August 1, 2019
  (as revised November 1, 2019)
    
2019 Prospectus
iShares Trust
•  iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF | PFF | NASDAQ
  
Beginning on January 1, 2021, as permitted by regulations adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), paper copies of the Fund’s shareholder reports will no longer be sent by mail, unless you specifically request paper copies of the reports from your financial intermediary, such as a broker-dealer or bank. Instead, the reports will be made available on a website, and you will be notified by mail each time a report is posted and provided with a website link to access the report.
If you already elected to receive shareholder reports electronically, you will not be affected by this change and you need not take any action. If you hold accounts through a financial intermediary, you may contact your financial intermediary to enroll in electronic delivery. Please note that not all financial intermediaries may offer this service.
You may elect to receive all future reports in paper free of charge. If you hold accounts through a financial intermediary, you can follow the instructions included with this disclosure, if applicable, or contact your financial intermediary to request that you continue to receive paper copies of your shareholder reports. Please note that not all financial intermediaries may offer this service. Your election to receive reports in paper will apply to all funds held with your financial intermediary.
The SEC has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.




Table of Contents

S-1

1

2

14

18

19

22

31

32

33

33

35
ICE® is a registered trademark of ICE Data Indices, LLC or its affiliates and it has been licensed, together with the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index and ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index for use for certain purposes by BlackRock Fund Advisors or its affiliates. iShares® and BlackRock® are registered trademarks of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates.
The S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index is a product of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC or its affiliates (“SPDJI”), and has been licensed for use by BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) or its affiliates. Standard & Poor’s® and S&P® are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”); Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (“Dow Jones”); iShares® and BlackRock® are registered trademarks of BFA and its affiliates, and these trademarks have been licensed for use by SPDJI and sublicensed for certain purposes by iShares Trust. The Fund is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDJI, Dow Jones, S&P or their respective affiliates, and none of such parties makes any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such product(s); nor do they have any liability for any errors, omissions, or interruptions of the S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index.
i


Table of Contents
[THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]


Table of Contents
iSHARES® PREFERRED AND INCOME SECURITIES ETF
Ticker: PFF Stock Exchange: NASDAQ
Investment Objective
The iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track the investment results of an index composed of U.S. dollar-denominated preferred and hybrid securities.
Fees and Expenses
The following table describes the fees and expenses that you will incur if you own shares of the Fund. The investment advisory agreement between iShares Trust (the “Trust”) and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”) provides that BFA will pay all operating expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses.
You may also incur usual and customary brokerage commissions and other charges when buying or selling shares of the Fund, which are not reflected in the Example that follows:
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(ongoing expenses that you pay each year as a
percentage of the value of your investments)
Management
Fees
  Distribution and
Service (12b-1)
Fees
  Other
Expenses1
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
0.46%   None   0.00%   0.46%

1 The amount rounded to 0.00%.
Example. This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of owning shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
1 Year   3 Years   5 Years   10 Years
$47   $148   $258   $579
S-1


Table of Contents
Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may pay transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in the Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund's portfolio turnover rate was 28% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund seeks to track the investment results of the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index (the “Underlying Index”), which measures the performance of a select group of exchange-listed, U.S. dollar-denominated preferred securities, hybrid securities and convertible preferred securities listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) or NASDAQ Capital Market (“NASDAQ”). The Underlying Index includes issuances of preferred stocks with amounts outstanding over $100 million, convertible preferred stock with at least $50 million face amount outstanding, and hybrid securities with at least $250 million face amount outstanding, that meet minimum price, liquidity, trading volume, maturity and other requirements, as applicable, as determined by ICE Data Indices (the “Index Provider” or “ICE Data”).
In general, preferred stock is a class of equity security that pays a specified dividend that must be paid before any dividends can be paid to common stockholders and takes precedence
over common stock in the event of a company’s liquidation. In general, a “hybrid” security refers to a security which combines both debt and equity characteristics. In general, hybrid securities included in the Underlying Index, like traditional preferred stock, have preference over the common stock within an issuer’s capital structure, and are issued and traded in a similar manner to traditional preferred stock. Like debt securities and preferred stock (but unlike common stock), issuers of hybrid securities included in the Underlying Index may make fixed, periodic payments to the holders of such securities. Like preferred stock, issuers of hybrid securities included in the Underlying Index have the ability to defer dividend payments and to extend such securities’ maturity dates.
Although preferred stocks represent a partial ownership interest in a company, preferred stocks generally do not carry voting rights. Preferred stocks have economic characteristics similar to fixed-income securities. Preferred stocks and hybrid securities generally are issued with a fixed par value and pay dividends based on a percentage of that par value at a fixed or variable rate.
Additionally, preferred stocks and hybrid securities often have a liquidation value that generally equals the original purchase price of such security at the date of issuance. The Underlying Index may include many different categories of preferred stock and hybrid securities, such as floating and fixed rate preferreds, fixed-to-floating rate securities, callable preferreds, convertible preferreds, cumulative and non-cumulative preferreds, certain capital securities, trust preferreds or various other
S-2


Table of Contents
preferred stock and hybrid securities. The total allocation to an individual issuer across the entire index is limited to 4.75%. The Underlying Index uses a market capitalization weighted methodology subject to certain constraints and is rebalanced monthly.
The Underlying Index may include large-, mid- or small-capitalization companies and includes preferred stocks and hybrid securities of non-U.S. issuers. As of September 30, 2019, a significant portion of the Underlying Index is represented by securities of companies in the financials, real estate and utilities industries or sectors. The components of the Underlying Index are likely to change over time.
BFA uses a “passive” or indexing approach to try to achieve the Fund’s investment objective. Unlike many investment companies, the Fund does not try to “beat” the index it tracks and does not seek temporary defensive positions when markets decline or appear overvalued.
Indexing may eliminate the chance that the Fund will substantially outperform the Underlying Index but also may reduce some of the risks of active management, such as poor security selection. Indexing seeks to achieve lower costs and better after-tax performance by aiming to keep portfolio turnover low in comparison to actively managed investment companies.
BFA uses a representative sampling indexing strategy to manage the Fund. “Representative sampling” is an indexing strategy that involves investing in a representative sample of securities that collectively has an investment profile similar to that of an applicable underlying index. The securities selected are expected to have, in the
aggregate, investment characteristics (based on factors such as market capitalization and industry weightings), fundamental characteristics (such as return variability and yield) and liquidity measures similar to those of an applicable underlying index. The Fund may or may not hold all of the securities in the Underlying Index.
The Fund generally will invest at least 90% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 10% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of money market funds advised by BFA or its affiliates, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. From time to time when conditions warrant, however, the Fund may invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. The Fund seeks to track the investment results of the Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Fund.
The Fund may lend securities representing up to one-third of the value of the Fund's total assets (including the value of any collateral received).
The Underlying Index is a product of ICE Data, which is independent of the Fund and BFA. The Index Provider determines the composition and relative weightings of the securities in the Underlying Index
S-3


Table of Contents
and publishes information regarding the market value of the Underlying Index.
Industry Concentration Policy. The Fund will concentrate its investments (i.e., hold 25% or more of its total assets) in a particular industry or group of industries to approximately the same extent that the Underlying Index is concentrated. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities) and repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
Summary of Principal Risks
As with any investment, you could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund's performance could trail that of other investments. The Fund is subject to certain risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund's net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Asset Class Risk. Securities and other assets in the Underlying Index or in the Fund's portfolio may underperform in comparison to the general financial markets, a particular financial market or other asset classes.
Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Shareholder Information section of this prospectus (the “Prospectus”)) may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as
Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem Creation Units (as defined in the Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares section of the Prospectus), Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting.
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities of a particular issuer or issuers, country, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class.
Credit Risk. Issuers may be unable or unwilling to make timely interest and/or principal payments when due or otherwise honor their obligations. Changes in an issuer’s credit rating or the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may also adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investment in that issuer. The degree of credit risk depends on an issuer's financial condition and on the terms of an obligation.
Cybersecurity Risk. Failures or breaches of the electronic systems of the Fund, the Fund's adviser, distributor, the Index Provider and other service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests have the ability to cause disruptions,
S-4


Table of Contents
negatively impact the Fund’s business operations and/or potentially result in financial losses to the Fund and its shareholders. While the Fund has established business continuity plans and risk management systems seeking to address system breaches or failures, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems of the Fund’s Index Provider and other service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or issuers of securities in which the Fund invests.
Dividend Risk. There is no guarantee that issuers of the securities held by the Fund will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, they will either remain at current levels or increase over time.
Equity Securities Risk. Equity securities are subject to changes in value, and their values may be more volatile than those of other asset classes. The Underlying Index is comprised of preferred stocks and hybrid securities, holders of which generally are subject to more risks than debt securities because stockholders’ claims are subordinated to those of holders of debt securities upon the bankruptcy of the issuer.
Financials Sector Risk. Performance of companies in the financials sector may be adversely impacted by many factors, including, among others, changes in government regulations, economic conditions, and interest rates, credit rating downgrades, and decreased liquidity in credit markets. The extent to which the Fund may invest in a company that engages in securities-related activities or banking is limited by applicable law. A fund that invests in
preferred securities may be more likely to be impacted by such legal limits since companies in the financials sector have historically issued a significant portion of the preferred securities marketplace. Moreover, such legal limits are more likely to impact the Fund's investments in preferred securities of financials sector issuers given the amount of net assets available for the Fund to invest. The impact of changes in capital requirements and recent or future regulation of any individual financial company, or of the financials sector as a whole, cannot be predicted. In recent years, cyberattacks and technology malfunctions and failures have become increasingly frequent in this sector and have caused significant losses to companies in this sector, which may negatively impact the Fund.
Fixed-to-Floating Rate Securities Risk. The Fund invests in fixed-to-floating rate preferred securities, which are securities that have an initial term with a fixed dividend rate and following this initial term bear a floating dividend rate. Securities which include a floating or variable interest rate component can be less sensitive to interest rate changes than securities with fixed interest rates, but may decline in value if their interest rates do not rise as much, or as quickly, as interest rates in general. Although floating rate preferred securities can be less sensitive to interest rate risk than fixed-rate preferred securities, they are subject to the risks applicable to preferred securities more generally.
Hybrid Securities Risk. Hybrid securities are subject to the risks of equity securities and risks of debt securities. The claims of holders of hybrid securities of an issuer are generally subordinated to those of
S-5


Table of Contents
holders of traditional debt securities in bankruptcy, and thus hybrid securities may be more volatile and subject to greater risk than traditional debt securities, and may in certain circumstances even be more volatile than traditional equity securities. At the same time, hybrid securities may not fully participate in gains of their issuer and thus potential returns of such securities are generally more limited than traditional equity securities, which would participate in such gains.
Income Risk. The Fund's income may decline when interest rates fall. This decline can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding securities as securities in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, securities in the Underlying Index are substituted, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional securities.
Index-Related Risk. There is no guarantee that the Fund’s investment results will have a high degree of correlation to those of the Underlying Index or that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Underlying Index. Errors in index data, index computations or the construction of the Underlying Index in accordance with its methodology may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders.
Interest Rate Risk. An increase in interest rates may cause the value of securities held by the Fund to decline,
may lead to heightened volatility in the preferred and hybrid securities markets and may adversely affect the liquidity of certain preferred and hybrid investments. The historically low interest rate environment, together with recent modest rate increases, heightens the risks associated with rising interest rates.
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. Changes in the financial condition or credit rating of an issuer of those securities may cause the value of the securities to decline.
Management Risk. As the Fund will not fully replicate the Underlying Index, it is subject to the risk that BFA's investment strategy may not produce the intended results.
Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns.
Market Trading Risk. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares, losses from trading in secondary markets, periods of high volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV.
Money Market Instruments Risk. The value of money market instruments may be affected by changing interest rates and by changes in the credit ratings of the investments. If a significant amount of the Fund's assets are invested in money market instruments, it will be more difficult for the Fund to achieve its
S-6


Table of Contents
investment objective. An investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) or any other government agency. It is possible to lose money by investing in a money market fund. Money market funds other than government money market funds or retail money market funds “float” their NAV instead of using a stable $1.00 per share price.
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed, and BFA generally does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets.
Preferred Stock Risk. Preferred stocks are subject not only to issuer-specific and market risks generally applicable to equity securities, but also risks associated with fixed-income securities, such as interest rate risk. A company’s preferred stock, which may pay fixed or variable rates of return, generally pays dividends only after the company makes required payments to creditors, including vendors, depositors, counterparties, holders of its bonds and other fixed-income securities. As a result, the value of a company’s preferred stock will react more strongly than bonds and other debt to actual or perceived changes in the company’s financial condition or prospects.
Preferred stock may be less liquid than many other types of securities, such as common stock, and generally has limited or no voting rights. In addition, preferred stock is subject to the risks that a company may defer or not pay dividends, and, in certain situations, may call or redeem its preferred stock or convert it to common stock. An issuer may decide to call its outstanding preferred stock in various environments based on its assessment of the relative cost of capital across the company’s capital structure. A market-wide increase in preferred stock being called may reduce the aggregate size of the preferred stock universe and the number of issuers with preferred stock outstanding. Such reductions may make it more challenging for the Fund to invest in the component securities of the Underlying Index, increasing the risk of the Fund being underinvested in the Underlying Index and thus increasing the risk of tracking error. To the extent that the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in convertible preferred stocks, declining common stock values may also cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline.
Real Estate Investment Risk. The Fund may invest in companies that invest in, develop, or operate real estate, or provide real estate related services (“Real Estate Companies”), such as real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) or real estate holding and operating companies, which expose investors in the Fund to the risks of owning real estate directly, as well as to risks that relate specifically to the way in which Real Estate Companies are organized and operated. Real estate is highly sensitive to general and local economic conditions and developments, and characterized by intense competition and periodic overbuilding. Many Real Estate Companies, including REITs, utilize leverage (and some may be highly leveraged), which increases investment risk and the risk normally associated
S-7


Table of Contents
with debt financing, and could potentially magnify the Fund’s losses. Rising interest rates could result in higher costs of capital for Real Estate Companies, which could negatively affect a Real Estate Company's ability to meet its payment obligations or its financing activity and could decrease the market prices for REITs and for properties held by such REITs.
Risk of Investing in the U.S. Certain changes in the U.S. economy, such as when the U.S. economy weakens or when its financial markets decline, may have an adverse effect on the securities to which the Fund has exposure.
Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of collateral provided for loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund.
Tracking Error Risk. The Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities and other instruments held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences (including, as applicable, differences between a security’s price at the local market close and the Fund's valuation of a security at the time of calculation of the Fund's NAV), transaction costs incurred by the Fund,
the Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of dividends or interest, the requirements to maintain pass-through tax treatment, portfolio transactions carried out to minimize the distribution of capital gains to shareholders, changes to the Underlying Index or the costs to the Fund of complying with various new or existing regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because the Fund incurs fees and expenses, while the Underlying Index does not. THE UNDERLYING INDEX WILL GRADUALLY INCREASE EXPOSURE TO SECURITIES BASED ON THEIR WEIGHTINGS IN THE NEW INDEX WHILE PROPORTIONATELY REDUCING EXPOSURE TO CERTAIN COMPONENT SECURITIES OF THE S&P U.S. PREFERRED STOCK INDEX. THESE ADJUSTMENTS TO THE FUND'S PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE THE FUND'S TRANSACTION COSTS AND TURNOVER RATE.
Utilities Sector Risk. The utilities sector is subject to significant government regulation and oversight. Deregulation, however, may subject utility companies to greater competition and may reduce their profitability. Companies in the utilities sector may be adversely affected due to increases in fuel and operating costs, rising costs of financing capital construction and the cost of complying with regulations, among other factors.
S-8


Table of Contents
Performance Information
The bar chart and table that follow show how the Fund has performed on a calendar year basis and provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund. Both assume that all dividends and distributions have been reinvested in the Fund. Past performance (before and after taxes) does not necessarily indicate how the Fund will perform in the future. Supplemental information about the Fund’s performance is shown under the heading Total Return Information in the Supplemental Information section of the Prospectus.
Year-by-Year Returns1 (Years Ended December 31)

1 The Fund’s year-to-date return as of June 30, 2019 was 9.94%.
The best calendar quarter return during the periods shown above was 45.25% in the 2nd quarter of 2009; the worst was -20.39% in the 1st quarter of 2009.
Updated performance information, including the Fund’s current NAV, may be obtained by visiting our website at www.iShares.com or by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) (toll free).
S-9


Table of Contents
Average Annual Total Returns
(for the periods ended December 31, 2018)
  One Year   Five Years   Ten Years
(Inception Date: 3/26/2007)          
Return Before Taxes -4.77%   4.39%   8.50%
Return After Taxes on Distributions1 -6.38%   2.62%   6.55%
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares1 -2.11%   3.05%   6.39%
S&P U.S. Preferred Stock IndexTM (Index returns do not reflect deductions for fees, expenses, or taxes)2 -4.25%   5.08%   9.60%
ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index (Index returns do not reflect deductions for fees, expenses, or taxes)2 N/A   N/A   N/A
ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index (Index returns do not reflect deductions for fees, expenses, or taxes)3 N/A   N/A   N/A

1 After-tax returns in the table above are calculated using the historical highest individual U.S. federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state or local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown, and after-tax returns shown are not relevant to tax-exempt investors or investors who hold shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”). Fund returns after taxes on distributions and sales of Fund shares are calculated assuming that an investor has sufficient capital gains of the same character from other investments to offset any capital losses from the sale of Fund shares. As a result, Fund returns after taxes on distributions and sales of Fund shares may exceed Fund returns before taxes and/or returns after taxes on distributions.
2 On February 1, 2019, the Fund’s underlying index changed from the S&P U.S. Preferred Stock IndexTM to the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index until October 31, 2019. The inception date of the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index was November 25, 2018.
3 On November 1, 2019, the Fund’s underlying index changed from the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index to the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index. The inception date of the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index was November 25, 2018.
S-10


Table of Contents
Management
Investment Adviser. BlackRock Fund Advisors.
Portfolio Managers. Rachel Aguirre, Jennifer Hsui, Alan Mason, Greg Savage and Amy Whitelaw (the “Portfolio Managers”) are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager supervises a portfolio management team. Ms. Aguirre, Ms. Hsui, Mr. Mason, Mr. Savage and Ms. Whitelaw have been Portfolio Managers of the Fund since 2018, 2012, 2016, 2008 and 2018, respectively.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund is an exchange-traded fund (commonly referred to as an “ETF”). Individual shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange. Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer. The price of Fund shares is based on market price, and because ETF shares trade at market prices rather than at NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (a premium) or less than NAV (a discount). The Fund will only issue or redeem shares that have been aggregated into blocks of 50,000 shares or multiples thereof (“Creation Units”) to Authorized Participants who have entered into agreements with the Fund's distributor. The Fund generally will issue or redeem Creation Units in return for a designated portfolio of securities (and an amount of cash) that the Fund specifies each day.
Tax Information
The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement such as a 401(k) plan or an IRA, in which case, your distributions generally will be taxed when withdrawn.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), BFA or other related companies may pay the intermediary for marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems or other services related to the sale or promotion of the Fund. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
S-11


Table of Contents
[THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]


Table of Contents
More Information About the Fund
This Prospectus contains important information about investing in the Fund. Please read this Prospectus carefully before you make any investment decisions. Additional information regarding the Fund is available at www.iShares.com.
On February 1, 2019, the name of the Fund changed from the iShares U.S. Preferred Stock ETF to the iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF, and the Fund's underlying index changed from the S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index to the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index. On November 1, 2019, the Fund’s underlying index changed from the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index to the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index.
BFA is the investment adviser to the Fund. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on The Nasdaq Stock Market (“NASDAQ”). The market price for a share of the Fund may be different from the Fund’s most recent NAV.
ETFs are funds that trade like other publicly-traded securities. The Fund is designed to track an index. Similar to shares of an index mutual fund, each share of the Fund represents an ownership interest in an underlying portfolio of securities and other instruments intended to track a market index. Unlike shares of a mutual fund, which can be bought and redeemed from the issuing fund by all shareholders at a price based on NAV, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed directly from the Fund at NAV solely by Authorized Participants and only in Creation Unit increments. Also unlike shares of a mutual fund, shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange and trade in the secondary market at market prices that change throughout the day.
The Fund invests in a particular segment of the securities markets and seeks to track the performance of a securities index that may not be representative of the market as a whole. The Fund is designed to be used as part of broader asset allocation strategies. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund should not constitute a complete investment program.
An index is a financial calculation, based on a grouping of financial instruments, and is not an investment product, while the Fund is an actual investment portfolio. The performance of the Fund and the Underlying Index may vary for a number of reasons, including transaction costs, non-U.S. currency valuations, asset valuations, corporate actions (such as mergers and spin-offs), timing variances and differences between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index resulting from the Fund's use of representative sampling or from legal restrictions (such as diversification requirements) that apply to the Fund but not to the Underlying Index. From time to time, the Index Provider may make changes to the methodology or other adjustments to the Underlying Index. Unless otherwise determined by BFA, any such change or adjustment will be reflected in the calculation of the Underlying Index performance on a going-forward basis after the effective date of such change or adjustment. Therefore, the Underlying Index performance shown for periods prior to the effective date of any
1


Table of Contents
such change or adjustment will generally not be recalculated or restated to reflect such change or adjustment.
“Tracking error” is the divergence of the Fund's performance from that of the Underlying Index. BFA expects that, over time, the Fund’s tracking error will not exceed 5%. Because the Fund uses a representative sampling indexing strategy, it can be expected to have a larger tracking error than if it used a replication indexing strategy. “Replication” is an indexing strategy in which a fund invests in substantially all of the securities in its underlying index in approximately the same proportions as in the underlying index.
Under continuous listing standards adopted by the Fund's listing exchange, the Fund is required to confirm on an ongoing basis that the components of the Underlying Index satisfy the applicable listing requirements. In the event that the Underlying Index does not comply with the applicable listing requirements, the Fund is required to rectify such non-compliance by requesting that the Index Provider modify the Underlying Index, adopting a new underlying index, or obtaining relief from the SEC. Failure to rectify such non-compliance may result in the Fund being delisted by the listing exchange.
An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit and it is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency, BFA or any of its affiliates.
The Fund's investment objective and the Underlying Index may be changed without shareholder approval.
A Further Discussion of Principal Risks
The Fund is subject to various risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund’s NAV, trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. You could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund could underperform other investments. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Asset Class Risk. The securities and other assets in the Underlying Index or in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to other securities or indexes that track other countries, groups of countries, regions, industries, groups of industries, markets, asset classes or sectors. Various types of securities, currencies and indexes may experience cycles of outperformance and underperformance in comparison to the general financial markets depending upon a number of factors including, among other things, inflation, interest rates, productivity, global demand for local products or resources, and regulation and governmental controls. This may cause the Fund to underperform other investment vehicles that invest in different asset classes.
Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem Creation Units, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at
2


Table of Contents
a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting. Authorized Participant concentration risk may be heightened because ETFs, such as the Fund, that invest in securities issued by non-U.S. issuers or other securities or instruments that are less widely traded often involve greater settlement and operational issues and capital costs for Authorized Participants, which may limit the availability of Authorized Participants.
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities of a particular issuer or issuers, country, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. The Fund may be more adversely affected by the underperformance of those securities, may experience increased price volatility and may be more susceptible to adverse economic, market, political or regulatory occurrences affecting those securities than a fund that does not concentrate its investments.
Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that the issuer or guarantor of an instrument, such as a hybrid security, will be unable or unwilling to make its timely interest and/or principal payments when due or otherwise honor its obligations. There are varying degrees of credit risk, depending on an issuer’s financial condition and on the terms of an obligation, which may be reflected in the issuer’s credit rating. There is the chance that the Fund’s portfolio holdings will have their credit ratings downgraded or will default (i.e., fail to make scheduled interest or principal payments), or that the market’s perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness may worsen, potentially reducing the Fund’s income level or share price.
Cybersecurity Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as the internet to conduct business, the Fund, Authorized Participants, service providers and the relevant listing exchange are susceptible to operational, information security and related “cyber” risks both directly and through their service providers. Similar types of cybersecurity risks are also present for issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers and may cause the Fund’s investment in such portfolio companies to lose value. Unlike many other types of risks faced by the Fund, these risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyberattacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities with nation-state backing.
Cybersecurity failures by or breaches of the systems of the Fund’s adviser, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, index providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers,
3


Table of Contents
Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses, interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, disclosure of confidential trading information, impediments to trading, submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders, the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, cyberattacks may render records of Fund assets and transactions, shareholder ownership of Fund shares, and other data integral to the functioning of the Fund inaccessible or inaccurate or incomplete. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyberattacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful or that cyberattacks will go undetected. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, the Index Provider, market makers or Authorized Participants. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
Dividend Risk. There is no guarantee that issuers of the securities held by the Fund will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, such dividends will remain at current levels or increase over time.
Equity Securities Risk. The Fund invests in preferred equity and hybrid securities, which may be subject to changes in value that may be attributable to market perception of a particular issuer or to general stock market fluctuations that affect all issuers. Investments in equity securities may be more volatile than investments in other asset classes. The Underlying Index is comprised of preferred stocks and hybrid securities, holders of which generally are subject to more risks than debt securities because such holders' claims are subordinated to those of holders of debt securities upon the bankruptcy of the issuer.
Financials Sector Risk. Companies in the financials sector of an economy are subject to extensive governmental regulation and intervention, which may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge, the amount of capital they must maintain and, potentially, their size. The extent to which the Fund may invest in a company that engages in securities-related activities or banking is limited by applicable law. Governmental regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for companies in the financials sector, including effects not intended by such regulation. Recently enacted legislation in the U.S. has relaxed capital requirements and other regulatory burdens on certain U.S. banks. While the effect of the legislation may benefit certain companies in the financials sector, increased risk taking by affected banks may also result in greater overall risk in the U.S. and global financials sector. The impact of changes in capital requirements, or recent or future regulation in various countries, on any individual financial company or on the financials sector as a whole cannot be predicted. Certain risks may impact the
4


Table of Contents
value of investments in the financials sector more severely than those of investments outside this sector, including the risks associated with companies that operate with substantial financial leverage. Companies in the financials sector may also be adversely affected by increases in interest rates and loan losses, decreases in the availability of money or asset valuations, credit rating downgrades and adverse conditions in other related markets. Insurance companies, in particular, may be subject to severe price competition and/or rate regulation, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability. The financials sector is particularly sensitive to fluctuations in interest rates. The financials sector is also a target for cyberattacks, and may experience technology malfunctions and disruptions. In recent years, cyberattacks and technology malfunctions and failures have become increasingly frequent in this sector and have reportedly caused losses to companies in this sector, which may negatively impact the Fund.
Fixed-to-Floating Rate Securities Risk. The Fund invests in fixed-to-floating rate preferred securities, which are securities that have an initial term with a fixed dividend rate and following this initial term bear a floating dividend rate. Securities which include a floating or variable interest rate component can be less sensitive to interest rate changes than securities with fixed interest rates, but may decline in value if their interest rates do not rise as much, or as quickly, as interest rates in general. Conversely, floating rate securities will not generally increase in value if interest rates decline. A decline in interest rates may result in a reduction in income received from floating rate securities held by the Fund and may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s shares. Generally, floating rate securities carry lower yields than similar fixed rate securities. The interest rate for a floating rate security resets or adjusts periodically by reference to a benchmark interest rate. The impact of interest rate changes on floating rate investments is typically mitigated by the periodic interest rate reset of the investments. Fixed-to-floating rate securities generally are subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, may trade infrequently, and their value may be impaired when the Fund needs to liquidate such securities. Benchmark interest rates, such as the LIBOR, may not accurately track market interest rates. There is no guarantee or assurance that: (i) the Fund will be able to invest in a desired amount of fixed-to-floating rate securities, (ii) the Fund will be able to buy such securities at a desirable price, or (iii) floating rate securities in which it invests or seeks to invest will be actively traded. Any or all of the foregoing, should they occur, could negatively impact the Fund.
Hybrid Securities Risk. Hybrid securities are securities which contain characteristics of both a debt security and an equity security. Therefore, hybrid securities are subject to the risks of equity securities and risks of debt securities. The terms of hybrid instruments may vary substantially, and certain hybrid securities may be subject to similar risks as preferred stocks, such as interest rate risk, issuer risk, dividend risk, call risk, and extension risk. The claims of holders of hybrid securities of an issuer are generally subordinated to those of holders of traditional debt securities in bankruptcy, and thus hybrid securities may be more volatile and subject to greater risk than traditional debt securities, and may in certain circumstances even be more volatile than traditional equity securities. At the same time, hybrid securities may not fully participate in gains of their issuer and thus potential returns of such securities are
5


Table of Contents
generally more limited than traditional equity securities, which would participate in such gains. Hybrid securities may also be more limited in their rights to participate in management decisions of an issuer (such as voting for the board of directors). Certain hybrid securities may be more thinly traded and less liquid than either publicly issued equity securities or debt securities, especially hybrid securities that are “customized” to meet the needs of particular investors, potentially making it difficult for the Fund to sell such securities at a favorable price or at all. Any of these features could cause a loss in market value of hybrid securities held by the Fund or otherwise adversely affect the Fund.
Income Risk. The Fund’s income may decline if interest rates fall. This decline in income can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding securities as securities in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, securities in the Underlying Index are substituted, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional securities. The Index Provider’s substitution of securities in the Underlying Index may occur, for example, when the time to maturity for the securities no longer matches the Underlying Index’s stated maturity guidelines.
Index-Related Risk. The Fund seeks to achieve a return that corresponds generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Underlying Index as published by the Index Provider. There is no assurance that the Index Provider or any agents that may act on its behalf will compile the Underlying Index accurately, or that the Underlying Index will be determined, composed or calculated accurately. While the Index Provider provides descriptions of what the Underlying Index is designed to achieve, neither the Index Provider nor its agents provide any warranty or accept any liability in relation to the quality, accuracy or completeness of the Underlying Index or its related data, and they do not guarantee that the Underlying Index will be in line with the Index Provider’s methodology. BFA’s mandate as described in this Prospectus is to manage the Fund consistently with the Underlying Index provided by the Index Provider to BFA. BFA does not provide any warranty or guarantee against the Index Provider’s or any agent’s errors. Errors in respect of the quality, accuracy and completeness of the data used to compile the Underlying Index may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, particularly where the indices are less commonly used as benchmarks by funds or managers. Such errors may negatively or positively impact the Fund and its shareholders. For example, during a period where the Underlying Index contains incorrect constituents, the Fund would have market exposure to such constituents and would be underexposed to the Underlying Index’s other constituents. Shareholders should understand that any gains from Index Provider errors will be kept by the Fund and its shareholders and any losses or costs resulting from Index Provider errors will be borne by the Fund and its shareholders.
Apart from scheduled rebalances, the Index Provider or its agents may carry out additional ad hoc rebalances to the Underlying Index in order, for example, to correct an error in the selection of index constituents. When the Underlying Index is rebalanced and the Fund in turn rebalances its portfolio to attempt to increase the correlation between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index, any transaction costs and market exposure arising from such portfolio rebalancing will be borne
6


Table of Contents
directly by the Fund and its shareholders. Therefore, errors and additional ad hoc rebalances carried out by the Index Provider or its agents to the Underlying Index may increase the costs to and the tracking error risk of the Fund.
Interest Rate Risk. As interest rates rise, the value of a fixed-income security held by the Fund is likely to decrease. A measure investors commonly use to determine this sensitivity is called duration. Generally, the longer the duration of a particular fixed-income security, the greater its price sensitivity to interest rates. Securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making their prices more volatile than those of securities with shorter durations. To the extent the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in fixed-income securities with longer duration, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline significantly, which may adversely affect the value of the Fund. An increase in interest rates may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and adversely affect certain fixed-income investments. In addition, decreases in fixed-income dealer market-making capacity may lead to lower trading volume, heightened volatility, wider bid-ask spreads, and less transparent pricing in certain fixed-income markets.
The historically low interest rate environment in recent years was created in part by the world’s major central banks keeping their overnight policy interest rates at, near or below zero percent and implementing monetary policy facilities, such as asset purchase programs, to anchor longer-term interest rates below historical levels. Certain central banks have since increased their short-term policy rates and begun phasing out, or “tapering,” facilities and may continue to do so in the future. The timing, magnitude, and effect of such policy changes on various markets is uncertain, and changes in monetary policy may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments.
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. Any issuer of these securities may perform poorly, causing the value of its securities to decline. Poor performance may be caused by poor management decisions, competitive pressures, changes in technology, expiration of patent protection, disruptions in supply, labor problems or shortages, corporate restructurings, fraudulent disclosures, credit deterioration of the issuer or other factors. Issuers may, in times of distress or at their own discretion, decide to reduce or eliminate dividends, which may also cause their stock prices to decline. An issuer may also be subject to risks associated with the countries, states and regions in which the issuer resides, invests, sells products, or otherwise conducts operations.
Management Risk. Because BFA uses a representative sampling indexing strategy, the Fund will not fully replicate the Underlying Index and may hold securities not included in the Underlying Index. As a result, the Fund is subject to the risk that BFA’s investment strategy, the implementation of which is subject to a number of constraints, may not produce the intended results.
Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. The value of a security or other asset may decline due to changes in general market conditions, economic trends or events that are not specifically related to the issuer of the security or other asset, or factors that affect a particular issuer or issuers, country,
7


Table of Contents
group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. During a general market downturn, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected. Changes in market conditions and interest rates generally do not have the same impact on all types of securities and instruments.
Market Trading Risk
Absence of Active Market. Although shares of the Fund are listed for trading on one or more stock exchanges, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained by market makers or Authorized Participants.
Risk of Secondary Listings. The Fund's shares may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the U.S. stock exchange where the Fund's primary listing is maintained, and may otherwise be made available to non-U.S. investors through funds or structured investment vehicles similar to depositary receipts. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s shares will continue to trade on any such stock exchange or in any market or that the Fund’s shares will continue to meet the requirements for listing or trading on any exchange or in any market. The Fund's shares may be less actively traded in certain markets than in others, and investors are subject to the execution and settlement risks and market standards of the market where they or their broker direct their trades for execution. Certain information available to investors who trade Fund shares on a U.S. stock exchange during regular U.S. market hours may not be available to investors who trade in other markets, which may result in secondary market prices in such markets being less efficient.
Secondary Market Trading Risk. Shares of the Fund may trade in the secondary market at times when the Fund does not accept orders to purchase or redeem shares. At such times, shares may trade in the secondary market with more significant premiums or discounts than might be experienced at times when the Fund accepts purchase and redemption orders.
Secondary market trading in Fund shares may be halted by a stock exchange because of market conditions or for other reasons. In addition, trading in Fund shares on a stock exchange or in any market may be subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to “circuit breaker” rules on the stock exchange or market.
Shares of the Fund, similar to shares of other issuers listed on a stock exchange, may be sold short and are therefore subject to the risk of increased volatility and price decreases associated with being sold short.
Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. Shares of the Fund trade on stock exchanges at prices at, above or below the Fund’s most recent NAV. The NAV of the Fund is calculated at the end of each business day and fluctuates with changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings. The trading price of the Fund's shares fluctuates continuously throughout trading hours based on both market supply of and demand for Fund shares and the underlying value of the Fund's portfolio holdings or NAV. As a result, the trading prices of the Fund’s shares may deviate significantly from NAV during periods of market volatility. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO
8


Table of Contents
NAV. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at NAV, BFA believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of the Fund are not likely to be sustained over the long term (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their NAVs). While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it more likely that the Fund’s shares normally will trade on stock exchanges at prices close to the Fund’s next calculated NAV, exchange prices are not expected to correlate exactly with the Fund's NAV due to timing reasons, supply and demand imbalances and other factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions, including disruptions at market makers, Authorized Participants, or other market participants, and during periods of significant market volatility, may result in trading prices for shares of the Fund that differ significantly from its NAV. Authorized Participants may be less willing to create or redeem Fund shares if there is a lack of an active market for such shares or its underlying investments, which may contribute to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to NAV.
Costs of Buying or Selling Fund Shares. Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange involves two types of costs that apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you will likely incur a brokerage commission and other charges. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread”; that is, the difference between what investors are willing to pay for Fund shares (the “bid” price) and the price at which they are willing to sell Fund shares (the “ask” price). The spread, which varies over time for shares of the Fund based on trading volume and market liquidity, is generally narrower if the Fund has more trading volume and market liquidity and wider if the Fund has less trading volume and market liquidity. In addition, increased market volatility may cause wider spreads. There may also be regulatory and other charges that are incurred as a result of trading activity. Because of the costs inherent in buying or selling Fund shares, frequent trading may detract significantly from investment results and an investment in Fund shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments through a brokerage account.
Money Market Instruments Risk. The value of money market instruments may be affected by changing interest rates and by changes in the credit ratings of the investments. If a significant amount of the Fund's assets are invested in money market instruments, it will be more difficult for the Fund to achieve its investment objective. An investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. It is possible to lose money by investing in a money market fund. Money market funds other than government money market funds or retail money market funds “float” their NAV instead of using a stable $1.00 per share price.
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.
9


Table of Contents
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed and may be affected by a general decline in market segments related to the Underlying Index. The Fund invests in securities included in, or representative of, the Underlying Index, regardless of their investment merits. BFA generally does not attempt to invest the Fund's assets in defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets.
Preferred Stock Risk. Unlike interest payments on a debt security, dividend payments on preferred stock typically must be declared by the issuer's board of directors. An issuer's board of directors is generally not under any obligation to pay dividends (even if such dividends have accrued), and may suspend payment of dividends on preferred stock at any time. In the event an issuer of preferred stock experiences economic difficulties, the issuer's preferred stock may lose substantial value due to the reduced likelihood that the issuer's board of directors will declare dividends and the fact that the preferred stock may be subordinated to other securities of the same issuer. Certain additional risks associated with preferred stock could adversely affect investments in the Fund.
Interest Rate Risk. Because many preferred stocks pay dividends at a fixed rate, their market price can be sensitive to changes in interest rates in a manner similar to bonds. That is, as interest rates rise, the value of the preferred stocks held by the Fund are likely to decline. To the extent that the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in fixed rate preferred stocks, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Fund's investments to decline significantly.
Issuer Risk. Because many preferred stocks allow holders to convert the preferred stock into common stock of the issuer, market price of a preferred stock can be sensitive to changes in the value of the issuer's common stock. To the extent that the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in convertible preferred stocks, declining common stock values may also cause the value of the Fund's investments to decline.
Dividend Risk. There is a chance that the ability to pay dividends by the issuer of a preferred stock held by the Fund may deteriorate or the issuer may default (i.e., fail to make scheduled dividend payments on the preferred stock or scheduled interest payments on other obligations of the issuer not held by the Fund), which would negatively affect the value of any such holding.
Call Risk. Preferred stocks are subject to market volatility, and the prices of preferred stocks will fluctuate based on market demand. Preferred stocks often have call features that allow the issuer to redeem the security at its discretion. If a preferred stock is redeemed by the issuer, it will be removed from the Underlying Index. The redemption of preferred stocks having a higher than average yield may cause a decrease in the yield of the Underlying Index and the Fund. Because the Underlying Index is rebalanced annually, the removal of a large number of preferred stocks during the year due to maturity, redemption, conversion or other corporate action may cause the Underlying Index to be periodically concentrated in a smaller number of issuers or in issuers of a particular sector or industry.
Extension Risk. During periods of rising interest rates, certain obligations will be paid off substantially more slowly than originally anticipated, and the value of those
10


Table of Contents
securities may fall sharply, resulting in a decline to the Fund’s income and potentially in the value of the Fund’s investments.
Real Estate Investment Risk. The Fund may invest in Real Estate Companies, such as REITs, real estate holding and operating companies, or real estate management or development companies, which expose investors to the risks of owning real estate directly, as well as to risks that relate specifically to the way in which Real Estate Companies are organized and operated. Real estate is highly sensitive to general and local economic conditions and developments and is characterized by intense competition and periodic overbuilding. Many Real Estate Companies, including REITs, utilize leverage (and some may be highly leveraged), which increases investment risk and the risk normally associated with debt financing, and could potentially increase the Fund’s losses. Rising interest rates could result in higher costs of capital for Real Estate Companies, which could negatively affect a Real Estate Company's ability to meet its payment obligations or its financing activity and could decrease the market prices for REITs and for properties held by such REITs. In addition, to the extent a Real Estate Company has its own expenses, the Fund (and indirectly, its shareholders) will bear its proportionate share of such expenses.
Concentration Risk. Real Estate Companies may own a limited number of properties and concentrate their investments in a particular geographic region, industry or property type. Economic downturns affecting a particular region, industry or property type may lead to a high volume of defaults within a short period.
Equity REITs Risk. Certain REITs may make direct investments in real estate. These REITs are often referred to as “Equity REITs.” Equity REITs invest primarily in real properties and may earn rental income from leasing those properties. Equity REITs may also realize gains or losses from the sale of properties. Equity REITs will be affected by conditions in the real estate rental market and by changes in the value of the properties they own. A decline in rental income may occur because of extended vacancies, limitations on rents, the failure to collect rents, increased competition from other properties or poor management. Equity REITs also can be affected by rising interest rates. Rising interest rates may cause investors to demand a high annual yield from future distributions that, in turn, could decrease the market prices for such REITs and for the properties held by such REITs. In addition, rising interest rates also increase the costs of obtaining financing for real estate projects. Because many real estate projects are dependent upon receiving financing, this could cause the value of the Equity REITs in which the Fund invests to decline.
Interest Rate Risk. Rising interest rates could result in higher costs of capital for Real Estate Companies, which could negatively affect a Real Estate Company’s ability to meet its payment obligations. Declining interest rates could result in increased prepayment on loans and require redeployment of capital in less desirable investments.
Leverage Risk. Real Estate Companies may use leverage (and some may be highly leveraged), which increases investment risk and the risks normally associated with debt financing and could adversely affect a Real Estate Company’s operations and market value in periods of rising interest rates. Financial covenants related to a Real Estate Company’s leveraging may affect the ability of the Real Estate Company to
11


Table of Contents
operate effectively. In addition, investments may be subject to defaults by borrowers and tenants. Leveraging may also increase repayment risk.
Illiquidity Risk. Investing in Real Estate Companies may involve risks similar to those associated with investing in small-capitalization companies. Real Estate Company securities may be volatile. There may be less trading in Real Estate Company shares, which means that purchase and sale transactions in those shares could have a magnified impact on share price, resulting in abrupt or erratic price fluctuations. In addition, real estate is relatively illiquid and, therefore, a Real Estate Company may have a limited ability to vary or liquidate its investments in properties in response to changes in economic or other conditions.
Loan Foreclosure Risk. Real Estate Companies may foreclose on loans that the Real Estate Company originated and/or acquired. Foreclosure may generate negative publicity for the underlying property that affects its market value. In addition to the length and expense of such proceedings, the validity of the terms of the applicable loan may not be recognized in foreclosure proceedings.
Operational Risk. Real Estate Companies are dependent upon management skills and may have limited financial resources. Real Estate Companies are generally not diversified and may be subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers and self-liquidation. In addition, transactions between Real Estate Companies and their affiliates may be subject to conflicts of interest, which may adversely affect a Real Estate Company’s shareholders. A Real Estate Company may also have joint ventures in certain of its properties and, consequently, its ability to control decisions relating to such properties may be limited.
Property Risk. Real Estate Companies may be subject to risks relating to functional obsolescence or reduced desirability of properties; extended vacancies due to economic conditions and tenant bankruptcies; property damage due to events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, rodent, insect or disease infestations and terrorist acts; eminent domain seizures; and casualty or condemnation losses. Real estate income and values also may be greatly affected by demographic trends, such as population shifts, changing tastes and values, increasing vacancies or declining rents resulting from legal, cultural, technological, global or local economic developments and changes in tax law.
Regulatory Risk. Real estate income and values may be adversely affected by applicable domestic and foreign laws (including tax laws). Government actions, such as tax increases, zoning law changes, reduced funding for schools, parks, garbage collection and other public services or environmental regulations also may have a major impact on real estate income and values.
Repayment Risk. The prices of Real Estate Company securities may drop because of the failure of borrowers to repay their loans, poor management, or the inability to obtain financing either on favorable terms or at all. If the properties in which Real Estate Companies invest do not generate sufficient income to meet operating expenses, including, where applicable, debt service, ground lease payments, tenant improvements, third-party leasing commissions and other capital expenditures, the
12


Table of Contents
income and ability of the Real Estate Companies to make payments of interest and principal on their loans will be adversely affected.
U.S. Tax Risk. Certain U.S. Real Estate Companies are subject to special U.S. federal tax requirements. A REIT that fails to comply with such tax requirements may be subject to U.S. federal income taxation, which may affect the value of the REIT and the characterization of the REIT's distributions. The U.S. federal tax requirement that a REIT distributes substantially all of its net income to its shareholders may result in the REIT having insufficient capital for future expenditures. A REIT that successfully maintains its qualification may still become subject to U.S. federal, state and local taxes, including excise, penalty, franchise, payroll, mortgage recording, and transfer taxes, both directly and indirectly through its subsidiaries.
Risk of Investing in the U.S. A decrease in imports or exports, changes in trade regulations and/or an economic recession in the U.S. may have a material adverse effect on the U.S. economy and the securities listed on U.S. exchanges. Proposed and adopted policy and legislative changes in the U.S. are changing many aspects of financial and other regulation and may have a significant effect on the U.S. markets generally, as well as on the value of certain securities. In addition, a continued rise in the U.S. public debt level or the imposition of U.S. austerity measures may adversely affect U.S. economic growth and the securities to which the Fund has exposure.
The U.S. has developed increasingly strained relations with a number of foreign countries. If relations with certain countries continue to worsen, it could adversely affect U.S. issuers as well as non-U.S. issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. The U.S. has also experienced increased internal unrest and discord. If this trend were to continue, it may have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy and many of the issuers in which the Fund invests.
Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of collateral provided for loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A., the Fund's securities lending agent, will take into account the tax impact to shareholders of substitute payments for dividends when managing the Fund's securities lending program.
Tracking Error Risk. The Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities and other instruments held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences (including, as applicable, differences between a security’s price at the local market close and the Fund's valuation of a security at the time of calculation of the Fund's NAV), transaction costs incurred by the Fund, the Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of dividends or interest, the requirements to maintain pass-through tax treatment, portfolio transactions carried out to minimize the distribution of capital gains to shareholders, changes to the Underlying Index or the costs to the Fund of complying with various new or existing
13


Table of Contents
regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because the Fund incurs fees and expenses, while the Underlying Index does not. THE UNDERLYING INDEX WILL GRADUALLY INCREASE EXPOSURE TO SECURITIES BASED ON THEIR WEIGHTINGS IN THE NEW INDEX WHILE PROPORTIONATELY REDUCING EXPOSURE TO CERTAIN COMPONENT SECURITIES OF THE S&P U.S. PREFERRED STOCK INDEX. THESE ADJUSTMENTS TO THE FUND'S PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE THE FUND'S TRANSACTION COSTS AND TURNOVER RATE.
Utilities Sector Risk. Deregulation may subject utility companies to greater competition and may adversely affect their profitability. As deregulation allows utility companies to diversify outside of their original geographic regions and their traditional lines of business, utility companies may engage in riskier ventures. In addition, deregulation may eliminate restrictions on the profits of certain utility companies, but may also subject these companies to greater risk of loss. Companies in the utilities industry may have difficulty obtaining an adequate return on invested capital, raising capital, or financing large construction projects during periods of inflation or unsettled capital markets; face restrictions on operations and increased cost and delays attributable to environmental considerations and regulation; find that existing plants, equipment or products have been rendered obsolete by technological innovations; or be subject to increased costs because of the scarcity of certain fuels or the effects of man-made or natural disasters. Existing and future regulations or legislation may make it difficult for utility companies to operate profitably. Government regulators monitor and control utility revenues and costs, and therefore may limit utility profits. There is no assurance that regulatory authorities will grant rate increases in the future or that such increases will be adequate to permit the payment of dividends on stocks issued by a utility company. Energy conservation and changes in climate policy may also have a significant adverse impact on the revenues and expenses of utility companies.
A Further Discussion of Other Risks
The Fund may also be subject to certain other risks associated with its investments and investment strategies. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Close-out Risk for Qualified Financial Contracts. Regulations adopted by global prudential regulators that are now in effect require counterparties that are part of U.S. or foreign global systemically important banking organizations to include contractual restrictions on close-out and cross-default in agreements relating to qualified financial contracts. Qualified financial contracts include agreements relating to swaps, currency forwards and other derivatives as well as repurchase agreements and securities lending agreements. The restrictions prevent the Fund from closing out a qualified financial contract during a specified time period if the counterparty is subject to resolution proceedings and prohibit the Fund from exercising default rights due to a receivership or similar proceeding of an affiliate of the counterparty. These requirements may increase credit risk and other risks to the Fund.
European Economic Risk. The European Union (the “EU”) requires compliance by member states with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates and debt
14


Table of Contents
levels, as well as fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe, including those countries that are not members of the EU. Changes in imports or exports, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro (the common currency of certain EU countries), the default or threat of default by an EU member state on its sovereign debt and/or an economic recession in an EU member state may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of EU member states and their trading partners. The European financial markets have historically experienced volatility and adverse trends in years past due to concerns about economic downturns or rising government debt levels in several European countries, including, but not limited to, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine. These events have adversely affected the exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect European countries.
Responses to financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not produce the desired results, may result in social unrest, may limit future growth and economic recovery or may have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and other entities of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world. In addition, one or more countries may abandon the euro and/or withdraw from the EU. In a referendum held on June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom (the “U.K.”) resolved to leave the EU (“Brexit”). The referendum has introduced significant uncertainties and instability in the financial markets as the U.K. negotiates its exit from the EU. The outcome of negotiations remains uncertain. U.K. businesses are increasingly preparing for a disorderly Brexit, and the consequences for European and U.K. businesses could be severe. The Fund will face risks associated with the potential uncertainty and consequences that may follow Brexit, including with respect to volatility in exchange rates and interest rates. Brexit could adversely affect European or worldwide political, regulatory, economic or market conditions and could contribute to instability in global political institutions, regulatory agencies and financial markets. Brexit could also lead to legal uncertainty and politically divergent national laws and regulations as a new relationship between the U.K. and EU is defined and the U.K. determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. Any of these effects of Brexit could adversely affect any of the companies to which the Fund has exposure and any other assets in which the Fund invests. The political, economic and legal consequences of Brexit are not yet known. In the short term, financial markets may experience heightened volatility, particularly those in the U.K. and Europe, but possibly worldwide. The U.K. may be less stable than it has been in recent years, and investments in the U.K. may be difficult to value, or subject to greater or more frequent rises and falls in value. In the longer term, there is likely to be a period of significant political, regulatory and commercial uncertainty as the U.K. seeks to negotiate its long-term exit from the EU and the terms of its future trading relationships.
Secessionist movements, such as the Catalan movement in Spain and the independence movement in Scotland, as well as governmental or other responses to such movements, may also create instability and uncertainty in the region. In addition, the national politics of countries in the EU have been unpredictable and subject to
15


Table of Contents
influence by varying political groups and ideologies. The governments of EU countries may be subject to change and such countries may experience social and political unrest. Unanticipated or sudden political or social developments may result in sudden and significant investment losses. The occurrence of terrorist incidents throughout Europe also could impact financial markets. The impact of these events is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching and could adversely affect the value and liquidity of the Fund's investments.
Illiquid Investments Risk. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. To the extent the Fund holds illiquid investments, the illiquid investments may reduce the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices. An investment may be illiquid due to, among other things, the reduced number and capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in securities or instruments or the lack of an active market for such securities or instruments. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities or instruments with substantial market and/or credit risk, the Fund will tend to have increased exposure to the risks associated with illiquid investments. Liquid investments may become illiquid after purchase by the Fund, particularly during periods of market turmoil. There can be no assurance that a security or instrument that is deemed to be liquid when purchased will continue to be liquid for as long as it is held by the Fund, and any security or instrument held by the Fund may be deemed an illiquid investment pursuant to the Fund’s liquidity risk management program. Illiquid investments may be harder to value, especially in changing markets. Although the Fund primarily seeks to redeem shares of the Fund on an in-kind basis, if the Fund is forced to sell underlying investments at reduced prices or under unfavorable conditions to meet redemption requests or for other cash needs, the Fund may suffer a loss. This may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment or other circumstances where redemptions from the Fund may be greater than normal. Other market participants may be attempting to liquidate holdings at the same time as the Fund, causing increased supply of the Fund’s underlying investments in the market and contributing to illiquid investments risk and downward pricing pressure. During periods of market volatility, liquidity in the market for the Fund’s shares may be impacted by the liquidity in the market for the underlying securities or instruments held by the Fund, which could lead to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to the Fund’s NAV.
Insurance Industry Risk. The insurance industry is subject to extensive government regulation and can be significantly affected by changes in interest rates, general economic conditions, price and market competition, the imposition of premium rate caps or other changes in government regulation or tax law. Certain segments of the insurance industry can be significantly affected by mortality and morbidity rates, environmental clean-up costs and catastrophic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist acts.
National Closed Market Trading Risk. To the extent that the underlying securities held by the Fund trade on foreign exchanges or in foreign markets that may be closed
16


Table of Contents
when the securities exchange on which the Fund’s shares trade is open, there are likely to be deviations between the current price of an underlying security and the last quoted price for the underlying security (i.e., the Fund’s quote from the closed foreign market). These deviations could result in premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV that may be greater than those experienced by other ETFs.
Non-U.S. Securities Risk. Investments in the securities of non-U.S. issuers are subject to the risks of investing in the markets where such issuers are located, including heightened risks of inflation, nationalization and market fluctuations caused by economic and political developments. As a result of investing in non-U.S. securities, the Fund may be subject to increased risk of loss caused by any of the factors listed below:
A lack of market liquidity and market efficiency;
Greater securities price volatility;
Exchange rate fluctuations and exchange controls;
Less availability of public information about issuers;
Limitations on foreign ownership of securities;
Imposition of withholding or other taxes;
Imposition of restrictions on the expatriation of the funds or other assets of the Fund;
Higher transaction and custody costs and delays in settlement procedures;
Difficulties in enforcing contractual obligations;
Lower levels of regulation of the securities markets;
Weaker accounting, disclosure and reporting requirements; and
Legal principles relating to corporate governance, directors’ fiduciary duties and liabilities and stockholders’ rights in markets in which the Fund invests may differ and/or may not be as extensive or protective as those that apply in the U.S.
Risk of Investing in Developed Countries. Investment in developed country issuers may subject the Fund to regulatory, political, currency, security, economic and other risks associated with developed countries. Developed countries generally tend to rely on services sectors (e.g., the financial services sector) as the primary means of economic growth. A prolonged slowdown in one or more services sectors is likely to have a negative impact on economies of certain developed countries, although economies of individual developed countries can be impacted by slowdowns in other sectors. In the past, certain developed countries have been targets of terrorism, and some geographic areas in which the Fund invests have experienced strained international relations due to territorial disputes, historical animosities, defense concerns and other security concerns. These situations may cause uncertainty in the financial markets in these countries or geographic areas and may adversely affect the performance of the issuers to which the Fund has exposure. Heavy regulation of certain markets, including labor and product markets, may have an adverse effect on certain issuers. Such regulations may negatively affect economic growth or cause prolonged periods of recession. Many developed countries are heavily indebted and face rising healthcare and retirement expenses. In addition, price fluctuations of
17


Table of Contents
certain commodities and regulations impacting the import of commodities may negatively affect developed country economies.
Telecommunications Sector Risk. The telecommunications sector is subject to extensive government regulation. The costs of complying with governmental regulations, delays or failure to receive required regulatory approvals, or the enactment of new regulatory requirements may negatively affect the business of telecommunications companies. Government actions around the world, specifically in the area of pre-marketing clearance of products and prices, can be arbitrary and unpredictable. The domestic telecommunications market is characterized by increasing competition and regulation by various state and federal regulatory authorities. Companies in the telecommunications sector may encounter distressed cash flows due to the need to commit substantial capital to meet increasing competition, particularly in developing new products and services using new technology. Technological innovations may make the products and services of certain telecommunications companies obsolete. Telecommunications providers are generally required to obtain franchises or licenses in order to provide services in a given location. Licensing and franchise rights in the telecommunications sector are limited, which may provide an advantage to certain participants. Limited availability of such rights, high barriers to market entry and regulatory oversight, among other factors, have led to consolidation of companies within the sector, which could lead to further regulation or other negative effects in the future.
Threshold/Underinvestment Risk. If certain aggregate and/or fund-level ownership thresholds are reached through transactions undertaken by BFA, its affiliates or the Fund, or as a result of third-party transactions or actions by an issuer or regulator, the ability of BFA and its affiliates on behalf of clients (including the Fund) to purchase or dispose of investments, or exercise rights or undertake business transactions, may be restricted by regulation or otherwise impaired. The capacity of the Fund to make investments in certain securities may be affected by the relevant threshold limits, and such limitations may have adverse effects on the liquidity and performance of the Fund’s portfolio holdings compared to the performance of the Underlying Index. This may increase the risk of the Fund being underinvested to the Underlying Index and increase the risk of tracking error.
For example, in certain circumstances where the Fund invests in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries or in certain emerging or international markets, or is subject to corporate or regulatory ownership restrictions, or invests in certain futures or other derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate and/or fund-level amount invested or voted by BFA and its affiliates for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including the Fund) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BFA and its affiliates, the Fund or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions.
Portfolio Holdings Information
A description of the Trust's policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is available in the Fund's Statement of Additional
18


Table of Contents
Information (“SAI”). The top holdings of the Fund can be found at www.iShares.com. Fund fact sheets provide information regarding the Fund's top holdings and may be requested by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737).
Management
Investment Adviser. As investment adviser, BFA has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Fund. BFA provides an investment program for the Fund and manages the investment of the Fund’s assets. In managing the Fund, BFA may draw upon the research and expertise of its asset management affiliates with respect to certain portfolio securities. In seeking to achieve the Fund's investment objective, BFA uses teams of portfolio managers, investment strategists and other investment specialists. This team approach brings together many disciplines and leverages BFA’s extensive resources.
Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement between BFA and the Trust (entered into on behalf of the Fund), BFA is responsible for substantially all expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses (as determined by a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust).
For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA is paid a management fee from the Fund calculated based on the aggregate average daily net assets of the following iShares funds: iShares Latin America 40 ETF, iShares MSCI Pacific ex Japan ETF, iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF, iShares Russell 2000 ETF, iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF, iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF and iShares Select Dividend ETF. The management fee for the Fund equals the ratio of the Fund's net assets over the aggregate net assets of the above iShares funds multiplied by the amount calculated as follows: 0.4800% per annum of the aggregate net assets less than or equal to $46 billion, plus 0.4560% per annum of the aggregate net assets over $46 billion, up to and including $81 billion, plus 0.4332% per annum of the aggregate net assets over $81 billion, up to and including $111 billion, plus 0.4116% per annum of the aggregate net assets over $111 billion, up to and including $141 billion, plus 0.3910% of the aggregate net assets in excess of $141 billion. Based on the assets of the iShares funds listed above as of March 31, 2019, for its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA was paid a management fee from the Fund, as a percentage of the Fund's average daily net assets, at the annual rate of 0.46%. BFA may from time to time voluntarily waive and/or reimburse fees or expenses in order to limit total annual fund operating expenses (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, if any). Any such voluntary waiver or reimbursement may be eliminated by BFA at any time.
BFA is located at 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. It is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). As of June 30, 2019, BFA and its affiliates provided investment advisory services for assets in excess of $6.84 trillion. BFA and its affiliates trade and invest for their own accounts in the actual securities and types of securities in which the Fund may also invest, which may affect the price of such securities.
19


Table of Contents
A discussion regarding the basis for the approval by the Trust's Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of the Investment Advisory Agreement with BFA is available in the Fund's semi-annual report for the period ended September 30.
Portfolio Managers. Rachel Aguirre, Jennifer Hsui, Alan Mason, Greg Savage and Amy Whitelaw are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager is responsible for various functions related to portfolio management, including, but not limited to, investing cash inflows, coordinating with members of his or her portfolio management team to focus on certain asset classes, implementing investment strategy, researching and reviewing investment strategy and overseeing members of his or her portfolio management team that have more limited responsibilities.
Rachel Aguirre has been with BlackRock since 2006, including her years with Barclays Global Investors (“BGI”), which merged with BlackRock in 2009. Ms. Aguirre has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2006 and has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2018.
Jennifer Hsui has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a senior portfolio manager since 2007. Prior to that, Ms. Hsui was a portfolio manager from 2006 to 2007 for Barclays Global Fund Advisors (“BGFA”). Ms. Hsui has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2012.
Alan Mason has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 1991. Mr. Mason has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2016.
Greg Savage has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a senior portfolio manager since 2006. Prior to that, Mr. Savage was a portfolio manager from 2001 to 2006 for BGFA. Mr. Savage has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2008.
Amy Whitelaw has been with BlackRock since 1999, including her years with BGI, which merged with BlackRock in 2009. Ms. Whitelaw has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2009 and has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2018.
The Fund's SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Managers' compensation, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Managers' ownership (if any) of shares in the Fund.
Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent. State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) is the administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund.
Conflicts of Interest. The investment activities of BFA and its affiliates (including BlackRock and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Affiliates”)), The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (which, through a subsidiary, has a significant economic interest in BlackRock) and its subsidiaries (each with The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., an “Entity” and collectively, the “Entities”), and their respective directors, officers or employees, in the management of, or their interest in, their own accounts and other accounts they manage, may present conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA, its Affiliates and the Entities provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may
20


Table of Contents
follow investment programs similar to that of the Fund. BFA, its Affiliates and the Entities are involved worldwide with a broad spectrum of financial services and asset management activities and may engage in the ordinary course of business in activities in which their interests or the interests of their clients may conflict with those of the Fund. BFA or one or more Affiliates or Entities act, or may act, as an investor, investment banker, research provider, investment manager, commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, financier, underwriter, adviser, market maker, trader, prime broker, lender, index provider, agent and/or principal, and have other direct and indirect interests in securities, currencies, commodities, derivatives and other instruments in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. 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 or an Entity performs or seeks to perform investment banking or other services. Specifically, the Fund may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies with which an Affiliate or an Entity has developed or is trying to develop investment banking relationships or in which an Affiliate or an Entity has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Fund may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which an Affiliate or an Entity provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. The Fund also may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies for which an Affiliate or an Entity provides or may in the future provide research coverage. An Affiliate or an Entity 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 Entities in connection with the Fund's portfolio investment transactions. BFA or one or more Affiliates or Entities may engage in proprietary trading and advise accounts and funds that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in and compete for transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and other instruments as the Fund. This may include transactions in securities issued by other open-end and closed-end investment companies (which may include investment companies that are affiliated with the Fund and BFA, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”)). The trading activities of BFA and these Affiliates or Entities are carried out without reference to positions held directly or indirectly by the Fund and may result in BFA or an Affiliate or an Entity having positions in certain securities that are senior or junior to, or have interests different from or adverse to, the securities that are owned by the Fund.
Neither BlackRock nor any Affiliate is under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Fund. As a result, an Affiliate may compete with the Fund for appropriate investment opportunities. The results of the Fund's investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of an Affiliate and of other accounts managed by an Affiliate, and it is possible that the Fund could sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible.
21


Table of Contents
In addition, the Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which BFA or an Affiliate or an Entity or its or their directors, officers or employees or other clients have an adverse interest. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by clients advised or managed by BFA, its Affiliates or Entities may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more clients or by BFA, its Affiliates or Entities or their directors, officers or employees, may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund.
The Fund's activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to BFA, one or more Affiliates or Entities and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions.
Under a securities lending program approved by the Board, the Fund has retained BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A., an Affiliate of BFA, to serve as the securities lending agent for the Fund to the extent that the Fund participates in the securities lending program. For these services, the securities lending agent will receive a fee from the Fund, including a fee based on the returns earned on the Fund’s investment of the cash received as collateral for the loaned securities. In addition, one or more Affiliates or Entities may be among the entities to which the Fund may lend its portfolio securities under the securities lending program.
The activities of BFA, its Affiliates and Entities and their respective directors, officers or employees, may give rise to other conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA has adopted policies and procedures designed to address these potential conflicts of interest. See the SAI for further information.
Shareholder Information
Additional shareholder information, including how to buy and sell shares of the Fund, is available free of charge by calling toll-free: 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting our website at www.iShares.com.
Buying and Selling Shares. Shares of the Fund may be acquired or redeemed directly from the Fund only in Creation Units or multiples thereof, as discussed in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus. Only an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section below) may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. Once created, shares of the Fund generally trade in the secondary market in amounts less than a Creation Unit.
Shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange for trading during the trading day. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like shares of other publicly-traded companies. The Trust does not impose any minimum investment for shares of the Fund purchased on an exchange or otherwise in the secondary market. The Fund's shares trade under the ticker symbol “PFF.”
Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange or other secondary market involves two types of costs that may apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission and other charges. The commission is frequently a fixed amount and may be a significant proportional cost for investors seeking to buy or sell small amounts of shares. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread,” that is, any difference between the
22


Table of Contents
bid price and the ask price. The spread varies over time for shares of the Fund based on the Fund’s trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund has high trading volume and market liquidity, and higher if the Fund has little trading volume and market liquidity (which is often the case for funds that are newly launched or small in size). The Fund's spread may also be impacted by the liquidity or illiquidity of the underlying securities held by the Fund, particularly for newly launched or smaller funds or in instances of significant volatility of the underlying securities.
The Board has adopted a policy of not monitoring for frequent purchases and redemptions of Fund shares (“frequent trading”) that appear to attempt to take advantage of a potential arbitrage opportunity presented by a lag between a change in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities after the close of the primary markets for the Fund’s portfolio securities and the reflection of that change in the Fund’s NAV (“market timing”), because the Fund sells and redeems its shares directly through transactions that are in-kind and/or for cash, subject to the conditions described below under Creations and Redemptions. The Board has not adopted a policy of monitoring for other frequent trading activity because shares of the Fund are listed for trading on a national securities exchange.
The national securities exchange on which the Fund's shares are listed is open for trading Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and the following holidays (or the days on which they are observed): New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The Fund’s primary listing exchange is NASDAQ.
Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by investment companies, including foreign investment companies, in the securities of other investment companies. Registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in SEC rules or in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust. In order for a registered investment company to invest in shares of the Fund beyond the limitations of Section 12(d)(1) pursuant to the exemptive relief obtained by the Trust, the registered investment company must enter into an agreement with the Trust. Foreign investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund only up to the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to any applicable SEC no-action relief.
Book Entry. Shares of the Fund are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of, and holds legal title to, all outstanding shares of the Fund.
Investors owning shares of the Fund are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for shares of the Fund. DTC participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of stock certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other securities that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
23


Table of Contents
Share Prices. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares in the secondary market generally differ from the Fund’s daily NAV and are affected by market forces such as the supply of and demand for ETF shares and shares of underlying securities held by the Fund, economic conditions and other factors. Information regarding the intraday value of shares of the Fund, also known as the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (“IOPV”), is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout each trading day by the national securities exchange on which the Fund's shares are listed or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IOPV is based on the current market value of the securities or other assets and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a Creation Unit. The IOPV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities or other assets held by the Fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, the IOPV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the Fund's NAV, which is computed only once a day. The IOPV is generally determined by using both current market quotations and price quotations obtained from broker-dealers and other market intermediaries that may trade in the portfolio securities or other assets held by the Fund. The quotations of certain Fund holdings may not be updated during U.S. trading hours if such holdings do not trade in the U.S. The Fund is not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV and makes no representation or warranty as to its accuracy.
Determination of Net Asset Value. The NAV of the Fund normally is determined once daily Monday through Friday, generally as of the regularly scheduled close of business of the NYSE (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day that the NYSE is open for trading, based on prices at the time of closing, provided that (i) any Fund assets or liabilities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar are translated into U.S. dollars at the prevailing market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more data service providers and (ii) U.S. fixed-income assets may be valued as of the announced closing time for trading in fixed-income instruments in a particular market or exchange. The NAV of the Fund is calculated by dividing the value of the net assets of the Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by the total number of outstanding shares of the Fund, generally rounded to the nearest cent.
The value of the securities and other assets and liabilities held by the Fund are determined pursuant to valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board.
Equity investments and other instruments for which market quotations are readily available, as well as investments in an underlying fund, if any, are valued at market value, which is generally determined using the last reported official closing price or, if a reported closing price is not available, the last traded price on the exchange or market on which the security is primarily traded at the time of valuation.
Generally, trading in non-U.S. securities, U.S. government securities, money market instruments and certain fixed-income securities is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of business on the NYSE. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of the Fund are determined as of such times.
When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BFA to be unreliable, the Fund’s investments are valued at fair value. Fair value determinations are made by BFA in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Board. BFA may conclude that a market quotation is not readily available or is unreliable if a
24


Table of Contents
security or other asset or liability does not have a price source due to its lack of trading or other reasons, if a market quotation differs significantly from recent price quotations or otherwise no longer appears to reflect fair value, where the security or other asset or liability is thinly traded, when there is a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation, or if the trading market on which a security is listed is suspended or closed and no appropriate alternative trading market is available. A “significant event” is deemed to occur if BFA determines, in its reasonable business judgment prior to or at the time of pricing the Fund’s assets or liabilities, that the event is likely to cause a material change to the closing market price of one or more assets or liabilities held by the Fund. Non-U.S. securities whose values are affected by volatility that occurs in the local markets or in related or highly correlated assets (e.g., American Depositary Receipts, Global Depositary Receipts or substantially identical ETFs) on a trading day after the close of non-U.S. securities markets may be fair valued.
Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of an asset or liability held by the Fund is the amount the Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or the cost to extinguish that liability in an arm’s-length transaction. Valuing the Fund’s investments using fair value pricing will result in prices that may differ from current market valuations and that may not be the prices at which those investments could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used. Use of fair value prices and certain current market valuations could result in a difference between the prices used to calculate the Fund’s NAV and the prices used by the Underlying Index, which, in turn, could result in a difference between the Fund’s performance and the performance of the Underlying Index.
Dividends and Distributions
General Policies. Dividends from net investment income, if any, generally are declared and paid at least once a year by the Fund. Distributions of net realized securities gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but the Trust may make distributions on a more frequent basis for the Fund. The Trust reserves the right to declare special distributions if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve its status as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income or realized gains.
Dividends and other distributions on shares of the Fund are distributed on a pro rata basis to beneficial owners of such shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC participants and indirect participants to beneficial owners then of record with proceeds received from the Fund.
Dividend Reinvestment Service. No dividend reinvestment service is provided by the Trust. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by beneficial owners of the Fund for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Beneficial owners should contact their broker to determine the availability and costs of the service and the details of participation therein. Brokers may require beneficial owners to adhere to specific procedures and timetables. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains
25


Table of Contents
will be automatically reinvested in additional whole shares of the Fund purchased in the secondary market.
Taxes. As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in shares of the Fund will be taxed. The tax information in this Prospectus is provided as general information, based on current law. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund.
Unless your investment in Fund shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an IRA, in which case your distributions generally will be taxable when withdrawn, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Fund shares.
Taxes on Distributions. Distributions from the Fund’s net investment income (other than qualified dividend income), including distributions of income from securities lending and distributions out of the Fund’s net short-term capital gains, if any, are taxable to you as ordinary income. Distributions by the Fund of net long-term capital gains, if any, in excess of net short-term capital losses (capital gain dividends) are taxable to you as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you have held the Fund’s shares. Distributions by the Fund that qualify as qualified dividend income are taxable to you at long-term capital gain rates. Long-term capital gains and qualified dividend income are generally eligible for taxation at a maximum rate of 15% or 20% for non-corporate shareholders, depending on whether their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. In addition, a 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax is imposed on “net investment income,” including, but not limited to, interest, dividends, and net gain, of U.S. individuals with income exceeding $200,000 (or $250,000 if married and filing jointly) and of estates and trusts.
Dividends will be qualified dividend income to you if they are attributable to qualified dividend income received by the Fund. Generally, qualified dividend income includes dividend income from taxable U.S. corporations and qualified non-U.S. corporations, provided that the Fund satisfies certain holding period requirements in respect of the stock of such corporations and has not hedged its position in the stock in certain ways. Substitute dividends received by the Fund with respect to dividends paid on securities lent out will not be qualified dividend income. For this purpose, a qualified non-U.S. corporation means any non-U.S. corporation that is eligible for benefits under a comprehensive income tax treaty with the U.S., which includes an exchange of information program, or if the stock with respect to which the dividend was paid is readily tradable on an established U.S. securities market. The term excludes a corporation that is a passive foreign investment company.
Dividends received by the Fund from a RIC generally are qualified dividend income only to the extent such dividend distributions are made out of qualified dividend income received by such RIC. Additionally, it is expected that dividends received by the Fund from a REIT and distributed to a shareholder generally will be taxable to the shareholder as ordinary income. However, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026, the Fund may report dividends eligible for a 20% “qualified business income” deduction for non-corporate U.S. shareholders to the extent the Fund’s income is derived from ordinary REIT dividends, reduced by allocable Fund expenses.
26


Table of Contents
For a dividend to be treated as qualified dividend income, the dividend must be received with respect to a share of stock held without being hedged by the Fund, and with respect to a share of the Fund held without being hedged by you, for 61 days during the 121-day period beginning at the date which is 60 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend or, in the case of certain preferred stock, 91 days during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date.
In general, your distributions are subject to U.S. federal income tax for the year when they are paid. Certain distributions paid in January, however, may be treated as paid on December 31 of the prior year.
If the Fund’s distributions exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, all or a portion of the distributions made in the taxable year may be recharacterized as a return of capital to shareholders. Distributions in excess of the Fund’s minimum distribution requirements, but not in excess of the Fund’s earnings and profits, will be taxable to shareholders and will not constitute nontaxable returns of capital. The Fund’s capital loss carryforwards, if any, carried from taxable years beginning before 2011 do not reduce current earnings and profits, even if such carryforwards offset current year realized gains. A return of capital distribution generally will not be taxable but will reduce the shareholder’s cost basis and result in a higher capital gain or lower capital loss when those shares on which the distribution was received are sold. Once a shareholder's cost basis is reduced to zero, further distributions will be treated as capital gain, if the shareholder holds shares of the Fund as capital assets.
Dividends, interest and capital gains earned by the Fund with respect to securities issued by non-U.S. issuers may give rise to withholding, capital gains and other taxes imposed by non-U.S. countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the U.S. may reduce or eliminate such taxes. If more than 50% of the total assets of the Fund at the close of a year consists of non-U.S. stocks or securities (generally, for this purpose, depositary receipts, no matter where traded, of non-U.S. companies are treated as “non-U.S.”), generally the Fund may “pass through” to you certain non-U.S. income taxes (including withholding taxes) paid by the Fund. This means that you would be considered to have received as an additional dividend your share of such non-U.S. taxes, but you may be entitled to either a corresponding tax deduction in calculating your taxable income, or, subject to certain limitations, a credit in calculating your U.S. federal income tax.
For purposes of foreign tax credits for U.S. shareholders of the Fund, foreign capital gains taxes may not produce associated foreign source income, limiting the availability of such credits for U.S. persons.
If you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the U.S. or if you are a non-U.S. entity (other than a pass-through entity to the extent owned by U.S. persons), the Fund’s ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gains) will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies, provided that withholding tax will generally not apply to any gain or income realized by a non-U.S. shareholder in respect of any distributions of long-term capital gains or upon the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund.
27


Table of Contents
Separately, a 30% withholding tax is currently imposed on U.S.-source dividends, interest and other income items paid to (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. account holders and (ii) certain other foreign entities, unless they certify certain information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. owners. To avoid withholding, foreign financial institutions will need to (i) enter into agreements with the IRS that state that they will provide the IRS information, including the names, addresses and taxpayer identification numbers of direct and indirect U.S. account holders, comply with due diligence procedures with respect to the identification of U.S. accounts, report to the IRS certain information with respect to U.S. accounts maintained, agree to withhold tax on certain payments made to non-compliant foreign financial institutions or to account holders who fail to provide the required information, and determine certain other information concerning their account holders, or (ii) in the event that an applicable intergovernmental agreement and implementing legislation are adopted, provide local revenue authorities with similar account holder information. Other foreign entities may need to report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner or provide certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership unless certain exceptions apply.
If your Fund shares are loaned out pursuant to a securities lending arrangement, you may lose the ability to treat Fund dividends paid while the shares are held by the borrower as qualified dividend income.
If you are a resident or a citizen of the U.S., by law, backup withholding at a 24% rate will apply to your distributions and proceeds if you have not provided a taxpayer identification number or social security number and made other required certifications.
Taxes When Shares are Sold. Currently, any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares is generally treated as a long-term gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than one year. Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares held for one year or less is generally treated as short-term gain or loss, except that any capital loss on the sale of shares held for six months or less is treated as long-term capital loss to the extent that capital gain dividends were paid with respect to such shares. Any such capital gains, including from sales of Fund shares or from capital gain dividends, are included in “net investment income” for purposes of the 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax mentioned above.
The foregoing discussion summarizes some of the consequences under current U.S. federal tax law of an investment in the Fund. It is not a substitute for personal tax advice. You may also be subject to state and local taxation on Fund distributions and sales of shares. Consult your personal tax advisor about the potential tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund under all applicable tax laws.
Creations and Redemptions. Prior to trading in the secondary market, shares of the Fund are “created” at NAV by market makers, large investors and institutions only in block-size Creation Units of 50,000 shares or multiples thereof. Each “creator” or authorized participant (an “Authorized Participant”) has entered into an agreement with the Fund's distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of BFA.
28


Table of Contents
A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the Distributor and the Fund, generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits into the Fund a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) and a specified amount of cash approximating the holdings of the Fund in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units. To the extent practicable, the composition of such portfolio generally corresponds pro rata to the holdings of the Fund. However, creation and redemption baskets may differ. The Fund may, in certain circumstances, offer Creation Units partially or solely for cash.
Similarly, shares can be redeemed only in Creation Units, generally for a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) held by the Fund and a specified amount of cash. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares are not redeemable by the Fund.
The prices at which creations and redemptions occur are based on the next calculation of NAV after a creation or redemption order is received in an acceptable form under the authorized participant agreement.
Only an Authorized Participant may create or redeem Creation Units with the Fund. Authorized Participants may create or redeem Creation Units for their own accounts or for customers, including, without limitation, affiliates of the Fund.
In the event of a system failure or other interruption, including disruptions at market makers or Authorized Participants, orders to purchase or redeem Creation Units either may not be executed according to the Fund's instructions or may not be executed at all, or the Fund may not be able to place or change orders.
To the extent the Fund engages in in-kind transactions, the Fund intends to comply with the U.S. federal securities laws in accepting securities for deposit and satisfying redemptions with redemption securities by, among other means, assuring that any securities accepted for deposit and any securities used to satisfy redemption requests will be sold in transactions that would be exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined in Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, will not be able to receive restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A.
Creations and redemptions must be made through a firm that is either a member of the Continuous Net Settlement System of the National Securities Clearing Corporation or a DTC participant that has executed an agreement with the Distributor with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Unit aggregations. Information about the procedures regarding creation and redemption of Creation Units (including the cut-off times for receipt of creation and redemption orders) is included in the Fund's SAI.
Because new shares may be created and issued on an ongoing basis, at any point during the life of the Fund a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may be occurring. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters subject to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. Any determination of whether one is an underwriter must take into account all the relevant facts and circumstances of each particular case.
Broker-dealers should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to ordinary secondary transactions), and thus dealing with shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of
29


Table of Contents
Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the 1933 Act. For delivery of prospectuses to exchange members, the prospectus delivery mechanism of Rule 153 under the 1933 Act is available only with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange.
Costs Associated with Creations and Redemptions. Authorized Participants are charged standard creation and redemption transaction fees to offset transfer and other transaction costs associated with the issuance and redemption of Creation Units. The standard creation and redemption transaction fees are set forth in the table below. The standard creation transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant creates a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased by the Authorized Participant on the applicable business day. Similarly, the standard redemption transaction fee is charged to the Authorized Participant on the day such Authorized Participant redeems a Creation Unit, and is the same regardless of the number of Creation Units redeemed by the Authorized Participant on the applicable business day. Creations and redemptions for cash (when cash creations and redemptions (in whole or in part) are available or specified) are also subject to an additional charge (up to the maximum amounts shown in the table below). This charge is intended to compensate for brokerage, tax, foreign exchange, execution, price movement and other costs and expenses related to cash transactions (which may, in certain instances, be based on a good faith estimate of transaction costs). Investors who use the services of a broker or other financial intermediary to acquire or dispose of Fund shares may pay fees for such services.
The following table shows, as of April 30, 2019, the approximate value of one Creation Unit, standard fees and maximum additional charges for creations and redemptions (as described above and in the Fund's SAI):
Approximate
Value of a
Creation Unit
  Creation
Unit Size
  Standard
Creation/
Redemption
Transaction Fee
  Maximum Additional
Charge for
Creations*
  Maximum Additional
Charge for
Redemptions*
$1,830,000   50,000   $750   3.0%   2.0%

* As a percentage of the net asset value per Creation Unit, inclusive, in the case of redemptions, of the standard redemption transaction fee.
Householding. Householding is an option available to certain Fund investors. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Please contact your broker-dealer if you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, or if you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status.
30


Table of Contents
Distribution
The Distributor or its agent distributes Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in shares of the Fund. The Distributor has no role in determining the policies of the Fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by the Fund. The Distributor’s principal address is 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.
BFA or its affiliates make payments to broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks or other intermediaries (together, “intermediaries”) related to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, data provision services, or their making shares of the Fund and certain other iShares funds available to their customers generally and in certain investment programs. Such payments, which may be significant to the intermediary, are not made by the Fund. Rather, such payments are made by BFA or its affiliates from their own resources, which come directly or indirectly in part from fees paid by the iShares funds complex. Payments of this type are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments. A financial intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it recommends or makes available, or the level of services provided, to its customers based on the payments or other financial incentives it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments or other financial incentives offered or made to an intermediary create conflicts of interest between the intermediary and its customers and may cause the intermediary to recommend the Fund or other iShares funds over another investment. More information regarding these payments is contained in the Fund's SAI. Please contact your salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any such payments his or her firm may receive from BFA or its affiliates.
31


Table of Contents
Financial Highlights
The financial highlights table is intended to help investors understand the Fund’s financial performance for the past five years. Certain information reflects financial results for a single share of the Fund. The total returns in the table represent the rate that an investor would have earned (or lost) on an investment in the Fund, assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions. This information has been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, whose report is included, along with the Fund's financial statements, in the Fund's Annual Report (available upon request).
Financial Highlights
(For a share outstanding throughout each period)
  iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF
  Year Ended
03/31/19
  Year Ended
03/31/18
  Year Ended
03/31/17
  Year Ended
03/31/16
  Year Ended
03/31/15
Net asset value, beginning of year $ 37.54   $ 38.73   $ 38.93   $ 40.07   $ 39.03
Net investment income(a) 2.10   2.14   2.17   2.24   2.35
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)(b) (1.02)   (1.22)   (0.18)   (1.13)   1.12
Net increase from investment operations 1.08   0.92   1.99   1.11   3.47
Distributions (c)                  
From net investment income (2.15)   (2.11)   (2.19)   (2.25)   (2.43)
Total distributions (2.15)   (2.11)   (2.19)   (2.25)   (2.43)
Net asset value, end of year $ 36.47   $ 37.54   $ 38.73   $ 38.93   $ 40.07
Total Return                  
Based on net asset value 3.01%   2.41%   5.26%   2.92%   9.19%
Ratios to Average Net Assets                  
Total expenses 0.46% (d)   0.47% (d)   0.47%   0.47%   0.47%
Net investment income 5.73%   5.55%   5.59%   5.74%   5.94%
Supplemental Data                  
Net assets, end of year (000) $14,370,721   $16,622,879   $17,272,398   $14,559,042   $13,078,776
Portfolio turnover rate(e) 28%   22%   23%   15%   13%

(a) Based on average shares outstanding.
(b) The amounts reported for a share outstanding may not accord with the change in aggregate gains and losses in securities for the fiscal period due to the timing of capital share transactions in relation to the fluctuating market values of the Fund’s underlying securities.
(c) Distributions for annual periods determined in accordance with U.S. federal income tax regulations.
(d) The Fund indirectly bears its proportionate share of fees and expenses incurred by the underlying fund in which the Fund is invested. This ratio does not include these indirect fees and expenses.
(e) Portfolio turnover rate excludes in-kind transactions.
32


Table of Contents
Index Provider
ICE Data is the Index Provider for the Underlying Index. The Index Provider is not affiliated with the Trust, BFA, State Street or the Distributor.
BFA or its affiliates have entered into a license agreement with the Index Provider to use the Underlying Index. BFA or its affiliates sublicense rights in the Underlying Index to the Trust at no charge.
Disclaimers
Neither the Trust nor the Fund is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by ICE Data Indices, LLC, its affiliates or its third party suppliers (“IDI and its Suppliers”). IDI and its Suppliers make no representation or warranty regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally, in the Fund particularly, or the ability of the Underlying Index to track general stock market performance.
IDI AND ITS SUPPLIERS MAKE NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE WITH RESPECT TO THE UNDERLYING INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. IN NO EVENT SHALL IDI HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, DIRECT, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS), EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
Shares of the Fund are not sponsored, endorsed or promoted by NASDAQ. NASDAQ makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of the Fund or any member of the public regarding the ability of the Fund to track the total return performance of the Underlying Index or the ability of the Underlying Index to track stock market performance. NASDAQ is not responsible for, nor has it participated in, the determination of the compilation or the calculation of the Underlying Index, nor in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of shares of the Fund to be issued, nor in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the shares are redeemable. NASDAQ has no obligation or liability to owners of shares of the Fund in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of shares of the Fund.
NASDAQ does not guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. NASDAQ makes no warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by the Trust on behalf of the Fund as licensee, licensee’s customers and counterparties, owners of shares of the Fund, or any other person or entity from the use of the Underlying Index or any data included therein in connection with the rights licensed as described herein or for any other use. NASDAQ makes no express or implied warranties and hereby expressly disclaims all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to the Underlying Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall NASDAQ have
33


Table of Contents
any liability for any direct, indirect, special, punitive, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits) even if notified of the possibility of such damages.
The past performance of the Underlying Index is not a guide to future performance. BFA and its affiliates do not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein and BFA and its affiliates shall have no liability for any errors, omissions or interruptions therein. BFA and its affiliates make no warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of the Fund or to any other person or entity, as to results to be obtained by the Fund from the use of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall BFA or its affiliates have any liability for any special, punitive, direct, indirect, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits), even if notified of the possibility of such damages.
34


Table of Contents
Supplemental Information
I. Premium/Discount Information
The table that follows presents information about the differences between the daily market price on secondary markets for shares of the Fund and the Fund’s NAV. NAV is the price at which the Fund issues and redeems shares. It is calculated in accordance with the standard formula for valuing mutual fund shares. The price used to calculate market returns (“Market Price”) of the Fund generally is determined using the midpoint between the highest bid and the lowest ask on the primary securities exchange on which shares of the Fund are listed for trading, as of the time that the Fund’s NAV is calculated. The Fund’s Market Price may be at, above or below its NAV. The NAV of the Fund will fluctuate with changes in the value of its portfolio holdings. The Market Price of the Fund will fluctuate in accordance with changes in its NAV, as well as market supply and demand.
Premiums or discounts are the differences (expressed as a percentage) between the NAV and Market Price of the Fund on a given day, generally at the time the NAV is calculated. A premium is the amount that the Fund is trading above the reported NAV, expressed as a percentage of the NAV. A discount is the amount that the Fund is trading below the reported NAV, expressed as a percentage of the NAV.
The following information shows the frequency of distributions of premiums and discounts for the Fund for each full calendar quarter of 2018 and the first two calendar quarters of 2019.
Each line in the table shows the number of trading days in which the Fund traded within the premium/discount range indicated. Premium/discount ranges with no trading days are omitted. The number of trading days in each premium/discount range is also shown as a percentage of the total number of trading days in the period covered by the table. All data presented here represents past performance, which cannot be used to predict future results.
Premium/Discount Range   Number of Days   Percentage of Total Days
Greater than 0.5% and Less than 1.0%   1   0.27%
Greater than 0.0% and Less than 0.5%   152   40.53
At NAV   8   2.13
Less than 0.0% and Greater than -0.5%   214   57.07
    375   100.00%
35


Table of Contents
II. Total Return Information
The table that follows presents information about the total returns of the Fund and the Underlying Index as of the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.
On February 1, 2019, the Fund's underlying index changed from the S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index to the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index. On November 1, 2019, the Fund’s underlying index changed from the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index to the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index.
“Average Annual Total Returns” represents the average annual change in value of an investment over the periods indicated. “Cumulative Total Returns” represents the total change in value of an investment over the periods indicated.
The Fund’s NAV is the value of one share of the Fund as calculated in accordance with the standard formula for valuing mutual fund shares. The NAV return is based on the NAV of the Fund and the market return is based on the Market Price of the Fund. Market Price generally is determined by using the midpoint between the highest bid and the lowest ask on the primary stock exchange on which shares of the Fund are listed for trading, as of the time that the Fund's NAV is calculated. Market and NAV returns assume that dividends and capital gain distributions have been reinvested in the Fund at Market Price and NAV, respectively.
An index is a financial calculation, based on a grouping of financial instruments, that is not an investment product and that tracks a specified financial market or sector. Unlike the Fund, the Underlying Index does not actually hold a portfolio of securities and therefore does not incur the expenses incurred by the Fund. These expenses negatively impact the performance of the Fund. Also, market returns do not include brokerage commissions and other charges that may be payable on secondary market transactions. If brokerage commissions were included, market returns would be lower. The returns shown in the following table do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of Fund shares. The investment return and principal value of shares of the Fund will vary with changes in market conditions. Shares of the Fund may be worth more or less than their original cost when they are redeemed or sold in the market. The Fund’s past performance is no guarantee of future results.
36


Table of Contents
Performance as of March 31, 2019
  Average Annual Total Returns   Cumulative Total Returns
  1 Year 5 Years 10 Years   1 Year 5 Years 10 Years
Fund NAV 3.01% 4.53% 11.81%   3.01% 24.78% 205.38%
Fund Market 3.13 4.56 11.79   3.13 24.98 204.81
Index (a) 3.80 5.25 12.81   3.80 29.17 233.86
S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index™ 4.00 5.29 12.83   4.00 29.42 234.50
ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index(b) N/A N/A N/A   N/A N/A N/A
ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index(c) N/A N/A N/A   N/A N/A N/A
(a) Index performance through January 31, 2019 reflects the performance of the S&P U.S. Preferred Stock IndexTM. Index performance from February 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019 reflects the performance of the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index, which, effective as of February 1, 2019, replaced the S&P U.S. Preferred Stock IndexTM as the underlying index of the Fund. Index performance beginning on November 1, 2019 reflects the performance of the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index, which, effective as of November 1, 2019, replaced the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index as the underlying index of the Fund.
(b) The inception date of the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Transition Index was November 25, 2018. The cumulative total return of this index for the period November 25, 2018 through March 31, 2019 was 5.53%.
(c) The inception date of the ICE Exchange-Listed Preferred & Hybrid Securities Index was November 25, 2018. The cumulative total return of this index for the period November 25, 2018 through March 31, 2019 was 6.46%.
37


Table of Contents
[THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]


Table of Contents


Table of Contents
Want to know more?
iShares.com     |    1-800-474-2737
Copies of the Prospectus, SAI and recent shareholder reports can be found on our website at www.iShares.com. For more information about the Fund, you may request a copy of the SAI. The SAI provides detailed information about the Fund and is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. This means that the SAI, for legal purposes, is a part of this Prospectus.
Additional information about the Fund's investments is available in the Fund's Annual and Semi-Annual Reports to shareholders. In the Fund's Annual Report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund's performance during the last fiscal year.
If you have any questions about the Trust or shares of the Fund or you wish to obtain the SAI, Semi-Annual or Annual Report free of charge, please:
Call: 1-800-iShares or 1-800-474-2737 (toll free)
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Eastern time)
Email: iSharesETFs@blackrock.com
Write: c/o BlackRock Investments, LLC
1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540
Reports and other information about the Fund are available on the EDGAR database on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov, and copies of this information may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov.
No person is authorized to give any information or to make any representations about the Fund and its shares not contained in this Prospectus and you should not rely on any other information. Read and keep this Prospectus for future reference.
©2019 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved. iSHARES® and BLACKROCK® are registered trademarks of BFA and its affiliates. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
Investment Company Act File No.: 811-09729
IS-P-PFF-1119