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NOVEMBER 26, 2021

 

 

2021 PROSPECTUS

 

   

LOGO

 

BlackRock Future Innovators ETF  |  BFTR  |  NYSE ARCA

 

 

 

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


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

 

Fund Overview      S-1  
More Information About the Fund      1  
A Further Discussion of Principal Risks      2  
A Further Discussion of Other Risks      10  
Portfolio Holdings Information      12  
Management      12  
Shareholder Information      14  
Distribution      19  
Financial Highlights      20  
Disclaimers      21  

 

BlackRock® is a registered trademark of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates.

 

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BLACKROCK FUTURE INNOVATORS ETF

Ticker: BFTR                        Stock Exchange: NYSE Arca

Investment Objective

The BlackRock Future Innovators ETF (the “Fund”) seeks long-term capital appreciation.

Fees and Expenses

The following table describes the fees and expenses that you will incur if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. The investment advisory agreement between BlackRock ETF 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 pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and Example below.

 

Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(ongoing expenses that you pay each year as a
percentage of the value of your investments)
Management
Fees1
  Distribution
and
Service (12b-1)
Fees
  Other
Expenses
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
  Fee
Waiver1
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
After Fee  Waiver1
0.80%   None   None   0.80%     0.80%

 

  1 

As described in the “Management” section of the Fund’s prospectus beginning on page 12, BFA has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Fund pays to BFA indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by BFA or its affiliates, through June 30, 2023.

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
$82   $255   $444   $990

 

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. From inception (September 29, 2020) to the most recent fiscal year end, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 0.50% of the average value of its portfolio.

Principal Investment Strategies

Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets plus any borrowings for investment purposes in equity securities issued by mid-

and small-capitalization companies that BFA believes have above-average earnings growth potential.

Equity securities include common stocks, preferred stocks, convertible securities, warrants and depositary receipts, though the Fund seeks to buy primarily common stock. Although universal definitions of small-capitalization companies and mid-capitalization companies do not exist, the Fund generally defines small-capitalization and mid-capitalization companies as those companies with market capitalizations, at the time of the Fund’s investment, comparable in size to the companies in the Russell 2500 Growth Index (between $5,516,100 and $34,351,511,400 as of November 5, 2021). In the future, the Fund may define small- or mid-capitalization companies using a different index or classification system.

 

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In selecting investments for the Fund, BFA focuses on equity securities of small- and mid-capitalization growth companies that are “innovative.” These are companies that have introduced, or are seeking to introduce, a new product or service that potentially changes the marketplace. In evaluating innovative companies, BFA seeks to identify, using its own internal research and analysis, companies capitalizing on innovation or that are enabling the further development of the theme of innovation in the markets in which they operate.

The Fund may invest in shares of companies through initial public offerings (“IPOs”). The Fund may invest up to 25% of its assets in securities of foreign companies, including companies located in emerging markets. Foreign securities in which the Fund may invest may be U.S. dollar-denominated or non-U.S. dollar-denominated.

The Fund may also invest in securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies, subject to applicable regulatory limits, that invest primarily in securities of the types in which the Fund may invest directly. The Fund classifies its investments in such investment companies as “equity securities” for purposes of its investment policies based upon such investment companies’ stated investment objectives, policies and restrictions.

During temporary defensive periods (i.e., in response to adverse market, economic or political conditions), the Fund may invest up to 100% of its total assets in liquid, short-term investments, including high quality, short-term securities. The Fund may not achieve its investment objectives under these circumstances. BFA’s determination that it is temporarily unable to follow the Fund’s investment strategy or that it is impractical to do so will generally occur only in situations in which a market disruption event has occurred and where trading in the securities selected through application of the Fund’s investment strategy is extremely limited or absent.

The Fund may lend securities representing up to one-third of the value of the Fund’s total assets (including the value of the collateral received).

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. Unlike many exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), the Fund is not an index-based ETF. 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 Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to the general financial markets, a particular financial market or other asset classes.

Assets Under Management (AUM) Risk. From time to time, an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section of the prospectus (the “Prospectus”)), a third-party investor, the Fund’s adviser or an affiliate of the Fund’s adviser, or a fund may invest in the Fund and hold its investment for a specific period of time in order to facilitate commencement of the Fund’s operations or to allow the Fund to achieve size or scale. There can be no assurance that any such entity would not redeem its investment or that the size of the Fund would be maintained at such levels, which could negatively impact the Fund.

Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting. Authorized Participant concentration risk may be heightened for ETFs, such as the Fund, that invest in securities issued by non-U.S. issuers or other securities or instruments that have lower trading volumes.

Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to loss due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund’s investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class.

Convertible Securities Risk. The market price of a convertible security generally tends to behave like

 

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

Cybersecurity Risk. Failures or breaches of the electronic systems of the Fund, the Fund’s adviser, distributor, and other service providers (including the benchmark provider), market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests have the ability to cause disruptions, negatively impact the Fund’s business operations and/or potentially result in financial losses to the Fund and its shareholders. While the Fund has established business continuity plans and risk management systems seeking to address system breaches or failures, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems of the Fund’s service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or issuers of securities in which the Fund invests.

Depositary Receipts Risk. The Fund will invest in stocks of foreign corporations. The Fund’s investment in such stocks will be in the form of depositary receipts including American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) and Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”). While the use of ADRs and GDRs, which are traded on exchanges and represent an ownership in a foreign security, provide an alternative to directly purchasing the underlying foreign securities in their respective markets and currencies, investments in ADRs and GDRs continue to be subject to many of the risks associated with investing directly in foreign securities, including political, economic, and currency risk.

Equity Securities Risk. Equity securities are subject to changes in value, and their values may be more volatile than those of other asset classes. Common stocks generally subject their holders to more risks than preferred stocks and debt securities because common stockholders’ claims are subordinated to those of holders of preferred stocks and debt securities upon the bankruptcy of the issuer.

Growth Securities Risk. The Fund invests in growth securities, which may be more volatile than other types of investments, may perform differently than the market as a whole and may underperform when compared to securities with different investment parameters. Companies with forecasted higher levels of sales growth relative to U.S. domestic capital spending may not in fact experience growth or higher growth relative to U.S. capital expenditures. Under certain market conditions, growth securities have performed better during the later stages of economic recovery (although there is no guarantee that they will continue to do so). Therefore, growth securities may go in and out of favor over time.

Healthcare Sector Risk. The profitability of companies in the healthcare sector, including healthcare equipment and services companies, may be affected by government regulations and government healthcare programs, increases or decreases in the cost of medical products and services, an increased emphasis on outpatient services, demand for medical products and services and product liability claims, among other factors. Many healthcare companies are heavily dependent on patent protection, and the expiration of a company’s patent may adversely affect that company’s profitability. Healthcare companies are subject to competitive forces that may result in price discounting, and may be thinly capitalized and susceptible to product obsolescence.

High Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of its portfolio securities. High portfolio turnover (considered by the Fund to mean higher than 100% annually) may result in increased transaction costs to the Fund, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of the securities and on reinvestment in other securities, as well as possible increased taxable distributions.

Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus has resulted in travel restrictions, disruption of healthcare systems, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, layoffs, ratings downgrades, defaults and other significant economic impacts. Certain markets have experienced temporary closures, extreme volatility, severe losses, reduced liquidity and increased trading costs. These events will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and could impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities or cause increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. Other infectious illness outbreaks in the future may result in similar impacts.

 

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Industrials Sector Risk. Companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by changes in the supply of and demand for products and services, product obsolescence, claims for environmental damage or product liability and changes in general economic conditions, among other factors.

Information Technology Sector Risk. Information technology companies face intense competition and potentially rapid product obsolescence. They are also heavily dependent on intellectual property rights and may be adversely affected by the loss or impairment of those rights. Companies in the information technology sector are facing increased government and regulatory scrutiny and may be subject to adverse government or regulatory action. Companies in the software industry may be adversely affected by, among other things, the decline or fluctuation of subscription renewal rates for their products and services and actual or perceived vulnerabilities in their products or services.

Innovative Securities Risk. There can be no assurance that a company identified as innovative by BFA will ultimately introduce a new product or service or that such product or service may not be significantly delayed.

Investment in Other Investment Companies Risk. As with other investments, investments in other investment companies, including ETFs, are subject to market and selection risk. In addition, if the Fund acquires shares of investment companies, including ones affiliated with the Fund, shareholders bear both their proportionate share of expenses in the Fund (including management and advisory fees) and, indirectly, the expenses of the investment companies (to the extent not offset by BFA through waivers). To the extent the Fund is held by an affiliated fund, the ability of the Fund itself to hold other investment companies may be limited.

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. The Fund is subject to management risk, which is the risk that the investment process, techniques and analyses applied by BFA will not produce the desired results, and those securities or other financial instruments selected by BFA may result in returns that are inconsistent with the Fund’s investment objective. In addition,

legislative, regulatory, or tax developments may affect the investment techniques available to BFA in connection with managing the Fund and may also adversely affect the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective.

Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issues like pandemics or epidemics, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.

Market Trading Risk. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares, losses from trading in secondary markets, periods of high volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. Unlike some ETFs that track specific indexes, the Fund does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index. Index-based ETFs have generally traded at prices that closely correspond to NAV per share. Given the high level of transparency of the Fund’s holdings, BFA believes that the trading experience of the Fund should be similar to that of index-based ETFs. However, ETFs that do not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index have a limited trading history and, therefore, there can be no assurance as to whether, and/or the extent to which, the Fund’s shares will trade at premiums or discounts to NAV. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND’S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV.

Mid-Capitalization Companies Risk. Compared to large-capitalization companies, mid-capitalization companies may be less stable and more susceptible to adverse developments. In addition, the securities of mid-capitalization companies may be more volatile and less liquid than those of large-capitalization companies.

“New Issues” Risk. “New issues” are IPOs of equity securities. Securities issued in IPOs have no trading history, and information about the companies may be available for very limited periods. In addition, the prices of securities sold in IPOs may be highly volatile or may decline shortly after the IPO.

Non-Diversification Risk. The Fund may invest a large percentage of its assets in securities issued by or representing a small number of issuers. As a result,

 

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the Fund’s performance may depend on the performance of a small number of issuers.

Non-U.S. Securities Risk. Investments in the securities of non-U.S. issuers are subject to the risks associated with investing in those non-U.S. markets, such as heightened risks of inflation or nationalization. The Fund may lose money due to political, economic and geographic events affecting issuers of non-U.S. securities or non-U.S. markets. In addition, non-U.S. securities markets may trade a small number of securities and may be unable to respond effectively to changes in trading volume, potentially making prompt liquidation of holdings difficult or impossible at times.

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.

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. Preferred stock generally does not reflect the performance of a company as directly as the company’s common stock. 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. 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.

Risk of Investing in Emerging Markets. Investments in emerging markets may be subject to a greater risk of loss than investments in issuers located or operating in more developed markets. Emerging markets may be more likely to experience inflation, political turmoil and rapid changes in economic conditions than more developed markets. Companies in many emerging markets are not subject to the same degree of regulatory requirements, accounting standards or auditor oversight as companies in more developed countries, and as a result, information about the securities in which the Fund invests may be less reliable or complete. Emerging markets often have less reliable securities valuations and greater risk associated with custody of securities than developed markets. There may be significant obstacles to obtaining information necessary for investigations into or litigation against companies and shareholders may have limited legal remedies. Although the Fund is actively managed, investments are not generally selected based on investor protection limitations or differences in the quality of financial reporting and available oversight mechanisms.

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 if it does not recover the securities and/or the value of the collateral falls, including the value of investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund.

Small-Capitalization Companies Risk. Compared to mid- and large-capitalization companies, small-capitalization companies may be less stable and more susceptible to adverse developments. In addition, the securities of small-capitalization companies may be more volatile and less liquid than those of mid- and large-capitalization companies.

Small Fund Risk. When the Fund’s size is small, the Fund may experience low trading volume and wide bid/ask spreads. In addition, the Fund may face the risk of being delisted if the Fund does not meet certain conditions of the listing exchange. Any resulting liquidation of the Fund could cause the Fund to incur elevated transaction costs for the Fund and negative tax consequences for its shareholders.

 

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Warrants Risk. If the price of the underlying stock does not rise above the exercise price before the warrant expires, the warrant generally expires without any value and the Fund will lose any amount it paid for the warrant. Thus, investments in warrants may involve substantially more risk than investments in common stock. Warrants may trade in the same markets as their underlying stock; however, the price of the warrant does not necessarily move with the price of the underlying stock.

Performance Information

As of the date of this Prospectus, the Fund has been in operation for less than one full calendar year and therefore does not report its performance information. The Fund’s benchmark is Russell 2500 Growth Index.

Management

Investment Adviser. BlackRock Fund Advisors.

Portfolio Managers. Phil Ruvinsky, CFA, and William Broadbent (the “Portfolio Managers”) are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager supervises a portfolio management team. Messrs. Ruvinsky and Broadbent have been Portfolio Managers of the Fund since September 2020.

Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares

This Fund is an ETF. Individual shares of the Fund may only be bought and sold in the secondary market through a broker-dealer. 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). An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase shares of the Fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for shares of the Fund (ask) when buying or selling shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”).

Tax Information

The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (“IRA”), in which case, your distributions generally will be taxed when withdrawn.

Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), BFA or other related companies may pay the intermediary for marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems or other services related to the sale or promotion of the Fund. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

 

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More Information About the Fund

This Prospectus contains important information about investing in the Fund. Please read this Prospectus carefully before you make any investment decisions. Additional information regarding the Fund is available at www.blackrock.com.

Additional Information on Principal Investment Strategies. The Fund’s investment objective is a non-fundamental policy and may be changed without shareholder approval. The Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of its net assets plus any borrowings for investment purposes in equity securities issued by mid- and small-capitalization companies that BFA believes have above-average earnings growth potential.

The Fund’s 80% investment policy may be changed by the Fund’s Board of Trustees (the “Board”) upon 60 days’ notice to shareholders.

Equity securities include common stocks, preferred stocks, convertible securities, warrants and depositary receipts, though the Fund seeks to buy primarily common stock. Although universal definitions of small-capitalization companies and mid-capitalization companies do not exist, the Fund generally defines small-capitalization and mid-capitalization companies as those companies with market capitalizations, at the time of the Fund’s investment, comparable in size to the companies in the Russell 2500 Growth Index (between $5,516,100 and $34,351,511,400 as of November 5, 2021). In the future, the Fund may define small- or mid-capitalization companies using a different index or classification system.

The Fund may invest in shares of companies through IPOs. The Fund may invest up to 25% of its assets in securities of foreign companies, including companies located in emerging markets. Foreign securities in which the Fund may invest may be U.S. dollar-denominated or non-U.S. dollar-denominated.

The Fund may also invest in securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies, subject to applicable regulatory limits, that invest primarily in securities of the types in which the Fund may invest directly. The Fund classifies its investments in such investment companies as “equity securities” for purposes of its investment policies based upon such investment companies’ stated investment objectives, policies and restrictions.

During temporary defensive periods (i.e., in response to adverse market, economic or political conditions), the Fund may invest up to 100% of its total assets in liquid, short-term investments, including high quality, short-term securities. The Fund may not achieve its investment objectives under these circumstances. BFA’s determination that it is temporarily unable to follow the Fund’s investment strategy or that it is impractical to do so will generally occur only in situations in which a market disruption event has occurred and where trading in the securities selected through application of the Fund’s investment strategy is extremely limited or absent.

The Fund may lend securities representing up to one-third of the value of the Fund’s total assets (including the value of the collateral received).

Investment Process. In selecting investments for the Fund, BFA focuses on equity securities of small- and mid-capitalization growth companies that are “innovative.” These are companies that have introduced, or are seeking to introduce, a new product or service that potentially changes the marketplace. In evaluating innovative companies, BFA seeks to identify, using its own internal research and analysis, companies capitalizing on innovation or that are enabling the further development of the theme of innovation in the markets in which they operate.

In addition, the Fund seeks to invest in companies where, in the opinion of BFA, free cash flow is likely to grow for a sustained period. Factors considered in BFA’s analysis of a company may include 1) a large and underpenetrated addressable market, 2) a technology or service model that creates recurring demand for product, and 3) a competitive landscape that allows for stable or expanding margins. BFA’s outlook for a company based upon these and other factors is then compared to the outlook of the company implied in the current share price of the company. BFA looks to invest in companies where its view of future cash flows is more favorable than that which it believes is implied by the current price.

BFA will identify trends that have ramifications for individual companies or entire industries. Risk/reward analysis is a key component of both top-down and bottom-up analysis.

 

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Bottom-up security selection is focused on identifying innovative companies with the most attractive growth characteristics. BFA seeks to identify companies with strong product potential, solid earnings growth and/or earnings power which are under appreciated by investors, a quality management team and compelling relative and absolute valuation. BFA believes that the knowledge and experience of its investment team enables it to identify attractive innovative companies.

An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit and it is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency, BFA or any of its affiliates.

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 or other assets 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, market segments, asset classes or sectors. Various types of securities or assets 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.

Assets Under Management (AUM) Risk. From time to time, an Authorized Participant, a third-party investor, the Fund’s adviser or an affiliate of the Fund’s adviser, or a fund may invest in the Fund and hold its investment for a specific period of time in order to facilitate commencement of the Fund’s operations or to allow the Fund to achieve size or scale. There can be no assurance that any such entity would not redeem its investment or that the size of the Fund would be maintained at such levels, which could negatively impact the Fund.

Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem aggregations of a specified number of shares (“Creation Units”), Fund shares may be more likely to trade at 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 and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector, market segment or asset class. The Fund may be more adversely affected by the underperformance of those securities and/or other assets, may experience increased price volatility and may be more susceptible to adverse economic, market, political or regulatory occurrences affecting those securities and/or other assets than a fund that does not concentrate its investments.

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

 

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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 issuers to lose value. Unlike many other types of risks faced by the Fund, these risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyberattacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities with nation-state backing. Cybersecurity failures by or breaches of the systems of the Fund’s adviser, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, index and benchmark providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, Authorized Participants, hedging counterparties to the Fund or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses; interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV; disclosure of confidential trading information; impediments to trading; submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders; the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs; or additional compliance costs. In addition, cyberattacks may render records of Fund assets and transactions, shareholder ownership of Fund shares, and other data integral to the functioning of the Fund inaccessible or inaccurate or incomplete. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber incidents, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful or that cyberattacks will go undetected. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, market makers or Authorized Participants. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

Depositary Receipts Risk. American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) and Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) have the same currency and economic risks as the underlying non-U.S. shares they represent. They are affected by the risks associated with non-U.S. securities, such as changes in political and/or economic conditions of other countries and changes in the exchange rates of foreign currencies. In addition, investments in ADRs and GDRs may be less liquid than the underlying securities in their primary trading market. Depositary receipts may be purchased through “sponsored” or “unsponsored” facilities. A sponsored facility is established jointly by the issuer of the underlying security and a depositary. A depositary may establish an unsponsored facility without participation by the issuer of the security. Holders of unsponsored depositary receipts generally bear all the costs of such facilities and the depositary of an unsponsored facility frequently is under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications received from the issuer of the deposited security or to pass through voting rights to the holders of such receipts of the deposited securities.

Equity Securities Risk. The Fund invests in equity securities, which are subject to changes in value that may be attributable to market perception of a particular issuer or to general stock market fluctuations that affect all issuers. Investments in equity securities may be more volatile than investments in other asset classes. Common stocks generally subject their holders to more risks than preferred stocks and debt securities because common stockholders’ claims are subordinated to those of holders of preferred stocks and debt securities upon the bankruptcy of the issuer.

Growth Securities Risk. Growth companies are companies whose earnings growth potential appears to be greater than the market in general and whose revenue growth is expected to continue for an extended period of time. Stocks of growth companies or “growth securities” have market values that may be more volatile than those of other types of investments. Under certain market conditions, growth securities have performed better during the later stages of economic recovery (although there is no guarantee that they will continue to do so). Therefore, growth securities may go in and out of favor over time. Growth securities typically do not pay a dividend, which can help cushion stock prices in market downturns and reduce potential losses. Companies with forecasted higher levels of sales growth relative to U.S. domestic capital spending may not in fact experience growth or higher growth relative to U.S. capital expenditures.

 

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Healthcare Sector Risk. The profitability of companies in the healthcare sector, including healthcare equipment and services companies, may be adversely affected by the following factors, among others: extensive government regulations, restrictions on government reimbursement for medical expenses, rising costs of medical products and services, pricing pressure, an increased emphasis on outpatient services, changes in the demand for medical products and services, a limited number of products, industry innovation, changes in technologies and other market developments. A number of issuers in the healthcare sector have recently merged or otherwise experienced consolidation. The effects of this trend toward consolidation are unknown and may be far-reaching. Many healthcare companies are heavily dependent on patent protection. The expiration of a company’s patents may adversely affect that company’s profitability. Many healthcare companies are subject to extensive litigation based on product liability and similar claims. Healthcare companies are subject to competitive forces that may make it difficult to raise prices and, in fact, may result in price discounting. Many new products in the healthcare sector may be subject to regulatory approvals. The process of obtaining such approvals may be long and costly, and such efforts ultimately may be unsuccessful. Companies in the healthcare sector may be thinly capitalized and may be susceptible to product obsolescence. In addition, a number of legislative proposals concerning healthcare have been considered by the U.S. Congress in recent years. It is unclear what proposals will ultimately be enacted, if any, and what effect they may have on companies in the healthcare sector. Companies in the life sciences tools and services industry work to develop technologies and instruments to facilitate scientific and medical research; therefore, this industry, in particular, may be negatively affected by a company’s failure to develop new or improved products that integrate technological advances.

High Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of its portfolio securities. High portfolio turnover (considered by the Fund to mean higher than 100% annually) may result in increased transaction costs to the Fund, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of the securities and on reinvestment in other securities. The sale of the Fund’s portfolio securities may result in the realization and/or distribution to shareholders of higher capital gains or losses as compared to a fund with less active trading policies, such as passive ETFs. Given the frequency of sales, in any given year, all or a substantial portion of such gain or loss may be short-term capital gain or loss and, in the event of either net short-term or long-term realized gain, would increase an investor’s tax liability unless shares are held through a tax-deferred or exempt vehicle. These effects of higher than normal portfolio turnover may adversely affect Fund performance.

Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in December 2019 has spread globally. The impact of this outbreak has adversely affected the economies of many nations and the global economy, and may impact individual issuers and capital markets in ways that cannot be foreseen. The duration of the outbreak and its effects cannot be predicted with certainty. Any market or economic disruption can be expected to result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.

 

 

General Impact. This outbreak has resulted in travel restrictions, closed international borders, enhanced health screenings at ports of entry and elsewhere, disruption of and delays in healthcare service preparation and delivery, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, temporary and permanent closures of stores, restaurants and other commercial establishments, layoffs, defaults and other significant economic impacts, as well as general concern and uncertainty.

 

 

Market Volatility. The outbreak has also resulted in extreme volatility, severe losses, and disruptions in markets which can adversely impact the Fund and its investments, including impairing hedging activity to the extent the Fund engages in such activity, as expected correlations between related markets or instruments may no longer apply. In addition, to the extent the Fund invests in short-term instruments that have negative yields, the Fund’s value may be impaired as a result. Certain issuers of equity securities have cancelled or announced the suspension of dividends. The outbreak has, and may continue to, negatively affect the credit ratings of some fixed-income securities and their issuers.

 

 

Market Closures. Certain local markets have been or may be subject to closures, and there can be no assurance that trading will continue in any local markets in which the Fund may invest, when any resumption of trading will occur or, once such markets resume trading, whether they will face further closures. Any suspension of trading in markets in which the Fund invests will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and will impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities in such markets.

 

 

Operational Risk. The outbreak could also impair the information technology and other operational systems upon which the Fund’s service providers, including BFA, rely, and could otherwise disrupt the ability of employees of the Fund’s service providers to perform critical tasks relating to the Fund, for example, due to the service providers’ employees performing tasks in alternate locations than under normal operating conditions or the illness of certain employees of the Fund’s service providers.

 

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Governmental Interventions. Governmental and quasi-governmental authorities and regulators throughout the world have responded to the outbreak and the resulting economic disruptions with a variety of fiscal and monetary policy changes, including direct capital infusions into companies and other issuers, new monetary policy tools, and lower interest rates. An unexpected or sudden reversal of these policies, or the ineffectiveness of such policies, is likely to increase market volatility, which could adversely affect the Fund’s investments.

 

 

Pre-Existing Conditions. Public health crises caused by the outbreak may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally, which could adversely affect the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV.

Other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future could have similar or other unforeseen effects.

Industrials Sector Risk. The value of securities issued by companies in the industrials sector, as traditionally defined, may be adversely affected by supply and demand changes related to their specific products or services and industrials sector products in general. The products of manufacturing companies may face obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction. Global events, trade disputes and changes in government regulations, economic conditions and exchange rates may adversely affect the performance of companies in the industrials sector. Companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by liability for environmental damage and product liability claims. The industrials sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced by unpredictable factors. Aerospace and defense companies, a component of the industrials sector, can be significantly affected by government spending policies because companies involved in this industry rely, to a significant extent, on government demand for their products and services. Thus, the financial condition of, and investor interest in, aerospace and defense companies are heavily influenced by governmental defense spending policies, which are typically under pressure from efforts to control government budgets. Transportation stocks, a component of the industrials sector, are cyclical and can be significantly affected by economic changes, fuel prices, labor relations and insurance costs. Transportation companies in certain countries may also be subject to significant government regulation and oversight, which may adversely affect their businesses. Companies in the industrials sector, particularly aerospace and defense companies, may also be adversely affected by government spending policies because companies in this sector tend to rely to a significant extent on government demand for their products and services.

Information Technology Sector Risk. Information technology companies face intense competition, which may have an adverse effect on their profit margins. Like other technology companies, information technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of information technology companies may face obsolescence due to rapid technological developments, frequent new product introduction, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. Companies in the information technology sector are heavily dependent on patent and intellectual property rights. The loss or impairment of these rights may adversely affect the profitability of these companies. Companies in the information technology sector are facing increased government and regulatory scrutiny and may be subject to adverse government or regulatory action. Companies in the application software industry, in particular, may also be negatively affected by the decline or fluctuation of subscription renewal rates for their products and services, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Companies in the systems software industry may be adversely affected by, among other things, actual or perceived security vulnerabilities in their products and services, which may result in individual or class action lawsuits, state or federal enforcement actions and other remediation costs.

Innovative Securities Risk. There can be no assurance that a company identified as innovative by BFA will ultimately introduce a new product or service or that such product or service may not be significantly delayed.

Investment in Other Investment Companies Risk. As with other investments, investments in other investment companies, including ETFs, are subject to market and selection risk. In addition, if the Fund acquires shares of investment companies, including ones affiliated with the Fund, shareholders bear both their proportionate share of expenses in the Fund (including management and advisory fees) and, indirectly, the expenses of the investment companies (to the extent not offset by BFA through waivers). To the extent the Fund is held by an affiliated fund, the ability of the Fund itself to hold other investment companies may be limited.

Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due. 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. An issuer may also be subject

 

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to risks associated with the countries, states and regions in which the issuer resides, invests, sells products, or otherwise conducts operations.

Management Risk. The Fund is subject to management risk, which is the risk that the investment process, techniques and analyses applied by BFA will not produce the desired results, and that securities or other financial instruments selected by BFA may result in returns that are inconsistent with the Fund’s investment objective. In addition, legislative, regulatory, or tax developments may affect the investment techniques available to BFA in connection with managing the Fund and may also adversely affect the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective.

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, exchange or exchanges, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issues like pandemics or epidemics, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. During a general market downturn, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected. 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 short selling.

Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. Shares of the Fund trade on stock exchanges at prices at, above or below the Fund’s most recent NAV. The NAV of the Fund is calculated at the end of each business day and fluctuates with changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings. The trading price of the Fund’s shares fluctuates continuously throughout trading hours based on both market supply of and demand for Fund shares and the underlying value of the Fund’s portfolio holdings or NAV. As a result, the trading prices of the Fund’s shares may deviate significantly from NAV during periods of market volatility. Unlike conventional ETFs, the Fund is not an index fund and does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index. Index-based ETFs have generally traded at prices which closely correspond to NAV. Given the high level of transparency of the Fund’s holdings, BFA believes that the trading experience of the Fund should be similar to that of index-based ETFs. However, ETFs that do not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index have a limited trading history and, therefore, there can be no assurance as to whether, and/or the extent to which, the Fund’s shares will trade at premiums or discounts to NAV. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND’S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at NAV, BFA believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of the Fund are not likely to be sustained over the long term

 

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(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.

Mid-Capitalization Companies Risk. Stock prices of mid-capitalization companies may be more volatile than those of large-capitalization companies and, therefore, the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than those of funds that invest a larger percentage of their assets in stocks issued by large-capitalization companies. Stock prices of mid-capitalization companies are also more vulnerable than those of large-capitalization companies to adverse business or economic developments, and the stocks of mid-capitalization companies may be less liquid than those of large-capitalization companies, making it difficult for the Fund to buy and sell shares of mid-capitalization companies. In addition, mid-capitalization companies generally have less diverse product lines than large-capitalization companies and are more susceptible to adverse developments related to their products.

“New Issues” Risk. “New issues” are IPOs of equity securities. Investments in companies that have recently gone public have the potential to produce substantial gains for the Fund. However, there is no assurance that the Fund will have access to profitable IPOs and therefore investors should not rely on these past gains as an indication of future performance. The investment performance of the Fund during periods when it is unable to invest significantly or at all in IPOs may be lower than during periods when the Fund is able to do so. In addition, as the Fund increases in size, the impact of IPOs on the Fund’s performance will generally decrease. Securities issued in IPOs are subject to many of the same risks as investing in companies with smaller market capitalizations. Securities issued in IPOs have no trading history, and information about the companies may be available for very limited periods. In addition, the prices of securities sold in IPOs may be highly volatile or may decline shortly after the IPO. When an IPO is brought to the market, availability may be limited and the Fund may not be able to buy any shares at the offering price, or, if it is able to buy shares, it may not be able to buy as many shares at the offering price as it would like.

Non-Diversification Risk. The Fund is classified as “non-diversified.” This means that the Fund may invest a large percentage of its assets in securities issued by or representing a small number of issuers. As a result, the Fund may be more susceptible to the risks associated with these particular issuers or to a single economic, political or regulatory occurrence affecting these issuers.

Non-U.S. Securities Risk. Investments in the securities of non-U.S. issuers are subject to the markets where such issuers are located, heightened risk 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;

 

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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 from and/or may not be as extensive or protective as those that apply in the U.S.

Withholding Tax Reclaims Risk. The Fund may file claims to recover withholding tax on dividend and interest income (if any) received from issuers in certain countries where such withholding tax reclaim is possible. Whether or when the Fund will receive a withholding tax refund in the future is within the control of the tax authorities in such countries. Where the Fund expects to recover withholding tax based on a continuous assessment of probability of recovery, the NAV of the Fund generally includes accruals for such tax refunds. The Fund continues to evaluate tax developments for potential impact to the probability of recovery. If the likelihood of receiving refunds materially decreases, for example due to a change in tax regulation or approach, accruals in the Fund’s NAV for such refunds may need to be written down partially or in full, which will adversely affect that Fund’s NAV. Investors in the Fund at the time an accrual is written down will bear the impact of any resulting reduction in NAV regardless of whether they were investors during the accrual period. Conversely, if the Fund receives a tax refund that has not been previously accrued, investors in the Fund at the time the claim is successful will benefit from any resulting increase in the Fund’s NAV. Investors who sold their shares prior to such time will not benefit from such NAV increase.

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.

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 is 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. The redemption of preferred stocks having a higher than average yield may cause a decrease in the yield of the Fund.

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 securities may fall sharply, resulting in a decline to the Fund’s income and potentially in the value of the Fund’s investments.

 

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Risk of Investing in Emerging Markets. Investments in emerging market issuers may be subject to a greater risk of loss than investments in issuers located or operating in more developed markets. This is due to, among other things, the potential for greater market volatility, currency devaluations, lower trading volume, higher levels of inflation, political and economic instability, greater risk of a market shutdown and more governmental limitations on foreign investments in emerging market countries than are typically found in more developed markets. Certain emerging markets countries have experienced economic recessions causing a negative effect on the economies and securities markets of such emerging countries. Companies in many emerging markets are not subject to the same degree of regulatory requirements, accounting standards or auditor oversight as companies in more developed countries, and as a result, information about the securities in which the Fund invests may be less reliable or complete. Moreover, emerging markets often have less reliable securities valuations and greater risks associated with custody of securities than developed markets. There may be significant obstacles to obtaining information necessary for investigations into or litigation against companies and shareholders may have limited legal remedies. Although the Fund is actively managed, investments are not generally selected based on investor protection limitations or differences in the quality of financial reporting and available oversight mechanisms. In addition, emerging markets often have greater risk of capital controls through such measures as taxes or interest rate control than developed markets. Certain emerging market countries may also lack the infrastructure necessary to attract large amounts of foreign trade and investment. Local securities markets in emerging market countries may trade a small number of securities and may be unable to respond effectively to changes in trading volume, potentially making prompt liquidation of holdings difficult or impossible at times. Settlement procedures in emerging market countries are frequently less developed and reliable than those in the U.S. (and other developed countries). In addition, significant delays may occur in certain markets in registering the transfer of securities. Settlement or registration problems may make it more difficult for the Fund to value its portfolio securities and could cause the Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Investing in emerging market countries involves a higher risk of loss due to expropriation, nationalization, confiscation of assets and property or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investments and on repatriation of capital invested in certain emerging market countries.

Risk of Investing in the U.S. Issuers located in the U.S. constitute a majority of the Fund’s holdings. 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, commercial, public health, environmental, and other regulation and may have a significant effect on U.S. markets generally, as well as on the value of certain securities. Governmental agencies project that the U.S. will continue to maintain elevated public debt levels for the foreseeable future. Although elevated debt levels do not necessarily indicate or cause economic problems, elevated public debt service costs may constrain future economic growth.

The U.S. has developed increasingly strained relations with a number of foreign countries. If relations with certain countries deteriorate, 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, as well as significant challenges in managing and containing the outbreak of COVID-19. If these trends were to continue, it may have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy and the issuers in which the Fund invests.

Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money if it does not recover the securities and/or the value of the collateral falls, including the value of investments made with cash collateral. These events could 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.

Small-Capitalization Companies Risk. Stock prices of small-capitalization companies may be more volatile than those of larger companies and, therefore, the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than those of funds that invest a larger percentage of their assets in stocks issued by mid- or large-capitalization companies. Stock prices of small-capitalization companies are generally more vulnerable than those of mid- or large-capitalization companies to adverse business and economic developments. Securities of small-capitalization companies may be thinly traded, making it difficult for the Fund to buy and sell them. In addition, small-capitalization companies are typically less financially stable than larger, more established companies and may depend on a small number of essential personnel, making these companies more vulnerable to experiencing adverse effects due to the loss of personnel. Small-capitalization companies also normally have less diverse product lines than those of mid- or large-capitalization companies and are more susceptible to adverse developments concerning their products.

 

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Small Fund Risk. When the Fund’s size is small, the Fund may experience low trading volume and wide bid/ask spreads. In addition, the Fund may face the risk of being delisted if the Fund does not meet certain conditions of the listing exchange. If the Fund were to be required to delist from the listing exchange, the value of the Fund may rapidly decline and performance may be negatively impacted. Any resulting liquidation of the Fund could cause the Fund to incur elevated transaction costs for the Fund and negative tax consequences for its shareholders.

Warrants Risk. If the price of the underlying stock does not rise above the exercise price before the warrant expires, the warrant generally expires without any value and the Fund will lose any amount it paid for the warrant. Thus, investments in warrants may involve substantially more risk than investments in common stock. Warrants may trade in the same markets as their underlying stock; however, the price of the warrant does not necessarily move with the price of the underlying stock.

A Further Discussion of Other Risks

The Fund may also be subject to certain other non-principal risks associated with its investments and investment strategies.

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

Close-Out Risk for Qualified Financial Contracts. Regulations adopted by global prudential regulators require counterparties that are part of U.S. or foreign global systemically important banking organizations to include contractual restrictions on close-out and cross-default in agreements relating to qualified financial contracts. Qualified financial contracts include agreements relating to swaps, currency forwards and other derivatives as well as repurchase agreements and securities lending agreements. The restrictions prevent the Fund from closing out a qualified financial contract during a specified time period if the counterparty is subject to resolution proceedings and also prohibit the Fund from exercising default rights due to a receivership or similar proceeding of an affiliate of the counterparty. These requirements may increase credit risk and other risks to the Fund.

Consumer Discretionary Sector Risk. The success of consumer product manufacturers and retailers is tied closely to the performance of domestic and international economies, interest rates, exchange rates, competition, consumer confidence, changes in demographics and consumer preferences. Companies in the consumer discretionary sector, which includes media and entertainment companies, depend heavily on disposable household income and consumer spending, and may be strongly affected by social trends and marketing campaigns. These companies may be subject to severe competition, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability.

Derivatives Risk. A derivative is a financial contract, the value of which depends on or is derived from, the value of an underlying asset such as a security or an index. The Fund may invest in certain types of derivatives contracts, including futures, options and swaps. Compared to conventional securities, derivatives can be more sensitive to changes in interest rates or to sudden fluctuations in market prices and the Fund’s losses may be greater if it invests in derivatives than if it invests only in conventional securities.

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, including non-U.S. financials sector companies, 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 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

 

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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 banking industry, in particular, is negatively affected by interest rates when they remain low for long periods of time as banks are more profitable when there is a larger spread between the federal funds rate and what depositories pay in interest. 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.

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. 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.

Large-Capitalization Companies Risk. Large-capitalization companies may be less able than smaller capitalization companies to adapt to changing market conditions. Large-capitalization companies may be more mature and subject to more limited growth potential compared with smaller capitalization companies. During different market cycles, the performance of large-capitalization companies has trailed the overall performance of the broader securities markets.

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.

Tax Risk. The Fund invests in derivatives. The federal income tax treatment of a derivative may not be as favorable as a direct investment in an underlying asset. Derivatives may produce taxable income and taxable realized gain. Derivatives may adversely affect the timing, character and amount of income the Fund realizes from its investments. As a result, a larger portion of the Fund’s distributions may be treated as ordinary income rather than as capital gains. In addition, certain derivatives are subject to mark-to-market or straddle provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. If such provisions are applicable, there could be an increase (or decrease) in the amount of taxable dividends paid by the Fund. Income from swaps is generally taxable. In addition, the tax treatment of certain derivatives, such as swaps, is unsettled and may be subject to future legislation, regulation or administrative pronouncements issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”).

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

 

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impaired. The capacity of the Fund to make investments in certain securities, and derivatives such as options, swaps, and futures, 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.

For example, in certain circumstances where the Fund invests in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries or in certain emerging or international markets, is subject to corporate or regulatory ownership restrictions, or invests in certain futures or other derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate and/or fund-level amount invested or voted by BFA and its affiliates for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including the Fund) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BFA and its affiliates, the Fund or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions.

Portfolio Holdings Information

A description of the Trust’s policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is available in the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The Fund discloses its portfolio holdings daily at www.blackrock.com. Fund fact sheets provide information regarding the Fund’s top holdings and may be requested by calling 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, based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at an annual rate as follows: 0.80% of the average daily net assets of the Fund less than or equal to $1.0 billion; 0.75% of the average daily net assets of the Fund in excess of $1.0 billion but not exceeding $3.0 billion; 0.72% of the average daily net assets of the Fund in excess of $3.0 billion but not exceeding $5.0 billion; 0.70% of the average daily net assets of the Fund in excess of $5.0 billion but not exceeding $10.0 billion; and 0.68% of the average daily net assets of the Fund in excess of $10 billion.

BFA has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Fund pays to BFA indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by BFA or its affiliates, through June 30, 2023.

BFA may also 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.

For the period September 29, 2020 (commencement of operations of the Fund) to July 31, 2021, BFA received management fees, net of any applicable waivers, at the annual rate of 0.80% of the Fund’s average daily net assets.

BFA is located at 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. It is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). As of September 30, 2021, BFA and its affiliates provided investment advisory services for assets in excess of $9.464 trillion. BFA and its affiliates trade and invest for their own accounts in the actual securities and types of securities in which the Fund may also invest, which may affect the price of such securities.

A discussion regarding the basis for the approval by the Board of the Investment Advisory Agreement with BFA is available in the Fund’s semi-annual shareholder report for the period ended January 31, 2021.

 

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

Portfolio Managers. Phil Ruvinsky, CFA, and William Broadbent are jointly and 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, developing and implementing the Fund’s investment process and investment strategy, researching and reviewing investment strategy and overseeing members of his portfolio management team that have more limited responsibilities.

Phil Ruvinsky has been with BlackRock since 2013. Mr. Ruvinsky has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2013 and has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since September 2020.

William Broadbent has been with BlackRock since 2014. Mr. Broadbent has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a research analyst since 2014 and has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since September 2020.

The Fund’s SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Managers’ ownership (if any) of shares in the Fund.

Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent. State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) is the administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund.

Conflicts of Interest. The investment activities of BFA and its affiliates (including BlackRock and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Affiliates”)), and their respective directors, officers or employees, in the management of, or their interest in, their own accounts and other accounts they manage, may present conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders.

BFA and its Affiliates provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow investment programs similar to that of the Fund. BFA and its Affiliates are involved worldwide with a broad spectrum of financial services and asset management activities and may engage in the ordinary course of business in activities in which their interests or the interests of their clients may conflict with those of the Fund. BFA or one or more Affiliates act or may act as an investor, research provider, investment manager, commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, financier, underwriter, adviser, trader, lender, index provider, agent and/or principal, and have other direct and indirect interests in securities, currencies, commodities, derivatives and other instruments in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. The Fund may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies with which an Affiliate has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Fund may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which an Affiliate provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. The Fund also may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies for which an Affiliate provides or may in the future provide research coverage. An Affiliate may have business relationships with, and purchase, or distribute or sell services or products from or to, distributors, consultants or others who recommend the Fund or who engage in transactions with or for the Fund, and may receive compensation for such services. BFA or one or more Affiliates may engage in proprietary trading and advise accounts and funds that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in and compete for transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and other instruments as the Fund. This may include transactions in securities issued by other open-end and closed-end investment companies (which may include investment companies that are affiliated with the Fund and BFA, to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act). The trading activities of BFA and these Affiliates are carried out without reference to positions held directly or indirectly by the Fund and may result in BFA or an Affiliate having positions in certain securities that are senior or junior to, or have interests different from or adverse to, the securities that are owned by the Fund.

Neither BFA 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 BFA or

 

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an Affiliate, and it is possible that the Fund could sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible.

In addition, the Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which BFA or an Affiliate or their directors, officers or employees or other clients have an adverse interest. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by clients advised or managed by BFA or its Affiliates may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more clients or BFA or its Affiliates or their directors, officers or employees, may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund. The Fund’s activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to BFA or one or more Affiliates and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions.

Under a securities lending program approved by the Board, the Trust, on behalf of 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 may be among the entities to which the Fund may lend its portfolio securities under the securities lending program.

It is also possible that, from time to time, BFA and/or its advisory clients (including other funds and separately managed accounts) may, subject to compliance with applicable law, purchase and hold shares of the Fund. The price, availability, liquidity, and (in some cases) expense ratio of the Fund may be impacted by purchases and sales of the Fund by BFA and/or its advisory clients.

The activities of BFA and its Affiliates and their respective directors, officers or employees, may give rise to other conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA has adopted policies and procedures designed to address these potential conflicts of interest. See the SAI for further information.

Shareholder Information

Additional shareholder information, including how to buy and sell shares of the Fund, is available free of charge by calling toll-free: 1-800-474-2737 or visiting our website at www.blackrock.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 “BFTR.”

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 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

 

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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 listing exchange is NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca”).

Although the SEC has granted an exemptive order to certain BlackRock-advised funds permitting registered investment companies and unit investment trusts that enter into a participation agreement with such BlackRock-advised funds (“Investing Funds”) to invest in BlackRock-advised ETFs beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act subject to certain terms and conditions, the exemptive order is not applicable to the Fund. Accordingly, Investing Funds must adhere to the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act when investing in the Fund.

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.

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.

Determination of Net Asset Value. The NAV of the Fund normally is determined once daily Monday through Friday, generally as of the regular trading hours of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day that the NYSE is open for trading, based on prices at the time of closing, provided that 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. 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 securities and other equity instruments for which market quotations are readily available 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 or instrument is primarily traded at the time of valuation. Shares of underlying open-end funds (including money market funds) are valued at net asset value. Shares of underlying exchange-traded closed-end funds or other ETFs are valued at their most recent closing price.

Generally, trading in non-U.S. securities and money market instruments is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of business on the NYSE. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of the Fund are determined as of such times.

When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BFA to be unreliable, the Fund’s investments are valued at fair value. Fair value determinations are made by BFA in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Board. BFA may conclude that a market quotation is not readily available or is unreliable if a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source due to its lack of trading or other reasons, if a market quotation differs

 

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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 held by, or liabilities of, the Fund. For certain foreign assets, a third-party vendor supplies evaluated, systematic fair value pricing based upon the movement of a proprietary multi-factor model after the relevant foreign markets have closed. This systematic fair value pricing methodology is designed to correlate the prices of foreign assets in one or more non-U.S. markets following the close of the local markets to the prices that might have prevailed as of the Fund’s pricing time.

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.

Dividends and Distributions

General Policies. Dividends from net investment income, if any, generally are declared and paid at least once a year by the Fund. Distributions of net realized securities gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but the Trust may make distributions on a more frequent basis for the Fund. The Trust reserves the right to declare special distributions if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve its status as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income or realized gains.

Dividends and other distributions on shares of the Fund are distributed on a pro rata basis to beneficial owners of such shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC participants and indirect participants to beneficial owners then of record with proceeds received from the Fund.

Dividend Reinvestment Service. No dividend reinvestment service is provided by the Trust. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by beneficial owners of the Fund for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Beneficial owners should contact their broker to determine the availability and costs of the service and the details of participation therein. Brokers may require beneficial owners to adhere to specific procedures and timetables. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole shares of the Fund purchased in the secondary market.

Taxes. As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in shares of the Fund will be taxed. The tax information in this Prospectus is provided as general information, based on current law. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund.

Unless your investment in Fund shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an IRA, 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 investment company taxable 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, subject to the holding period requirements applicable to both you and the Fund, as set forth below. 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.

 

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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.

It is expected that dividends received by the Fund from a real estate investment trust 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, and a shareholder may treat the dividends as such, provided that the Fund and such shareholder satisfy the applicable holding period requirements.

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.

Fund distributions, to the extent attributable to dividends from U.S. corporations (excluding REITs), will be eligible for the dividends received deduction for Fund shareholders that are corporations, provided such shareholders satisfy applicable holding period requirements.

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 current and accumulated earnings and profits, will be taxable to shareholders and will not constitute nontaxable returns of capital. A return of capital distribution generally will not be taxable but will reduce the shareholder’s cost basis and 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 United States 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 distributions properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends, interest-related dividends or short-term capital gain dividends or upon the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund.

 

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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 on Sales of Shares. 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.

FATCA. 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 and (ii) certain other foreign entities. To avoid withholding, foreign financial institutions will need to (i) enter into agreements with the Internal Revenue Service (“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.

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 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. An Authorized Participant is a member or participant of a clearing agency registered with the SEC, which has a written agreement with the Fund or one of its service providers that allows such member or participant to place orders for the purchase and redemption of Creation Units.

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, assets or other positions (a “creation basket”), and an amount of cash (including any cash representing the value of substituted securities, assets or other positions), if any, which together approximate the holdings of the Fund in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units.

Similarly, shares can be redeemed only in Creation Units, generally for a designated portfolio of securities, assets or other positions (a “redemption basket”) held by the Fund and an amount of cash (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted).

The Fund may, in certain circumstances, offer Creation Units partially or solely for cash. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares are not redeemable by the Fund. Creation and redemption baskets may differ and the Fund may accept “custom baskets.” More information regarding custom baskets is contained in the Fund’s SAI.

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.

 

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To the extent the Fund engages in in-kind transactions, the Fund intends to comply with the U.S. federal securities laws in accepting securities for deposit and satisfying redemptions with redemption securities by, among other means, assuring that any securities accepted for deposit and any securities used to satisfy redemption requests will be sold in transactions that would be exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined 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 Units. 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 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.

Householding. Householding is an option available to certain Fund investors. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Please contact your broker-dealer if you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, or if you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status.

Distribution

The Distributor or its agent distributes Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in shares of the Fund. The Distributor has no role in determining the policies of the Fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by the Fund. The Distributor’s principal address is 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.

BFA or its affiliates make payments to broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks or other intermediaries (together, “intermediaries”) related to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, data provision services, or their making shares of the Fund and certain other BFA-advised ETFs 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 BFA-advised ETFs. 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 BFA-advised ETFs 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.

 

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Financial Highlights

The financial highlights table is intended to help investors understand the Fund’s financial performance since inception. 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).

 

     BlackRock Future
Innovators ETF
 
(For a share outstanding throughout the period)   

Period From
09/29/20(a) 

to 07/31/21

 

 

 

 

 

Net asset value, beginning of period

   $ 35.18  

Net investment loss(b)

     (0.27

Net realized and unrealized gain(c)

     15.14  

Net increase from investment operations

     14.87  

Net asset value, end of period

   $ 50.05  

Total Return

        

Based on net asset value

     42.27 %(d) 

Ratios to Average Net Assets

        

Total expenses

     0.80 %(e) 

Total expenses after fees waived

     0.80 %(e) 

Net investment loss

     (0.67 )%(e) 

Supplemental Data

        

Net assets, end of period (000)

   $ 23,025  

Portfolio turnover rate(f)

     50 %(d)  

(a)  Commencement of operations.

(b)  Based on average shares outstanding.

(c)  The amount 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.

(d)  Not annualized.

(e)  Annualized.

(f)   Portfolio turnover rate excludes in-kind transactions.

   

   

   

   

   

    

 

 

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Disclaimers

Shares of the Fund are not sponsored, endorsed or promoted by NYSE Arca. NYSE Arca makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of the Fund or any member of the public regarding the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective. NYSE Arca is not responsible for, nor has it participated in, the determination of the Fund’s investments, nor in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of shares of the Fund to be issued, nor in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the shares are redeemable. NYSE Arca has no obligation or liability to owners of shares of the Fund in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of shares of the Fund.

Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall NYSE Arca have any liability for any direct, indirect, special, punitive, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits) even if notified of the possibility of such damages.

 

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Want to know more?

www.blackrock.com    |    1-800-474-2737

Information on the Fund’s net asset value, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads can be found at www.blackrock.com.

Copies of the Prospectus, SAI and recent shareholder reports can be found on our website at www.blackrock.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 Report or Annual Report free of charge, please:

 

Call:    1-800-474-2737 (toll free)
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.

Investment Company Act File No.: 811-23402

 

PRO-BFI-1121

 

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