing CDSC shares service and distribution fees will cause CDSC shares to have higher expense ratios, pay lower dividends and have lower total returns than the initial sales charge shares. The ongoing front-end load shares’ service fees will cause Investor A and Service Shares to have a higher expense ratio, pay lower dividends and have a lower total return than Institutional Shares.

See “Information on Sales Charges and Distribution Related Expenses — Investor A Sales Charge Information” in Part I of each Fund’s SAI for information about amounts paid to the Distributor in connection with Investor A and Investor A1 Shares for the periods indicated.

The Distributor may reallow discounts to selected securities dealers and other financial intermediaries and retain the balance over such discounts. At times a Distributor may reallow the entire sales charge to such dealers. Since securities dealers and other financial intermediaries selling front-end load shares of a Fund will receive a concession equal to most of the sales charge, they may be deemed to be underwriters under the Securities Act.

Reduced Initial Sales Charges

Certain investors may be eligible for a reduction in or waiver of a sales load due to the nature of the investors and/or the reduced sales efforts necessary to obtain their investments.

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Reinvested Dividends. No sales charges are imposed upon shares issued as a result of the automatic reinvestment of dividends.

Rights of Accumulation. Investors have a “right of accumulation” under which the current value of an investor’s existing Investor A, Investor A1, Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3, Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2, Investor C3 and Institutional Shares in most BlackRock Funds and the investment in the BlackRock College Advantage 529 Program by the investor or by or on behalf of the investor’s spouse and children may be combined with the amount of the current purchase in determining whether an investor qualifies for a breakpoint and a reduced front-end sales charge. Financial intermediaries may value current holdings of their customers differently for purposes of determining whether an investor qualifies for a breakpoint and a reduced front-end sales charge, although customers of the same financial intermediary will be treated similarly. In order to use this right, the investor must alert BlackRock to the existence of any previously purchased shares. Certain Funds employ a “passive” management approach and attempt to match the performance of a target index as closely as possible before the deduction of Fund expenses (“Index Funds”). Although shares of Index Funds generally are not subject to a sales charge, an investor’s existing Investor A, Investor A1, Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3, Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2, Investor C3 and Institutional Shares in the Index Funds may be combined with the amount of an investor’s current purchase in determining whether an investor qualifies for a breakpoint and a reduced front-end sales charge.

Letter of Intent. An investor may qualify for a reduced front-end sales charge immediately by signing a “Letter of Intent” stating the investor’s intention to buy a specified amount of Investor A, Investor B, Investor C or Institutional Shares in one or more BlackRock Funds within the next 13 months that would, if bought all at once, qualify the investor for a reduced sales charge. The initial investment must meet the minimum initial purchase requirement. The 13-month Letter of Intent period commences on the day that the Letter of Intent is received by the Fund, and the investor must tell the Fund that later purchases are subject to the Letter of Intent. Purchases submitted prior to the date the Letter of Intent is received by the Fund are not counted toward the sales charge reduction. During the term of the Letter of Intent, the Fund will hold Investor A Shares representing up to 5% of the indicated amount in an escrow account for payment of a higher sales load if the full amount indicated in the Letter of Intent is not purchased. If the full amount indicated is not purchased within the 13-month period and the investor does not pay the higher sales load within 20 days, the Fund will redeem enough of the Investor A Shares held in escrow to pay the difference.

Other. The following persons may also buy Investor A Shares without paying a sales charge: (a) certain employer-sponsored retirement plans (for purposes of this waiver, employer-sponsored retirement plans do not include SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs or SARSEPs); (b) rollovers of current investments through certain employer-sponsored retirement plans provided the shares are transferred to the same BlackRock Fund as either a direct rollover, or subsequent to distribution, the rolled-over proceeds are contributed to a BlackRock IRA through an account directly with the Fund; or purchases by IRA programs that are sponsored by financial intermediary firms provided the financial intermediary firm has entered into a Class A Net Asset Value agreement with respect to such program with the Distributor; (c) insurance company separate accounts; (d) registered investment advisers, trust companies and bank trust departments exercising discretionary investment authority with respect to amounts to be invested in a Fund; (e) persons participating in a fee-based program (such as a wrap account) under which they pay advisory fees to a broker-dealer or other financial institution; (f) financial intermediaries who have entered into an agreement with the Distributor and have been approved by the Distributor to offer Fund shares to self-directed investment brokerage accounts that may or may not charge a transaction fee; (g) state sponsored 529 college savings plans; and (h) persons involuntarily liquidated from a Fund, who within 60 days of liquidation buy new shares of another BlackRock Fund (but only up to the amount that was liquidated). The following persons associated with the Funds, the Fund’s Manager, Sub-Advisers, Transfer Agent, Distributor, fund accounting agents, Barclays PLC and their affiliates may buy Investor A Shares of each of the Funds without paying a sales charge to the extent permitted by these firms including: (a) officers, directors and partners; (b) employees and retirees; (c) employees of firms who have entered into selling agreements to distribute shares of BlackRock-advised funds; (d) immediate family members of such persons (“immediate family members” shall be defined as the investor, the investor’s spouse or domestic partner, children, parents and siblings); and (e) any trust, pension, profit-sharing or other benefit plan for any of the persons set forth in (a) through (d). Investors who qualify for any of these exemptions from the sales charge should purchase Investor A Shares. The availability of Investor A Shares sales charge waivers may depend upon the policies, procedures and trading platforms of your financial intermediary; consult your financial adviser.

If you invest $1,000,000 or more in Investor A Shares, you may not pay an initial sales charge. However, if you redeem your Investor A Shares within eighteen months after purchase, you may be charged a deferred sales charge. The deferred sales charge on Investor A Shares is not charged in connection with: (a) redemptions of Investor A Shares purchased through certain employer-sponsored retirement plans and rollovers of current investments in a Fund through such plans; (b) exchanges described in “Exchange Privilege” below; (c) redemptions made in connection with minimum required distributions due to the shareholder reaching age 701/2 from IRA and 403(b)(7) accounts; (d) certain post-retirement withdrawals from an IRA or other retirement plan if you are over 591/2 years old and you purchased your shares prior to October 2, 2006; (e) redemptions made with respect to certain retirement plans sponsored by a Fund, BlackRock or its affiliates; (f) redemptions (i) within one year of a shareholder’s death or, if later, the receipt of a certified probate settlement (including in connection with the distribution of account assets to a beneficiary of the decedent) or (ii) in connection with a shareholder’s disability (as defined in the Code) subsequent to the purchase of Investor A Shares; (g) involuntary redemptions of Investor A Shares in accounts with low balances; (h) certain redemptions made pursuant to the Systematic Withdrawal

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Plan (described below); (i) redemptions related to the payment of BNY Mellon Investment Servicing Trust Company custodial IRA fees; and (j) redemptions when a shareholder can demonstrate hardship, in the absolute discretion of a Fund.

With respect to certain employer-sponsored retirement plans, if a dealer waives its right to receive a placement fee, the Fund may, at its own discretion, waive the CDSC (as defined below) related to purchases of $1,000,000 or more of Investor A Shares. This may depend upon the policies, procedures and trading platforms of your financial intermediary; consult your financial adviser.

Investor A Shares are also available at net asset value to investors that, for regulatory reasons, are required to transfer investment positions from a foreign registered investment company advised by BlackRock or its affiliates to a U.S. registered BlackRock-advised fund.

Placement Fees.

BlackRock may pay placement fees to dealers, up to the following amounts, on purchases of Investor A Shares of all Funds.

 

   

All Funds Except Balanced Capital

and Basic Value

 

Balanced Capital

and Basic Value

Less than $3,000,000   1.00% 0.75%
$3 million but less than $15 million   0.50% 0.50%
$15 million and above   0.25% 0.25%

 

For the table above, the placement fees indicated will apply up to the indicated breakpoint (so that, for example, a sale of $4 million worth of Investor A Shares will result in a placement fee of up to 1.00% (0.75% for Balanced Capital and Basic Value) on the first $3 million and 0.50% on the final $1 million).

Acquisition of Certain Investment Companies. Investor A Shares may be offered at net asset value in connection with the acquisition of the assets of, or merger or consolidation with, a personal holding company or a public or private investment company.

Purchases Through Certain Financial Intermediaries. Reduced sales charges may be applicable for purchases of Investor A Shares of a Fund through certain financial advisers, selected securities dealers and other financial intermediaries that meet and adhere to standards established by the Manager from time to time.

Deferred Sales Charge Alternative — Investor B and Investor C Shares

Investor B, Investor B1 and Investor B3 Shares generally are not continuously offered but are offered by exchange (Investor B Shares only) and also to certain investors who currently hold Investor B, Investor B1 or Investor B3 Shares for dividend and capital gain reinvestment. In addition, certain employer-sponsored retirement plans and fee-based programs previously approved by certain Funds that currently hold Investor B, Investor B1 or Investor B3 Shares may purchase additional Investor B, Investor B1 or Investor B3 Shares or effect exchanges between Funds in those classes.

Investors choosing the deferred sales charge alternative should consider Investor C Shares if they are uncertain as to the length of time they intend to hold their assets in a Fund. If you select Investor C Shares, you do not pay an initial sales charge at the time of purchase. A Fund will not accept a purchase order of $500,000 or more for Investor C Shares.

If you select Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2 or Investor C3 Shares, you do not pay an initial sales charge at the time of purchase. Investor C1, Investor C2 and Investor C3 Shares generally are not continuously offered but are offered (i) for purchase by certain employer-sponsored retirement plans and fee-based programs previously approved by certain Funds, and (ii) to certain investors who currently hold Investor C1, Investor C2 or Investor C3 Shares for dividend and capital gain reinvestment.

The deferred sales charge alternatives may be particularly appealing to investors who do not qualify for the reduction in initial sales charges. CDSC shares are subject to ongoing service fees and distribution fees; however, these fees potentially may be offset to the extent any return is realized on the additional funds initially invested in CDSC shares. In addition, Investor B, Investor B1 or Investor B3 Shares will be converted into Investor A or Investor A1 Shares, as set forth in each Fund’s prospectus, of a Fund after a conversion period of approximately eight years, and, thereafter, investors will be subject to lower ongoing fees.

BlackRock compensates financial advisers and other financial intermediaries for selling CDSC shares at the time of purchase from its own funds. Proceeds from the CDSC (as defined below) and the distribution fee are paid to the Distributor and are used by the Distributor to defray the expenses of securities dealers or other financial intermediaries related to providing distribution-related services to each Fund in connection with the sale of the CDSC shares. The combination of the CDSC and the ongoing distribution fee facilitates

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the ability of each Fund to sell the CDSC shares without a sales charge being deducted at the time of purchase. See “Distribution Plans” below. Imposition of the CDSC and the distribution fee on CDSC shares is limited by the NASD asset-based sales charge rule. See “Limitations on the Payment of Deferred Sales Charges” below.

Dealers will generally receive commissions equal to 4.00% of Investor B Shares sold by them plus ongoing fees under the Fund’s Distribution and Service Plan. Dealers may not receive a commission in connection with sales of Investor B, Investor B1 or Investor B3 Shares to certain employer-sponsored retirement plans sponsored by the Fund, BlackRock or its affiliates, but may receive fees under the Distribution and Service Plan. These commissions and payments may be different than the reallowances, placement fees and commissions paid to dealers in connection with sales of Investor A, Investor A1, Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2 and Investor C3 Shares.

Dealers will generally immediately receive commissions equal to 1.00% of the Investor C Shares sold by them plus ongoing fees under the Fund’s Distribution and Service Plan. Dealers may not receive a commission in connection with sales of Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2 or Investor C3 Shares to certain employer-sponsored retirement plans sponsored by the Fund, BlackRock or its affiliates, but may receive fees under the Amended and Restated Distribution and Service Plan. These commissions and payments may be different than the reallowances, placement fees and commissions paid to dealers in connection with sales of Investor A, Investor A1, Investor B, Investor B1 and Investor B3 Shares. These may depend upon the policies, procedures and trading platforms of your financial intermediary; consult your financial adviser.

Contingent Deferred Sales Charges — Investor B, Investor B1 and Investor B3 Shares. If you redeem Investor B, Investor B1 or Investor B3 Shares within six years of purchase, you may be charged a contingent deferred sales charge (“CDSC”) at the rates indicated in the Fund’s Prospectus and below. The CDSC will be calculated in a manner that results in the lowest applicable rate being charged. The charge will be assessed on an amount equal to the lesser of the proceeds of redemption or the cost of the shares being redeemed. Accordingly, no CDSC will be imposed on increases in net asset value above the initial purchase price. In addition, no CDSC will be assessed on shares acquired through reinvestment of dividends. The order of redemption will be first of shares held for over six years in the case of Investor B Shares, next of shares acquired pursuant to reinvestment of dividends, and finally of shares in the order of those held longest. The same order of redemption will apply if you transfer shares from your account to another account. If you exchange your Investor B, Investor B1 or Investor B3 Shares for Investor B Shares of another Fund, the CDSC schedule that applies to the shares that you originally purchased will continue to apply to the shares you acquire in the exchange.

The following table sets forth the schedule that applies to the Investor B CDSC:

        CDSC as a Percentage
Years Since Purchase       of Dollar Amount
Payment Made       Subject to Charge*
0 — 1         4.50%
1 — 2         4.00%
2 — 3         3.50%
3 — 4         3.00%
4 — 5         2.00%
5 — 6         1.00%
6 and thereafter           None

 

 
*   The percentage charge will apply to the lesser of the original cost of the shares being redeemed or the proceeds of your redemption. Shares acquired through reinvestment of dividends are not subject to a deferred sales charge. Not all BlackRock funds have identical deferred sales charge schedules. If you exchange your shares for shares of another fund, the original charge will apply.

 

To provide an example, assume an investor purchased 100 shares at $10 per share (at a cost of $1,000) and in the third year after purchase, the net asset value per share is $12 and, during such time, the investor has acquired 10 additional shares upon dividend reinvestment. If at such time the investor makes his or her first redemption of 50 shares (proceeds of $600), 10 shares will not be subject to a CDSC because they were issued through dividend reinvestment. With respect to the remaining 40 shares, the charge is applied only to the original cost of $10 per share and not to the increase in net asset value of $2 per share. Therefore, $400 of the $600 redemption proceeds will be charged at a rate of 3.50% (the applicable rate in the third year after purchase).

Conversion of Investor B, Investor B1 and Investor B3 Shares to Investor A and Investor A1 Shares. Approximately eight years after purchase (the “Conversion Period”), Investor B, Investor B1 and Investor B3 Shares of each Fund will convert automatically into Investor A or Investor A1 Shares of that Fund (the “Conversion”). The Conversion will occur at least once each month (on the “Conversion Date”) on the basis of the relative net asset value of the shares of the two classes on the Conversion Date, without the

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imposition of any sales load, fee or other charge. The Conversion will not be deemed a purchase or sale of the shares for Federal income tax purposes.

Shares acquired through reinvestment of dividends on Investor B, Investor B1 or Investor B3 Shares will also convert automatically to Investor A or Investor A1 Shares, as set forth in each Fund’s prospectus. The Conversion Date for dividend reinvestment shares will be calculated taking into account the length of time the shares underlying the dividend reinvestment shares were outstanding.

In general, Investor B Shares of equity Funds will convert approximately eight years after initial purchase and Investor B, Investor B1 and Investor B3 Shares of taxable and tax-exempt fixed-income Funds will convert approximately ten years after initial purchase. If you exchange Investor B, Investor B1 or Investor B3 Shares with an eight-year Conversion Period for Investor B Shares with a ten-year Conversion Period, or vice versa, the Conversion Period that applies to the shares you acquire in the exchange will apply and the holding period for the shares exchanged will be tacked on to the holding period for the shares acquired. The Conversion Period also may be modified for investors that participate in certain fee-based programs. See “Shareholder Services — Fee-Based Programs.”

If you own shares of a Fund that, in the past, issued stock certificates and you continue to hold such stock certificates, you must deliver any certificates for Investor B Shares of the Fund to be converted to the Transfer Agent at least one week prior to the Conversion Date applicable to those shares. If the Transfer Agent does not receive the certificates at least one week prior to the Conversion Date, your Investor B, Investor B1 or Investor B3 Shares will convert to Investor A or Investor A1 Shares, as set forth in each Fund’s prospectus, on the next scheduled Conversion Date after the certificates are delivered.

Contingent Deferred Sales Charge — Investor C Shares

Investor C Shares that are redeemed within one year of purchase may be subject to a 1.00% CDSC charged as a percentage of the dollar amount subject thereto. The period in which deferred sales charges may have applied to Investor C1, Investor C2 or Investor C3 Shares has expired. In determining whether an Investor C Shares CDSC is applicable to a redemption, the calculation will be determined in the manner that results in the lowest possible rate being charged. The charge will be assessed on an amount equal to the lesser of the proceeds of redemption or the cost of the shares being redeemed. Accordingly, no CDSC will be imposed on increases in net asset value above the initial purchase price of Investor C Shares. In addition, no CDSC will be assessed on Investor C Shares acquired through reinvestment of dividends. It will be assumed that the redemption is first of shares held for over one year or shares acquired pursuant to reinvestment of dividends and then of shares held longest during the one-year period. A transfer of shares from a shareholder’s account to another account will be assumed to be made in the same order as a redemption.

See “Information on Sales Charges and Distribution Related Expenses — Investor B and Investor C Sales Charge Information” in Part I of each Fund’s SAI for information about amounts paid to the Distributor in connection with CDSC shares for the periods indicated.

Investor B and Investor C Shares — Contingent Deferred Sales Charge Waivers and Reductions

The CDSC on Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3 and Investor C Shares is not charged in connection with: (1) redemptions of Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3 and Investor C Shares purchased through certain employer-sponsored retirement plans and fee-based programs previously approved by certain Funds and rollovers of current investments in the Fund through such plans; (2) exchanges described in “Exchange Privilege” below; (3) redemptions made in connection with minimum required distributions due to the shareholder reaching age 70 1/2 from IRA and 403(b)(7) accounts; (4) certain post-retirement withdrawals from an IRA or other retirement plan if you are over 59 1/2 years old and you purchased your shares prior to October 2, 2006; (5) redemptions made with respect to certain retirement plans sponsored by the Fund, BlackRock or its affiliates; (6) redemptions in connection with a shareholder’s death as long as the waiver request is made within one year of death or, if later, reasonably promptly following completion of probate (including in connection with the distribution of account assets to a beneficiary of the decedent) or disability (as defined in the Code) subsequent to the purchase of Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3 or Investor C Shares; (7) withdrawals resulting from shareholder disability (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code) as long as the disability arose subsequent to the purchase of the shares; (8) involuntary redemptions of Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3 or Investor C Shares in accounts with low balances as described in “Redemption of Shares” below; (9) redemptions made pursuant to a systematic withdrawal plan, subject to the limitations set forth under “Systematic Withdrawal Plan” below; (10) redemptions related to the payment of The Bank of New York Mellon custodial IRA fees; and (11) redemptions when a shareholder can demonstrate hardship, in the absolute discretion of the Fund. In addition, no CDSC is charged on Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3 or Investor C Shares acquired through the reinvestment of dividends or distributions.

Class R Shares

Certain of the Funds offer Class R Shares as described in each such Fund’s Prospectus. Class R Shares are available only to certain employer-sponsored retirement plans. Class R Shares are not subject to an initial sales charge or a CDSC but are subject to an ongoing distribution fee of 0.25% per year and an ongoing service fee of 0.25% per year. Distribution fees are used to support the Fund’s marketing and distribution efforts, such as compensating financial advisers and other financial intermediaries, advertising and promotion. Service fees are used to compensate securities dealers and other financial intermediaries for service activities. If Class R

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Shares are held over time, these fees may exceed the maximum sales charge that an investor would have paid as a shareholder of one of the other share classes.

Class K Shares

Certain of the Funds offer Class K Shares as described in each such Fund’s Prospectus. Class K Shares are available only to (i) qualified recordkeepers with a distribution and/or fund servicing agreement (establishing an omnibus trading relationship) maintained with the Fund’s distributor, (ii) defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, endowments and foundations with greater than $10 million in a qualified tax-exempt plan, (iii) employers with greater than $10 million in the aggregate between qualified and non-qualified plans that they sponsor (together with (i) and (ii), “Plan Institutions”) or (iv) institutions and individuals with a minimum initial investment in the Fund of $5 million.

Service Shares

Certain Funds offer Service Shares, which are available only to certain investors, including: (i) certain financial institutions, such as banks and brokerage firms, acting on behalf of their customers; (ii) certain persons who were shareholders of the Compass Capital Group of Funds at the time of its combination with The PNC® Fund in 1996; and (iii) participants in the Capital DirectionsSM asset allocation program. Service Shares are not subject to an initial sales charge or a CDSC but are subject to an ongoing service fee as set forth in the applicable Fund’s Prospectus.

BlackRock Shares

Certain Funds offer BlackRock Shares, which are available only to certain investors. BlackRock Shares are offered without a sales charge to institutional and individual investors, registered investment advisers and certain fee-based programs.

Distribution Plans

Each Fund has entered into a distribution agreement with BRIL under which BRIL, as agent, offers shares of each Fund on a continuous basis. BRIL has agreed to use appropriate efforts to effect sales of the shares, but it is not obligated to sell any particular amount of shares. BRIL’s principal business address is 40 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022. BRIL is an affiliate of BlackRock.

Pursuant to the distribution plans of the Investor A, Investor A1, Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3, Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2, Investor C3 and Class R Shares (each, a “Plan”), the Fund may pay BRIL and/or BlackRock or any other affiliate or significant shareholder of BlackRock fees for distribution and sales support services. Currently, as described further below, only Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3, Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2, Investor C3 and Class R Shares bear the expense of distribution fees under a Plan. In addition, the Fund may pay to brokers, dealers, financial institutions and industry professionals (including BlackRock, BRIL, PNC, Barclays and their affiliates) (collectively, “Service Organizations”) fees for the provision of personal services to shareholders. In the past, BlackRock or BRIL has retained a portion of the shareholder servicing fees paid by the Fund.

Each Fund’s Plans are subject to the provisions of Rule 12b-1 under the Investment Company Act. In their consideration of a Plan, the Directors must consider all factors they deem relevant, including information as to the benefits of the Plan to the Fund and the related class of shareholders. In approving a Plan in accordance with Rule 12b-1, the non-interested Directors concluded that there is reasonable likelihood that the Plan will benefit the Fund and its related class of shareholders. The Plan provides, among other things, that: (i) the Board of Directors shall receive quarterly reports regarding the amounts expended under the Plan and the purposes for which such expenditures were made; (ii) the Plan will continue in effect for so long as its continuance is approved at least annually by the Board of Directors in accordance with Rule 12b-1 under the Investment Company Act; (iii) any material amendment thereto must be approved by the Board of Directors, including the directors who are not “interested persons” of the Fund (as defined in the Investment Company Act) and who have no direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the Plan or any agreement entered into in connection with the Plan (the “12b-1 Directors”), acting in person at a meeting called for said purpose; (iv) any amendment to increase materially the costs which any class of shares may bear for distribution services pursuant to the Plan shall be effective only upon approval by a vote of a majority of the outstanding shares of such class and by a majority of the 12b-1 Directors; and (v) while the Plan remains in effect, the selection and nomination of the Fund’s Directors who are not “interested persons” of the Fund shall be committed to the discretion of the Fund’s non-interested Directors. Rule 12b-1 further requires that each Fund preserve copies of each Plan and any report made pursuant to such plan for a period of not less than six years from the date of the Plan or such report, the first two years in an easily accessible place.

Payments under the Plans are based on a percentage of average daily net assets attributable to the shares regardless of the amount of expenses incurred. As a result, distribution-related revenues from the Plans may be more or less than distribution-related expenses of the related class. Information with respect to the distribution-related revenues and expenses is presented to the Directors for their consideration quarterly. Distribution-related revenues consist of the service fees, the distribution fees and the CDSCs. Distribution-related expenses consist of financial adviser compensation, branch office and regional operation center selling and transaction processing expenses, advertising, sales promotion and marketing expenses and interest expense. Distribution-related revenues paid

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with respect to one class will not be used to finance the distribution expenditures of another class. Sales personnel may receive different compensation for selling different classes of shares.

The Plan is terminable as to any class of shares without penalty at any time by a vote of a majority of the 12b-1 Directors, or by vote of the holders of a majority of the shares of such class.

See “Distribution Related Expenses” in Part I of each Fund’s SAI for information relating to the fees paid by your Fund to the Distributor under each Plan during the Fund’s most recent fiscal year.

Limitations on the Payment of Deferred Sales Charges

The maximum sales charge rule in the Conduct Rules of the NASD imposes a limitation on certain asset-based sales charges such as the distribution fee borne by Class R Shares, and the distribution fee and the CDSC borne by the Investor B and Investor C Shares. This limitation does not apply to the service fee. The maximum sales charge rule is applied separately to each class and limits the aggregate of distribution fee payments and CDSCs payable by a Fund to (1) 6.25% of eligible gross sales of Investor B, Investor C and Class R Shares, computed separately (excluding shares issued pursuant to dividend reinvestments and exchanges), plus (2) interest on the unpaid balance for the respective class, computed separately, at the prime rate plus 1% (the unpaid balance being the maximum amount payable minus amounts received from the payment of the distribution fee and the CDSC). See Part I, Section V “Information on Sales Charges and Distribution Related Expenses — Limitation on the Payment of Deferred Sales Charge” of each Fund’s SAI for comparative information as of your Fund’s most recent fiscal year end with respect to the Investor B, Investor C and, if applicable, Class R Shares of your Fund.

Other Compensation to Selling Dealers

BlackRock and certain of their affiliates may make payments relating to distribution and sales support activities out of their past profits or other sources available to them (and not as an additional charge to the Fund). From time to time, BRIL, BlackRock or their affiliates may compensate affiliated and unaffiliated brokers, dealers, financial institutions and industry professionals (including BlackRock, Merrill Lynch, Hilliard Lyons and their affiliates) (collectively, “Service Organizations”) for the sale and distribution of shares of a Fund or for services to a Fund and its shareholders. These non-distribution and service plan payments may take the form of, among other things, “due diligence” payments for a dealer’s examination of the Funds and payments for providing extra employee training and information relating to Funds; “listing” fees for the placement of the Funds on a dealer’s list of mutual funds available for purchase by its customers; “finders” fees for directing investors to the Fund; “distribution and marketing support” fees or “revenue sharing” for providing assistance in promoting the sale of the Funds’ shares; payments for the sale of shares and/or the maintenance of share balances; CUSIP fees; maintenance fees; and set-up fees regarding the establishment of new accounts. The payments made by BRIL, BlackRock and their affiliates may be a fixed dollar amount or may be based on a percentage of the value of shares sold to, or held by, customers of the Service Organization involved, and may be different for different Service Organizations. The payments described above are made from BRIL’s, BlackRock’s or their affiliates’ own assets pursuant to agreements with Service Organizations and do not change the price paid by investors for the purchase of the Fund’s shares or the amount the Fund will receive as proceeds from such sales.

As of the date of this SAI, as amended or supplemented from time to time, the following Service Organizations are receiving such payments: Ameriprise Financial Services, AXA Advisors, CCO Investment Services, Cetera Financial Group, Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., Commonwealth Equity Services (Commonwealth Financial Network), FSC Securities Corporation, Investacorp, Inc., JP Morgan, LPL Financial Corporation, Merrill Lynch, MetLife Securities, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, Park Avenue Securities, PFS Investments, PNC Investments LLC, Raymond James, RBC Capital Markets, Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial, Santander Securities, LLC, Securities America, State Farm VP Management Corp., The Huntington Investment Co., Triad Advisors, Inc., UBS Financial Services, U.S. Bancorp Investments, Voya Financial Advisors, Inc., Voya Investments Distributor, LLC, Wells Fargo, Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. and/or broker dealers and other financial services firms under common control with the above organizations (or their successors or assignees). The level of payments made to these Service Organizations in any year will vary, may be limited to specific Funds or share classes, and normally will not exceed the sum of (a) 0.25% of such year’s Fund sales by that Service Organization and (b) 0.21% of the assets attributable to that Service Organization invested in a Fund. In certain cases, the payments described in the preceding sentence are subject to certain minimum payment levels. In addition, from time to time BRIL, BlackRock or certain of their affiliates may make fixed dollar amount payments to certain Service Organizations listed above that are not based on the value of the shares sold to, or held by, the Service Organization’s customers and may be different for different Service Organizations.

Other Distribution Arrangements

Certain Funds and BlackRock have entered into distribution agreements with UBS AG whereby UBS AG may, in certain circumstances, sell certain shares of the Funds in certain jurisdictions. The level of payments made to UBS AG in any year for the sale and distribution

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of a Fund’s shares will vary and normally will not exceed the sum of the service fee payable on the assets attributable to UBS AG plus an additional fee equal to a percentage of such assets which shall range up to 0.25%.

In lieu of payments pursuant to the foregoing, BRIL, BlackRock, PNC or their affiliates may make payments to the above named Service Organizations of an agreed-upon amount which, subject to certain agreed-upon minimums, will generally not exceed the amount that would have been payable pursuant to the formula, and may also make similar payments to other Service Organizations.

If investment advisers, distributors or affiliates of mutual funds pay bonuses and incentives in differing amounts, financial firms and their financial consultants may have financial incentives for recommending a particular mutual fund over other mutual funds. In addition, depending on the arrangements in place at any particular time, a financial firm and its financial consultants may also have a financial incentive for recommending a particular share class over other share classes. You should consult your financial advisor and review carefully any disclosure by the financial firm as to compensation received by your financial advisor for more information about the payments described above.

Furthermore, BRIL, BlackRock and their affiliates may contribute to various non-cash and cash incentive arrangements to promote the sale of shares, and may sponsor various contests and promotions subject to applicable FINRA regulations in which participants may receive prizes such as travel awards, merchandise and cash. Subject to applicable FINRA regulations, BRIL, BlackRock and their affiliates may also: (i) pay for the travel expenses, meals, lodging and entertainment of broker/dealers, financial institutions and their salespersons in connection with educational and sales promotional programs, (ii) sponsor speakers, educational seminars and charitable events and (iii) provide other sales and marketing conferences and other resources to broker-dealers, financial institutions and their salespersons.

BlackRock, Inc., the parent company of BlackRock, has agreed to pay PNC Bank and certain of its affiliates fees for administration and servicing with respect to assets of the Fund attributable to shares held by customers of such entities. These assets are predominantly in the Institutional Share class of a Fund, with respect to which the Fund does not pay shareholder servicing fees under a Plan. The fees are paid according to the following schedule: certain money market funds: 0.15% of net assets; certain fixed-income funds: 0.20% of net assets; and certain equity funds: 0.25% of net assets (except that with respect to Index Equity, the fee is 0.04% of net assets).

Service Organizations may charge their clients additional fees for account-related services. Service Organizations may charge their customers a service fee in connection with the purchase or redemption of Fund shares. The amount and applicability of such a fee is determined and disclosed to its customers by each individual Service Organization. Service fees typically are fixed, nominal dollar amounts and are in addition to the sales and other charges described in the Prospectuses and this SAI. Your Service Organization will provide you with specific information about any service fees you will be charged.

Pursuant to the Plans, each Fund enters into service arrangements with Service Organizations pursuant to which Service Organizations will render certain support services to their customers (“Customers”) who are the beneficial owners of Hilliard Lyons, Service, Investor A, Investor A1, Investor B, Investor B1, Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2 and Class R Shares of all Funds. Such services will be provided to Customers who are the beneficial owners of shares of such classes and are intended to supplement the services provided by the Fund’s Administrators and Transfer Agent to the Fund’s shareholders of record. In consideration for payment of the applicable service fee Service Organizations may provide general shareholder liaison services, including, but not limited to: (i) answering customer inquiries regarding account status and history, the manner in which purchases, exchanges and redemptions of shares may be effected and certain other matters pertaining to the Customers’ investments; and (ii) assisting Customers in designating and changing dividend options, account designations and addresses.

To the extent a shareholder is not associated with a Service Organization, the shareholder servicing fees will be paid to BlackRock, and BlackRock will provide services. In addition to, rather than in lieu of, distribution and shareholder servicing fees that a Fund may pay to a Service Organization pursuant to the Plan and fees the Fund pays to its Transfer Agent, the Fund may enter into non-Plan agreements with Service Organizations pursuant to which the Fund will pay a Service Organization for administrative, networking, recordkeeping, sub-transfer agency and shareholder services. These non-Plan payments are generally based on either: (1) a percentage of the average daily net assets of Fund shareholders serviced by a Service Organization or (2) a fixed dollar amount for each account serviced by a Service Organization. The aggregate amount of these payments may be substantial. From time to time, BlackRock, BRIL or their affiliates also may pay a portion of the fees for administrative, networking, omnibus, operational and recordkeeping, sub-transfer agency and shareholder services described above at its or their own expense and out of its or their legitimate profits.

Redemption of Shares

Shares normally will be redeemed for cash upon receipt of a request in proper form, although each Fund retains the right to redeem some or all of its shares in-kind under unusual circumstances (valued in the same way as they would be valued for purposes of computing a Fund’s NAV), in order to protect the interests of remaining shareholders, or to accommodate a request by a particular shareholder that does not adversely affect the interest of the remaining shareholders, by delivery of securities selected from the Fund’s assets at its discretion. In-kind payment means payment will be made in portfolio securities rather than cash. If this occurs, the redeeming shareholder might incur brokerage or other transaction costs to convert the securities to cash. Each Fund has elected,

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however, to be governed by Rule 18f-1 under the Investment Company Act so that the Fund is obligated to redeem its shares solely in cash up to the lesser of $250,000 or 1% of its net asset value during any 90-day period for any shareholder of the Fund. The redemption price is the net asset value per share next determined after the initial receipt of proper notice of redemption. The value of shares of each Fund at the time of redemption may be more or less than your cost at the time of purchase, depending in part on the market value of the securities held by the Fund at such time. Except for any CDSC or redemption fee that may be applicable, there will be no redemption charge if your redemption request is sent directly to the Transfer Agent. If you are liquidating your holdings you will receive all dividends reinvested through the date of redemption.

The right to redeem shares may be suspended or payment upon redemption may be delayed for more than seven days only (i) for any period during which trading on the NYSE is restricted as determined by the Commission or during which the NYSE is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings), (ii) for any period during which an emergency exists, as defined by the Commission, as a result of which disposal of portfolio securities or determination of the net asset value of a Fund is not reasonably practicable, and (iii) for such other periods as the Commission may by order permit for the protection of shareholders of the Fund. (A Fund may also suspend or postpone the recordation of the transfer of its shares upon the occurrence of any of the foregoing conditions.)

Each Fund, with other investment companies advised by the Manager, has entered into a joint committed line of credit with a syndicate of banks that is intended to provide the Fund with a temporary source of cash to be used to meet redemption requests from shareholders in extraordinary or emergency circumstances.

The Fund may redeem shares involuntarily to reimburse a Fund for any loss sustained by reason of the failure of a shareholder to make full-payment for shares purchased by the shareholder or to collect any charge relating to a transaction effected for the benefit of a shareholder. The Fund reserves the express right to redeem shares of each Fund involuntarily at any time if the Fund’s Board determines, in its sole discretion, that failure to do so may have adverse consequences to the holders of shares in the Fund. Upon such redemption the holders of shares so redeemed shall have no further right with respect thereto other than to receive payment of the redemption price.

Redemption

Investor, Institutional and Class R Shares

Redeem by Telephone: You may sell Investor class shares held at BlackRock by telephone request if certain conditions are met and if the amount being sold is less than (i) $100,000 for payments by check or (ii) $250,000 for payments through the Automated Clearing House Network (“ACH”) or wire transfer. Certain redemption requests, such as those in excess of these amounts, and those where (i) the Fund does not have verified banking information on file; or (ii) the proceeds are not paid to the record owner at the record address, must be in writing with a medallion signature guarantee provided by any “eligible guarantor institution” as defined in Rule 17Ad-15 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), whose existence and validity may be verified by the Transfer Agent through the use of industry publications. For Institutional Shares, certain redemption requests may require written instructions with a medallion signature guarantee. Call (800) 441-7762 for details. You can obtain a medallion signature guarantee stamp from a bank, securities dealer, securities broker, credit union, savings and loan association, national securities exchange or registered securities association. The three recognized medallion programs are Securities Transfer Agent Medallion Program, Stock Exchanges Medallion Program and New York Stock Exchange, Inc. Medallion Signature Program. Signature guarantees which are not a part of these programs will not be accepted. A notary public seal will not be acceptable. Generally, a properly signed written request with any required signature guarantee is all that is required for a redemption. In some cases, however, other documents may be necessary. Additional documentary evidence of authority is required by the Transfer Agent in the event redemption is requested by a corporation, partnership, trust, fiduciary, executor or administrator.

If you make a redemption request before a Fund has collected payment for the purchase of shares, the Fund may delay mailing your proceeds. This delay will usually not exceed ten days. A Fund, its Administrators and the Distributor will employ reasonable procedures to confirm that instructions communicated by telephone are genuine. Telephone redemption requests will not be honored if: (i) the accountholder is deceased, (ii) the proceeds are to be sent to someone other than the shareholder of record, (iii) a Fund does not have verified information on file, (iv) the request is by an individual other than the accountholder of record, (v) the account is held by joint tenants who are divorced, (vi) the address on the account has changed within the last 30 days or share certificates have been issued on the account, or (vii) to protect against fraud, if the caller is unable to provide the account number, the name and address registered on the account and the social security number registered on the account. The Fund and its service providers will not be liable for any loss, liability, cost or expense for acting upon telephone instructions that are reasonably believed to be genuine in accordance with such procedures. Before telephone requests will be honored, signature approval from all shareholders of record on the account must be obtained. The Fund may refuse a telephone redemption request if it believes it is advisable to do so. During periods of substantial economic or market change, telephone redemptions may be difficult to complete. Please find below alternative redemption methods.

The Funds or the Transfer Agent may temporarily suspend telephone transactions at any time.

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Redeem by VRU: Investor class shares may also be redeemed by use of the Fund’s automated voice response unit service (“VRU”). Payment for Investor class shares redeemed by VRU may be made for non-retirement accounts in amounts up to $25,000, either through check, ACH or wire.

Redeem by Internet: You may redeem in your account, by logging onto the BlackRock website at www.blackrock.com/funds. Proceeds from Internet redemptions may be sent via check, ACH or wire to the bank account of record. Payment for Investor class shares redeemed by Internet may be made for non-retirement accounts in amounts up to $25,000, either through check, ACH or wire. Different maximums may apply to investors in Institutional Shares.

Redeem in Writing: If you hold shares with the Transfer Agent you may redeem such shares without charge by writing to the Fund’s Transfer Agent, BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc., P.O. Box 9819, Providence, Rhode Island 02940-8019. Redemption requests delivered other than by mail should be sent to the Fund’s Transfer Agent, BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc., 4400 Computer Drive, Westborough, Massachusetts 01588. If you hold share certificates issued by your Fund, the letter must be accompanied by certificates for the shares. All shareholders on the account must sign the letter. A medallion signature guarantee may be required but may be waived in certain circumstances. You can obtain a medallion signature guarantee stamp from a bank, securities dealer, securities broker, credit union, savings and loan association, national securities exchange or registered securities association. A notary public seal will not be acceptable. If you hold stock certificates, return the certificates with the letter. Proceeds from redemptions may be sent via check, ACH or wire to the bank account of record.

Redemptions of Service Shares, Class K Shares and BlackRock Shares may be made in the manner and amounts described in the Prospectuses.

If you redeem shares directly with the Transfer Agent, payments will generally be mailed within seven days of receipt of the proper notice of redemption. A Fund may delay the mailing of a redemption check until good payment (that is, cash, Federal funds or certified check drawn on a U.S. bank) has been collected for the purchase of Fund shares, which delay will usually not exceed 10 days. If your account is held directly with the Transfer Agent and contains a fractional share balance following a redemption, the fractional share balance will be automatically redeemed by the Fund.

Note on Low Balance Accounts. Because of the high cost of maintaining smaller shareholder accounts, BlackRock has set a minimum balance of $500 in each Fund position you hold within your account (“Fund Minimum”), and may take one of two actions if the balance in your Fund falls below the Fund Minimum. First, the Fund may redeem the shares in your account (without charging any deferred sales charge) if the net asset value of your account falls below $250 for any reason, including market fluctuation. You will be notified that the value of your account is less than $250 before the Fund makes an involuntary redemption. The notification will provide you with a 90 calendar day period to make an additional investment in order to bring the value of your account to at least $250 before the Fund makes an involuntary redemption or to the Fund Minimum in order not to be assessed an annual low balance fee of $20, as set forth below. This involuntary redemption may not apply to accounts of certain employer-sponsored retirement plans, selected fee-based programs, accounts established under the Uniform Gifts or Transfers to Minors Acts, and certain intermediary accounts.

Second, the Fund charges an annual $20 low balance fee on all Fund accounts that have a balance below the Fund Minimum for any reason, including market fluctuation. The fee will be deducted from the Fund account only once per calendar year. You will be notified that the value of your account is less than the Fund Minimum before the fee is imposed. You will then have a 90 calendar day period to make an additional investment to bring the value of your account to the Fund Minimum before the Fund imposes the low balance fee. This low balance fee does not apply to accounts of certain employer-sponsored retirement plans, selected fee-based programs, or accounts established under the Uniform Gifts or Transfers to Minors Acts.

Repurchase

A Fund normally will accept orders to repurchase shares from Selling Dealers for their customers. Shares will be priced at the net asset value of the Fund next determined after receipt of the repurchase order by a Selling Dealer that has been authorized by the Distributor by contract to accept such orders. As to repurchase orders received by Selling Dealers prior to the close of business on the NYSE (generally, the NYSE closes at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time), on the day the order is placed, which includes orders received after the close of business on the previous day, the repurchase price is the net asset value determined as of the close of business on the NYSE on that day. If the orders for repurchase are not received by the Selling Dealer before the close of business on the NYSE, such orders are deemed received on the next business day.

These repurchase arrangements are for your convenience and do not involve a charge by the Fund (other than any applicable CDSC or redemption fee). However, Selling Dealers may charge a processing fee in connection with such transactions. In addition, securities firms that do not have selected dealer agreements with the Distributor may impose a transaction charge for transmitting the notice of repurchase to the Fund. Each Fund reserves the right to reject any order for repurchase. A shareholder whose order for repurchase is rejected by a Fund, however, may redeem shares as set forth above.

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Reinstatement Privilege — Investor A Shares

Upon redemption of Investor A, Investor A1 or Institutional Shares, as applicable, shareholders may reinvest all or a portion of their redemption proceeds (after paying any applicable CDSC) in Investor A Shares of the same or another BlackRock fund without paying a front-end sales charge. This right may be exercised once a year and within 60 days of the redemption, provided that the Investor A Share class of that fund is currently open to new investors or the shareholder has a current account in that closed fund. Shares will be purchased at the NAV calculated at the close of trading on the day the request is received in good order. To exercise this privilege, the Fund must receive written notification from the shareholder of record or the financial professional of record, at the time of the purchase. Investors should consult a tax advisor concerning the tax consequences of exercising this reinstatement privilege.

Shareholder Services

Each Fund offers one or more of the shareholder services described below that are designed to facilitate investment in its shares. You can obtain more information about these services from each Fund by calling the telephone number on the cover page, or from the Distributor, your financial adviser, your selected securities dealer or other financial intermediary. Certain of these services are available only to U.S. investors.

Investment Account

If your account is maintained at the Transfer Agent (an “Investment Account”) you will receive statements, at least quarterly, from the Transfer Agent. These statements will serve as confirmations for automatic investment purchases and the reinvestment of dividends. The statements also will show any other activity in your Investment Account since the last statement. You also will receive separate confirmations for each purchase or sale transaction other than automatic investment purchases and the reinvestment of dividends. If your Investment Account is held at the Transfer Agent you may make additions to it at any time by mailing a check directly to the Transfer Agent. You may also maintain an account through a selected securities dealer or other financial intermediary. If you transfer shares out of an account maintained with a selected securities dealer or other financial intermediary, an Investment Account in your name may be opened automatically at the Transfer Agent.

You may transfer Fund shares from a selected securities dealer or other financial intermediary to another securities dealer or other financial intermediary that has entered into an agreement with the Distributor. Certain shareholder services may not be available for the transferred shares. All future trading of these assets must be coordinated by the new firm. If you wish to transfer your shares to a securities dealer or other financial intermediary that has not entered into an agreement with the Distributor, you must either (i) redeem your shares, paying any applicable CDSC or (ii) continue to maintain an Investment Account at the Transfer Agent for those shares. You also may request that the new securities dealer or other financial intermediary maintain the shares in an account at the Transfer Agent registered in the name of the securities dealer or other financial intermediary for your benefit whether the securities dealer or other financial intermediary has entered into a selected dealer agreement or not. In the interest of economy and convenience and because of the operating procedures of each Fund, share certificates will not be issued physically. Shares are maintained by each Fund on its register maintained by the Transfer Agent and the holders thereof will have the same rights and ownership with respect to such shares as if certificates had been issued.

If you are considering transferring a tax-deferred retirement account, such as an individual retirement account, from one selected securities dealer to another securities dealer or other financial intermediary, you should be aware that if the new firm will not take delivery of shares of the Fund, you must either redeem the shares (paying any applicable CDSC) so that the cash proceeds can be transferred to the account at the new firm, or you must continue to maintain a retirement account at the original selected securities dealer for those shares.

Exchange Privilege

U.S. shareholders of Investor A, Investor A1, Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3, Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2, Investor C3 and Institutional Shares of each Fund generally have an exchange privilege with certain other Funds. However, Investor A1, Investor B1, Investor B3, Investor C1, Investor C2 and Investor C3 may only exchange out. The minimum amount for exchanges of Investor class shares is $1,000, although you may exchange less than $1,000 if you already have an account in the Fund into which you are exchanging. You may only exchange into a share class and a Fund that are open to new investors or in which you have a current account if the class or Fund is closed to new investors. If you held the shares used in the exchange for 30 days or less, you may be charged a redemption fee at the time of the exchange. Before effecting an exchange, you should obtain a currently effective prospectus of the Fund into which you wish to make the exchange. Exercise of the exchange privilege is treated as a sale of the exchanged shares and a purchase of the acquired shares for Federal income tax purposes.

Exchanges of Investor A, Investor A1 and Institutional Shares. Institutional Shares are exchangeable with shares of the same class of other Funds. Investor A and Investor A1 Shares are exchangeable for Investor A Shares of other Funds.

Exchanges of Institutional Shares outstanding (“outstanding Institutional Shares”) for Institutional Shares of a second Fund or for shares of a money market fund (“new Institutional Shares”) are effected on the basis of relative net asset value per Institutional Share. Exchanges of Investor A or Investor A1 Shares outstanding (“outstanding Investor A Shares”) for Investor A Shares of a second Fund, or for shares of a money market fund (“new Investor A Shares”) are effected on the basis of relative net asset value per share.

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Exchanges of Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3, Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2 and Investor C3 Shares. Shareholders of certain Funds with Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3, Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2 and Investor C3 Shares outstanding (“outstanding Investor B or Investor C Shares”) may exchange their shares for Investor B or Investor C Shares, respectively, of a second Fund or for shares of a money market fund (“new Investor B or Investor C Shares”) on the basis of relative net asset value per Investor B or Investor C Share, without the payment of any CDSC. Certain Funds impose different CDSC schedules. If you exchange your Investor B Shares for shares of a fund with a different CDSC schedule, the CDSC schedule that applies to the shares exchanged will continue to apply. For purposes of computing the CDSC upon redemption of new Investor B or Investor C Shares, the time you held both the exchanged Investor B or Investor C Shares and the new Investor B Shares or Investor C Shares will count towards the holding period of the new Investor B or Investor C Shares. For example, if you exchange Investor B Shares of a Fund with a six-year CDSC for those of a second Fund after having held the first Fund’s Investor B Shares for two-and-a-half years, the 3.50% CDSC that generally would apply to a redemption would not apply to the exchange. Four years later if you decide to redeem the Investor B Shares of the second Fund and receive cash, there will be no CDSC due on this redemption since by adding the two-and-a-half year holding period of the first Fund’s Investor B Shares to the four year holding period for the second Fund’s Investor B Shares, you will be deemed to have held the second Fund’s Investor B Shares for more than six years.

Exchanges of Service and BlackRock Shares. Service Shares and BlackRock Shares can be exchanged for Service Shares or BlackRock Shares, respectively, of Funds that are covered by selected dealer agreements with the Distributor.

Exchanges for Shares of a Money Market Fund. You may exchange any class of Investor class shares for shares of an affiliated money market fund. If you exchange into BlackRock Summit Cash Reserves Fund (“Summit”), a series of BlackRock Financial Institutions Series Trust, you will receive one of two classes of shares: exchanges of Investor A, Investor A1 and Institutional Shares of a Fund will receive Investor A Shares of Summit and exchanges of Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3, Investor C, Investor C1, Investor C2 and Investor C3 Shares of a Fund will receive Investor B Shares of Summit. You may exchange Investor A Shares of Summit back into Investor A or Institutional Shares of a Fund. You may exchange Investor B Shares of Summit back into Investor B or Investor C Shares of a Fund and, in the event of such an exchange, the period of time that you held Investor B Shares of Summit will count toward satisfaction of the holding period requirement for purposes of reducing any CDSC and toward satisfaction of any Conversion Period with respect to Investor B Shares. Investor B Shares of Summit are subject to a distribution fee at an annual rate of 0.75% of average daily net assets of such Investor B Shares. Exchanges of Investor B or Investor C Shares of a money market fund other than Summit for Investor B or Investor C Shares of a Fund will be exercised at net asset value. However, a CDSC may be charged in connection with any subsequent redemption of the Investor B or Investor C Shares of the Fund received in the exchange. In determining the holding period for calculating the CDSC payable on redemption of Investor B and Investor C Shares of the Fund received in exchange, the holding period of the money market fund Investor B or Investor C Shares originally held will be added to the holding period of the Investor B or Investor C Shares acquired through exchange.

Exchanges by Participants in Certain Programs. The exchange privilege may be modified with respect to certain participants in mutual fund advisory programs and other fee-based programs sponsored by the Manager, an affiliate of the Manager, or selected securities dealers or other financial intermediaries that have an agreement with the Distributor. See “Fee-Based Programs” below.

Exercise of the Exchange Privilege. To exercise the exchange privilege, you should contact your financial adviser or the Transfer Agent, who will advise each Fund of the exchange. If you do not hold share certificates, you may exercise the exchange privilege by wire through your securities dealer or other financial intermediary. Each Fund reserves the right to require a properly completed exchange application.

A shareholder who wishes to make an exchange may do so by sending a written request to the Fund c/o the Transfer Agent at the following address: P.O. Box 9819, Providence, Rhode Island 02940-8019. Shareholders are automatically provided with telephone exchange privileges when opening an account, unless they indicate on the Application that they do not wish to use this privilege. To add this feature to an existing account that previously did not provide this option, a Telephone Exchange Authorization Form must be filed with the Transfer Agent. This form is available from the Transfer Agent. Once this election has been made, the shareholder may simply contact the Fund by telephone at (800) 441-7762 to request the exchange. During periods of substantial economic or market change, telephone exchanges may be difficult to complete and shareholders may have to submit exchange requests to the Transfer Agent in writing.

If the exchanging shareholder does not currently own shares of the investment portfolio whose shares are being acquired, a new account will be established with the same registration, dividend and capital gain options and broker of record as the account from which shares are exchanged, unless otherwise specified in writing by the shareholder with all signatures guaranteed by an eligible guarantor institution as defined below. In order to participate in the Automatic Investment Program or establish a Systematic Withdrawal Plan for the new account, however, an exchanging shareholder must file a specific written request.

Any share exchange must satisfy the requirements relating to the minimum initial investment requirement, and must be legally available for sale in the state of the investor’s residence. For Federal income tax purposes, a share exchange is a taxable event and, accordingly, a capital gain or loss may be realized. Before making an exchange request, shareholders should consult a tax or other financial adviser

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and should consider the investment objective, policies and restrictions of the investment portfolio into which the shareholder is making an exchange. Brokers may charge a fee for handling exchanges.

The Fund reserves the right to suspend, modify or terminate the exchange privilege at any time. Notice will be given to shareholders of any material modification or termination except where notice is not required. The Fund reserves the right to reject any telephone exchange request. Telephone exchanges may be subject to limitations as to amount or frequency, and to other restrictions that may be established from time to time to ensure that exchanges do not operate to the disadvantage of any portfolio or its shareholders.

The Fund, the administrators and BRIL will employ reasonable procedures to confirm that instructions communicated by telephone are genuine. The Fund, the administrators and BRIL will not be liable for any loss, liability, cost or expense for acting upon telephone instructions reasonably believed to be genuine in accordance with such procedures. By use of the exchange privilege, the investor authorizes the Fund’s Transfer Agent to act on telephonic or written exchange instructions from any person representing himself to be the investor and believed by the Fund’s Transfer Agent to be genuine. The records of the Fund’s Transfer Agent pertaining to such instructions are binding. The exchange privilege may be modified or terminated at any time upon 60 days’ notice to affected shareholders. The exchange privilege is only available in states where the exchange may legally be made.

Each Fund reserves the right to limit the number of times an investor may exercise the exchange privilege. Certain Funds may suspend the continuous offering of their shares to the general public at any time and may resume such offering from time to time. The exchange privilege is available only to U.S. shareholders in states where the exchange legally may be made. The exchange privilege may be applicable to other new mutual funds whose shares may be distributed by the Distributor.

Fee-Based Programs

If you participate in certain fee-based programs offered by BlackRock or an affiliate of BlackRock, or selected securities dealers or other financial intermediaries that have agreements with the Distributor or in certain fee-based programs in which BlackRock participates, you may be able to buy Institutional Shares, including by exchanges from other share classes. Sales charges on the shares being exchanged may be reduced or waived under certain circumstances. You generally cannot transfer shares held through a fee-based program into another account. Instead, you will have to redeem your shares held through the program and purchase shares of another class, which may be subject to distribution and service fees. This may be a taxable event and you will pay any applicable sales charges or redemption fee.

Shareholders that participate in a fee-based program generally have two options at termination. The program can be terminated and the shares liquidated or the program can be terminated and the shares held in an account. In general, when a shareholder chooses to continue to hold the shares, whatever share class was held in the program can be held after termination. Shares that have been held for less than specified periods within the program may be subject to a fee upon redemption. Shareholders that held Investor A or Institutional Shares in the program are eligible to purchase additional shares of the respective share class of a Fund, but may be subject to upfront sales charges with respect to Investor A Shares. Additional purchases of Institutional Shares are available only if you have an existing position at the time of purchase or are otherwise eligible to purchase Institutional Shares.

Details about these features and the relevant charges are included in the client agreement for each fee-based program and are available from your financial professional, selected securities dealer or other financial intermediary.

Retirement and Education Savings Plans

Individual retirement accounts and other retirement and education savings plans are available from your financial intermediary. Under these plans, investments may be made in a Fund and certain of the other mutual funds sponsored by the Manager or its affiliates as well as in other securities. There may be fees associated with investing through these plans. Information with respect to these plans is available on request from your financial intermediary.

Dividends received in each of the plans referred to above are exempt from Federal taxation until distributed from the plans and, in the case of Roth IRAs and education savings plans, may be exempt from taxation when distributed as well. Investors considering participation in any retirement or education savings plan should review specific tax laws relating to the plan and should consult their attorneys or tax advisors with respect to the establishment and maintenance of any such plan.

Automatic Investment Plans

Investor class shareholders and certain Service Share shareholders who were shareholders of the Compass Capital Group of Funds at the time of its combination with The PNC® Fund in 1996 may arrange for periodic investments in that Fund through automatic deductions from a checking or savings account. The minimum pre-authorized investment amount is $50. If you buy shares of a Fund through certain accounts, no minimum charge to your bank account is required. Contact your financial adviser or other financial intermediary for more information. The automatic investment plan for Investor B Shares terminated effective July 1, 2009. Shareholders who currently are enrolled in the plan may redirect their automatic investments into Investor A Shares or Investor C Shares.

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Automatic Dividend Reinvestment Plan

Each Fund will distribute substantially all of its net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders. All distributions are reinvested at net asset value in the form of additional full and fractional shares of the same class of shares of the relevant Fund unless a shareholder elects otherwise. Such election, or any revocation thereof, must be made in writing to the Transfer Agent, and will become effective with respect to dividends paid after its receipt by the Transfer Agent.

Systematic Withdrawal Plans

Shareholders may receive regular distributions from their accounts via a Systematic Withdrawal Plan (“SWP”). Upon commencement of the SWP, the account must have a current value of $10,000 or more in a Fund. Shareholders may elect to receive automatic cash payments of $50 or more at any interval. You may choose any day for the withdrawal. If no day is specified, the withdrawals will be processed on the 25th day of the month or, if such day is not a business day, on the prior business day and are paid promptly thereafter. An investor may utilize the SWP by completing the Systematic Withdrawal Plan Application Form which may be obtained by visiting our website at www.blackrock.com/funds.

Shareholders should realize that if withdrawals exceed income dividends their invested principal in the account will be depleted. To participate in the SWP, shareholders must have their dividends automatically reinvested. Shareholders may change or cancel the SWP at any time, upon written notice to the Fund, or by calling the Fund at (800) 441-7762. Purchases of additional Investor A Shares of the Fund concurrently with withdrawals may be disadvantageous to investors because of the sales charges involved and, therefore, are discouraged. No CDSC will be assessed on redemptions of Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3 or Investor C Shares made through the SWP that do not exceed 12% of the original investment on an annualized basis. For example, monthly, quarterly and semi-annual SWP redemptions of Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3 or Investor C Shares will not be subject to the CDSC if they do not exceed 1% (monthly), 3% (quarterly) and 6% (semi-annually), respectively, of an account’s net asset value on the redemption date. SWP redemptions of Investor B, Investor B1, Investor B3 or Investor C Shares in excess of this limit are still subject to the applicable CDSC.

For this reason, a shareholder may not participate in the Automatic Investment Plan described above (see “How to Buy, Sell, Transfer and Exchange Shares” in the Fund’s Prospectus) and the SWP at the same time.

Dividend Allocation Plan

The Dividend Allocation Plan allows shareholders to elect to have all their dividends and any other distributions from any Eligible Fund (which means funds so designated by the Distributor from time to time) automatically invested at net asset value in one other such Eligible Fund designated by the shareholder, provided the account into which the dividends and distributions are directed is initially funded with the requisite minimum amount.

Pricing of Shares

Determination of Net Asset Value

Valuation of Shares. The net asset value for each class of shares of each Fund is generally calculated as of the close of regular trading hours on the NYSE (currently 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on each business day the NYSE is open.

Valuation of securities held by each Fund is as follows:

Equity Investments. Equity securities traded on a recognized securities exchange (e.g., NYSE), separate trading boards of a securities exchange or through a market system that provides contemporaneous transaction pricing information (an “Exchange”) are valued via independent pricing services generally at the Exchange closing price or if an Exchange closing price is not available, the last traded price on that Exchange prior to the time as of which the 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 a Fund on a day on which the Fund values such security, the last bid (long positions) or ask (short positions) price, if available, will be used as the value of such security. If a Fund holds both long and short positions in the same security, the last bid price will be applied to securities held long and the last ask price will be applied to securities sold short. If no bid or ask price is available on a day on which a Fund values such security, the prior day’s price will be used, unless BlackRock determines 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.

Fixed-income Investments. Fixed-income securities for which market quotations are readily available are generally valued using such securities’ most recent bid prices provided directly from one or more broker-dealers, market makers, or independent third-party pricing services which may use matrix pricing and valuation models to derive values, each in accordance with valuation procedures approved by the Fund’s Board. The amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless the Manager and/or Sub-Adviser determine such method does not represent fair value. Loan participation

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notes are generally valued at the mean of the last available bid prices from one or more brokers or dealers as obtained from independent third-party pricing services. Certain fixed-income investments including asset-backed and mortgage-related securities may be valued based on valuation models that consider the estimated cash flows of each tranche of the entity, establish a benchmark yield and develop an estimated tranche specific spread to the benchmark yield based on the unique attributes of the tranche. Fixed-income securities for which market quotations are not readily available may be valued by third-party pricing services that make a valuation determination by securing transaction data (e.g., recent representative bids), credit quality information, perceived market movements, news, and other relevant information and by other methods, which may include consideration of: yields or prices of securities of comparable quality, coupon, maturity and type; indications as to values from dealers; and general market conditions.

Options, Futures, Swaps and Other Derivatives. Exchange-traded equity options for which market quotations are readily available are valued at the mean of the last bid and ask prices as quoted on the Exchange or the board of trade on which such options are traded. In the event that there is no mean price available for an exchange traded equity option held by a 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 bid or ask price is available on a day on which a Fund values such option, the prior day’s price will be used, unless BlackRock determines 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. 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 last sale price or 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 approved by the Board.

Underlying Funds. Shares of underlying open-end funds are valued at net asset value. Shares of underlying exchange-traded closed-end funds or other exchange-traded funds will be valued at their most recent closing price.

General Valuation Information

In determining the market value of portfolio investments, the Fund may employ independent third party pricing services, which may use, without limitation, a matrix or formula method that takes into consideration market indexes, matrices, yield curves and other specific adjustments. This may result in the securities being valued at a price different from the price that would have been determined had the matrix or formula method not been used. All cash, receivables and current payables are carried on each Fund’s books at their face value.

Prices obtained from independent third party pricing services, broker-dealers or market makers to value each 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, the revised pricing service quotation generally will be applied prospectively. Such determination shall be made considering pertinent facts and circumstances surrounding such 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 specified by the Fund’s Board as reflecting fair value. All other assets and liabilities (including securities for which market quotations are not readily available) held by a Fund (including restricted securities) are valued at fair value as determined in good faith by the Fund’s Board or by BlackRock (its delegate). Any assets and liabilities which are denominated in a foreign currency are translated into U.S. dollars at the prevailing rates of exchange.

Certain of the securities acquired by the Funds may be traded on foreign exchanges or over-the-counter markets on days on which a Fund’s net asset value is not calculated. In such cases, the net asset value of a Fund’s shares may be significantly affected on days when investors can neither purchase nor redeem shares of the Fund.

Fair Value. When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BlackRock to be unreliable, a Fund’s investments are valued at fair value (“Fair Value Assets”). Fair Value Assets are valued by BlackRock in accordance with procedures approved by the Fund’s Board. BlackRock 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 complete lack of trading, if BlackRock believes a market quotation from a broker-dealer or other source is unreliable (e.g., where it varies significantly from a recent trade, or no longer reflects the fair value of the security or other asset or liability subsequent to the most recent market quotation), where the security or other asset or liability is only thinly traded or due to the occurrence of a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation. For this purpose, a “significant event” is deemed to occur if BlackRock determines, in its business judgment prior to or at the time of pricing a Fund’s assets or liabilities, that it is likely that the event will cause a material change to the last exchange closing price or closing market price of one or more assets or liabilities held by the Fund. On any date the NYSE is open and 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. For certain foreign securities, a third-party vendor supplies evaluated, systematic fair value pricing based upon the movement of a proprietary multi-factor model after the relevant foreign markets have closed. This

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systematic fair value pricing methodology is designed to correlate the prices of foreign securities following the close of the local markets to the price that might have prevailed as of a Fund’s pricing time.

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

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

Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of one or more assets or liabilities may not, in retrospect, be the price at which those assets or liabilities could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used in determining a Fund’s net asset value. As a result, a Fund’s sale or redemption of its shares at net asset value, at a time when a holding or holdings are valued at fair value, may have the effect of diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders.

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

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

Computation of Offering Price Per Share

See Part I, Section VI “Computation of Offering Price” of each Fund’s SAI for an illustration of the computation of the offering price for shares of your Fund.