485APOS 1 e50271-485apos.htm FORM N-1A

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 12, 2012

Securities Act File No. 33-26305

Investment Company Act File No. 811-05742

 

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549
__________________

FORM N-1A

 

  REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933 [X]
  Pre-Effective Amendment No. [_]
  Post-Effective Amendment No. 240 [X]
  and/or  
  REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE  
  INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940 [X]
  Amendment No. 242 [X]

(Check appropriate box or boxes)
__________________

BLACKROCK FUNDSSM

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

 

100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809

(Address of Principal Executive Office)

 

Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code (800) 441-7762

 

John M. Perlowski
BlackRock Funds
55 East 52nd Street
New York, New York 10055
United States of America

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

Copies to:

Counsel for the Fund:  
John A. MacKinnon, Esq. Benjamin Archibald, Esq.
Sidley Austin LLP BlackRock Advisors, LLC
787 Seventh Avenue 55 East 52nd Street
New York, New York 10019-6018 New York, New York 10055

__________________

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

[_] immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)

[_] on (date) pursuant to paragraph (b)

[_] 60 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)

[_] on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)

[X] 75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)

[_] on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of rule 485.

If appropriate, check the following box:

[_] This post-effective amendment designates a new effective date for a previously filed post-effective amendment.

Title of Securities Being Registered: Shares of Beneficial Interest, par value $0.001 per share.

 

 
 

The information in this prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION DATED OCTOBER 12, 2012


[           ], 2012

 

 

Prospectus

 

 

BlackRock FundsSM | Investor and Institutional Shares

>BlackRock Market Advantage Fund
Fund Investor A Shares Investor C Shares Institutional Shares
BlackRock Market Advantage Fund [  ] [  ] [  ]

 

 

 

This Prospectus contains information you should know before investing, including information about risks. Please read it before you invest and keep it for future reference.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • May Lose Value

 

 

 
 
  Table of Contents  
Fund Overview Key facts and details about the Fund, including investment objective, principal strategies, risk factors, fee and expense information, and historical performance
  Investment Objective 3
  Fees and Expenses of the Fund 3
  Principal Investment Strategies of the Fund 4
  Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund 5
  Performance Information 9
  Investment Manager 9
  Portfolio Managers 9
  Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares 9
  Tax Information 10
  Payments to Broker/Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries 10
     
Details About the Fund How the Fund Invests 11
  Investment Risks 13
     
Account Information Information about account services, sales charges & waivers, shareholder transactions, and distribution and other payments
  How to Choose the Share Class that Best Suits Your Needs 22
  Details About the Share Classes 24
  Distribution and Shareholder Servicing Plan 28
  How to Buy, Sell, Exchange and Transfer Shares 30
  Account Services and Privileges 37
  Fund’s Rights 38
  Participation in Fee-Based Programs 39
  Short-Term Trading Policy 39
     
Management of the Fund Information about BlackRock and the Portfolio Managers
  BlackRock 41
  Portfolio Manager Information 42
  Prior Performance of Comparable Funds 43
  Conflicts of Interest 44
  Valuation of Fund Investments 45
  Dividends, Distributions and Taxes 46
     
Financial Highlights Financial Performance of the Fund 48
     
General Information Shareholder Documents 49
  Certain Fund Policies 49
  Statement of Additional Information 50
     
Glossary Glossary of Investment Terms  
     
For More Information Fund and Service Providers Inside Back Cover
  Additional Information Back Cover

 

 
 

Fund Overview

Investment Objective

The investment objective of BlackRock Market Advantage Fund (“Market Advantage Fund” or the “Fund”), a series of BlackRock FundsSM (the “Trust”), is to seek total return.

Fees and Expenses of the Fund

This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of Market Advantage Fund. You may qualify for sales charge discounts if you and your family invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $25,000 in the fund complex advised by BlackRock Advisors, LLC (“BlackRock”) or its affiliates. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial professional and in the “Details About the Share Classes” section on page 24 of the Fund’s prospectus and in the “Purchase of Shares” section on page II-58 of the Fund’s statement of additional information.

Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Investor A
Shares
Investor C
Shares
Institutional
Shares
Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as percentage of offering price) 5.25% None None
Maximum Deferred Sales Charge (Load) (as percentage of offering price or redemption proceeds, whichever is lower) None1 1.00%2 None
       
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a
percentage of the value of your investment)
Investor A
Shares
Investor C
Shares
Institutional
Shares
Management Fee [    ]% [    ]% [    ]%
Distribution and/or Service (12b-1) Fees 0.25% 1.00% None
Other Expenses3 [    ]% [    ]% [    ]%
Other Expenses of the Fund [  ]% [  ]% [  ]%
Other Expenses of the Subsidiary [  ]% [  ]% [  ]%
Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses4 [    ]% [    ]% [    ]%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses [    ]% [    ]% [    ]%
Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements5 [    ]% [    ]% [    ]%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements5 [    ]% [    ]% [    ]%

 

1A contingent deferred sales charge (“CDSC”) of [1.00]% is assessed on certain redemptions of Investor A Shares made within 18 months after purchase where no initial sales charge was paid at time of purchase as part of an investment of $1,000,000 or more.
2There is no CDSC on Investor C Shares after one year.
3Other Expenses are based on estimated amounts for the current year.
4Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses are estimated for the current year.
5As described in the “Management of the Fund” section of the Fund’s prospectus on pages [ ]- [ ], BlackRock has contractually agreed to waive and/or reimburse fees or expenses in order to limit Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements (excluding Dividend Expense, Interest Expense, Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses and certain other Fund expenses) as a percentage of average daily net assets to [ ]% (for Investor A Shares), [ ]% (for Investor C Shares) and [ ]% (for Institutional Shares) until [ ]. The Fund may have to repay some of these waivers and reimbursements to BlackRock in the following two years. The agreement may be terminated upon 90 days’ notice by a majority of the non-interested trustees of the Trust or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.
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Example:

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

  1 Year 3 Years
Investor A Shares $     [   ] $     [   ]
Investor C Shares $     [   ] $     [   ]
Institutional Shares $     [   ] $     [   ]
You would pay the following expenses if you did not redeem your shares:
Investor C Shares $     [   ] $     [   ]

 

Portfolio Turnover:

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance.

Principal Investment Strategies of the Fund

Market Advantage Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing in a broad range of global asset classes, such as equity securities, fixed and floating rate debt instruments, derivatives and other investment companies, including money market funds and exchange traded funds (“ETFs”). The Fund will have flexibility with respect to the relative weighting of each asset class to produce total return and reduce risk.

The Fund applies a risk-factor approach to seek to produce total return more efficiently from a risk/return perspective than a traditional combination of equity and fixed income securities. Through its research, BlackRock has identified macro risk factors that influence the returns of asset classes. BlackRock uses this research to determine the ideal allocation of the portfolio with reference to the risk factors and translates that allocation into asset classes. Such allocation across a range of asset classes and risk factors is expected to result in lower risk than an investment in global equity securities. In determining the appropriate allocation across asset classes, the Fund will seek to manage exposure to risks such as: interest rate risk, credit risk, inflation risk, liquidity risk, business cycle risk and emerging markets risk. Allocations are computed not only in terms of capital but also in terms of risk in order to avoid any overconcentration in any particular risk factor and to broaden the sources of returns.

The Fund will normally invest in both U.S. and non-U.S. companies, including companies located in emerging markets and in securities denominated in both U.S. dollars and foreign currencies. Equity securities include common stock, preferred stock, securities convertible into common stock, non-convertible preferred stock and depositary receipts. The Fund may invest in securities of issuers of any market capitalization.

The Fund’s investment in debt securities may include fixed and floating rate government and corporate bonds and other fixed income instruments, such as medium term notes. The Fund may invest in debt securities of any rating, which may include high yield securities (commonly called “junk bonds”).

The Fund may invest in derivatives, including but not limited to, total return and credit default swaps, interest rate swaps, options, futures, options on futures and swaps, indexed and inverse securities and foreign exchange transactions, for hedging purposes, as well as to enhance the return on its portfolio investments. There is no limit to the Fund’s ability to invest in derivatives. The Fund may engage in short

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sales of securities either to hedge against potential declines in the value of a security held in the portfolio or to realize appreciation when a security the Fund does not own declines in value.

The Fund may invest in other investment companies, including money market funds and ETFs, which may be affiliated with BlackRock. Following commencement of operations and until otherwise determined by BlackRock, the Fund may invest significantly in ETFs in order to implement its investment strategies.

With respect to its cash investments, the Fund may hold high quality U.S. and non-U.S. money market securities, including, among others, short term U.S. Government securities, U.S. Government agency securities, securities issued by U.S. Government-sponsored enterprises and U.S. Government instrumentalities, short-term obligations of foreign issuers, bank obligations, commercial paper, including asset-backed commercial paper, corporate notes, repurchase agreements and obligations of supranational organizations. The Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in money market funds, including those advised by BlackRock or its affiliates. 

The Fund may invest in U.S. and non-U.S. real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) and other real estate related securities.

The Fund may invest in commodity-related instruments. The Fund may make such investments through investments in BlackRock [Market Advantage Fund 1], Ltd. (the “Subsidiary”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund formed in the Cayman Islands, which invests primarily in commodity-related instruments. The Fund will not invest more than 25% of its total assets (measured at the time of investment) in the Subsidiary.

The Fund is a non-diversified fund, which means that it can invest more of its assets in fewer companies than a diversified fund.

Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund

Risk is inherent in all investing. The value of your investment in Market Advantage Fund, as well as the amount of return you receive on your investment, may fluctuate significantly from day to day and over time. You may lose part or all of your investment in the Fund or your investment may not perform as well as other similar investments. The following is a summary description of certain risks of investing in the Fund.

Commodities Related Investments Risks — Exposure to the commodities markets may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. The value of commodity-linked derivative investments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity, such as drought, floods, weather, embargoes, tariffs and international economic, political and regulatory developments.
Convertible Securities Risk — The market value of a convertible security performs like that of a regular debt security; that is, if market interest rates rise, the value of a convertible security usually falls. In addition, convertible securities are subject to the risk that the issuer will not be able to pay interest or dividends when due, and their market value may change based on changes in the issuer’s credit rating or the market’s perception of the issuer’s creditworthiness. Since it derives a portion of its value from the common stock into which it may be converted, a convertible security is also subject to the same types of market and issuer risks that apply to the underlying common stock.
Counterparty Risk — The counterparty to an over-the-counter derivatives contract or a borrower of the Fund’s securities may be unable or unwilling to make timely principal, interest or settlement payments, or otherwise to honor its obligations.
Credit Risk — Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer of a security will not be able to make payments of interest and principal when due. Changes in an issuer’s credit rating or the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may also affect the value of the Fund’s investment in that issuer.
Debt Securities Risk Debt securities, such as bonds, involve credit risk. Debt securities are also subject to interest rate risk.
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Depositary Receipts Risk — The issuers of unsponsored depositary receipts are not obligated to disclose information that is, in the United States, considered material. Therefore, there may be less information available regarding these issuers and there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the depositary receipts. Depositary receipts are generally subject to the same risks as the foreign securities that they evidence or into which they may be converted.
Derivatives Risk — The Fund’s use of derivatives may reduce the Fund’s returns and/or increase volatility. Volatility is defined as the characteristic of a security, an index or a market to fluctuate significantly in price within a short time period. Derivatives are also subject to counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party in the transaction will not fulfill its contractual obligation. A risk of the Fund’s use of derivatives is that the fluctuations in their values may not correlate perfectly with the overall securities markets. The possible lack of a liquid secondary market for derivatives and the resulting inability of the Fund to sell or otherwise close a derivatives position could expose the Fund to losses and could make derivatives more difficult for the Fund to value accurately. Derivatives may give rise to a form of leverage and may expose the Fund to greater risk and increase its costs. Recent legislation calls for new regulation of the derivatives markets. The extent and impact of the regulation is not yet known and may not be known for some time. New regulation may make derivatives more costly, may limit the availability of derivatives, or may otherwise adversely affect the value or performance of derivatives.
Emerging Markets Risk — Emerging markets are riskier than more developed markets because they tend to develop unevenly and may never fully develop. Investments in emerging markets may be considered speculative. Emerging markets are more likely to experience hyperinflation and currency devaluations, which adversely affect returns to U.S. investors. In addition, many emerging securities markets have far lower trading volumes and less liquidity than developed markets.
Equity Securities Risk — Stock markets are volatile. The price of equity securities fluctuates based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions.
Extension Risk — When interest rates rise, certain obligations will be paid off by the obligor more slowly than anticipated, causing the value of these securities to fall.
Foreign Securities Risk — Foreign investments often involve special risks not present in U.S. investments that can increase the chances that the Fund will lose money. These risks include:
The Fund generally holds its foreign securities and cash in foreign banks and securities depositories, which may be recently organized or new to the foreign custody business and may be subject to only limited or no regulatory oversight.

— Changes in foreign currency exchange rates can affect the value of the Fund’s portfolio.

The economies of certain foreign markets may not compare favorably with the economy of the United States with respect to such issues as growth of gross national product, reinvestment of capital, resources and balance of payments position.
The governments of certain countries may prohibit or impose substantial restrictions on foreign investments in their capital markets or in certain industries.
Many foreign governments do not supervise and regulate stock exchanges, brokers and the sale of securities to the same extent as does the United States and may not have laws to protect investors that are comparable to U.S. securities laws.
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Settlement and clearance procedures in certain foreign markets may result in delays in payment for or delivery of securities not typically associated with settlement and clearance of U.S. investments.
Indexed and Inverse Securities Risk — Certain indexed and inverse securities have greater sensitivity to changes in interest rates or index levels than other securities, and the Fund’s investment in such instruments may decline significantly in value if interest rates or index levels move in a way Fund management does not anticipate.
Interest Rate Risk — Interest rate risk is the risk that prices of bonds and other fixed-income securities will increase as interest rates fall, and decrease as interest rates rise.
Investment in Other Investment Companies Risk — As with other investments, investments in other investment companies, including ETFs, are subject to market and selection risk. In addition, if the Fund acquires shares of investment companies, shareholders bear both their proportionate share of expenses in the Fund (including management and advisory fees) and, indirectly, the expenses of the investment companies. To the extent the Fund is held by an affiliated fund, the ability of the Fund itself to hold other investment companies may be limited.
Junk Bonds Risk — Although junk bonds generally pay higher rates of interest than investment grade bonds, junk bonds are high risk investments that may cause income and principal losses for the Fund.
Leverage Risk — Some transactions may give rise to a form of economic leverage. These transactions may include, among others, derivatives, and may expose the Fund to greater risk and increase its costs. The use of leverage may cause the Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it may not be advantageous to do so to satisfy its obligations or to meet any required asset segregation requirements. Increases and decreases in the value of the Fund’s portfolio will be magnified when the Fund uses leverage.
Market Risk and Selection Risk — Market risk is the risk that one or more markets in which the Fund invests will go down in value, including the possibility that the markets will go down sharply and unpredictably. Selection risk is the risk that the securities selected by Fund management will underperform the markets, the relevant indices or the securities selected by other funds with similar investment objectives and investment strategies. This means you may lose money.
Mid-Cap Securities Risk — The securities of mid-cap companies generally trade in lower volumes and are generally subject to greater and less predictable price changes than the securities of larger capitalization companies.
Non-Diversification Risk — The Fund is a non-diversified fund. Because the Fund may invest in securities of a smaller number of issuers, it may be more exposed to the risks associated with and developments affecting an individual issuer than a fund that invests more widely. 
Preferred Securities Risk — Preferred securities may pay fixed or adjustable rates of return. Preferred securities are subject to issuer-specific and market risks applicable generally to equity securities.
Prepayment Risk — When interest rates fall, certain obligations will be paid off by the obligor more quickly than originally anticipated, and the Fund may have to invest the proceeds in securities with lower yields.
Real Estate Related Securities Risks — The main risk of real estate related securities is that the value of the underlying real estate may go down. Many factors may affect real estate values. These
7
 

factors include both the general and local economies, the amount of new construction in a particular area, the laws and regulations (including zoning and tax laws) affecting real estate and the costs of owning, maintaining and improving real estate. The availability of mortgages and changes in interest rates may also affect real estate values. If the Fund’s real estate related investments are concentrated in one geographic area or in one property type, the Fund will be particularly subject to the risks associated with that area or property type.

REIT Investment Risk — Investments in REITs involve unique risks. REITs may have limited financial resources, may trade less frequently and in limited volume, may engage in dilutive offerings of securities and may be more volatile than other securities. REIT issuers are also subject to the possibilities of failing to qualify for tax free pass-through of income and failing to maintain their exemptions from investment company registration.
Small Cap and Emerging Growth Securities Risks — Small cap or emerging growth companies may have limited product lines or markets. They may be less financially secure than larger, more established companies. They may depend on a more limited management group than larger capitalized companies.
Sovereign Debt Risk — Sovereign debt instruments are subject to the risk that a governmental entity may delay or refuse to pay interest or repay principal on its sovereign debt, due, for example, to cash flow problems, insufficient foreign currency reserves, political considerations, the relative size of the governmental entity’s debt position in relation to the economy or the failure to put in place economic reforms required by the International Monetary Fund or other multilateral agencies.
Subsidiary Risk — By investing in the Subsidiary, the Fund is indirectly exposed to the risks associated with the Subsidiary’s investments. The commodity-related instruments held by the Subsidiary are generally similar to those that are permitted to be held by the Fund and are subject to the same risks that apply to similar investments if held directly by the Fund. There can be no assurance that the investment objective of the Subsidiary will be achieved. The Subsidiary is not registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”), and, unless otherwise noted in this prospectus, is not subject to all the investor protections of the Investment Company 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. 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 this prospectus and the Statement of Additional Information and could adversely affect the Fund.
Supranational Entities Risk — The Fund may invest in obligations issued or guaranteed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank). If one or more stockholders of the World Bank fail to make necessary additional capital contributions, the entity may be unable to pay interest or repay principal on its debt securities, and the Fund may lose money on such investments.
Tax and Regulatory Risk — Certain aspects of the tax treatment of derivative instruments, including swap agreements and commodity-linked derivative instruments, are currently unclear and may be affected by changes in legislation, regulations or other legally binding authority that could affect the character, timing and amount of the Fund’s taxable income or gains and distributions. Other future regulatory developments may also impact the Fund’s ability to invest or remain invested in certain derivatives.

In late July 2011, the IRS suspended the granting of private letter rulings that concluded that the income and gain generated by a registered investment company’s investments in commodity-linked notes, and the income generated from investments in controlled foreign subsidiaries that invest in physical commodities and/or commodity-linked derivative instruments, would be “qualifying income”

8
 

for regulated investment company qualification purposes. As a result, there can be no assurance that the IRS will treat such income and gain as “qualifying income.” If the IRS makes an adverse determination relating to the treatment of such income and gain, the Fund would likely need to change its investment strategies, which could adversely affect the Fund.

Treasury Obligations Risk — 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.
U.S. Government Obligations Risk — Certain securities in which the Fund may invest, including securities issued by certain U.S. Government agencies and U.S. Government sponsored enterprises, are not guaranteed by the U.S. Government or supported by the full faith and credit of the United States.
Variable and Floating Rate Instrument Risk — The absence of an active market for these securities could make it difficult for the Fund to dispose of them if the issuer defaults.

Performance Information

Because Market Advantage Fund has not commenced operations, it does not have performance information an investor would find useful in evaluating the risks of investing in the Fund. The Fund’s benchmark index is a customized weighted index comprised of the returns of the MSCI World Hedged USD Net (60%) and the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (40%).

Investment Manager

Market Advantage Fund’s investment manager is BlackRock Advisors, LLC (previously defined as “BlackRock”). The Fund’s sub-adviser is BlackRock Financial Management, Inc. Where applicable, “BlackRock” refers also to the Fund’s sub-adviser.

Portfolio Managers

Name Portfolio Manager
of the Fund Since
Title
Ked Hogan, PhD 2012 Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc.
Philip Green 2012 Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc.
Vincent de Martel, CFA 2012 Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc.
Philip Hodges, PhD 2012 Director of BlackRock, Inc.
Ugo Montrucchio, CFA, CAIA 2012 Director of BlackRock, Inc.

Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares

You may purchase or redeem shares of Market Advantage Fund each day the New York Stock Exchange is open. To purchase or sell shares you should contact your financial intermediary or financial professional, or, if you hold your shares through the Fund, you should contact the Fund by phone at (800) 441-7762, by mail (c/o BlackRock Funds, P.O. Box 9819, Providence, Rhode Island 02940-8019), or by the Internet at www.blackrock.com/funds. The Fund’s initial and subsequent investment minimums generally are as follows, although the Fund may reduce or waive the minimums in some cases:

  Investor A and
Investor C Shares
Institutional Shares
Minimum Initial Investment

$1,000 for all accounts except:

·     $250 for certain fee-based programs.

·     $100 for retirement plans.

·     $50, if establishing an Automatic Investment Plan.

$2 million for institutions and individuals.

Institutional Shares are available to clients of registered investment advisors who have $250,000 invested in the Fund.

Minimum Additional Investment $50 for all accounts except certain retirement plans and payroll deduction programs may have a lower minimum. No subsequent minimum.

 

9
 

Tax Information

Market Advantage Fund’s dividends and distributions may be subject to Federal income taxes and may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are a tax-exempt investor or are investing through a retirement plan, in which case you may be subject to Federal income tax upon withdrawal from such tax-deferred arrangements.

Payments to Broker/Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries

If you purchase shares of Market Advantage Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary, the Fund and BlackRock Investments, LLC, the Fund’s distributor, or its affiliates may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other financial intermediary and your individual financial professional to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your individual financial professional or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

10
 

Details About the Fund

Included in this prospectus are sections that tell you about buying and selling shares, management information, shareholder features of BlackRock Market Advantage Fund (“Market Advantage Fund” or the “Fund”), a series of BlackRock FundsSM (the “Trust”), and your rights as a shareholder.

How the Fund Invests

Investment Objective

The investment objective of Market Advantage Fund is to seek total return. Total return consists of income and capital appreciation.

Should the Trust’s Board of Trustees (the “Board”) determine that the investment objective of the Fund should be changed, shareholders will be given at least 30 days’ notice before any such change is made. However, such change can be effected without shareholder approval.

Investment Process

Market Advantage Fund applies a risk-factor approach to seek to produce total return more efficiently from a risk/return perspective than a traditional combination of equity and fixed income securities. Through its research, BlackRock has identified macro risk factors that influence the returns of asset classes. BlackRock uses this research to determine the ideal allocation of the portfolio with reference to the risk factors and translates that allocation into asset classes. Such allocation across a range of asset classes and risk factors is expected to result in lower risk than an investment in global equity securities.

In determining the appropriate allocation across asset classes, the Fund will seek to manage exposure to risks such as: interest rate risk, credit risk, inflation risk, liquidity risk, business cycle risk and emerging markets risk. These and other systematic risk factors are expected to earn a premium over long periods. Allocations are computed not only in terms of capital but also in terms of risk in order to avoid any overconcentration in any particular risk factor and to broaden the sources of returns. For each risk factor, BlackRock uses a combination of quantitative and fundamental techniques to determine the long-run expected return, risk (which may include volatility and other forms of risk measurement) and expected performance in different economic environments.

From time to time, the behavior of investors may create market dislocations between the fundamental value of assets and the market prices of such assets. BlackRock will seek to identify these dislocations and take appropriate measures to minimize the impact of any possible future losses when in BlackRock’s opinion, a risk factor is extremely overvalued. Conversely, the Fund may increase the allocation to capture any additional risk premium when a risk factor is extremely undervalued by the market. As a result, the asset allocation of the Fund to one or several factors will change over time. There is no assurance that BlackRock will correctly predict when these dislocations will occur. In addition, BlackRock may change the overall risk level of the Fund by reducing or increasing the allocation to all risk factors simultaneously. Any reduction in risk level may lead to a large increase in economic exposure to cash.

Principal Investment Strategies

Market Advantage Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing in a broad range of global asset classes, such as equity securities, fixed and floating rate debt instruments, derivatives and other investment companies, including money market funds and exchange traded funds (“ETFs”). The Fund will have flexibility with respect to the relative weighting of each asset class to produce total return and reduce risk.

The Fund will normally invest in both U.S. and non-U.S. companies, including companies located in emerging markets and in securities denominated in both U.S. dollars and foreign currencies. Equity securities include common stock, preferred stock, securities convertible into common stock, non-

11
 

convertible preferred stock and depositary receipts. The Fund may invest in securities of issuers of any market capitalization.

The Fund’s investment in debt securities may include fixed and floating rate government and corporate bonds and other fixed income instruments, such as medium term notes. The Fund may invest in debt securities of any rating, which may include high yield securities (commonly called “junk bonds”).

The Fund may invest in derivatives, including but not limited to, total return and credit default swaps, interest rate swaps, options, futures, options on futures and swaps, indexed and inverse securities and foreign exchange transactions, for hedging purposes, as well as to enhance the return on its portfolio investments. There is no limit to the Fund’s ability to invest in derivatives. The Fund may engage in short sales of securities either to hedge against potential declines in the value of a security held in the portfolio or to realize appreciation when a security the Fund does not own declines in value.

The Fund may invest in other investment companies, including money market funds and ETFs, which may be affiliated with BlackRock. Following commencement of operations and until otherwise determined by BlackRock, the Fund may invest significantly in ETFs in order to implement its investment strategies.

With respect to its cash investments, the Fund may hold high quality U.S. and non-U.S. money market securities, including, among others, short term U.S. Government securities, U.S. Government agency securities, securities issued by U.S. Government-sponsored enterprises and U.S. Government instrumentalities, short-term obligations of foreign issuers, bank obligations, commercial paper, including asset-backed commercial paper, corporate notes, repurchase agreements and obligations of supranational organizations. The Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in money market funds, including those advised by BlackRock or its affiliates.

The Fund may invest in U.S. and non-U.S. real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) and other real estate related securities.

The Fund may invest in commodity-related instruments. The Fund may gain exposure to commodities through investments in BlackRock [Market Advantage Fund 1], Ltd. (the “Subsidiary”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund that will be formed in the Cayman Islands and which will invest primarily in commodity-related instruments. The Fund will not invest more than 25% of its total assets (measured at the time of investment) in 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. As a result, BlackRock, 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 in detail in the Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer oversees implementation of the Subsidiary’s policies and procedures, and makes periodic reports to the Board 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.

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

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, and copies of the reports are provided without charge upon request as indicated on the back cover of this prospectus. Please refer to the SAI for additional information about the organization and management of the Subsidiary.

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The Fund is classified as non-diversified under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”), which means that it can invest more of its assets in fewer companies than a diversified fund.

Other Strategies Applicable to the Fund

In addition to the principal strategies discussed above, the Fund may also invest or engage in the following investments/strategies:

Borrowing — The Fund may borrow from banks in amounts aggregating not more than 33 1⁄3% of the value of its total assets. The Fund may also borrow an additional 5% of its total assets without regard to the foregoing limitation for temporary purposes such as clearance of portfolio transactions and share redemptions.
Illiquid/Restricted Securities — The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities that it cannot sell within seven days at approximately current value. The Fund may also invest in restricted securities, which are securities that cannot be offered for public resale unless registered under the applicable securities laws or that have a contractual restriction that prohibits or limits their resale (i.e., Rule 144A securities). They may include private placement securities that have not been registered under the applicable securities laws. Restricted securities may not be listed on an exchange and may have no active trading market and therefore may be considered to be illiquid. Rule 144A securities are restricted securities that can be resold to qualified institutional buyers but not to the general public and may be considered to be liquid securities.
Securities Lending — The Fund may lend securities with a value up to 33 1⁄3% of its total assets to financial institutions that provide cash or securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government as collateral.
ABOUT THE PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT TEAM OF MARKET ADVANTAGE FUND
Market Advantage Fund is managed by a team of financial professionals. Ked Hogan, PhD, Philip Green, Vincent de Martel, CFA, Philip Hodges, PhD and Ugo Montrucchio, CFA, CAIA are the portfolio managers and are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Please see “Management of the Fund — Portfolio Manager Information” for additional information about the portfolio management team.

Investment Risks

This section contains a discussion of the general risks of investing in Market Advantage Fund. The “Investment Objective and Policies” section in the SAI also includes more information about the Fund, its investments and the related risks. As with any fund, there can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its objective or that the Fund’s performance will be positive for any period of time. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit in any bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or by any bank or governmental agency.

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Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund

Commodities Related Investments Risks — Exposure to the commodities markets may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. The value of commodity-linked derivative investments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity, such as drought, floods, weather, embargoes, tariffs and international economic, political and regulatory developments.

Convertible Securities Risk — The market value of a convertible security performs like that of a regular debt security; that is, if market interest rates rise, the value of a convertible security usually falls. In addition, convertible securities are subject to the risk that the issuer will not be able to pay interest or dividends when due, and their market value may change based on changes in the issuer’s credit rating or the market’s perception of the issuer’s creditworthiness. Since it derives a portion of its value from the common stock into which it may be converted, a convertible security is also subject to the same types of market and issuer risks that apply to the underlying common stock.

Counterparty Risk — The counterparty to an over-the-counter derivatives contract or a borrower of the Fund’s securities may be unable or unwilling to make timely principal, interest or settlement payments, or otherwise to honor its obligations.

Credit Risk — Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer of a security will not be able to make principal and interest payments when due. Changes in an issuer’s credit rating or the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may also affect the value of the Fund’s investment in that issuer. The degree of credit risk depends on both the financial condition of the issuer and the terms of the obligation.

Debt Securities Risk — Debt securities, such as bonds, involve credit risk. Debt securities are also subject to interest rate risk.

Depositary Receipts Risk —The issuers of unsponsored depositary receipts are not obligated to disclose information that is, in the United States, considered material. Therefore, there may be less information available regarding these issuers and there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the depositary receipts. Depositary receipts are generally subject to the same risks as the foreign securities that they evidence or into which they may be converted.

Derivatives Risk — The Fund’s use of derivatives may reduce the Fund’s returns and/or increase volatility. Volatility is defined as the characteristic of a security, an index or a market to fluctuate significantly in price within a short time period. A risk of the Fund’s use of derivatives is that the fluctuations in their values may not correlate perfectly with the overall securities markets. Derivatives are also subject to counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party in the transaction will not fulfill its contractual obligation. In addition, some derivatives are more sensitive to interest rate changes and market price fluctuations than other securities. The possible lack of a liquid secondary market for derivatives and the resulting inability of the Fund to sell or otherwise close a derivatives position could expose the Fund to losses and could make derivatives more difficult for the Fund to value accurately. The Fund could also suffer losses related to its derivatives positions as a result of unanticipated market movements, which losses are potentially unlimited. Finally, BlackRock may not be able to predict correctly the direction of securities prices, interest rates and other economic factors, which could cause the Fund’s derivatives positions to lose value. When a derivative is used as a hedge against a position that the Fund holds, any loss generated by the derivative generally should be substantially offset by gains on the hedged investment, and vice versa. While hedging can reduce or eliminate losses, it can also reduce or eliminate gains. Hedges are sometimes subject to imperfect matching between the derivative and the underlying security, and there can be no assurance that the Fund’s hedging transactions will be effective. The income from certain derivatives may be subject to Federal income tax. Swap agreements involve the risk that the party with whom the Fund has entered into the swap will default on its obligation to pay the Fund and the risk that the Fund will not be able to meet its obligations to pay the other party to the agreement. Credit default swaps involve special risks in addition to those mentioned above because

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they are difficult to value, are highly susceptible to liquidity and credit risk, and generally pay a return to the party that has paid the premium only in the event of an actual default by the issuer of the underlying obligation (as opposed to a credit downgrade or other indication of financial difficulty). Forward foreign currency exchange contracts do not eliminate fluctuations in the value of non-U.S. securities but rather allow the Fund to establish a fixed rate of exchange for a future point in time. This strategy can have the effect of reducing returns and minimizing opportunities for gain. Recent legislation calls for new regulation of the derivatives markets. The extent and impact of the regulation is not yet known and may not be known for some time. New regulation may make derivatives more costly, may limit the availability of derivatives, or may otherwise adversely affect the value or performance of derivatives.

Emerging Markets Risk — The risks of foreign investments are usually much greater for emerging markets. Investments in emerging markets may be considered speculative. Emerging markets include those in countries defined as emerging or developing by the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation or the United Nations. Emerging markets are riskier than more developed markets because they tend to develop unevenly and may never fully develop. They are more likely to experience hyperinflation and currency devaluations, which adversely affect returns to U.S. investors. In addition, many emerging markets have far lower trading volumes and less liquidity than developed markets. Since these markets are often small, they may be more likely to suffer sharp and frequent price changes or long-term price depression because of adverse publicity, investor perceptions or the actions of a few large investors. In addition, traditional measures of investment value used in the United States, such as price to earnings ratios, may not apply to certain small markets. 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.

Many emerging markets have histories of political instability and abrupt changes in policies. As a result, their governments are more likely to take actions that are hostile or detrimental to private enterprise or foreign investment than those of more developed countries, including expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxation, high rates of inflation or unfavorable diplomatic developments. 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 the Fund could lose the entire value of its investments in the affected market. Some countries have pervasiveness of corruption and crime that may hinder investments. Certain emerging markets may also face other significant internal or external risks, including the risk of war, and ethnic, religious and racial conflicts. In addition, governments in many emerging market countries participate to a significant degree in their economies and securities markets, which may impair investment and economic growth. National policies that may limit the Fund’s investment opportunities include restrictions on investment in issuers or industries deemed sensitive to national interests.

Emerging markets may also have 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. Sometimes, they may lack or be in the 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.

Practices in relation to settlement of securities transactions in emerging markets involve higher risks than those in developed markets, in part because the 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. The Fund would absorb any loss resulting from such registration problems and may have no successful claim for compensation. In addition, communications between the United States and emerging market countries may be unreliable, increasing the risk of delayed settlements or losses of security certificates.

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Equity Securities Risk — Common and preferred stocks represent equity ownership in a company. Stock markets are volatile. The price of equity securities will fluctuate and can decline and reduce the value of a portfolio investing in equities. The value of equity securities purchased by the Fund could decline if the financial condition of the companies the Fund invests in decline or if overall market and economic conditions deteriorate. They may also decline due to factors that affect a particular industry or industries, such as labor shortages or an increase in production costs and competitive conditions within an industry. In addition, they may decline due to general market conditions that are not specifically related to a company or industry, such as real or perceived adverse economic conditions, changes in the general outlook for corporate earnings, changes in interest or currency rates or generally adverse investor sentiment.

Extension Risk — When interest rates rise, certain obligations will be paid off by the obligor more slowly than anticipated, causing the value of these securities to fall. Rising interest rates tend to extend the duration of securities, making them more sensitive to changes in interest rates. The value of longer-term securities generally changes more in response to changes in interest rates than shorter-term securities. As a result, in a period of rising interest rates, securities may exhibit additional volatility and may lose value.

Foreign Securities Risk — Securities traded in foreign markets have often (though not always) performed differently from securities traded in the United States. However, such investments often involve special risks not present in U.S. investments that can increase the chances that the Fund will lose money. In particular, the Fund is subject to the risk that because there may be fewer investors on foreign exchanges and a smaller number of securities traded each day, it may be more difficult for the Fund to buy and sell securities on those exchanges. In addition, prices of foreign securities may go up and down more than prices of securities traded in the United States.

Certain Risks of Holding Fund Assets Outside the United States — The 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 of their operations. Also, the laws of certain countries limit the Fund’s ability to recover its assets if a foreign bank, depository or issuer of a security, or any of their agents, goes bankrupt. In addition, it is often more expensive for the Fund to buy, sell and hold securities in certain foreign markets than in the United States. The increased expense of investing in foreign markets reduces the amount the Fund can earn on its investments and typically results in a higher operating expense ratio for the Fund than for investment companies invested only in the United States.

Currency Risk — Securities and other instruments in which the Fund invests may be denominated or quoted in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. For this reason, changes in foreign currency exchange rates can affect the value of the Fund’s portfolio.

Generally, when the U.S. dollar rises in value against a foreign currency, a security denominated in that currency loses value because the currency is worth fewer U.S. dollars. Conversely, when the U.S. dollar decreases in value against a foreign currency, a security denominated in that currency gains value because the currency is worth more U.S. dollars. This risk, generally known as “currency risk,” means that a strong U.S. dollar will reduce returns for U.S. investors while a weak U.S. dollar will increase those returns.

Foreign Economy Risk — The economies of certain foreign markets may not compare favorably with the economy 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 foreign 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. Investments in foreign markets may also be adversely affected by governmental actions such as the imposition of capital controls, nationalization of companies or

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industries, expropriation of assets or the imposition of punitive taxes. In addition, the governments of certain countries may prohibit or impose substantial restrictions on foreign investments in their capital markets or in certain industries. Any of these actions could severely affect securities prices or impair the 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 the Fund’s operations.

Other potential foreign market risks include foreign exchange controls, difficulties in pricing securities, defaults on foreign government securities, difficulties in enforcing legal judgments in foreign courts and political and social instability. Diplomatic and political developments, including rapid and adverse political changes, social instability, regional conflicts, terrorism and war, could affect the economies, industries and securities and currency markets, and the value of the Fund’s investments, in non-U.S. countries. These factors are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to predict and take into account with respect to the Fund’s investments.

Governmental Supervision and Regulation/Accounting Standards — Many foreign governments do not supervise and regulate stock exchanges, brokers and the sale of securities to the same extent as such regulations exist in the United States. They also may not have laws to protect investors that are comparable to 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 material non-public information about that company. In addition, some countries may have legal systems that may make it difficult for the Fund to vote proxies, exercise shareholder rights, and pursue legal remedies with respect to its foreign investments. 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.

Settlement Risk — Settlement and clearance procedures in certain foreign markets differ significantly from those in the United States. Foreign settlement and clearance procedures and trade regulations also may involve certain risks (such as delays in payment for or delivery of securities) not typically associated with the settlement of U.S. investments.

At times, settlements in certain foreign countries have not kept pace with the number of securities transactions. These problems may make it difficult for the Fund to carry out transactions. If the 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 the 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 for any losses incurred.

Indexed and Inverse Securities Risk — Certain indexed and inverse securities have greater sensitivity to changes in interest rates or index levels than other securities, and the Fund’s investment in such instruments may decline significantly in value if interest rates or index levels move in a way Fund management does not anticipate.

Interest Rate Risk — Interest rate risk is the risk that prices of fixed-income securities generally increase when interest rates decline and decrease when interest rates increase. Prices of longer-term securities generally change more in response to interest rate changes than prices of shorter-term securities. The Fund may lose money if short-term or long-term interest rates rise sharply or otherwise change in a manner not anticipated by Fund management.

Investment in Other Investment Companies Risk — As with other investments, investments in other investment companies, including ETFs, are subject to market and selection risk. In addition, if the Fund acquires shares of investment companies, including ones affiliated with the Fund, shareholders bear both their proportionate share of expenses in the Fund (including management and advisory fees) and,

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indirectly, the expenses of the investment companies. To the extent the Fund is held by an affiliated fund, the ability of the Fund itself to hold other investment companies may be limited.

Junk Bonds Risk — Although junk bonds generally pay higher rates of interest than investment grade bonds, junk bonds are high risk investments that may cause income and principal losses for the Fund. The major risks of junk bond investments include:

Junk bonds may be issued by less creditworthy issuers. Issuers of junk bonds may have a larger amount of outstanding debt relative to their assets than issuers of investment grade bonds. In the event of an issuer’s bankruptcy, claims of other creditors may have priority over the claims of junk bond holders, leaving few or no assets available to repay junk bond holders.
Prices of junk bonds are subject to extreme price fluctuations. Adverse changes in an issuer’s industry and general economic conditions may have a greater impact on the prices of junk bonds than on other higher rated fixed-income securities.
Issuers of junk bonds may be unable to meet their interest or principal payment obligations because of an economic downturn, specific issuer developments, or the unavailability of additional financing.
Junk bonds frequently have redemption features that permit an issuer to repurchase the security from the Fund before it matures. If the issuer redeems junk bonds, the Fund may have to invest the proceeds in bonds with lower yields and may lose income.
Junk bonds may be less liquid than higher rated fixed-income securities, even under normal economic conditions. 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. Because they are less liquid, judgment may play a greater role in valuing certain of the Fund’s securities than is the case with securities trading in a more liquid market.
The Fund may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting issuer.

The credit rating of a high yield security does not necessarily address its market value risk. Ratings and market value may change from time to time, positively or negatively, to reflect new developments regarding the issuer.

Leverage Risk — Some transactions may give rise to a form of economic leverage. These transactions may include, among others, derivatives, and may expose the Fund to greater risk and increase its costs. As an open-end investment company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), the Fund is subject to the federal securities laws, including the Investment Company Act, the rules thereunder, and various SEC and SEC staff interpretive positions. In accordance with these laws, rules and positions, the Fund must “set aside” liquid assets (often referred to as “asset segregation”), or engage in other SEC- or staff-approved measures, to “cover” open positions with respect to certain kinds of instruments. The use of leverage may cause the Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it may not be advantageous to do so to satisfy its obligations or to meet any required asset segregation requirements. Increases and decreases in the value of the Fund’s portfolio will be magnified when the Fund uses leverage.

Market Risk and Selection Risk — Market risk is the risk that one or more markets in which the Fund invests will go down in value, including the possibility that the markets will go down sharply and unpredictably. Selection risk is the risk that the securities selected by Fund management will underperform the markets, the relevant indices or the securities selected by other funds with similar investment objectives and investment strategies. This means you may lose money.

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Mid-Cap Securities Risk — The securities of mid-cap companies generally trade in lower volumes and are generally subject to greater and less predictable price changes than the securities of larger capitalization companies.

Non-Diversification Risk — The Fund is a non-diversified fund. Because the Fund may invest in securities of a smaller number of issuers, it may be more exposed to the risks associated with and developments affecting an individual issuer than a fund that invests more widely.

Preferred Securities Risk — Preferred securities may pay fixed or adjustable rates of return. Preferred securities are subject to issuer-specific and market risks applicable generally to equity securities. In addition, a company’s preferred securities generally pay dividends only after the company makes required payments to holders of its bonds and other debt. For this reason, the value of preferred securities will usually react more strongly than bonds and other debt to actual or perceived changes in the company’s financial condition or prospects. Preferred securities of smaller companies may be more vulnerable to adverse developments than preferred stock of larger companies.

Prepayment Risk — When interest rates fall, certain obligations will be paid off by the obligor more quickly than originally anticipated, and the Fund may have to invest the proceeds in securities with lower yields. In periods of falling interest rates, the rate of prepayments tends to increase (as does price fluctuation) as borrowers are motivated to pay off debt and refinance at new lower rates. During such periods, reinvestment of the prepayment proceeds by the management team will generally be at lower rates of return than the return on the assets that were prepaid. Prepayment reduces the yield to maturity and the average life of the security.

Real Estate Related Securities Risks — The main risk of real estate related securities is that the value of the underlying real estate may go down. Many factors may affect real estate values. These factors include both the general and local economies, the amount of new construction in a particular area, the laws and regulations (including zoning and tax laws) affecting real estate and the costs of owning, maintaining and improving real estate. The availability of mortgages and changes in interest rates may also affect real estate values. If the Fund’s real estate related investments are concentrated in one geographic area or in one property type, the Fund will be particularly subject to the risks associated with that area or property type.

REIT Investment Risk — In addition to the risks facing real estate related securities, such as a decline in property values due to increasing vacancies, a decline in rents resulting from unanticipated economic, legal or technological developments or a decline in the price of securities of real estate companies due to a failure of borrowers to pay their loans or poor management, investments in REITs involve unique risks. REITs may have limited financial resources, may trade less frequently and in limited volume and may be more volatile than other securities.

Small Cap and Emerging Growth Securities Risks — Small cap or emerging growth companies may have limited product lines or markets. They may be less financially secure than larger, more established companies. They may depend on a small number of key personnel. If a product fails or there are other adverse developments, or if management changes, the Fund’s investment in a small cap company may lose substantial value. In addition, it is more difficult to get information on smaller companies, which tend to be less well known, have shorter operating histories, do not have significant ownership by large investors and are followed by relatively few securities analysts.

The securities of small cap or emerging growth companies generally trade in lower volumes and are subject to greater and more unpredictable price changes than larger cap securities or the market as a whole. In addition, small cap securities may be particularly sensitive to changes in interest rates, borrowing costs and earnings. Investing in small cap securities requires a longer term view.

Sovereign Debt Risk — Sovereign debt instruments are subject to the risk that a governmental entity may delay or refuse to pay interest or repay principal on its sovereign debt, due, for example, to cash flow problems, insufficient foreign currency reserves, political considerations, the relative size of the

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governmental entity’s debt position in relation to the economy or the failure to put in place economic reforms required by the International Monetary Fund or other multilateral agencies. If a governmental entity defaults, it may ask for more time in which to pay or for further loans. There is no legal process for collecting sovereign debt that a government does not pay nor are there bankruptcy proceedings through which all or part of the sovereign debt that a governmental entity has not repaid may be collected.

Subsidiary Risk — By investing in the Subsidiary, the Fund is indirectly exposed to the risks associated with the Subsidiary’s investments. The commodity-related instruments held by the Subsidiary are generally similar to those that are permitted to be held by the Fund and are subject to the same risks that apply to similar investments if held directly by the Fund. (See “Commodities Related Investments Risks“ above.)There can be no assurance that the investment objective of the Subsidiary will be achieved. The Subsidiary is not registered under the Investment Company Act, and, unless otherwise noted in this prospectus, is not subject to all the investor protections of the Investment Company 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 Board 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. The Subsidiary will be subject to the same investment restrictions and limitations, and follow the same compliance policies and procedures, as the Fund, except that the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in commodity-related instruments. 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 this prospectus and the SAI 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. In addition, in late July 2011, the IRS suspended the issuance of private letter rulings relating to the tax treatment of income and gain generated by investments in commodity-linked notes and income generated by investments in controlled foreign corporations, such as the Subsidiary, that invest in commodity-related instruments. As a result, there can be no assurance that the tax treatment of income from the Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary will not be changed by unfavorable legislation or other guidance and that such change will not have retroactive effect. See “— Tax and Regulatory Risk” below.

Supranational Entities Risk — The Fund may invest in obligations issued or guaranteed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank). The government members, or “stockholders,” usually make initial capital contributions to the World Bank and in many cases are committed to make additional capital contributions if the World Bank is unable to repay its borrowings. There is no guarantee that one or more stockholders of the World Bank 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 the Fund may lose money on such investments.

Tax and Regulatory Risk — Certain aspects of the tax treatment of derivative instruments, including swap agreements and commodity-linked derivatives, are currently unclear and may be affected by changes in legislation, regulations or other legally binding authority that could affect the character, timing and amount of the Fund’s taxable income or gains and distributions. Other future regulatory developments may also impact the Fund’s ability to invest or remain invested in certain derivatives. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which the Fund itself is regulated. BlackRock cannot predict the effects of any new governmental regulation that may be implemented on the ability of the Fund to use swaps or any other financial derivative product, and there can be no assurance that any new governmental regulation will not adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. For example, in February 2012, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission amended Rule 4.5, and the exemption from registration as a commodity pool operator may no longer be available to BlackRock. If BlackRock is required to register as a commodity pool operator, the Fund is not expected to be adversely affected by such registration.

In late July 2011, the IRS suspended the granting of private letter rulings that concluded that the income and gain generated by a registered investment company’s investments in commodity-linked notes, and

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the income generated from investments in controlled foreign subsidiaries that invest in physical commodities and/or commodity-linked derivative instruments, would be “qualifying income” for regulated investment company qualification purposes. As a result, there can be no assurance that the IRS will treat such income and gain as “qualifying income.” If the IRS makes an adverse determination relating to the treatment of such income and gain, the Fund would likely need to change its investment strategies, which could adversely affect the Fund.

Treasury Obligations Risk — 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.

U.S. Government Obligations Risk — Obligations of U.S. Government agencies, authorities, instrumentalities and sponsored enterprises have historically involved little risk of loss of principal if held to maturity. However, not all U.S. Government securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Obligations of certain agencies, authorities, instrumentalities and sponsored enterprises of the U.S. Government are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States (e.g., the Government National Mortgage Association); other obligations are backed by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury (e.g., the Federal Home Loan Banks) and others are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government to purchase an agency’s obligations. Still others are backed only by the credit of the agency, authority, instrumentality or sponsored enterprise issuing the obligation. No assurance can be given that the U.S. Government would provide financial support to any of these entities if it is not obligated to do so by law.

Variable and Floating Rate Instrument Risk — The absence of an active market for these securities could make it difficult for the Fund to dispose of them if the issuer defaults.

Other Risks of Investing in the Fund

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

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

Expense Risk — Fund expenses are subject to a variety of factors, including fluctuations in the Fund’s net assets. Accordingly, actual expenses may be greater or less than those indicated. For example, to the extent that the Fund’s net assets decrease due to market declines or redemptions, the Fund’s expenses will increase as a percentage of Fund net assets. During periods of high market volatility, these increases in the Fund’s expense ratio could be significant.

Liquidity Risk — Liquidity risk exists when particular investments are difficult to purchase or sell. The Fund’s investments in illiquid securities may reduce the returns of the Fund because it may be difficult to sell the illiquid securities at an advantageous time or price. To the extent that the Fund’s principal investment strategies involve derivatives or securities with substantial market and/or credit risk, the Fund will tend to have the greatest exposure to liquidity risk. Liquid investments may become illiquid after purchase by the Fund, particularly during periods of market turmoil. Illiquid investments may be harder to value, especially in changing markets, and if the Fund is forced to sell these investments to meet redemption requests or for other cash needs, the Fund may suffer a loss. In addition, when there is illiquidity in the market for certain securities, the Fund, due to limitations on illiquid investments, may be subject to purchase and sale restrictions.

Securities Lending Risk — Securities lending involves the risk that the borrower may fail to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. As a result, the Fund may lose money and there may be a delay in recovering the loaned securities. The Fund could also lose money if it does not recover the securities and/or the value of the collateral falls, including the value of investments made with cash collateral. These events could trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund.

21
 

Account Information

How to Choose the Share Class that Best Suits Your Needs

Market Advantage Fund currently offers multiple share classes (Investor A, Investor C and Institutional Shares in this prospectus), each with its own sales charge and expense structure, allowing you to invest in the way that best suits your needs. Each share class represents an ownership interest in the same investment portfolio of the Fund. When you choose your class of shares, you should consider the size of your investment and how long you plan to hold your shares. Either your financial professional or your selected securities dealer, broker, investment adviser, service provider or industry professional (“financial intermediary”) can help you determine which share class is best suited to your personal financial goals. Investor A and Investor C Shares are sometimes referred to herein collectively as “Investor Shares.”

For example, if you select Institutional Shares of the Fund, you will not pay any sales charge. However, only certain investors may buy Institutional Shares. If you select Investor A Shares of the Fund, you generally pay a sales charge at the time of purchase and an ongoing service fee of 0.25% per year. You may be eligible for a sales charge reduction or waiver.

If you select Investor C Shares, you will invest the full amount of your purchase price, but you will be subject to a distribution fee of 0.75% per year and a service fee of 0.25% per year under a plan adopted pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the Investment Company Act. Because these fees are paid out of the Fund’s assets on an ongoing basis, over time these fees increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales charges. In addition, you may be subject to a deferred sales charge when you sell Investor C Shares of the Fund. Classes with lower expenses will have higher net asset values and dividends relative to other share classes.

The Fund’s shares are distributed by BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of BlackRock.

The table on the following pages summarizes key features of each of the share classes offered by this prospectus.

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Share Classes at a Glance1
  Investor A Shares Investor C Shares2,3 Institutional Shares
Availability Generally available through financial intermediaries. Generally available through financial intermediaries.

Limited to certain investors, including:

·    Current Institutional shareholders that meet certain requirements

·    Certain retirement plans

·    Participants in certain programs sponsored by BlackRock or its affiliates or other financial intermediaries

·    Certain employees and affiliates of BlackRock or its affiliates

Minimum Investment

$1,000 for all accounts except:

·    $250 for certain fee-based programs

·    $100 for retirement plans

·    $50, if establishing an Automatic Investment Plan (“AIP”)

$1,000 for all accounts except:

·    $250 for certain fee-based programs

·    $100 for retirement plans

·    $50, if establishing an Automatic Investment Plan (“AIP”)

$2 million for institutions and individuals.  Institutional Shares are available to clients of registered investment advisors who have $250,000 invested in the Fund.
Initial Sales Charge? Yes.  Payable at time of purchase.  Lower sales charges are available for larger investments. No.  Entire purchase price is invested in shares of the Fund. No.  Entire purchase price is invested in shares of the Fund.
Deferred Sales Charge? No.  (May be charged for purchases of $1 million or more that are redeemed within eighteen months). Yes.  Payable if you redeem within one year of purchase. No.
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees?

No Distribution Fee.

0.25% Annual Service Fee.

0.75% Annual Distribution Fee.
0.25% Annual Service Fee.
No.
Redemption Fees? No. No. No.
Conversion to Investor A Shares? N/A. No. No.
Advantage Makes sense for investors who are eligible to have the sales charge reduced or eliminated or who have a long-term investment horizon because there are no ongoing distribution fees. No up-front sales charge so you start off owning more shares.  These shares may make sense for investors who have a shorter investment horizon relative to Investor A Shares. No up-front sales charge so you start off owning more shares.
Disadvantage You pay a sales charge up-front, and therefore you start off owning fewer shares. You pay ongoing distribution fees each year you own shares, which means that over the long term you can expect higher total fees per share than Investor A Shares and, as a result, lower total performance. Limited availability.

 

1Please see “Details About the Share Classes” for more information about each share class.
2If you establish a new account directly with the Fund and do not have a financial intermediary associated with your account, you may only invest in Investor A Shares. Applications without a financial intermediary that select Investor C Shares will not be accepted.
3The Fund will not accept a purchase order of $500,000 or more for Investor C Shares. Your financial professional may set a lower maximum for Investor C Shares.

The following pages will cover the additional details of each share class, including the Institutional Share requirements, the sales charge table for Investor A Shares, reduced sales charge information, Investor C Share CDSC information, and sales charge waivers. More information about existing sales charge reductions and waivers is available free of charge in a clear and prominent format via hyperlink at www.blackrock.com and in the SAI, which is available on the website or on request.

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Details About the Share Classes

Investor A Shares — Initial Sales Charge Option

The following table shows the front-end sales charges that you may pay if you buy Investor A Shares. The offering price for Investor A Shares includes any front-end sales charge. The front-end sales charge expressed as a percentage of the offering price may be higher or lower than the charge described below due to rounding. Similarly, any contingent deferred sales charge paid upon certain redemptions of Investor A Shares expressed as a percentage of the applicable redemption amount may be higher or lower than the charge described below due to rounding. You may qualify for a reduced front-end sales charge. Purchases of Investor A Shares at certain fixed dollar levels, known as “breakpoints,” cause a reduction in the front-end sales charge. Once you achieve a breakpoint, you pay that sales charge on your entire purchase amount (and not just the portion above the breakpoint). If you select Investor A Shares, you will pay a sales charge at the time of purchase as shown in the following table.

Your Investment Sales Charge as a % of Offering Price Sales Charge as a % of Your Investment1 Dealer Compensation as a % of Offering Price
Less than $25,000 5.25% 5.54% 5.00%
$25,000 but less than $50,000 4.75% 4.99% 4.50%
$50,000 but less than $100,000 4.00% 4.17% 3.75%
$100,000 but less than $250,000 3.00% 3.09% 2.75%
$250,000 but less than $500,000 2.50% 2.56% 2.25%
$500,000 but less than $750,000 2.00% 2.04% 1.75%
$750,000 but less than $1,000,000 1.50% 1.52% 1.25%
$1,000,000 and over2 0.00% 0.00% 2

 

1Rounded to the nearest one-hundredth percent.
2If you invest $1,000,000 or more in Investor A Shares, you will not pay an initial sales charge. In that case, BlackRock compensates the financial intermediary from its own resources. However, if you redeem your shares within 18 months after purchase, you may be charged a deferred sales charge of [1.00]% of the lesser of the original cost of the shares being redeemed or your redemption proceeds. Such deferred sales charge may be waived in connection with certain fee-based programs.

No initial sales charge applies to Investor A Shares that you buy through reinvestment of Fund dividends or capital gains.

Sales Charges Reduced or Eliminated for Investor A Shares

There are several ways in which the sales charge can be reduced or eliminated. Purchases of Investor A Shares at certain fixed dollar levels, known as “breakpoints,” cause a reduction in the front-end sales charge (as described above in the “Investor A Shares — Initial Sales Charge Option” section). Additionally, the front-end sales charge can be reduced or eliminated through one or a combination of the following: a Letter of Intent, right of accumulation, the reinstatement privilege (described under “Account Services and Privileges”), or a waiver of the sales charge (described below).

Reductions or eliminations through the right of accumulation or Letter of Intent will apply to the value of all qualifying holdings in shares of mutual funds sponsored and advised by BlackRock or its affiliates (“BlackRock Funds”) owned by (a) the investor, or (b) the investor’s spouse and any children and a trust, custodial account or fiduciary account for the benefit of any such individuals. For this purpose, the value of an investor’s holdings means the offering price of the newly purchased shares (including any applicable sales charge) plus the current value (including any sales charges paid) of all other shares the investor already holds taken together.

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Qualifying Holdings: Investor Shares, Institutional Shares (in most BlackRock Funds) and investments in the BlackRock CollegeAdvantage 529 Program

Qualifying Holdings may include shares held in accounts held at a financial intermediary, including personal accounts, certain retirement accounts, UGMA/UTMA accounts, Joint Tenancy accounts, trust accounts and Transfer on Death accounts, as well as shares purchased by a trust of which the investor is a beneficiary. For purposes of the right of accumulation and Letter of Intent the investor may not combine with the investor’s other holdings shares held in pension, profit sharing or other employee benefit plans if those shares are held in the name of a nominee or custodian.

In order to receive a reduced sales charge, at the time an investor purchases shares of the Fund, the investor should inform the financial professional, financial intermediary and/or BlackRock Funds of any other shares of the Fund or any other BlackRock Fund that qualify for a reduced sales charge. Failure by the investor to notify the financial professional, financial intermediary or BlackRock Funds may result in the investor not receiving the sales charge reduction to which the investor is otherwise entitled.

The financial professional, financial intermediary or BlackRock Funds may request documentation — including account statements and records of the original cost of the shares owned by the investor, the investor’s spouse and/or children showing that the investor qualifies for a reduced sales charge. The investor should retain these records because — depending on where an account is held or the type of account — the Fund and/or the investor’s financial professional, financial intermediary or BlackRock Funds may not be able to maintain this information.

For more information, see the SAI or contact your financial professional or financial intermediary.

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 or Institutional Shares and/or make an investment through the BlackRock CollegeAdvantage 529 Program 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.

Right of Accumulation

Investors have a “right of accumulation” under which the current value of (i) an investor’s existing BlackRock Funds Investor A and A1, Investor B, B1, B2 and B3, Investor C, C1, C2 and C3 and Institutional Shares and/or (ii) the investment in the BlackRock CollegeAdvantage 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.

Other Front-End Sales Charge Waivers

The following persons may also buy Investor A Shares without paying a sales charge:

Authorized qualified employee benefit plans or savings plans;
Rollovers of current investments through authorized qualified employee benefit plans or savings plans, provided the shares are transferred to the same BlackRock Fund as either a direct rollover,
25
 

or subsequent to distribution, the rolled-over proceeds are contributed to a BlackRock individual retirement account (“IRA”) through an account directly with the Fund;

Persons investing through an authorized payroll deduction plan;
Persons investing through an authorized investment plan for organizations that operate under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Internal Revenue Code”);
Registered investment advisers, trust companies and bank trust departments exercising discretionary investment authority with respect to amounts to be invested in the Fund;
Persons participating in a fee-based program (such as a wrap account) under which they (i) pay advisory fees to a broker-dealer or other financial institution or (ii) pay fees to a broker-dealer or other financial institution for providing transaction processing and other administrative services, but not investment advisory services;
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;
Persons associated with the Fund, BlackRock, the Fund’s sub-adviser, transfer agent, distributor, fund accounting agents, Barclays PLC (“Barclays”) and their affiliates (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; and (e) any trust, pension, profit-sharing or other benefit plan for any of the persons set forth in (a) through (d); and
Certain state sponsored 529 college savings plans.

Investor A Shares at Net Asset Value

If you invest $1,000,000 or more in Investor A Shares, you will not pay any initial sales charge. However, if you redeem your Investor A Shares within 18 months after purchase, you may be charged a deferred sales charge of [1.00]% of the lesser of the original cost of the shares being redeemed or your redemption proceeds. For a discussion on waivers see “Contingent Deferred Sales Charge Waivers.”

If you are eligible to buy both Investor A and Institutional Shares, you should buy Institutional Shares since Investor A Shares are subject to a front end sales charge and an annual 0.25% service fee, while Institutional Shares are not. The Distributor normally pays the annual Investor A Shares service fee to dealers as a shareholder servicing fee on a monthly basis.

Investor C Shares — Deferred Sales Charge Options

If you select Investor C Shares, you do not pay an initial sales charge at the time of purchase. However, if you redeem your Investor C Shares within one year after purchase, you may be required to pay a deferred sales charge of 1.00%. The charge will apply to the lesser of the original cost of shares being redeemed or the proceeds of your redemption. When you redeem Investor C Shares, the redemption order is processed so that the lowest deferred sales charge is charged. Investor C Shares that are not subject to the deferred sales charge are redeemed first. In addition, you will not be charged a deferred sales charge when you redeem shares that you acquire through reinvestment of Fund dividends or capital gains. Any CDSC paid on the redemptions of Investor C Shares expressed as a percentage of the applicable redemption amount may be higher or lower than the charge described due to rounding.

Investor C Shares do not offer a conversion privilege.

26
 

You will also pay ongoing distribution fees of 0.75% and ongoing service fees of 0.25% for Investor C Shares each year. Because these fees are paid out of the Fund’s assets on an ongoing basis, over time these fees increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales charges. The Distributor uses the money that it receives from the deferred sales charges and the distribution fees to cover the costs of marketing, advertising and compensating the financial professional or financial intermediary who assists you in purchasing Fund shares.

The Distributor currently pays dealers a sales concession of 1.00% of the purchase price of Investor C Shares from its own resources at the time of sale. The Distributor pays the annual Investor C Shares distribution fee and the annual Investor C Shares service fee as an ongoing concession and as a shareholder servicing fee, respectively, to dealers for Investor C Shares held for over a year and normally retains the Investor C Shares distribution fee and service fee during the first year after purchase. For certain qualified employee benefit plans, the Distributor will pay the full Investor C Shares distribution fee and service fee to dealers beginning in the first year after purchase in lieu of paying the sales concession.

Contingent Deferred Sales Charge Waivers

The deferred sales charge relating to Investor Shares may be reduced or waived in certain circumstances, such as:

Redemptions of shares purchased through authorized qualified employee benefit plans or savings plans and rollovers of current investments in the Fund through such plans;
Exchanges pursuant to the exchange privilege, as described in “How to Exchange Shares or Transfer your Account”;
Redemptions made in connection with minimum required distributions from IRA or 403(b)(7) accounts due to the shareholder reaching the age of 70 1⁄2;
Certain post-retirement withdrawals from an IRA or other retirement plan if you are over 59 1⁄2 years old;
Redemptions made with respect to certain retirement plans sponsored by the Fund, BlackRock or an affiliate;
Redemptions resulting from shareholder 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);
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;
Involuntary redemptions made of shares in accounts with low balances;
Certain redemptions made through the Systematic Withdrawal Plan offered by the Fund, BlackRock or an affiliate;
Redemptions related to the payment of BNY Mellon Investment Servicing Trust Company custodial IRA fees; and
Redemptions when a shareholder can demonstrate hardship, in the absolute discretion of the Fund.
27
 

More information about existing sales charge reductions and waivers is available free of charge in a clear and prominent format via hyperlink at www.blackrock.com and in the SAI, which is available on the website or on request.

Institutional Shares

Institutional Shares are not subject to any sales charge. Only certain investors are eligible to buy Institutional Shares. Your financial professional or other financial intermediary can help you determine whether you are eligible to buy Institutional Shares. The 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.

Eligible Institutional investors include the following:

Investors who currently own Institutional Shares of the Fund may make additional purchases of Institutional Shares of the Fund directly from the Fund;
Institutional and individual retail investors with a minimum investment of $2 million who purchase directly from the Fund;
Certain qualified retirement plans;
Investors in selected fee-based programs;
Clients of registered investment advisers who have $250,000 invested in the Fund;
Trust department clients 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;
Holders of certain Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (“Merrill Lynch”) sponsored unit investment trusts (“UITs”) who reinvest dividends received from such UITs in shares of the Fund; and
Employees, officers and directors/trustees of BlackRock Inc., BlackRock Funds, The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”), Merrill Lynch, Barclays or their respective affiliates.

Distribution and Shareholder Servicing Plan

The Trust, on behalf of Market Advantage Fund, has adopted a plan (the “Plan”) with respect to the Investor Shares that allows the Fund to pay distribution fees for the sale of its shares under Rule 12b-1 of the Investment Company Act and shareholder servicing fees for certain services provided to its shareholders.

Plan Payments

Under the Plan, Investor C Shares pay a fee (“distribution fees”) to the Distributor and/or its affiliates, including PNC and its affiliates, for distribution and sales support services. The distribution fees may be used to pay the Distributor for distribution services and to pay the Distributor and affiliates of BlackRock and PNC for sales support services provided in connection with the sale of Investor C Shares. The distribution fees may also be used to pay brokers, dealers, financial institutions and industry professionals (including BlackRock, PNC and their respective affiliates) (each a “Financial Intermediary”) for sales support services and related expenses. All Investor C Shares pay a maximum distribution fee per year that is a percentage of the average daily net asset value of the Fund attributable to Investor C Shares. Institutional and Investor A Shares do not pay a distribution fee.

28
 

Under the Plan, the Trust also pays shareholder servicing fees (also referred to as shareholder liaison services fees) on behalf of the Fund to Financial Intermediaries for providing support services to their customers who own Investor Shares. The shareholder servicing fee payment is calculated as a percentage of the average daily net asset value of Investor Shares of the Fund. All Investor Shares pay this shareholder servicing fee. Institutional Shares do not pay a shareholder servicing fee.

In return for the shareholder servicing fee, Financial Intermediaries (including BlackRock) may provide one or more of the following services to their customers who own Investor Shares:

Responding to customer questions on the services performed by the Financial Intermediary and investments in Investor Shares;
Assisting customers in choosing and changing dividend options, account designations and addresses; and
Providing other similar shareholder liaison services.

The shareholder servicing fees payable pursuant to the Plans are paid to compensate Financial Intermediaries for the administration and servicing of shareholder accounts and are not costs which are primarily intended to result in the sale of the Fund’s shares. Because the fees paid by the Fund under the Plan are paid out of Fund assets on an ongoing basis, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales charges. In addition, the distribution fees paid by Investor C Shares may over time cost investors more than the front-end sales charge on Investor A Shares. For more information on the Plan, including a complete list of services provided thereunder, see the SAI.

Other Payments by the Fund

In addition to, rather than in lieu of, fees that the Fund may pay to a Financial Intermediary pursuant to the Plan and fees that the Fund pays to BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc. (the “Transfer Agent”), BlackRock, on behalf of the Fund, may enter into non-Plan agreements with a Financial Intermediary pursuant to which the Fund will pay a Financial Intermediary 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 Financial Intermediary or (2) a fixed dollar amount for each account serviced by a Financial Intermediary. The aggregate amount of these payments may be substantial.

Other Payments by BlackRock

The Plan permits BlackRock, the Distributor and their affiliates to 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, BlackRock, the Distributor or their affiliates also may pay a portion of the fees for administrative, networking, recordkeeping, sub-transfer agency and shareholder services described above at its or their own expense and out of its or their legitimate profits. BlackRock, the Distributor and their affiliates may compensate affiliated and unaffiliated Financial Intermediaries for the sale and distribution of shares of the Fund or for these other services to the Fund and shareholders. These payments would be in addition to the Fund payments described in this prospectus and may be a fixed dollar amount, may be based on the number of customer accounts maintained by the Financial Intermediary, or may be based on a percentage of the value of shares sold to, or held by, customers of the Financial Intermediary. The aggregate amount of these payments by BlackRock, the Distributor and their affiliates may be substantial. Payments by BlackRock may include amounts that are sometimes referred to as “revenue sharing” payments. In some circumstances, these revenue sharing payments may create an incentive for a Financial Intermediary, its employees or associated persons to recommend or sell shares of the Fund to you. Please contact your Financial Intermediary for details about payments it may receive from the Fund or from BlackRock, the Distributor or their affiliates. For more information, see the SAI.

29
 

How to Buy, Sell, Exchange and Transfer Shares

The chart on the following pages summarizes how to buy, sell, exchange and transfer shares through your financial professional or financial intermediary. You may also buy, sell, exchange and transfer shares through BlackRock if your account is held directly with BlackRock. To learn more about buying, selling, transferring or exchanging shares through BlackRock, call (800) 441-7762. Because the selection of a mutual fund involves many considerations, your financial professional or other financial intermediary may help you with this decision.

Market Advantage Fund may reject any purchase order, modify or waive the minimum initial or subsequent investment requirements for any shareholders and suspend and resume the sale of any share class of the Fund at any time for any reason. In addition, the Fund may waive certain requirements regarding the purchase, sale, exchange or transfer of shares described below.

Under certain circumstances, if no activity occurs in an account within a time period specified by state law, a shareholder’s shares in the Fund may be transferred to that state.

30
 

 

How to Buy Shares      
  Your Choices   Important Information for You to Know
Initial Purchase First, select the share class appropriate for you  

Refer to the “Share Classes at a Glance” table in this prospectus (be sure to read this prospectus carefully). When you place your initial order, you must indicate which share class you select (if you do not specify a share class and do not qualify to purchase Institutional Shares, you will receive Investor A Shares).

 

Certain factors, such as the amount of your investment, your time frame for investing and your financial goals, may affect which share class you choose. Your financial professional can help you determine which share class is appropriate for you.

  Next, determine the amount of your investment  

Refer to the minimum initial investment in the “Share Classes at a Glance” table of this prospectus. Be sure to note the maximum investment amounts in Investor C Shares.

 

See “Account Information — Details About the Share Classes” for information on a lower initial investment requirement for certain Fund investors if their purchase, combined with purchases by other investors received together by the Fund, meets the minimum investment requirement.

  Have your financial professional or financial intermediary submit your purchase order  

The price of your shares is based on the next calculation of the Fund’s net asset value after your order is placed. Any purchase orders placed prior to the close of business on the New York Stock Exchange (the “Exchange”) (generally 4:00 P.M. Eastern time) will be priced at the net asset value determined that day. Certain financial intermediaries, however, may require submission of orders prior to that time. Purchase orders placed after that time will be priced at the net asset value determined on the next business day. A broker-dealer or financial institution maintaining the account in which you hold shares may charge a separate account, service or transaction fee on the purchase or sale of Fund shares that would be in addition to the fees and expenses shown in the Fund’s “Fees and Expenses” table.

 

The Fund may reject any order to buy shares and may suspend the sale of shares at anytime. Financial intermediaries may charge a processing fee to confirm a purchase.

  Or contact BlackRock (for accounts held directly with BlackRock)   To purchase shares directly from BlackRock, call (800) 441-7762 and request a new account application.  Mail the completed application along with a check payable to “BlackRock Funds” to the Transfer Agent at the address on the application.
Add to Your
Investment
Purchase additional shares   For Investor A and Investor C Shares, the minimum investment for additional purchases is generally $50 for all accounts except that certain retirement plans and payroll deduction programs may have a lower minimum for additional purchases.  Institutional Shares have no minimum for additional purchases.
  Have your financial professional or financial intermediary submit your purchase order for additional shares.   To purchase additional shares you may contact your financial professional or financial intermediary.  For more details on purchasing by Internet see below.
  Or contact BlackRock (for accounts held directly with BlackRock)  

Purchase by Telephone: Call (800) 441-7762 and speak with one of our representatives. The Fund has the right to reject any telephone request for any reason.

 

Purchase in Writing: You may send a written request to BlackRock at the address on the back cover of this prospectus.

 

Purchase by VRU: Investor Shares may also be purchased by use of the Fund’s automated voice response unit service (“VRU”) at (800) 441-7762.

31
 

 



How to Buy Shares (continued)
   
  Your Choices   Important Information for You to Know

Add to Your Investment

(continued)

Or contact BlackRock (for accounts held directly with BlackRock) (continued)  

Purchase by Internet: You may purchase your shares and view activity in your account by logging onto the BlackRock website at www.blackrock.com/funds. Purchases made on the Internet using Automated Clearing House Network (“ACH”) will have a trade date that is the day after the purchase is made. Certain institutional clients’ purchase orders for Institutional Shares placed by wire prior to the close of business on the Exchange will be priced at the net asset value determined that day. Contact your financial intermediary or BlackRock for further information. The Fund limits Internet purchases in shares of the Fund to $25,000 per trade. Different maximums may apply to certain institutional investors.

 

Please read the On-Line Services Disclosure Statement and User Agreement, the Terms and Conditions page and the Consent to Electronic Delivery Agreement (if you consent to electronic delivery), before attempting to transact online.

 

The Fund employs reasonable procedures to confirm that transactions entered over the Internet are genuine. By entering into the User Agreement with the Fund in order to open an account through the website, the shareholder waives any right to reclaim any losses from the Fund or any of its affiliates incurred through fraudulent activity.

  Acquire additional shares by reinvesting dividends and capital gains   All dividends and capital gains distributions are automatically reinvested without a sales charge.  To make any changes to your dividend and/or capital gains distributions options, please call (800) 441-7762, or contact your financial professional (if your account is not held directly with BlackRock).
  Participate in the Automatic Investment Plan (AIP)   

BlackRock’s Automatic Investment Plan (“AIP”) allows you to invest a specific amount on a periodic basis from your checking or savings account into your investment account.

 

Refer to the “Account Services and Privileges” section of this prospectus for additional information.

How to Pay for

Shares

Making payment for purchases  

Payment for an order must be made in Federal funds or other immediately available funds by the time specified by your financial professional or financial intermediary, but in no event later than 4:00 p.m. (Eastern time) on the third business day (in the case of Investor Shares) or the first business day (in the case of Institutional Shares) following BlackRock’s receipt of the order. If payment is not received by this time, the order will be canceled, and you and your financial professional or financial intermediary will be responsible for any loss to the Fund.

 

For shares purchased directly from the Fund, a check payable to BlackRock Funds which bears the name of the Fund you are purchasing must accompany a completed purchase application. There is a $20 fee for each purchase check that is returned due to insufficient funds. The Fund does not accept third-party checks. You may also wire Federal funds to the Fund to purchase shares, but you must call (800) 441-7762 before doing so to confirm the wiring instructions.

 

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How to Sell Shares
     
  Your Choices   Important Information for You to Know
Full or Partial Redemption of Shares Have your financial intermediary submit your sales order  

You can make redemption requests through your financial professional. Shareholders should indicate whether they are redeeming Investor A, Investor C or Institutional Shares. The price of your shares is based on the next calculation of the Fund’s net asset value after your order is placed. For your redemption request to be priced at the net asset value on the day of your request, you must submit your request to your financial professional or financial intermediary prior to that day’s close of business on the Exchange (generally 4:00 P.M. Eastern time). Certain financial intermediaries, however, may require submission of orders prior to that time. Any redemption request placed after that time will be priced at the net asset value at the close of business on the next business day.

 

Financial intermediaries may charge a fee to process a redemption of shares. Shareholders should indicate which class of shares they are redeeming.

 

The Fund may reject an order to sell shares under certain circumstances.

  Selling shares held directly with BlackRock  

Methods of Redeeming

Redeem by Telephone: You may sell Investor Shares held directly with 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 ACH or wire transfer. Certain redemption requests, such as those in excess of these amounts, must be in writing with a medallion signature guarantee. 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. A notary public seal will not be acceptable.

 

The Fund, its administrators and the Distributor will employ reasonable procedures to confirm that instructions communicated by telephone are genuine. 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. 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 alternate redemption methods below.

 

Redeem by VRU: Investor Shares may also be redeemed by use of the Fund’s automated VRU service. Payment for Investor 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 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.

 

 

 

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How to Sell Shares (continued)    
  Your Choices   Important Information for You to Know
Full or Partial Redemption of Shares (continued) Selling shares held directly with BlackRock (continued)  

Redeem in Writing: You may sell shares held with BlackRock by writing to BlackRock, P.O. Box 9819, Providence, Rhode Island 02940-8019, or for overnight delivery, 4400 Computer Drive, Westborough, Massachusetts 01588. All shareholders on the account must sign the letter. A medallion signature guarantee will generally be required but may be waived in certain limited 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.

 

Payment of Redemption Proceeds

Redemption proceeds may be paid by check or, if the Fund has verified banking information on file, through ACH or by wire transfer.

 

Payment by Check: BlackRock will normally mail redemption proceeds within seven days following receipt of a properly completed request. Shares can be redeemed by telephone and the proceeds sent by check to the shareholder at the address on record. Shareholders will pay $15 for redemption proceeds sent by check via overnight mail. You are responsible for any additional charges imposed by your bank for this service.

 

Payment by Wire Transfer: Payment for redeemed shares for which a redemption order is received before 4:00 P.M. (Eastern time) on a business day is normally made in Federal funds wired to the redeeming shareholder on the next business day, provided that the Fund’s custodian is also open for business. Payment for redemption orders received after 4:00 P.M. (Eastern time) or on a day when the Fund’s custodian is closed is normally wired in Federal funds on the next business day following redemption on which the Fund’s custodian is open for business. The Fund reserves the right to wire redemption proceeds within seven days after receiving a redemption order if, in the judgment of the Fund, an earlier payment could adversely affect the Fund.

 

If a shareholder has given authorization for expedited redemption, shares can be redeemed by Federal wire transfer to a single previously designated bank account. Shareholders will pay $7.50 for redemption proceeds sent by Federal wire transfer. You are responsible for any additional charges imposed by your bank for this service. No charge for wiring redemption payments with respect to Institutional Shares is imposed by the Fund.

 

The Fund is not responsible for the efficiency of the Federal wire system or the shareholder’s firm or bank. To change the name of the single, designated bank account to receive wire redemption proceeds, it is necessary to send a written request to the Fund at the address on the back cover of this prospectus.

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How to Sell Shares (continued)    
  Your Choices   Important Information for You to Know
Full or Partial Redemption of Shares (continued) Selling shares held directly with BlackRock (continued)  

Payment by ACH: Redemption proceeds may be sent to the shareholder’s bank account (checking or savings) via ACH. Payment for redeemed shares for which a redemption order is received before 4:00 P.M. (Eastern time) on a business day is normally sent to the redeeming shareholder the next business day with receipt at the receiving bank within the next two business days (48-72 hours), provided that the Fund’s custodian is also open for business. Payment for redemption orders received after 4:00 P.M. (Eastern time) or on a day when the Fund’s custodian is closed is normally sent on the next business day following redemption on which the Fund’s custodian is open for business.

 

The Fund reserves the right to send redemption proceeds within seven days after receiving a redemption order if, in the judgment of the Fund, an earlier payment could adversely affect the Fund. No charge for sending redemption payments via ACH is imposed by the Fund.

* * *

If you make a redemption request before the Fund has collected payment for the purchase of shares, the Fund may delay mailing your proceeds. This delay will usually not exceed ten days.

 

How to Exchange Shares or Transfer your Account

Exchange Privilege Selling shares of one fund to purchase shares of another BlackRock Fund (“exchanging”)  

Investor and Institutional Shares of the Fund are generally exchangeable for shares of the same class of another BlackRock Fund.

 

You can exchange $1,000 or more of Investor A or Investor C Shares from one fund into the same class of another fund which offers that class of shares (you can exchange less than $1,000 of Investor Shares if you already have an account in the fund into which you are exchanging). Investors who currently own Institutional Shares of the Fund may make exchanges into Institutional Shares of other BlackRock Funds except for investors holding shares through certain client accounts at financial professionals that are omnibus with the Fund and do not meet applicable minimums. There is no required minimum amount with respect to exchanges of Institutional Shares. You may only exchange into a share class and fund that are open to new investors or in which you have a current account if the fund is closed to new investors.

 

Some of the BlackRock Funds impose a different deferred sales charge schedule. The CDSC will continue to be measured from the date of the original purchase. The CDSC Schedule Applicable to your original purchase will apply to the shares you receive in the exchange and any subsequent exchange.

 

To exercise the exchange privilege, you may contact your financial professional or financial intermediary. Alternatively, if your account is held directly with BlackRock, you may: (i) call (800) 441-7762 and speak with one of our representatives, (ii) make the exchange via the Internet by accessing your account online at www.blackrock.com/funds, or (iii) send a written request to the Fund at the address on the back cover of this prospectus. Please note, if you indicated on your New Account Application that you did not want the Telephone Exchange Privilege, you will not be able to place exchanges via the telephone until you update this option either in writing or by calling (800) 441-7762. The Fund has the right to reject any telephone request for any reason.

 

 

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How to Exchange Shares or Transfer your Account (continued)

  Your Choices   Important Information for You to Know
Exchange Privilege (continued) Selling shares of one fund to purchase shares of another BlackRock Fund (“exchanging”) (continued)   Although there is currently no limit on the number of exchanges that you can make, the exchange privilege may be modified or terminated at any time in the future.  The Fund may suspend or terminate your exchange privilege at any time for any reason, including if the Fund believes in its sole discretion that you are engaging in market timing activities.  See “Short-Term Trading Policy” below.  For Federal income tax purposes, a share exchange is a taxable event, and a capital gain or loss may be realized.  Please consult your tax adviser or other financial professional before making an exchange request.
Transfer Shares to Another Financial Intermediary Transfer to a participating financial intermediary  

You may transfer your shares of the Fund only to another financial professional or 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 receiving firm.

 

If your account is held directly with BlackRock, you may call (800) 441-7762 with any questions; otherwise please contact your financial intermediary to accomplish the transfer of shares.

  Transfer to a non-participating financial intermediary  

You must either:

·          Transfer your shares to an account with the Fund; or

·          Sell your shares, paying any applicable deferred sales charge.

 

If your account is held directly with BlackRock, you may call (800) 441-7762 with any questions; otherwise please contact your financial intermediary to accomplish the transfer of shares.

 

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Account Services and Privileges

The following table provides examples of account services and privileges available in your BlackRock account. Certain of these account services and privileges are only available to shareholders of Investor Shares whose accounts are held directly with BlackRock. If your account is held directly with BlackRock, please call (800) 441-7762 or visit www.blackrock.com/funds for additional information as well as forms and applications. Otherwise, please contact your financial professional for assistance in requesting one or more of the following services and privileges.

Automatic Investment Plan (AIP)  Allows systematic investments on a periodic basis from a checking or savings account.    BlackRock’s AIP allows you to invest a specific amount on a periodic basis from your checking or savings account into your investment account. You may apply for this option upon account opening or by completing the Automatic Investment Plan application. The minimum investment amount for an automatic investment plan is $50 per portfolio.
Dividend Allocation Plan Automatically invests your distributions into another BlackRock Fund of your choice pursuant to your instructions without any fees or sales charges.    Dividend and capital gains distributions may be reinvested in your account to purchase additional shares or paid in cash.  Using the Dividend Allocation Plan, you can direct your distributions to your bank account (checking or savings), to purchase shares of another fund at BlackRock without any fees or sales charges, or by check to special payee.  Please call (800) 441-7762 for details.  The fund into which you request your distributions be invested must be open to new purchases.
EZ Trader Allows an investor to purchase or sell Investor Shares by telephone or over the Internet through ACH.  

(NOTE: This option is offered to shareholders whose accounts are held directly with BlackRock. Please speak with your financial professional if your account is held elsewhere).

 

Prior to establishing an EZ Trader account, please contact your bank to confirm that it is a member of the ACH system. Once confirmed, complete an application, making sure to include the appropriate bank information, and return the application to the address listed on the form.

 

Prior to placing a telephone or internet purchase or sale order, please call (800) 441-7762 to confirm that your bank information has been updated on your account. Once this is established, you may place your request to sell shares with the Fund by telephone or Internet. Proceeds will be sent to your pre-designated bank account.

Systematic Exchange Plan This feature can be used by investors to systematically exchange money from one fund to up to four other funds.   A minimum of $10,000 in the initial BlackRock Fund is required and investments in any additional funds must meet minimum initial investment requirements.
Systematic Withdrawal Plan (SWP) This feature can be used by investors who want to receive regular distributions from their accounts.  

To start an SWP, a shareholder must have a current investment of $10,000 or more in a BlackRock Fund.

 

Shareholders can elect to receive cash payments of $50 or more at any interval they choose. Shareholders may sign up by completing the SWP Application Form which may be obtained from BlackRock.

 

Shareholders should realize that if withdrawals exceed income the invested principal in their account will be depleted.

 

To participate in the SWP, shareholders must have their dividends reinvested. Shareholders may change or cancel the SWP at any time, with a minimum of 24 hours notice. If a shareholder purchases additional Investor A Shares of a fund at the same time he or she redeems shares through the SWP, that investor may lose money because of the sales charge involved. No CDSC will be assessed on redemptions of Investor Shares made through the SWP that do not exceed 12% of the account’s net asset value on an annualized basis. For example, monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual SWP redemptions of Investor Shares will not be subject to the CDSC if they do not exceed 1%, 3% and 6%, respectively, of an account’s net asset value on the redemption date. SWP redemptions of Investor Shares in excess of this limit will still pay any applicable CDSC.

 

Ask your financial adviser or financial intermediary for details.

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Reinstatement Privilege     If you redeem Investor A or Institutional Shares, and within 60 days buy new Investor A Shares of the same or another BlackRock Fund (equal to all or a portion of the redemption amount), you will not pay a sales charge on the new purchase amount.  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 net asset value calculated at the close of trading on the day the request is received.  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 purchase.  Investors should consult a tax advisor concerning the tax consequences of exercising this reinstatement privilege.

 

Fund’s Rights

Market Advantage Fund may:

Suspend the right of redemption if trading is halted or restricted on the Exchange or under other emergency conditions described in the Investment Company Act;
Postpone the date of payment upon redemption if trading is halted or restricted on the Exchange or under other emergency conditions described in the Investment Company Act or if a redemption request is made before the Fund has collected payment for the purchase of shares;
Redeem shares for property other than cash if conditions exist which make cash payments undesirable in accordance with its rights under the Investment Company Act; and
Redeem shares involuntarily in certain cases, such as when the value of a shareholder account falls below a specified level.

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 the 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 authorized qualified employee benefit 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 low balance fee will be assessed on Fund accounts in all BlackRock Funds, regardless of the Fund’s minimum investment amount. 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 authorized qualified employee benefit plans, selected fee-based programs or accounts established under the Uniform Gifts or Transfers to Minors Acts.

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Participation in Fee-Based Programs

If you participate in certain fee-based programs offered by BlackRock or an affiliate of BlackRock, or by 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 exchange 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 Market Advantage Fund, but may be subject to upfront sales charges with respect to Investor A Shares. Additional purchases of Institutional Shares are permitted 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 or financial intermediary.

Short-Term Trading Policy

The Board has determined that the interests of long-term shareholders and Market Advantage Fund’s ability to manage its investments may be adversely affected when shares are repeatedly bought, sold or exchanged in response to short-term market fluctuations — also known as “market timing.” The Fund is not designed for market timing organizations or other entities using programmed or frequent purchases and sales or exchanges. The exchange privilege is not intended as a vehicle for short-term trading. Excessive purchase and sale or exchange activity may interfere with portfolio management, increase expenses and taxes and may have an adverse effect on the performance of the Fund and its shareholders. For example, large flows of cash into and out of the Fund may require the management team to allocate a significant amount of assets to cash or other short-term investments or sell securities, rather than maintaining such assets in securities selected to achieve the Fund’s investment objective. Frequent trading may cause the Fund to sell securities at less favorable prices, and transaction costs, such as brokerage commissions, can reduce the Fund’s performance.

The Fund’s investment in non-U.S. securities is subject to the risk that an investor may seek to take advantage of a delay between the change in value of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the determination of the Fund’s net asset value as a result of different closing times of U.S. and non-U.S. markets by buying or selling Fund shares at a price that does not reflect their true value. A similar risk exists for funds that invest in securities of small capitalization companies, securities of issuers located in emerging markets or high yield securities (“junk bonds”) that are thinly traded and therefore may have actual values that differ from their market prices. This short-term arbitrage activity can reduce the return received by long-term shareholders. The Fund will seek to eliminate these opportunities by using fair value pricing, as described in “Valuation of Fund Investments” below.

The Fund discourages market timing and seeks to prevent frequent purchases and sales or exchanges of Fund shares that it determines may be detrimental to the Fund or long-term shareholders. The Board has approved the policies discussed below to seek to deter market timing activity. The Board has not adopted any specific numerical restrictions on purchases, sales and exchanges of Fund shares because certain legitimate strategies will not result in harm to the Fund or shareholders.

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If as a result of its own investigation, information provided by a financial intermediary or other third party, or otherwise, the Fund believes, in its sole discretion, that your short-term trading is excessive or that you are engaging in market timing activity, it reserves the right to reject any specific purchase or exchange order. If the Fund rejects your purchase or exchange order, you will not be able to execute that transaction, and the Fund will not be responsible for any losses you therefore may suffer. For transactions placed directly with the Fund, the Fund may consider the trading history of accounts under common ownership or control for the purpose of enforcing these policies. Transactions placed through the same financial intermediary on an omnibus basis may be deemed part of a group for the purpose of this policy and may be rejected in whole or in part by the Fund. Certain accounts, such as omnibus accounts and accounts at financial intermediaries, however, include multiple investors and such accounts typically provide the Fund with net purchase or redemption and exchange requests on any given day where purchases, redemptions and exchanges of shares are netted against one another and the identity of individual purchasers, redeemers and exchangers whose orders are aggregated may not be known by the Fund. While the Fund monitors for market timing activity, the Fund may be unable to identify such activities because the netting effect in omnibus accounts often makes it more difficult to locate and eliminate market timers from the Fund. The Distributor has entered into agreements with respect to financial professionals and other financial intermediaries that maintain omnibus accounts with the Fund pursuant to which such financial professionals and other financial intermediaries undertake to cooperate with the Distributor in monitoring purchase, exchange and redemption orders by their customers in order to detect and prevent short-term or excessive trading in the Fund’s shares through such accounts. Identification of market timers may also be limited by operational systems and technical limitations. In the event that a financial intermediary is determined by the Fund to be engaged in market timing or other improper trading activity, the Fund’s Distributor may terminate such financial intermediary’s agreement with the Distributor, suspend such financial intermediary’s trading privileges or take other appropriate actions.

There is no assurance that the methods described above will prevent market timing or other trading that may be deemed abusive.

The Fund may from time to time use other methods that it believes are appropriate to deter market timing or other trading activity that may be detrimental to the Fund or long-term shareholders.

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Management of the Fund

BlackRock

BlackRock manages Market Advantage Fund’s investments and its business operations subject to the oversight of the Board. While BlackRock is ultimately responsible for the management of the Fund, it is able to draw upon the trading, research and expertise of its asset management affiliates for portfolio decisions and management with respect to certain portfolio securities. BlackRock is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc.

BlackRock, a registered investment adviser, was organized in 1994 to perform advisory services for investment companies. BlackRock Financial Management, Inc. (the “Sub-Adviser), the sub-adviser to the Fund and an affiliate of BlackRock, is a registered investment adviser and commodity pool operator organized in 1994. BlackRock and its affiliates had approximately $[ ] trillion in investment company and other portfolio assets under management as of [ ], 2012.

BlackRock serves as manager to the Fund pursuant to a management agreement (the “Management Agreement”). Pursuant to the Management Agreement, BlackRock is entitled to fees computed daily and payable monthly.

The maximum annual management fees that can be paid to BlackRock (as a percentage of average daily net assets) are calculated as follows:

Average Daily Net Assets Management
Fee Rate
First $1 billion [   ]%
$1 billion – $3 billion [   ]%
$3 billion – $5 billion [   ]%
$5 billion – $10 billion [   ]%
Greater than $10 billion [   ]%

 

BlackRock has agreed to cap net expenses (excluding (i) interest, taxes, dividends tied to short sales, brokerage commissions, and other expenditures which are capitalized in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; (ii) expenses incurred directly or indirectly by the Fund as a result of investments in other investment companies and pooled investment vehicles; (iii) other expenses attributable to, and incurred as a result of, the Fund’s investments; and (iv) other extraordinary expenses (including litigation expenses) not incurred in the ordinary course of the Fund’s business, if any) of each share class of the Fund at the levels shown below and in the Fund’s fees and expenses table in the “Fund Overview” section of this prospectus. Items (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) in the preceding sentence are referred to in this prospectus as “Dividend Expense, Interest Expense, Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses and certain other Fund expenses.” To achieve these expense caps, BlackRock has agreed to waive and/or reimburse fees or expenses if the Fund’s operating expenses exceed a certain limit.

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  Contractual Cap on Total Annual
Fund Operating Expenses1
(excluding Dividend Expense,
Interest Expense, Acquired Fund
Fees and Expenses and certain
other Fund expenses)2
Investor A Shares [   ]%
Investor C Shares [   ]%
Institutional Shares [   ]%

 

1As a percentage of average daily net assets
2The contractual cap is in effect until [ ]. The contractual agreement may be terminated upon 90 days’ notice by a majority of the non-interested trustees of the Trust or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund.

With respect to this contractual agreement, if during the Fund’s fiscal year the operating expenses of a share class, that at any time during the prior two fiscal years received a waiver or reimbursement from BlackRock, are less than the expense limit for that share class, the share class is required to repay BlackRock up to the lesser of (a) the amount of fees waived or expenses reimbursed during those prior two fiscal years under the agreement and (b) the amount by which the expense limit for that share class exceeds the operating expenses of the share class for the current fiscal year, provided that (i) the Fund has more than $50 million in assets and (ii) BlackRock or an affiliate serves as the Fund’s manager or administrator.

BlackRock has voluntarily agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of management fees the Fund pays to BlackRock indirectly through its investment in affiliated mutual funds including affiliated money market funds.

BlackRock entered into a sub-advisory agreement with the Sub-Adviser, an affiliate of BlackRock, under which BlackRock pays the Sub-Adviser for services it provides a fee equal to a percentage of the management fee paid to BlackRock under the Management Agreement. The Sub-Adviser is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Portfolio’s portfolio.

 

A discussion of the basis for the approval by the Board of the Management Agreement with BlackRock and the sub-advisory agreement between BlackRock and the Sub-Adviser will be included in the Fund’s annual shareholder report for the fiscal [year][period] ending [ ].

 

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

 

Portfolio Manager Information

Information regarding the portfolio managers of Market Advantage Fund is set forth below. Further information regarding the portfolio managers, including other accounts managed, compensation, ownership of Fund shares, and possible conflicts of interest, is available in the Fund’s SAI.

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Portfolio Manager Primary Role Since Title and Recent Biography
Ked Hogan, PhD Jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio, including setting the Fund’s overall investment strategy and overseeing the management of the Fund. 2012 Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2009; Member of Global Market Strategies Group and Scientific Active Equity Group; various positions with Barclays Global Investors from 1997 to 2009.
Philip Green Jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio, including setting the Fund’s overall investment strategy and overseeing the management of the Fund. 2012 Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2006; Managing Director of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, L.P. from 1999 to 2006.
Vincent de Martel, CFA Jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio, including setting the Fund’s overall investment strategy and overseeing the management of the Fund. 2012 Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2011; Member of the Market Advantage Investment Committee since 2009; Head of European Strategy for Liability-Driven Investing at Barclays Global Investors from 2005 to 2009.
Philip Hodges, PhD Jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio, including setting the Fund’s overall investment strategy and overseeing the management of the Fund. 2012 Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2011; Member of Market Advantage Investment Committee since 2009; Associate at Barclays Global Investors from 2007 to 2009.
Ugo Montrucchio, CFA, CAIA Jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio, including setting the Fund’s overall investment strategy and overseeing the management of the Fund. 2012 Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2010; Member of Market Advantage Investment Committee since 2009; Researcher and Manager of Diversified Growth Strategies at Barclays Global Investors from 2006 to 2009.

Prior Performance of Comparable Funds

Ked Hogan, PhD, Philip Green, Vincent de Martel, CFA, Philip Hodges, PhD and Ugo Montrucchio, CFA, CAIA are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio. Messrs. Hogan, Green, de Martel, Hodges and Montrucchio are members of the portfolio management team that is responsible for managing two other funds with investment objectives, policies and strategies substantially similar in all material respects to those of the Fund. One is an open-ended investment company that qualifies as a Part I UCITS (Undertaking for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities) (the “UCITS Fund”), and the other is an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands to operate as a private investment fund and falls within the definition of a “Mutual Fund” under the Mutual Funds Law of the Cayman Islands (the “Cayman Islands Fund” and together with the UCITS Fund, the “Comparable Funds”). Although there have been personnel changes within the portfolio management team since 2009, the portfolio management team has been responsible for the management of the Cayman Islands Fund since its inception in March 2009 and of the UCITS Fund since July 2009 and will be responsible for the portfolio management of the Fund.

The UCITS Fund commenced operations on July 31, 2007, and the Cayman Islands Fund commenced operations on March 31, 2009. Prior to May 1, 2009, the UCITS Fund utilized an investment strategy that varied from that of the Fund. On or about May 1, 2009, the UCITS Fund began restructuring its portfolio in accordance with an investment objective, policies and strategies that are substantially similar in all material respects to those of the Fund.  The transition was completed on July 1, 2009. Although the Fund and the Comparable Funds will be managed pursuant to substantially similar investment strategies, following the commencement of the Fund’s operations and until otherwise determined by BlackRock, the Fund may implement its investment strategies by investing significantly in ETFs rather than by making direct investments. The Comparable Funds are the only accounts managed by BlackRock with investment objectives, policies and strategies substantially similar to those of the Fund.

The following table sets forth performance data relating to the historical performance of a class of shares of each Comparable Fund.  The data provided, which is net of all actual fees and expenses of the respective Comparable Fund, illustrates the past performance of the portfolio management team in managing substantially similar accounts as measured against the MSCI World Hedged USD Net, the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index and a customized weighted index comprised of the returns of the MSCI World Hedged USD Net (60%) and the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (40%). The Comparable Funds are not subject to the same types of expenses to which the Fund is subject, nor the specific tax restrictions and investment limitations imposed by the Investment Company Act or Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code. Consequently, the performance results for each Comparable Fund expressed below could have been adversely affected if such Comparable Fund had been regulated as an investment company under the Federal securities laws. Each Comparable Fund is a separate fund and its historical performance is not indicative of the potential performance of the Fund.

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Sales charges are not reflected in the returns shown. If they were, returns would be less than those shown. Share prices and investment returns will fluctuate reflecting market conditions, changes in currency rates as well as changes in company-specific fundamentals of portfolio securities.

As of 12/31/11

Average Annual Total Returns

  1 Year   Since Inception
UCITS Fund [Class] – U.S. Dollars1   [     ]%   [    ]%2
UCITS Fund [Class] – Euros   [     ]%   [    ]%2
Cayman Islands Fund [Class] – U.S. Dollars   [     ]%   [    ]%3
60% MSCI World Hedged USD Net/40% Barclays U.S.
Aggregate Bond Index – U.S. Dollars
(Reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)
  [     ]%   [    ]%4/ [    ]%5
MSCI World Hedged USD Net6 – U.S. Dollars
(Reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)
  [     ]%   [    ]%7/ [    ]%5
Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index8 – U.S. Dollars
(Reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)
  [     ]%   [    ]%7/ [    ]%5
1The UCITS Fund is denominated in Euros. Performance data has also been provided based on conversion to U.S. Dollars.
2The UCITS Fund commenced operations on July 31, 2007. Prior to May 1, 2009, the UCITS Fund utilized an investment strategy that varied from that of the Fund. On or about May 1, 2009, the UCITS Fund began restructuring its portfolio in accordance with an investment objective, policies and strategies that are substantially similar in all material respects to those of the Fund. Performance for the periods prior to July 1, 2009 reflects the former investment strategy utilized by the UCITS Fund. For the period from July 1, 2009, the date the UCITS Fund had fully transitioned to an investment objective, policies and strategies that are substantially similar in all material respects to those of the Fund, through December 31, 2011, the average annual total return of the UCITS Fund was [ ]% in U.S. Dollars and [ ]% in Euros.
3The Cayman Islands Fund commenced operations on March 31, 2009.
4Since July 31, 2007, the inception date of the UCITS Fund. For the period from July 1, 2009, the date the UCITS Fund had fully transitioned to an investment objective, policies and strategies that are substantially similar in all material respects to those of the Fund, through December 31, 2011, the average annual total return of the customized weighted index comprised of the returns of the MSCI World Hedged USD Net (60%) and the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (40%) was [ ]% (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes).
5Since March 31, 2009, the inception date of the Cayman Islands Fund.
6The MSCI World Hedged USD Net is composed of the following 24 developed market country indices: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States and is calculated with net dividends reinvested daily on the ex- dividends date 100% hedged to USD using 1-month forward exchange rates.
7Since July 31, 2007, the inception date of the UCITS Fund.
8The Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is a broad-based benchmark that measures the investment grade, U.S. dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market, including Treasuries, government-related and corporate securities, mortgage-backed securities (agency fixed-rate and hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage pass-throughs), asset-backed securities, and commercial mortgage-backed securities.

Conflicts of Interest

The investment activities of BlackRock and its affiliates (including BlackRock, Inc. and PNC and their affiliates, directors, partners, trustees, managing members, officers and employees (collectively, the “Affiliates”)) in the management of, or their interest in, their own accounts and other accounts they manage, may present conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BlackRock and its Affiliates provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that follow an investment program similar to that of the Fund. BlackRock and its Affiliates are involved worldwide with a broad spectrum of financial services and asset management activities and may engage in the ordinary course of business in activities in which their interests or the interests of their clients may conflict with those of the Fund. One or more Affiliates act or may act as an investor, investment banker, research provider, investment manager, financier, advisor, market maker, trader, prime broker, lender, agent and principal, and have other direct and indirect interests, in securities, currencies and other instruments in which the Fund directly and indirectly invests. Thus, it is likely that the Fund will have multiple business relationships with and will invest in, engage in transactions with, make voting decisions with respect to, or obtain services from entities for which an Affiliate performs or seeks to perform investment banking or other services. One or more Affiliates may engage in proprietary trading and advise accounts and funds that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in and compete for transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and other instruments as the Fund. The trading activities of these Affiliates are carried out without reference to positions held directly or indirectly by the Fund and may result in an Affiliate having positions that are adverse to those of the Fund. No Affiliate is under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Fund. As a result, an Affiliate may compete with the Fund for appropriate investment opportunities. The results of the Fund’s investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of an Affiliate and of other accounts managed by an Affiliate, and it is possible that the Fund could sustain

44
 

losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible. In addition, the Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which an Affiliate or its other clients have an adverse interest. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by Affiliate-advised clients may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more Affiliate-advised clients or BlackRock may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund. The Fund’s activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to one or more Affiliates, and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions. In addition, the Fund may invest in securities of companies with which an Affiliate has or is trying to develop investment banking relationships or in which an Affiliate has significant debt or equity investments. The Fund also may invest in securities of companies for which an Affiliate provides or may some day provide research coverage. An Affiliate may have business relationships with and purchase or distribute or sell services or products from or to distributors, consultants or others who recommend the Fund or who engage in transactions with or for the Fund, and may receive compensation for such services. The Fund may also make brokerage and other payments to Affiliates in connection with the Fund’s portfolio investment transactions.

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

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

Valuation of Fund Investments

When you buy shares, you pay the net asset value, plus any applicable sales charge. This is the offering price. Shares are also redeemed at their net asset value, minus any applicable deferred sales charge. Market Advantage Fund calculates the net asset value of each class of its shares (generally by using market quotations) each day the Exchange is open as of the close of business on the Exchange, based on prices at the time of closing. The Exchange generally closes at 4:00 P.M. Eastern time. The net asset value used in determining your share price is the next one calculated after your purchase or redemption order is placed.

Generally, Institutional Shares will have the highest net asset value because that class has the lowest expenses. Investor A Shares will have a higher net asset value than Investor C Shares. Also, dividends paid on Investor A and Institutional Shares will generally be higher than dividends paid on Investor C Shares because Investor A and Institutional Shares have lower expenses.

The Fund’s assets and liabilities are valued primarily on the basis of market quotations. Equity investments and other instruments for which market quotations are readily available are valued at market value, which is generally determined using the last reported sale price on the Exchange or market on which the security is primarily traded at the time of valuation. The Fund values fixed-income portfolio securities and non-exchange traded derivatives using market 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 Board. Short-term debt securities with remaining maturities of 60 days or less are valued on the basis of amortized cost.

Foreign currency exchange rates are generally determined as of the close of business on the Exchange. Foreign securities owned by the Fund may trade on weekends or other days when the Fund does not price its shares. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value may change on days when you will not be able to

45
 

purchase or redeem the Fund’s shares. Generally, trading in foreign securities, U.S. government securities and money market instruments and certain fixed-income securities is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of business of the Exchange. The value of such securities used in computing the net asset value of the Fund’s shares are determined as of such times.

When market quotations are not readily available or are not believed by BlackRock to be reliable, the Fund’s investments are valued at fair value. Fair value determinations are made by BlackRock in accordance with procedures approved by the 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 lack of liquidity, if BlackRock believes a market quotation from a broker-dealer or other source is unreliable, where the security or other asset or other liability is thinly traded (e.g., municipal securities, certain small cap and emerging growth companies and certain non-U.S. securities) or where there is 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 the Fund’s assets or liabilities, that it is likely that the event will cause a material change to the last closing market price of one or more assets or liabilities held by the Fund. For instance, significant events may occur between the foreign market close and the close of business on the Exchange that may not be reflected in the computation of the Fund’s net assets. If such event occurs, those instruments may be fair valued. Similarly, foreign securities whose values are affected by volatility that occurs in U.S. markets on a trading day after the close of foreign securities markets may be fair valued.

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 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 the Fund’s pricing time.

Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of a security. The fair value of one or more securities may not, in retrospect, be the price at which those assets could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used in determining the Fund’s net asset value.

The Fund may accept orders from certain authorized financial intermediaries or their designees. The Fund will be deemed to receive an order when accepted by the intermediary or designee, and the order will receive the net asset value next computed by the Fund after such acceptance. If the payment for a purchase order is not made by a designated later time, the order will be canceled and the financial intermediary could be held liable for any losses.

Dividends, Distributions and Taxes

BUYING A DIVIDEND
Unless your investment is in a tax deferred account, you may want to avoid buying shares shortly before Market Advantage Fund pays a dividend. The reason? If you buy shares when the Fund has declared but not yet distributed ordinary income or capital gains, you will pay the full price for the shares and then receive a portion of the price back in the form of a taxable dividend. Before investing you may want to consult your tax adviser.

The Fund will distribute net investment income, if any, and net realized capital gain, if any, at least annually. The Fund may also pay a special distribution at the end of the calendar year to comply with Federal tax requirements. Dividends may be reinvested automatically in shares of the Fund at net asset value without a sales charge or may be taken in cash. If you would like to receive dividends in cash, contact your financial professional, financial intermediary or the Fund. Although this cannot be predicted with any certainty, the Fund anticipates that a significant amount of its dividends, if any, will consist of capital gains. Capital gains may be taxable to you at different rates depending on how long the Fund held the assets sold.

46
 

You will pay tax on dividends from the Fund whether you receive them in cash or additional shares. If you redeem Fund shares or exchange them for shares of another fund, you generally will be treated as having sold your shares and any gain on the transaction may be subject to tax. In addition, the Fund is generally required by law to provide you and the IRS with cost basis information on the sale or redemption of any of your shares in the Fund (including any shares that you acquire through reinvestment of distributions). Certain dividend income received by the Fund during taxable years beginning before January 1, 2013, including dividends received from qualifying foreign corporations, and long-term capital gains are eligible for taxation at a reduced rate that applies to non-corporate shareholders. To the extent the Fund makes any distributions derived from long-term capital gains and qualifying dividend income, such distributions will be eligible for taxation at the reduced rate.

If you are neither a tax resident nor a citizen of the United States or if you are a foreign entity, the Fund’s ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gain) will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies. A previous exemption that has since expired provided that certain distributions reported by the Fund as either interest related dividends or short term capital gain dividends and paid to a foreign shareholder were eligible for an exemption from U.S. withholding tax. However, it cannot be predicted whether Congress will pass legislation to reinstate this exemption, or whether distributions of the Fund will be subject to a 30% withholding tax.

A 3.8% Medicare contribution tax will be imposed on the net investment income (which includes interest, dividends and capital gains) of U.S. individuals with income exceeding $200,000, or $250,000 if married and filing jointly, and of trusts and estates, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012.

A 30% withholding tax on dividends paid after December 31, 2013 and redemption proceeds paid after December 31, 2014 will be imposed on (i) certain foreign financial institutions and investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the IRS information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. account holders and (ii) certain other foreign entities unless they certify certain information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. owners. Under some circumstances, a foreign shareholder may be eligible for refunds or credits of such taxes.

Dividends and interest received by the Fund may give rise to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes. You may be able to claim a credit or take a deduction for foreign taxes paid by the Fund if certain requirements are met.

By law, your dividends and redemption proceeds will be subject to a withholding tax if you have not provided a taxpayer identification number or social security number or the number you have provided is incorrect.

This section summarizes some of the consequences under current Federal tax law of an investment in the Fund. It is not a substitute for personal tax advice. Consult your personal tax adviser about the potential tax consequences of an investment in the Fund under all applicable tax laws.

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Financial Highlights

Market Advantage Fund has not yet commenced operations and therefore financial highlight information is not available.

48
 

General Information

Shareholder Documents

Electronic Access to Annual Reports, Semi-Annual Reports and Prospectuses

Electronic copies of most financial reports and prospectuses are available on BlackRock’s website. Shareholders can sign up for e-mail notifications of quarterly statements, annual and semi-annual reports and prospectuses by enrolling in the Fund’s electronic delivery program. To enroll:

Shareholders Who Hold Accounts with Investment Advisers, Banks or Brokerages: Please contact your financial professional. Please note that not all investment advisers, banks or brokerages may offer this service.

Shareholders Who Hold Accounts Directly With BlackRock:

Access the BlackRock website at http://www.blackrock.com/edelivery; and
Log into your account.

Delivery of Shareholder Documents

The Fund delivers only one copy of shareholder documents, including prospectuses, shareholder reports and proxy statements, to shareholders with multiple accounts at the same address. This practice is known as “householding” and is intended to eliminate duplicate mailings and reduce expenses. Mailings of your shareholder documents may be householded indefinitely unless you instruct us otherwise. If you do not want the mailing of these documents to be combined with those for other members of your household, please contact the Fund at (800) 441-7762.

Certain Fund Policies

Anti-Money Laundering Requirements

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

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

BlackRock Privacy Principles

BlackRock is committed to maintaining the privacy of its current and former fund investors and individual clients (collectively, “Clients”) and to safeguarding their nonpublic personal information. The following information is provided to help you understand what personal information BlackRock collects, how we protect that information and why in certain cases we share such information with select parties.

If you are located in a jurisdiction where specific laws, rules or regulations require BlackRock to provide you with additional or different privacy-related rights beyond what is set forth below, then BlackRock will comply with those specific laws, rules or regulations.

BlackRock obtains or verifies personal nonpublic information from and about you from different sources, including the following: (i) information we receive from you or, if applicable, your financial intermediary,

49
 

on applications, forms or other documents; (ii) information about your transactions with us, our affiliates, or others; (iii) information we receive from a consumer reporting agency; and (iv) from visits to our website.

BlackRock does not sell or disclose to nonaffiliated third parties any nonpublic personal information about its Clients, except as permitted by law, or as is necessary to respond to regulatory requests or to service Client accounts. These nonaffiliated third parties are required to protect the confidentiality and security of this information and to use it only for its intended purpose.

We may share information with our affiliates to service your account or to provide you with information about other BlackRock products or services that may be of interest to you. In addition, BlackRock restricts access to nonpublic personal information about its Clients to those BlackRock employees with a legitimate business need for the information. BlackRock maintains physical, electronic and procedural safeguards that are designed to protect the nonpublic personal information of its Clients, including procedures relating to the proper storage and disposal of such information.

Statement of Additional Information

If you would like further information about Market Advantage Fund, including how it invests, please see the SAI.

For a discussion of the Fund’s policies and procedures regarding the selective disclosure of its portfolio holdings, please see the SAI. The Fund makes its top ten holdings available on a monthly basis at www.blackrock.com generally within 5 business days after the end of the month to which the information applies.

50
 

Glossary

This glossary contains an explanation of some of the common terms used in this prospectus. For additional information about Market Advantage Fund, please see the SAI.

Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses — fees and expenses charged by other investment companies and pooled investment vehicles in which the Fund invests a portion of its assets.

Annual Fund Operating Expenses — expenses that cover the costs of operating the Fund.

Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index — a broad-based benchmark that measures the investment grade, U.S. dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market, including Treasuries, government-related and corporate securities, mortgage-backed securities (agency fixed-rate and hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage pass-throughs), asset-backed securities, and commercial mortgage-backed securities.

Distribution Fees — fees used to support the Fund’s marketing and distribution efforts, such as compensating financial professionals and other financial intermediaries, advertising and promotion.

Management Fees — fees paid to BlackRock for portfolio management services.

MSCI World Hedged USD Net — an index composed of the following 24 developed market country indices: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States and calculated with net dividends reinvested daily on the ex- dividends date 100% hedged to USD using 1-month forward exchange rates.

Other Expenses — include accounting, transfer agency, custody, professional and registration fees.

Service Fees — fees used to compensate securities dealers and other financial intermediaries for certain shareholder servicing activities.

Shareholder Fees — fees paid directly by a shareholder, including sales charges that you may pay when you buy or sell shares of the Fund.

 

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For More Information

Fund and Service Providers

THE FUND
BlackRock FundsSM
BlackRock Market Advantage Fund
100 Bellevue Parkway
Wilmington, Delaware 19809

Written Correspondence:
P.O. Box 9819
Providence, Rhode Island 02940-8019

Overnight Mail:
4400 Computer Drive
Westborough, Massachusetts 01588

(800) 441-7762

MANAGER
BlackRock Advisors, LLC
100 Bellevue Parkway
Wilmington, Delaware 19809

SUB-ADVISER
BlackRock Financial Management, Inc.
40 East 52nd Street
New York, New York 10022

TRANSFER AGENT
BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc.
301 Bellevue Parkway
Wilmington, Delaware 19809

INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
[         ]

 

ACCOUNTING SERVICES PROVIDER
BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc.
301 Bellevue Parkway
Wilmington, Delaware 19809

DISTRIBUTOR
BlackRock Investments, LLC
40 East 52nd Street
New York, New York 10022

CUSTODIAN
The Bank of New York Mellon
One Wall Street
New York, New York 10286

COUNSEL
Sidley Austin LLP
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, New York 10019-6018

 

 
 

Additional Information

This prospectus contains important information you should know before investing, including information about risks. Read it carefully and keep it for future reference. More information about the Fund is available at no charge upon request. This information includes:

Annual/Semi-Annual Reports

These reports contain additional information about the Fund’s investments. The annual report describes the Fund’s performance, lists portfolio holdings, and discusses recent market conditions, economic trends and Fund investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund’s performance for the last fiscal year.

Statement of Additional Information

A Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”), dated [ ], 2012, has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SAI, which includes additional information about the Fund, may be obtained free of charge, along with the Fund’s annual and semi-annual reports, by calling (800) 441-7762. The SAI, as supplemented from time to time, is incorporated by reference into this prospectus.

BlackRock Investor Services

Representatives are available to discuss account balance information, mutual fund prospectuses, literature, programs and services available. Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 P.M. (Eastern time), on any business day. Call: (800) 441-7762.

Purchases and Redemptions

Call your financial professional or BlackRock Investor Services at (800) 441-7762.

World Wide Web

General fund information and specific fund performance, including the SAI and annual/semi-annual reports, can be accessed free of charge at www.blackrock.com/prospectus. Mutual fund prospectuses and literature can also be requested via this website.

Written Correspondence

BlackRock FundsSM
P.O. Box 9819
Providence, RI 02940-8019

 


Overnight Mail

BlackRock FundsSM
4400 Computer Drive
Westborough, MA 01588

Internal Wholesalers/Broker Dealer Support

Available to support investment professionals 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 P.M. (Eastern time), on any business day. Call: (800) 882-0052.

Portfolio Characteristics and Holdings

A description of the Fund’s policies and procedures related to disclosure of portfolio characteristics and holdings is available in the SAI.

For information about portfolio holdings and characteristics, BlackRock fund shareholders and prospective investors may call (800) 882-0052.

Securities and Exchange Commission

You may also view and copy public information about the Fund, including the SAI, by visiting the EDGAR database on the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov) or the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. Copies of this information can be obtained, for a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov, or by writing to the Public Reference Room of the SEC, Washington, D.C. 20549. Information about obtaining documents on the SEC’s website without charge can be obtained by calling the SEC directly at (800) SEC-0330.

You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus. No one is authorized to provide you with information that is different from information contained in this prospectus.

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

BLACKROCK FUNDSSM:
INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT FILE NO. 811-05742
© © BlackRock Advisors, LLC


 

[CODE]

 

 
 

The information in this document is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This document is not an offer to sell these securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED OCTOBER 12, 2012

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

BlackRock FundsSM
BlackRock Market Advantage Fund

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

____________________

This Statement of Additional Information of BlackRock Market Advantage Fund (“Market Advantage Fund” or the “Fund”), a series of BlackRock FundsSM (the “Trust”), is not a prospectus and should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of the Fund, dated [     ], 2012, 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.

 

References to the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”), or other applicable law, will include interpretations or modifications by the Commission, Commission staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, including court interpretations, and exemptive or other relief or permission from the Commission, Commission staff or other authority.

____________________

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

____________________

Fund

Investor A
Shares

Investor C
Shares

Institutional
Shares

BlackRock Market Advantage Fund [  ] [  ] [  ]

 

The date of this Statement of Additional Information is      , 2012

 

 
 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART I: INFORMATION ABOUT BLACKROCK MARKET ADVANTAGE FUND
Investment Objective and Policies I-1
Investment Restrictions I-3
Information on Trustees and Officers I-5
Management, Advisory and Other Service Arrangements I-19
Information on Sales Charges and Distribution Related Expenses I-23
Computation of Offering Price Per Share I-23
Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage I-23
Additional Information I-23
Financial Statements I-24
PART II  
Investment Risks and Considerations II-1
Management and Other Service Arrangements II-47
Selective Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings II-50
Purchase of Shares II-58
Redemption of Shares II-68
Shareholder Services II-70
Pricing of Shares II-74
Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage II-76
Dividends and Taxes II-80
Performance Data II-85
Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures II-86
General Information II-87
Appendix A — Description of Bond Ratings A-1
Appendix B — Proxy Voting Policy B-1

 

 
 

PART I: INFORMATION ABOUT BLACKROCK MARKET ADVANTAGE FUND

Part I of this Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) sets forth information about BlackRock Market Advantage Fund (“Market Advantage Fund” or the “Fund”), a series of BlackRock FundsSM (the “Trust”). It includes information about the Trust’s Board of Trustees (the “Board”), the advisory services provided to and the management fees paid by the Fund, performance data for the Fund, and information about other fees paid by and services provided to the Fund. This Part I should be read in conjunction with the Fund’s Prospectus and those portions of Part II of this Statement of Additional Information that pertain to the Fund.

I. Investment Objective and Policies

Please see the section “Details About the Fund — How the Fund Invests” in the Fund’s Prospectus for information about the Fund’s investment objective and policies.

The Fund is classified as non-diversified under the Investment Company Act.

Organization and Management of the Wholly-Owned Subsidiary

 

The Fund may invest up to 25% of its total assets in the shares of BlackRock [Market Advantage Fund 1], Ltd. (the “Subsidiary”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund. 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”) letter rulings, as discussed below. The Subsidiary is advised by BlackRock Advisors, LLC (“BlackRock” or 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. 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 Paul L. Audet and Henry Gabbay, each a Trustee of the Trust. 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. The Fund may 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.

 

BlackRock 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.

 

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 SAI. The Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer oversees implementation of the Subsidiary’s policies and procedures, and makes periodic reports to the Trust’s Board of Trustees 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.

 

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 by calling (800) 441-7762 between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern time on any business day.

 

The Subsidiary is not registered under the Investment Company Act, and, unless otherwise noted in the Fund’s Prospectus or this SAI, is not subject to all the investor protections of the Investment Company 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 Trust’s Board of Trustees 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. 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 SAI 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 Code, is required to derive 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. In late July 2011, the IRS suspended the issuance of private letter rulings relating to the tax treatment of income and gain generated by investments in commodity-linked notes and income generated by investments in controlled foreign corporations, such as the Subsidiary, that invest in commodity-related instruments. As a result, there can be no assurance that the tax treatment of income from the Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary will not be changed by unfavorable legislation or other guidance and that such change will not have retroactive effect.

The Subsidiary intends to conduct its affairs in a manner such that it will not be subject to U.S. 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, whether or not distributed by the Subsidiary. Furthermore, the Fund will be subject to the distribution requirement on such Subsidiary income, whether or not the Subsidiary makes a distribution to the Fund during the taxable year.

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 the Part II of this SAI for further information on these investments and investment strategies.

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

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 X
Cash Management X
Collateralized Debt Obligations  
Collateralized Loan Obligations  
Collateralized Bond Obligations  
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
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
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
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 Hedging Foreign Currency Risk X
Risk Factors in Derivatives X
Credit Risk X
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Currency Risk X
Leverage Risk X
Liquidity Risk X
Correlations Risk X
Index Risk X
Additional Risk Factors of OTC Transactions; Limitations on the Use of OTC Derivatives X
Distressed Securities X
Dollar Rolls X
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 X
Guarantees  
Illiquid or Restricted Securities X
Inflation-Indexed Bonds X
Inflation Risk X
Information Concerning the Indices  
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index  
Russell 2000 Index  
EAFE Index  
Initial Public Offering (“IPO”) Risk X
Investment Grade Debt Obligations X
Investment in Emerging Markets X
Brady Bonds X
Investment in Other Investment Companies X
Exchange Traded Funds X
Junk Bonds X
Lease Obligations X
Liquidity Management X
Master Limited Partnerships X
Merger Transaction Risk X
Mezzanine Investments X
Money Market Obligations of Domestic Banks, Foreign Banks and Foreign Branches of U.S. Banks X
Mortgage-Related Securities X
Mortgage-Backed Securities X
Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (“CMOs”) X
Adjustable Rate Mortgage Securities X
CMO Residuals X
Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities X
Tiered Index Bonds X
Municipal Bonds X
General Obligation Bonds X
Revenue Bonds X
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

 

 

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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). An investment policy is non-fundamental unless the Prospectus or SAI says that it is fundamental.

Under these fundamental investment restrictions, the Fund may not:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notations Regarding the Fund’s Fundamental Investment Restrictions

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

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

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to borrowing money set forth in (2) above, the Investment Company Act permits the Fund to borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of the Fund’s total assets from banks for any purpose, and to borrow up to 5% of the Fund’s total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes. (The Fund’s total assets include the amounts being borrowed.) To limit the risks attendant to borrowing,

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the Investment Company Act requires the Fund to maintain at all times an “asset coverage” of at least 300% of the amount of its borrowings. Asset coverage means the ratio that the value of the Fund’s total assets (including amounts borrowed), minus liabilities other than borrowings, bears to the aggregate amount of all borrowings. Borrowing money to increase portfolio holdings is known as “leveraging.” Certain trading practices and investments, such as reverse repurchase agreements, may be considered to be borrowings or involve leverage and thus are subject to the Investment Company Act restrictions. In accordance with Commission staff guidance and interpretations, when the Fund engages in such transactions, the Fund will deposit liquid assets in a segregated account, or enter into an offsetting position, in an amount at least equal to the Fund’s exposure, on a mark-to-market basis, to the transaction (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the Commission). The policy in (2) above will be interpreted to permit the Fund to engage in trading practices and investments that may be considered to be borrowing or to involve leverage to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act and to permit the Fund to segregate liquid assets or enter into offsetting positions in accordance with the Investment Company Act. Short-term credits necessary for the settlement of securities transactions and arrangements with respect to securities lending will not be considered to be borrowings under the policy. Practices and investments that may involve leverage but are not considered to be borrowings are not subject to the policy.

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

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

     Under its non-fundamental investment restrictions, the Fund may not:

     a. Purchase securities of companies for the purpose of exercising control or management.

     b. Purchase securities of other investment companies, except to the extent permitted by applicable law. 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’s shares are owned by another investment company that is part of the same group of investment companies as the Fund.

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

     Unless otherwise indicated, all limitations under the Fund’s fundamental or non-fundamental investment restrictions apply only at the time that a transaction is undertaken. Any change in the percentage of the Fund’s assets invested in certain securities or other instruments resulting from market fluctuations or other changes in the Fund’s total assets will not require the Fund to dispose of an investment until BlackRock

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determines that it is practicable to sell or close out the investment without undue market or tax consequences.

III. Information on Trustees and Officers

The Board consists of fourteen individuals (each, a “Trustee”), twelve of whom are not “interested persons” of the Trust as defined in the Investment Company Act (the “Independent Trustees”). The registered investment companies advised by BlackRock 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 Trust is included in the BlackRock Fund Complex referred to as the Equity-Liquidity Complex. The Trustees also oversee as board members the operations of the other open-end registered investment companies included in the Equity-Liquidity Complex.

 

The Board has overall responsibility for the oversight of the Trust and the Fund. The Co-Chairs of the Board are Independent Trustees, and the Chair of each Board committee (each, a “Committee”) is an Independent Trustee. The Board has five standing Committees: an Audit Committee, a Governance and Nominating Committee, a Compliance Committee, a Performance Oversight and Contract Committee and an Executive Committee. The role of the Co-Chairs of the Board is to preside at all meetings of the Board, and to act as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys, and other Trustees generally between meetings. The Chair of each Committee performs a similar role with respect to the Committee. The Co-Chairs of the Board or the Chair of a Committee may also perform such other functions as may be delegated by the Board or the Committee from time to time. The Independent Trustees meet regularly 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 Trust’s charter, and the Fund’s investment objective 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 Trustees, 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 its service providers. The Independent Trustees have engaged independent legal counsel to assist them in performing their oversight responsibilities.

 

The members of the Audit Committee (the “Audit Committee”) are Kenneth L. Urish (Chair), Herbert I. London and Frederick W. Winter, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The principal responsibilities of the Audit Committee are to approve the selection, retention, termination and compensation of the Trust’s independent

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registered public accounting firm (the “independent auditors”) and to oversee the independent auditors’ work. The Audit Committee’s responsibilities include, without limitation, to (1) evaluate the qualifications and independence of the independent auditors; (2) approve all audit engagement terms and fees for the Fund; (3) review the conduct and results of each independent audit of the Fund’s financial statements; (4) review any issues raised by the independent auditors 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 auditors; (6) discuss with Fund management its policies regarding risk assessment and risk management as such matters relate to the Fund’s financial reporting and controls; and (7) resolve any disagreements between Fund management and the independent auditors regarding financial reporting. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Audit Committee. During the twelve months ended July 31, 2012, the Audit Committee met [ ] times.

 

The members of the Governance and Nominating Committee (the “Governance Committee”) are Dr. Matina S. Horner (Chair), Cynthia A. Montgomery and Robert C. Robb, Jr., all of whom are Independent Trustees. The principal responsibilities of the Governance Committee are to (1) identify individuals qualified to serve as Independent Trustees of the Trust and recommend Independent Trustee 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 Trustee compensation; and (5) monitor corporate governance matters and develop appropriate recommendations to the Board. The Governance Committee may consider nominations for the office of Trustee made by Fund shareholders as it deems appropriate. Fund shareholders who wish to recommend a nominee should send nominations to the Secretary of the Trust 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 twelve months ended July 31, 2012, the Governance Committee met [ ] times.

 

The members of the Compliance Committee (the “Compliance Committee”) are Joseph P. Platt (Chair), Cynthia A. Montgomery and Robert C. Robb, Jr., all of whom are Independent Trustees. The Compliance Committee’s purpose is to assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibility to oversee regulatory and fiduciary compliance matters involving the Trust, the fund-related activities of BlackRock and the Trust’s third-party service providers. The Compliance Committee’s responsibilities include, without limitation, to (1) oversee the compliance policies and procedures of the Trust 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 Trust’s compliance with applicable law; and (3) review reports from, oversee the annual performance review of, and make certain recommendations regarding the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Compliance Committee. During the twelve months ended July 31, 2012, the Compliance Committee met [ ] times.

 

The members of the Performance Oversight and Contract Committee (the “Performance Oversight Committee”) are David O. Beim (Chair), Toby Rosenblatt (Vice Chair), Ronald W. Forbes, Rodney D. Johnson and Ian A. MacKinnon, all of whom are Independent Trustees. The Performance Oversight 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 and to assist the Independent Trustees in their consideration of investment advisory agreements. The Performance Oversight Committee’s responsibilities include, without limitation, to (1) review the Fund’s investment objective, policies and practices and the Fund’s investment performance; (2) review personnel and resources devoted to management of the Fund and evaluate the nature and quality of information furnished to the Performance Oversight Committee; (3) recommend any required action regarding change in fundamental and non-fundamental investment policies and restrictions, Fund mergers or liquidations; (4) request and review information on the nature, extent and quality of services provided to the shareholders; and (5) make recommendations to the Board concerning the approval or renewal of investment advisory agreements. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Performance Oversight Committee. During the twelve months ended July 31, 2012, the Performance Oversight Committee met [ ] times.

 

The members of the Executive Committee are Ronald W. Forbes and Rodney D. Johnson, both of whom are Independent Trustees, and Paul L. Audet, who serves as an interested Trustee. 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

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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 twelve months ended July 31, 2012, the Executive Committee [did not hold a formal meeting].

 

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

 

Each Trustee’s ability to perform his or her duties effectively is evidenced by his or her educational background or professional training; business, consulting, public service or academic positions; experience from service as a board member of the Trust and the other funds in the BlackRock Fund Complex (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 his or her leadership of standing and ad hoc committees throughout the years; or other relevant life experiences.

 

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

 

Trustees

Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Independent Trustees  
David O. Beim David O. Beim has served for approximately 14 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, L.P. (“MLIM”) funds. Mr. Beim has served as a professor of finance and economics at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business since 1991 and has taught courses on corporate finance, international banking and emerging financial markets. The Board benefits from the perspective and background gained by his almost 20 years of academic experience. He has published numerous articles and books on a range of topics, including, among others, banking and finance. In addition, Mr. Beim spent 25 years in investment banking, including starting and running the investment banking business at Bankers Trust Company.
Ronald W. Forbes Ronald W. Forbes has served for more than 30 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy MLIM funds. This length of service provides Mr. Forbes with direct knowledge of the operation of the Fund and the business and regulatory issues facing the Fund. He currently serves as professor emeritus at the School of Business at the State University of New York at Albany, and has served as a professor of finance thereof since 1989. Mr. Forbes’ experience as a professor of finance provides valuable background for his service on the boards. Mr. Forbes has also served as a member of the task force on municipal securities markets for Twentieth Century Fund.
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Trustees

Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Dr. Matina S. Horner Dr. Matina S. Horner has served for approximately eight years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy BlackRock funds. The Board benefits from her service as executive vice president of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and College Retirement Equities Fund. This experience provided Dr. Horner with management and corporate governance experience. In addition, Dr. Horner served as a professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and served as President of Radcliffe College for 17 years. Dr. Horner also served on various public, private and non-profit boards.
Rodney D. Johnson Rodney D. Johnson has served for over 20 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy BlackRock funds. He has over 25 years of experience as a financial advisor covering a range of engagements, which has broadened his knowledge of and experience with the investment management business. Prior to founding Fairmount Capital Advisors, Inc., Mr. Johnson served as Chief Investment Officer of Temple University for two years. He served as Director of Finance and Managing Director, in addition to a variety of other roles, for the City of Philadelphia, and has extensive experience in municipal finance. Mr. Johnson was also a tenured associate professor of finance at Temple University and a research economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Herbert I. London Herbert I. London has served for over 20 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy MLIM funds. Dr. London’s experience as president of the Hudson Institute, a world renowned think tank in Washington D.C., since 1997, and in various positions at New York University provide both background and perspective on financial, economic and global issues, which enhance his service on the Board. He has authored several books and numerous articles, which have appeared in major newspapers and journals throughout the United States.
Ian A. MacKinnon Ian A. MacKinnon recently joined as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex. Mr. MacKinnon spent over 25 years in fixed income investing. He served over 20 years as a portfolio manager at The Vanguard Group and was managing director and head of the Vanguard Fixed Income Group. The Board benefits from the perspective and experiences he has gained over 25 years in portfolio management and his expertise in the fixed income markets. Mr. MacKinnon has also served as a board member of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.
Cynthia A. Montgomery Cynthia A. Montgomery has served for over 15 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy MLIM funds. The Board benefits from Ms. Montgomery’s more than 20 years of academic experience as a professor at Harvard Business School where she taught courses on corporate strategy and corporate governance. Ms. Montgomery also has business management and corporate governance experience through her service on the corporate boards of a variety of public companies. She has also authored numerous articles and books on these topics.
I-8
 

 

Trustees

Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Joseph P. Platt Joseph P. Platt has served for over 12 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy BlackRock funds. Mr. Platt currently serves as general partner at Thorn Partners, LP, a private investment company. Prior to his joining Thorn Partners, LP, he was an owner, director and executive vice president with Johnson and Higgins, an insurance broker and employee benefits consultant. He has over 25 years experience in the areas of insurance, compensation and benefits.  Mr. Platt also serves on the boards of public, private and non-profit companies.
Robert C. Robb, Jr. Robert C. Robb, Jr. has served for over 12 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy BlackRock funds. Mr. Robb has over 30 years of experience in management consulting and has worked with many companies and business associations located throughout the United States. Mr. Robb brings to the Board a wealth of practical business experience across a range of industries.
Toby Rosenblatt Toby Rosenblatt has served for over 20 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy BlackRock funds. He has served as president and general partner of Founders Investments, Ltd., a private investment limited partnership, since 1999, providing him with relevant experience with the issues faced by investment management firms and their clients. Mr. Rosenblatt has been active in the civic arena and has served as a trustee of a number of community and educational organizations for over 30 years.
Kenneth L. Urish Kenneth L. Urish has served for over 12 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy BlackRock funds. He has over 30 years of experience in public accounting.  Mr. Urish has served as a managing member of an accounting and consulting firm. Mr. Urish has been determined by the Audit Committee to be an audit committee financial expert, as such term is defined in the applicable Commission rules.
Frederick W. Winter Frederick W. Winter has served for over 12 years on the boards of registered investment companies, most recently as a member of the boards of the funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex and its predecessor funds, including the legacy BlackRock funds. The Board benefits from Mr. Winter’s years of academic experience, having served as a professor and dean emeritus of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh since 2005, and dean thereof from 1997 to 2005. He is widely regarded as a specialist in marketing strategy, marketing management, business-to-business marketing and services marketing. He has also served as a consultant to more than 50 different firms.
I-9
 

 

Trustees

Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Interested Trustees  
Paul L. Audet Paul L. Audet has a wealth of experience in the investment management industry, including more than 13 years with BlackRock and over 30 years in finance and asset management. His expertise in finance is demonstrated by his positions as Chief Financial Officer of BlackRock and head of BlackRock’s Global Cash Management business. Mr. Audet currently is a member of BlackRock’s Global Operating and Corporate Risk Management Committees, the BlackRock Alternative Investors Executive Committee and the Investment Committee for the Private Equity Fund of Funds. Prior to joining BlackRock, Mr. Audet was the Senior Vice President of Finance at PNC Bank Corp. and Chief Financial Officer of the investment management and mutual fund processing businesses and Head of PNC’s Mergers and Acquisitions unit.
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 Administration Officer of BlackRock and President of BlackRock Funds provides the Fund with greater insight into the analysis and evaluation of both its existing investment portfolio 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 and as Treasurer of certain closed-end funds in the BlackRock fund complex provide the Board with direct knowledge of the operations of the Fund and its investment adviser. Mr. Gabbay’s previous service on and long standing relationship with the Board also provide him with a specific understanding of the Fund, its operations, and the business and regulatory issues facing the Fund.

 

Biographical Information

Certain biographical and other information relating to the Trustees of the Trust is set forth below, including 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 public company and investment company directorships held during the past five years.

Name, Address and Year of Birth

Position(s) Held with the Trust

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 Held During Past Five Years

Independent Trustees1        
David O. Beim3
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1940
Trustee 2007 to present Professor of Professional Practice at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business since 1991; Trustee, Phillips Exeter Academy since 2002; Chairman, Wave Hill Inc. (public garden and cultural center) from 1990 to 2006. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios None
           
I-10
 

 

Name, Address and Year of Birth

Position(s) Held with the Trust

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 Held During Past Five Years

Ronald W. Forbes4
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1940
Trustee 2007 to present Professor Emeritus of Finance, School of Business, State University of New York at Albany since 2000. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios None
           
Dr. Matina S. Horner5
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1939
Trustee 2004 to present Executive Vice President of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and College Retirement Equities Fund from 1989 to 2003. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios NSTAR (electric and gas utility)
           
Rodney D. Johnson4
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1941
Trustee 2007 to present President, Fairmount Capital Advisors, Inc. since 1987; Member of the Archdiocesan Investment Committee of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since 2004; Director, The Committee of Seventy (civic) since 2006; Director, Fox Chase Cancer Center from 2004 to 2011. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios None
           
Herbert I. London
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1939
Trustee 2007 to present Professor Emeritus, New York University since 2005; John M. Olin Professor of Humanities, New York University from 1993 to 2005 and Professor thereof from 1980 to 2005; President Emeritus, Hudson Institute (policy research organization) since 2011, President thereof from 1997 to 2011 and Trustee since 1980; Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Grantham University since 2006; Director, InnoCentive, Inc. (strategic solutions company) since 2005; Director, Cerego, LLC (software development and design) since 2005; Director, Cybersettle (dispute resolution technology) since 2009. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios AIMS Worldwide, Inc. (marketing)
           
I-11
 

 

Name, Address and Year of Birth

Position(s) Held with the Trust

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 Held During Past Five Years

Ian A. MacKinnon

55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1948

Trustee 2012 to present Director, Kennett Capital, Inc. (investments) since 2006; Director, Free Library of Philadelphia from 1999 to 2008. 33 RICS consisting of 102 Portfolios None
           
Cynthia A. Montgomery
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1952
Trustee 2007 to present Professor, Harvard Business School since 1989; Director, McLean Hospital since 2005; Director, Harvard Business School Publishing from 2005 to 2010. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios Newell Rubbermaid, Inc. (manufacturing)
           
Joseph P. Platt6
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1947
Trustee 2007 to present Director, The West Penn Allegheny Health System (a not-for-profit health system) since 2008; Director, Jones and Brown (Canadian insurance broker) since 1998; General Partner, Thorn Partners, LP (private investment) since 1998; Director, WQED Multi-Media (public broadcasting not-for-profit) since 2001; Partner, Amarna Corporation, LLC (private investment company) from 2002 to 2008. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios Greenlight Capital Re, Ltd. (reinsurance company)
           
Robert C. Robb, Jr.
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1945
Trustee 2007 to present Partner, Lewis, Eckert, Robb and Company (management and financial consulting firm) since 1981. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios None
           
Toby Rosenblatt7
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1938
Trustee 2005 to present President, Founders Investments Ltd. (private investments) since 1999; Director, Forward Management, LLC since 2007; Director, College Access Foundation of California (philanthropic foundation) since 2009; Director, The James Irvine Foundation (philanthropic foundation) from 1998 to 2008. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios

A.P. Pharma, Inc. (pharmaceuticals)

(1983-2011)

           
I-12
 

 

Name, Address and Year of Birth

Position(s) Held with the Trust

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 Held During Past Five Years

Kenneth L. Urish8
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1951
Trustee 2007 to present Managing Partner, Urish Popeck & Co., LLC (certified public accountants and consultants) since 1976; Chairman of the Professional Ethics Committee of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants since 2010 and Committee Member thereof since 2007; Member of External Advisory Board, The Pennsylvania State University Accounting Department since 2001; Trustee, The Holy Family Institute from 2001 to 2010; President and Trustee, Pittsburgh Catholic Publishing Associates from 2003 to 2008; Director, Inter-Tel from 2006 to 2007. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios None
           
Frederick W. Winter
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1945
Trustee 2007 to present Professor and Dean Emeritus of the Joseph M. Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh since 2005 and Dean thereof from 1997 to 2005; Director, Alkon Corporation (pneumatics) since 1992; Director, Tippman Sports (recreation) since 2005; Director, Indotronix International (IT services) from 2004 to 2008. 33 RICs consisting of 102 Portfolios None
           
Interested Trustees1,9          
Paul L. Audet
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1953
Trustee 2011 to present Senior Managing Director of BlackRock and Head of U.S. Mutual Funds since 2011; Chair of the U.S. Mutual Funds Committee reporting to the Global Executive Committee since 2011; Head of BlackRock’s Real Estate business from 2008 to 2011; Member of BlackRock’s Global Operating and Corporate Risk Management Committees and of the BlackRock Alternative Investors Executive Committee and Investment Committee for the Private Equity Fund of Funds business since 2008; Head of BlackRock’s Global Cash Management business from 2005 to 2010; Acting Chief Financial Officer of BlackRock from 2007 to 2008; Chief Financial Officer of BlackRock from 1998 to 2005. 160 RICs consisting of 278 Portfolios None
           
I-13
 

 

Name, Address and Year of Birth

Position(s) Held with the Trust

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 Held During Past Five Years

Henry Gabbay
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1947
Trustee 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 Bond Allocation Target Shares from 2005 to 2007 and Treasurer of certain closed- end funds in the BlackRock fund complex from 1989 to 2006. 160 RICs consisting of 278 Portfolios None
 
1Trustees serve until their resignation, removal or death, or until December 31 of the year in which they turn 72. The Board has approved one-year extensions in the terms of Trustees who turn 72 prior to December 31, 2013.
2Following 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 Independent Trustees as joining the Trust’s Board in 2007, those Independent Trustees first became members of the boards of other legacy MLIM or legacy BlackRock funds as follows: David O. Beim, 1998; Ronald W. Forbes, 1977; Dr. Matina S. Horner, 2004; Rodney D. Johnson, 1995; Herbert I. London, 1987; Cynthia A. Montgomery, 1994; Joseph P. Platt, 1999; Robert C. Robb, Jr., 1999; Toby Rosenblatt, 2005; Kenneth L. Urish, 1999; and Frederick W. Winter, 1999.
3Chair of the Performance Oversight Committee.
4Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees.
5Chair of the Governance Committee.
6Chair of the Compliance Committee.
7Vice Chair of the Performance Oversight Committee.
8Chair of the Audit Committee.
9Mr. Audet is an “interested person,” as defined in the Investment Company Act, of the Trust based on his position with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates. Mr. Gabbay is an “interested person” of the Trust based on his former positions with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates as well as his ownership of BlackRock, Inc. and The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. securities.
I-14
 

Certain biographical and other information relating to the officers of the Trust is set forth below, including 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 public company and investment company directorships held during the past five years.

Name, Address and Year of Birth

Position(s) Held with the Trust

Length of Time Served

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years

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

Public Directorships

Trust Officers1          
           
John Perlowski
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1964
President and Chief Executive Officer 2010 to present

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.

62 RICs consisting of 184 Portfolios None
           
Richard Hoerner, CFA
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1958
Vice President 2009 to present Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2000; Co-head of BlackRock’s Cash Management Portfolio Management Group since 2002; Member of the Cash Management Group Executive Committee since 2005. 24 RICs consisting of 90 Portfolios None
           
Brendan Kyne
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1977
Vice President 2009 to present Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2010; Director of BlackRock, Inc. from 2008 to 2009; Head of Product Development and Management for BlackRock’s U.S. Retail Group since 2009 and Co-head thereof from 2007 to 2009; Vice President of BlackRock, Inc. from 2005 to 2008. 160 RICs consisting of 278 Portfolios None
           
Simon Mendelson
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1964
Vice President 2009 to present Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2005; Co-head of the Global Cash and Securities Lending Group since 2010; Chief Operating Officer and Head of the Global Client Group for BlackRock’s Global Cash Management Business from 2007 to 2010; Head of BlackRock’s Strategy and Development Group from 2005 to 2007; Partner of McKinsey & Co. from 1997 to 2005. 24 RICs consisting of 90 Portfolios None
           
I-15
 

 

Name, Address and Year of Birth

Position(s) Held with the Trust

Length of Time Served

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years

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

Public Directorships

Christopher Stavrakos, CFA
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1959
Vice President 2009 to present Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2006; Co-head of BlackRock’s Cash Management Portfolio Management Group since 2006; Senior Vice President, CIO, and Director of Liability Management for the Securities Lending Group at Mellon Bank from 1999 to 2006. 24 RICs consisting of 90 Portfolios None
           
Neal J. Andrews
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1966
Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Treasurer 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. 160 RICs consisting of 278 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 MLIM and Fund Asset Management, L.P. advised funds from 2005 to 2006; Director of MLIM Fund Services Group from 2001 to 2006. 160 RICs consisting of 278 Portfolios None
           
Brian P. Kindelan
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1959
Chief Compliance Officer and Anti-Money Laundering Officer 2007 to present Chief Compliance Officer of the BlackRock-advised funds since 2007; Managing Director and Senior Counsel, BlackRock, Inc. since 2005. 160 RICs consisting of 278 Portfolios None
           
Benjamin Archibald
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10055


1975
Secretary 2012 to present Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2010; Assistant Secretary to the Trust 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. 62 RICs consisting of 184 Portfolios None
           
 
1Officers of the Trust serve at the pleasure of the Board.
I-16
 

Share Ownership

Information relating to each Trustee’s share ownership in the Fund and in all BlackRock-advised Funds that are overseen by the respective Trustee (“Supervised Funds”) as of December 31, 2011 is set forth in the chart below. As of the date of this SAI, the Trustees owned no shares of the Fund.

Name of Trustee

Aggregate Dollar Range of Equity Securities in Supervised Funds

Interested Trustees:  
Paul L. Audet Over $100,000
Henry Gabbay Over $100,000
Independent Trustees:  
David O. Beim Over $100,000
Ronald W. Forbes Over $100,000
Dr. Matina S. Horner Over $100,000
Rodney D. Johnson Over $100,000
Herbert I. London $50,001–$100,000
Ian A. MacKinnon None1
Cynthia A Montgomery Over $100,000
Joseph P. Platt Over $100,000
Robert C. Robb, Jr. Over $100,000
Toby Rosenblatt Over $100,000
Kenneth L. Urish Over $100,000
Frederick W. Winter Over $100,000

________________

1Mr. MacKinnon was appointed to serve as a Trustee of the Trust effective May 14, 2012. The information provided for Mr. MacKinnon is as of May 15, 2012.

As of [ ], 2012, the Trustees and officers of the Trust as a group owned an aggregate of less than 1% of the outstanding shares of the Fund. As of December 31, 2011, none of the Independent Trustees or their immediate family members owned beneficially or of record any securities of affiliates of the Manager.

Compensation of Trustees

Each Trustee who is an Independent Trustee is paid as compensation an annual retainer of $250,000 per year for his or her services as a Board member to the BlackRock-advised Funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex, including the Trust, and a $5,000 Board meeting fee to be paid for each in-person Board meeting attended (a $2,500 Board meeting fee for telephonic attendance at regular Board meetings), for 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. The Co-Chairs of the Boards of Trustees/Directors are each paid an additional annual retainer of $45,000. The Chairs of the Audit Committees, Compliance Committees, Governance Committees and Performance Oversight Committees and the Vice-Chair of the Performance Oversight Committees are each paid an additional annual retainer of $25,000.

 

I-17
 

Mr. Gabbay is an interested Trustee of the Trust and serves as an interested board member of the other funds which comprise the Equity-Liquidity, the Equity-Bond and the Closed-End Complexes. Mr. Gabbay receives as compensation for his services as a board member of each of these three BlackRock Fund Complexes, (i) an annual retainer of $531,250 paid quarterly in arrears, allocated to the BlackRock-advised Funds in these three BlackRock Fund Complexes, including the Trust, and (ii) with respect to each of the two open-end BlackRock Fund Complexes, a board meeting fee of $3,750 (with respect to meetings of the Equity-Liquidity Complex) and $18,750 (with respect to meetings of the Equity-Bond Complex) to be paid for attendance at each board meeting up to five board meetings held in a calendar year by each such BlackRock Fund Complex (compensation for meetings in excess of this number to be determined on a case-by-case basis). Mr. Gabbay will also be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses in accordance with a board policy on travel and other business expenses relating to attendance at meetings. Mr. Gabbay’s compensation for serving on the boards of funds in these three BlackRock Fund Complexes (including the Trust) is equal to 75% of each retainer and, as applicable, of each meeting fee (without regard to additional fees paid to Board and Committee chairs) received by the independent board members serving on such boards. The Board of the Trust or the board of any other BlackRock advised Fund may modify the board members’ compensation from time to time depending on market conditions and Mr. Gabbay’s compensation would be impacted by those modifications.

 

The following table sets forth the compensation the Fund expects to pay the Trustees for the fiscal period of

service ending July 31, 2013 and the aggregate compensation paid to them by all BlackRock-advised Funds for the calendar year ended December 31, 2011.

Name

Compensation from the Fund

Estimated Annual Benefits upon Retirement

Aggregate Compensation from the Fund and Other BlackRock- Advised Funds1

Independent Trustees      
David O. Beim2 $[  ]* None $300,000
Ronald W. Forbes3 $[  ]* None $320,000
Dr. Matina S. Horner4 $[  ]* None $300,000
Rodney D. Johnson3 $[  ]* None $320,000
Herbert I. London $[  ]* None $275,000
Ian A. MacKinnon $[  ]* None None5
Cynthia A. Montgomery $[  ]* None $275,000
Joseph P. Platt6 $[  ]* None $310,000
Robert C. Robb, Jr. $[  ]* None $275,000
Toby Rosenblatt7 $[  ]* None $300,000
Kenneth L. Urish8 $[  ]* None $310,000
Frederick W. Winter $[  ]* None $275,000
Interested Trustees      
Paul L. Audet9 $[  ]* None None
Richard S. Davis10 None None None
Henry Gabbay $[  ]* None $625,000
 
1For the number of RICs and Portfolios from which each Trustee receives compensation, see the Biographical Information chart beginning on page I-[ ].
2Chair of the Performance Oversight Committee.
3Co-Chair of the Board.
4Chair of the Governance Committee.
5Mr. MacKinnon was appointed to serve as a Trustee of the Trust and as a director or trustee of all of the other funds in the Equity-Liquidity Complex effective May 14, 2012.
6Chair of the Compliance Committee.
7Vice-Chair of the Performance Oversight Committee.
8Chair of the Audit Committee.
9Mr. Audet was appointed to serve as a Trustee of the Trust and as a director or trustee of all other BlackRock-advised Funds in the Equity-Liquidity, Equity-Bond and Closed-End Complexes effective September 2011.
I-18
 
10Mr. Davis resigned as a Trustee of the Trust and from the boards of all other BlackRock-advised Funds on which he served effective September 2011.
*To be filed by subsequent amendment.

IV. Management, Advisory and Other Service Arrangements

Management Agreement

The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, entered into a management agreement with BlackRock pursuant to which BlackRock is entitled to fees for the services it provides (the “Management Agreement”).

As of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not made any payments to BlackRock for management services.

Pursuant to the Management Agreement, BlackRock 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 BlackRock, to perform investment advisory services with respect to the Fund. In addition, BlackRock may delegate certain of its investment advisory functions under the Management Agreement to one or more of its affiliates to the extent permitted by applicable law. BlackRock 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.

BlackRock entered into a sub-advisory agreement (the “Sub-Advisory Agreement”) with BlackRock Financial Management, Inc. (“BFM” or the “Sub-Adviser”), pursuant to which BlackRock pays the Sub-Adviser for providing services to BlackRock with respect to the Fund a monthly fee at an annual rate equal to a percentage of the management fee paid to BlackRock under the Management Agreement.

As of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not made any payments to the Sub-Adviser for management services.

Administration Agreement

BlackRock and BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc. (“BNY Mellon”) serve as the Fund’s co-administrators (the “Administrators”) pursuant to an administration agreement (the “Administration Agreement”). BNY Mellon has agreed to maintain office facilities for the Trust; furnish the Trust with statistical and research data, clerical, accounting, and bookkeeping services; provide and supervise the operation of an automated data processing system to process purchase and redemption orders; prepare and file certain reports required by regulatory authorities; prepare and file Federal and state tax returns; prepare and file material requested by state securities regulators; calculate various contractual expenses; compute the Fund’s net asset value, net income and net capital gain or loss; and serve as a liaison with the Trust’s independent public accountants. The Administrators may from time to time voluntarily waive administration fees with respect to the Trust and may voluntarily reimburse the Trust for expenses.

 

Under the Administration Agreement, the Trust pays to BlackRock and BNY Mellon on behalf of the Fund a fee, computed daily and payable monthly, at an aggregate annual rate of (i) .075% of the first $500 million of the Fund’s average daily net assets, .065% of the next $500 million of the Fund’s average daily net assets and .055% of the average daily net assets of the Fund in excess of $1 billion and (ii) .025% of the first $500 million of average daily net assets allocated to each class of shares of the Fund, .015% of the next $500 million of such average daily net assets and .005% of the average daily net assets allocated to each class of shares of the Fund in excess of $1 billion.

 

Under the Administration Agreement, BlackRock is responsible for: (i) the supervision and coordination of the performance of the Trust’s service providers; (ii) the negotiation of service contracts and arrangements between the Trust and its service providers; (iii) acting as liaison between the Trustees of the Trust and the Trust’s service providers; and (iv) providing ongoing business management and support services in connection with the Trust’s operations.

The Administration Agreement provides that the Administrators will not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law or for any loss suffered by the Trust or the Fund in connection with the performance of the Administration Agreement, except a loss resulting from willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of their respective duties or from reckless disregard of their respective duties and obligations thereunder. In addition, the Trust will indemnify each of the Administrators and their affiliates against any loss

I-19
 

arising in connection with their provision of services under the Administration Agreement, except that neither the Administrators nor their affiliates shall be indemnified against any loss arising out of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of their respective duties under the Administration Agreement.

As of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not made any payments to the Administrators for administration services.

The Trust and its service providers may engage third party plan administrators who provide trustee, administrative and recordkeeping services for certain employee benefit, profit-sharing and retirement plans as agent for the Trust with respect to such plans, for the purpose of accepting orders for the purchase and redemption of shares of the Trust.

In addition, pursuant to a shareholders’ administrative services agreement (the “Shareholders’ Administrative Services Agreement”) BlackRock provides certain shareholder liaison services in connection with the Trust’s investor service center. The Trust reimburses BlackRock for its costs in maintaining the service center, which costs include, among other things, employee salaries, leasehold expenses, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

  As of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not made any payments to BlackRock pursuant to the Shareholders’ Administrative Services Agreement.

 

Information Regarding the Portfolio Managers

Ked Hogan, PhD, Philip Green, Vincent de Martel, CFA, Philip Hodges, PhD and Ugo Montrucchio, CFA, CAIA are the portfolio managers of the Fund and are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund.

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 jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management as of [ ], 2012.

Market Advantage Fund

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

Ked Hogan, PhD [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]*
  $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]*
Philip Green [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]*
  $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]*
Vincent de Martel, CFA [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]*
  $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]*
Philip Hodges, PhD [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]*
  $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]*
Ugo Montrucchio, CFA, CAIA [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]* [  ]*
  $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]* $[   ]*
             

* To be filed by subsequent amendment.

 

[Portfolio Manager Compensation Overview

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 such as its Long-Term Retention and Incentive Plan and Restricted Stock Program.

 

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

 

Discretionary Incentive Compensation. Discretionary incentive compensation is a function of several components: the performance of BlackRock, the performance of the portfolio manager’s group within BlackRock, the investment performance, including risk-adjusted returns, of the firm’s assets under management or supervision by that portfolio manager relative to predetermined benchmarks, and the individual’s seniority, role within the portfolio management team, teamwork and contribution to the overall performance of these portfolios and BlackRock. In most cases, including for the portfolio advisors of the Fund, these benchmarks are the same as the benchmark or benchmarks against which the performance of the Fund or other accounts managed by such portfolio advisors are measured. BlackRock’s chief investment officers determine the benchmarks against which the performance of funds and other accounts managed by each portfolio advisor is compared and the period of time over which performance is evaluated. With respect to these portfolio managers, such benchmarks for the Fund and other accounts include the following:

Portfolio Manager Applicable Benchmarks
Ked Hogan, PhD [    ]
Philip Green [    ]
Vincent de Martel, CFA [    ]
Philip Hodges, PhD [    ]
Ugo Montrucchio, CFA, CAIA [    ]

 

Portfolio advisors who meet relative investment performance and financial management objectives during a specified performance time period are eligible to receive an additional bonus which may or may not be a large part of their overall compensation. A smaller element of BlackRock’s portfolio advisor 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, workforce diversity, supervision, technology and innovation. All 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. The BlackRock, Inc. restricted stock units, if properly vested, will be settled in BlackRock, Inc. common stock. Typically, the cash bonus, when combined with base salary, represents more than 60% of total compensation for the portfolio managers. Paying a portion of annual bonuses in stock puts compensation earned by a portfolio manager for a given year “at risk” based on BlackRock’s ability to sustain and improve its performance over future periods.

 

Long-Term Retention and Incentive Plan (“LTIP”)—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.

 

Deferred Compensation Program—A portion of the compensation paid to eligible BlackRock employees may be voluntarily deferred into an account that tracks the performance of certain of the firm’s investment products. Each participant in the deferred compensation program is permitted to allocate his deferred amounts among the various investment options.

 

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

 

Incentive Savings Plans—BlackRock, Inc. has created a variety of incentive savings plans in which BlackRock 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 6% of eligible pay contributed to the plan capped at $4,000 per year, and a company retirement contribution equal to 3-5% of eligible compensation. The RSP offers a

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range of investment options, including registered investment companies managed by the firm. BlackRock contributions follow the investment direction set by participants for their own contributions or, absent employee investment direction, are invested into a balanced portfolio. 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 or a dollar value of $25,000. The portfolio managers are eligible to participate in these plans.]

 

Fund Ownership

 

The Fund has not yet made its shares available for sale; therefore the portfolio managers owned no shares of the Fund as of the date of this SAI.

 

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 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 the 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 the 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.

Custodian

The Bank of New York Mellon (the “Custodian”), which has its principal offices at One Wall Street, New York, New York 10286, serves as the custodian for the Fund. 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 that 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 the 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.

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Transfer Agent

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

Credit Agreement

The Trust, along with certain other funds managed by the Manager and its affiliates, is a party to a $500 million credit agreement with a group of lenders, which is renewed annually (the “Credit Agreement”). A fund may borrow under the Credit Agreement to meet shareholder redemptions and for other lawful purposes. A fund may not borrow under the Credit Agreement for leverage. A fund may borrow up to the maximum amount allowable under its current Prospectus and SAI, subject to various other legal, regulatory or contractual limits. Borrowing results in interest expense and other fees and expenses for a fund which may impact the fund’s net expenses. The costs of borrowing may reduce a fund’s return. A fund is charged its pro rata share of upfront fees and commitment fees on the aggregate commitment amount based on its net assets. If a fund borrows pursuant to the Credit Agreement, the fund is charged interest at a variable rate. It is intended that the Fund will become a party to the Credit Agreement.

V. Information on Sales Charges and Distribution Related Expenses

BlackRock Investments, LLC (“BRIL” or the “Distributor”) acts as the Fund’s sole distributor. As of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not made any payments to the Distributor.

VI. Computation of Offering Price Per Share

An illustration of the computation of the offering price for the Investor A Shares of the Fund based on a hypothetical investment of $10,000 is set forth below.

Computation of Offering Price Per Share:

Investor A Shares

Net Assets $[  ]*
Number of Shares Outstanding [  ]*
Net Asset Value Per Share (net assets divided by number of shares outstanding) $[  ]*
Sales Charge (5.25% of offering price; 5.54% of net asset value per share)1 [  ]
Offering Price $[  ]*
 
1Rounded to the nearest one-hundredth percent; assumes maximum sales charge is applicable.
*To be filed by subsequent amendment.

The offering price for the Fund’s other share classes is equal to the share class’ 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.

VII. Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage

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

As of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not paid any brokerage commissions or securities lending fees.

VIII. Additional Information

The Trust

The Trust was organized as a Massachusetts business trust on December 22, 1988, and is registered under the Investment Company Act as an open end management investment company. Effective January 31, 1998, the Trust changed its name from Compass Capital FundsSM to BlackRock FundsSM. The Trust is authorized to issue an

I-23
 

unlimited number of shares of beneficial interest with a par value of $0.001 per share, which may be divided into different series and classes.

Under Massachusetts law, shareholders of a business trust may, under certain circumstances, be held personally liable as partners for the obligations of the trust. However, the Trust’s Declaration of Trust provides that shareholders shall not be subject to any personal liability in connection with the assets of the Trust for the acts or obligations of the Trust, and that every note, bond, contract, order or other undertaking made by the Trust shall contain a provision to the effect that the shareholders are not personally liable thereunder. The Declaration of Trust provides for indemnification out of the Trust property of any shareholder held personally liable solely by reason of his being or having been a shareholder and not because of his acts or omissions or some other reason. The Declaration of Trust also provides that the Trust shall, upon request, assume the defense of any claim made against any shareholder for any act or obligation of the Trust, and shall satisfy any judgment thereon.

The Declaration of Trust further provides that all persons having any claim against the Trustees or Trust shall look solely to the trust property for payment; that no Trustee of the Trust shall be personally liable for or on account of any contract, debt, tort, claim, damage, judgment or decree arising out of or connected with the administration or preservation of the Trust property or the conduct of any business of the Trust; and that no Trustee shall be personally liable to any person for any action or failure to act except by reason of such Trustee’s own bad faith, willful misfeasance, gross negligence or reckless disregard of his duties as a trustee. With the exception stated, the Declaration of Trust provides that a Trustee is entitled to be indemnified against all liabilities and expenses reasonably incurred by such Trustee in connection with the defense or disposition of any proceeding in which he may be involved or with which he may be threatened by reason of his being or having been a Trustee, and that the Trust will indemnify officers, representatives and employees of the Trust to the same extent that trustees are entitled to indemnification

Principal Shareholders

 As of [ ], 2012, the Fund has no shares outstanding.

IX. Financial Statements

None

 

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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 or its 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 Statement of Additional Information 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 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

II-2
 

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 Purchases 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 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

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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.

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.

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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(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 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

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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.

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.

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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 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

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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.

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 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. 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

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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.

Each Fund, other than BlackRock Managed Volatility Portfolio (“Managed Volatility”), a series of BlackRock FundsSM, will enter into an equity swap transaction only if, immediately following the time the Fund enters into the transaction, the aggregate notional principal amount of equity swap transactions to which the Fund is a party would not exceed 5% of the Fund’s net assets.

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 deposit in a segregated account, 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

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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.

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 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

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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 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.

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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 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.

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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.

Each Fund has filed a notice of eligibility for exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” in accordance with Rule 4.5 of the U.S. Commodity Exchange Act, as amended (“Commodity Exchange Act”), and, therefore, the Funds are not subject to registration or regulation as commodity pool operators under the Commodity Exchange Act.

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. 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

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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 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.

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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.

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.

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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 deposit in a segregated account 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). Such segregation will ensure that a Fund has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction, but will not limit the Fund’s exposure to loss.

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

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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 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 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

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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.

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,

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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. 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

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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 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.

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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 Indices.

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 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. and have been licensed for use by certain BlackRock Funds. No Fund is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by S&P, a division of The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc. 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 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 Frank Russell Company. Frank Russell Company is not responsible for and has not reviewed any Fund nor any associated literature or publications and Frank Russell Company makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to their accuracy, or completeness, or otherwise.

Frank Russell Company reserves the right, at any time and without notice, to alter, amend, terminate or in any way change a Russell Index. Frank Russell Company 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.

Frank Russell Company’s publication of the Russell Indexes in no way suggests or implies an opinion by Frank Russell Company as to the attractiveness or appropriateness of investment in any or all securities upon which the Russell Indexes is based. Frank Russell Company 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. Frank Russell Company 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. Frank Russell Company 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.

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MSCI Europe, Australasia and Far East (Capitalization Weighted) Index (“EAFE Index”). The EAFE Index is the exclusive property of MSCI, Inc. (“MSCI”). The EAFE Index is a service mark of MSCI and has 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 the EAFE Index to track general stock market performance. MSCI is the licensor of certain trademarks, service marks and trade names of MSCI and of the EAFE Index. 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 the EAFE 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 the EAFE Index from sources which MSCI considers reliable, MSCI does not guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the EAFE 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 the EAFE 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 the EAFE 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.

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 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 Statement of Additional Information 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

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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 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

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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.

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

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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. Because of the recent formation of the Russian securities markets as well as the underdeveloped state of Russia’s banking system, settlement, clearing and registration of securities transactions are subject to significant risks. Ownership of shares is defined according to entries in the company’s share register and normally evidenced by extracts from the register. These extracts are not negotiable instruments and are not effective evidence of securities ownership. The registrars are not necessarily subject to effective state supervision nor are they licensed with any governmental entity. Also, there is no central registration system for shareholders and it is possible for a Fund to lose its registration through fraud, negligence or mere oversight. While a Fund will endeavor to ensure that its interest continues to be appropriately recorded either itself or through a custodian or other agent inspecting the share register and by obtaining extracts of share registers through regular confirmations, these extracts have no legal enforceability and it is possible that subsequent illegal amendment or other fraudulent act may deprive the Fund of its ownership rights or improperly dilute its interest. In addition, while applicable Russian regulations impose liability on registrars for losses resulting from their errors, it may be difficult for a Fund to enforce any rights it may have against the registrar or issuer of the securities in the event of loss of share registration. While a Fund intends to invest directly in Russian companies that use an independent registrar, there can be no assurance that such investments will not result in a loss to the Fund.

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.

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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 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.


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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.

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 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.
       
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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-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

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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 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

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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 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;
       
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  (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 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

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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 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.

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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 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.

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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 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

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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.

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 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

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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

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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.

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.

Repurchase agreements and purchase and sale contracts 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 adviser or sub-adviser will mark-to-market daily the value of the securities. Securities subject to 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 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.

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.

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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 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 with a value not exceeding 33 1/3% of its total assets or the limit prescribed by applicable law to banks, brokers and other financial institutions. In return, the Fund receives collateral in cash or securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or irrevocable letters of credit issued by a bank (other than a borrower of the Fund’s portfolio securities or any affiliate of such borrower), which qualifies as a custodian bank for an investment company under the Investment Company Act, which collateral will be maintained at all times in an amount equal to at least 100% of the current market value of the loaned securities. The Manager may instruct the lending agent (as defined below) to terminate loans and recall securities so that the securities may be voted by a Fund if required by the Manager’s proxy voting guidelines. See “Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures” below. Such notice shall be provided in advance such that a period of time equal to no less than the normal settlement period for the securities in question prior to the record date for the proxy vote or other corporate entitlement is provided.

A Fund receives the equivalent of any income it would have received on the loaned securities. Where a Fund receives securities as collateral, the Fund receives a fee for its loans from the borrower and does not receive the income on the collateral. Where a Fund receives cash collateral, it may invest such collateral and retain the amount earned, net of any amount rebated to the borrower. As a result, the Fund’s yield may increase. Loans of securities are terminable at any time and the borrower, after notice, is required to return borrowed securities within the standard time period for settlement of securities transactions. The Fund is obligated to return the collateral to the borrower upon the return of the loaned securities. A Fund could suffer a loss in the event the Fund must return the cash collateral and there are losses on investments made with the cash collateral. In the event the borrower defaults on any of its obligations with respect to a securities loan, a Fund could suffer a loss where the value of the collateral is below the market value of the borrowed securities plus any other receivables from the borrower along with any transaction costs to repurchase the securities. A Fund could also experience delays and costs in gaining access to the collateral. Each Fund may pay reasonable finder’s, lending agent, administrative and custodial fees in connection with its loans.

Each Fund has received an exemptive order from the Commission permitting it to lend portfolio securities to affiliates of the Fund and to retain an affiliate of the Fund as lending agent. Pursuant to that order, each Fund has retained an affiliated entity of the Manager as the securities lending agent (the “lending agent”) for a fee, including a fee based on a share of the returns on investment of cash collateral. In connection with securities lending activities, the lending agent may, upon the advice of the Manager and on behalf of a Fund, invest cash collateral received by the Fund for such loans, among other things, in a private investment company managed by the lending agent or in registered money market funds advised by the Manager or its affiliates. Pursuant to the same order, each Fund may invest its uninvested cash in registered money market funds advised by the Manager or its affiliates, or in a private investment company managed by the lending agent. If a Fund acquires shares in either the private investment company or an affiliated money market fund, shareholders would bear both their proportionate share of the Fund’s expenses and, indirectly, the expenses of such other entities. However, 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, or in the case of the shares of an affiliated money market fund, the payment of any such sales load, redemption fee, distribution fee or service fee will be offset by the Manager’s waiver of a portion of its advisory fee.

A Fund would continue to accrue the equivalent of the same interest or other income on loaned securities that it would have received had the securities not been on loan, and would also earn income on investments made with any cash collateral for such loans. Any cash collateral received by a Fund in connection with such loans may be invested in a broad range of high quality, U.S. dollar-denominated money market instruments that meet Rule 2a-7 restrictions for money market funds.

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BlackRock Investment Management, LLC (“BIM”), an affiliate of BlackRock, acts as securities lending agent for the Funds and will be paid a fee for the provision of these services, including advisory services with respect to the collateral of the Funds’ securities lending program.

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 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.

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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 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

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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 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.

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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 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.

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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.

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There can be no assurance that a security purchased on a when issued basis will be issued or that a security purchased or sold on a delayed delivery basis or through a forward commitment will be delivered. Also, the value of securities in these transactions on the delivery date may be more or less than the price paid by the Fund to purchase the securities. The Fund will lose money if the value of the security in such a transaction declines below the purchase price and will not benefit if the value of the security appreciates above the sale price during the commitment period.

If deemed advisable as a matter of investment strategy, 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.

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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.

Investment Restrictions (All Funds)

See “Investment Restrictions” in Part I of each Fund’s Statement of Additional Information 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 Statement of Additional Information for biographical and certain other information relating to the Directors and officers of your Fund, including Directors’ compensation.

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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 Statement of Additional Information.

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 Statement of Additional Information.

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.

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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 Statement of Additional Information (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 Statement of Additional Information.

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 60 days’ 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 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, which is comprised of all of the Fund’s non-interested Directors, 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 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.

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 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 Statement of Additional Information for information on the amounts paid by your Fund and, if applicable, Master LLC to State Street 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

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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 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.

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  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.