iShares® Trust
Statement of Additional Information
Dated September 1, 2023
(as revised December 18, 2023)
This combined Statement of Additional Information (SAI) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the current prospectuses (each, a Prospectus and collectively,the Prospectuses) for the following series of iShares Trust (the Trust):
Fund
Ticker
Listing Exchange
iShares Cohen & Steers REIT ETF
ICF
Cboe BZX
iShares Core Dividend ETF
DIVB
Cboe BZX
iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF
DGRO
NYSE Arca
iShares Core High Dividend ETF
HDV
NYSE Arca
iShares Core U.S. REIT ETF
USRT
NYSE Arca
iShares Dow Jones U.S. ETF
IYY
NYSE Arca
iShares Morningstar Growth ETF
ILCG
NYSE Arca
iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap ETF
IMCB
NYSE Arca
iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Growth ETF
IMCG
NYSE Arca
iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Value ETF
IMCV
Nasdaq
iShares Morningstar Small-Cap ETF
ISCB
NYSE Arca
iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Growth ETF
ISCG
NYSE Arca
iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Value ETF
ISCV
NYSE Arca
iShares Morningstar U.S. Equity ETF
ILCB
NYSE Arca
iShares Morningstar Value ETF
ILCV
NYSE Arca
iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF
DSI
NYSE Arca
iShares MSCI USA ESG Select ETF
SUSA
NYSE Arca
iShares Select Dividend ETF
DVY
Nasdaq
iShares U.S. Basic Materials ETF
IYM
NYSE Arca
iShares U.S. Consumer Discretionary ETF
IYC
NYSE Arca
iShares U.S. Consumer Staples ETF
IYK
NYSE Arca
iShares U.S. Energy ETF
IYE
NYSE Arca
iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF
IYG
NYSE Arca
iShares U.S. Financials ETF
IYF
NYSE Arca
iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF
IYH
NYSE Arca
iShares U.S. Industrials ETF
IYJ
Cboe BZX
iShares U.S. Technology ETF
IYW
NYSE Arca
iShares U.S. Transportation ETF
IYT
Cboe BZX
iShares U.S. Utilities ETF
IDU
NYSE Arca
The Prospectuses for the above-listed funds (each, a Fund and collectively, the Funds) are dated September 1, 2023, as amended and supplemented from time to time. Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined have the same meaning as in the applicable Prospectus, unless otherwise noted. The Financial Statements and Notes contained in the applicable Annual Report and Semi-Annual Report of the Trust for the Funds are incorporated by reference into and are deemed to be part of this SAI. Each Fund's Annual Report is located here1, here2 or here3. Each Fund's Semi-Annual Report is located here1, here2 or here3. A copy of each Fund's Prospectus, Annual Report and Semi-Annual Report may be obtained without charge by writing to the Trust's distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the Distributor or BRIL), 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540, calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting www.iShares.com. Each Fund's Prospectus is incorporated by reference into this SAI.
References to the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the Investment Company Act or the 1940 Act), or other applicable law, will include any rules promulgated thereunder and any guidance, interpretations or modifications by the


Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC), SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, including court interpretations, and exemptive, no action or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.
iShares® and BlackRock® are registered trademarks of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates.

1
Annual and Semi-Annual Report for each of the below funds, for which BNY Mellon serves as administrator, custodian and transfer agent:
iShares Core Dividend ETF, iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF, iShares Core High Dividend ETF, iShares Core U.S. REIT ETF, iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Value ETF, iShares Morningstar Small-Cap ETF, iShares Morningstar U.S. Equity ETF, iShares Morningstar Value ETF and iShares Select Dividend ETF
2
Annual and Semi-Annual Report for each of the below funds, for which Citibank serves as administrator, custodian and transfer agent:
iShares Dow Jones U.S. ETF, iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF, iShares MSCI USA ESG Select ETF, iShares U.S. Basic Materials ETF, iShares U.S. Consumer Discretionary ETF, iShares U.S. Consumer Staples ETF, iShares U.S. Energy ETF, iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF, iShares U.S. Financials ETF, iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF, iShares U.S. Industrials ETF, iShares U.S. Technology ETF, iShares U.S. Transportation ETF and iShares U.S. Utilities ETF
3
Annual and Semi-Annual Report for each of the below funds, for which JPMorgan serves as administrator, custodian and transfer agent:
iShares Cohen & Steers REIT ETF, iShares Morningstar Growth ETF, iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap ETF, iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Growth ETF, iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Growth ETF and iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Value ETF


TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
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General Description of the Trust and its Funds
The Trust currently consists of more than 325 investment series or portfolios. The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on December 16, 1999 and is authorized to have multiple series or portfolios. The Trust is an open-end management investment company registered with the SEC under the 1940 Act. The offering of the Trust’s shares is registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the 1933 Act). This SAI relates to the following Funds:
iShares Cohen & Steers REIT ETF
iShares Core Dividend ETF1
iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF
iShares Core High Dividend ETF
iShares Core U.S. REIT ETF
iShares Dow Jones U.S. ETF
iShares Morningstar Growth ETF
iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap ETF
iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Growth ETF
iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Value ETF
iShares Morningstar Small-Cap ETF
iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Growth ETF
iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Value ETF
iShares Morningstar U.S. Equity ETF
iShares Morningstar Value ETF
iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF
iShares MSCI USA ESG Select ETF
iShares Select Dividend ETF
iShares U.S. Basic Materials ETF
iShares U.S. Consumer Discretionary ETF
iShares U.S. Consumer Staples ETF
iShares U.S. Energy ETF
iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF
iShares U.S. Financials ETF
iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF
iShares U.S. Industrials ETF
iShares U.S. Technology ETF
iShares U.S. Transportation ETF
iShares U.S. Utilities ETF
1
On October 25, 2022, the name of the Fund changed from the iShares U.S. Dividend and Buyback ETF to the iShares Core Dividend ETF.
Each Fund is managed by BlackRock Fund Advisors (BFA), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc., and generally seeks to track the investment results of the specific benchmark index identified in the applicable Prospectus for that Fund (each, an Underlying Index).
1


Each Fund offers and issues shares at its net asset value per share (NAV) only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (each, a Creation Unit), generally in exchange for a designated portfolio of securities, assets or other positions (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) included in its Underlying Index (the Deposit Securities or Creation Basket), together with the deposit of a specified cash payment (the Cash Component). Shares of the Funds are listed for trading on national securities exchanges such as Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. (Cboe BZX), The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (Nasdaq) or NYSE Arca, Inc. (NYSE Arca) (each a Listing Exchange). Shares of each Fund are traded in the secondary market and elsewhere at market prices that may be at, above or below the Fund's NAV. Shares are redeemable only in Creation Units by Authorized Participants (as defined in the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units-Role of the Authorized Participant section of this SAI) and, generally, in exchange for portfolio securities and a Cash Amount (as defined in the Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI). Creation Units typically are a specified number of shares, generally 50,000 or multiples thereof.
The Trust reserves the right to permit or require that creations and redemptions of shares are effected fully or partially in cash and reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of Deposit Securities in lieu of cash. Shares may be issued in advance of receipt of Deposit Securities, subject to various conditions, including a requirement that the Authorized Participant maintain with the Trust collateral as set forth in the handbook for Authorized Participants. The Trust may use such collateral at any time to purchase Deposit Securities. See the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI. Transaction fees and other costs associated with creations or redemptions that include a cash portion may be higher than the transaction fees and other costs associated with in-kind creations or redemptions. In all cases, conditions with respect to creations and redemptions of shares and fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of SEC rules and regulations applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities.
Exchange Listing and Trading
A discussion of exchange listing and trading matters associated with an investment in each Fund is contained in the Shareholder Information section of each Fund's Prospectus. The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, that section of the applicable Prospectus.
Shares of each Fund are listed for trading, and trade throughout the day, on the applicable Listing Exchange and in other secondary markets. Shares of certain Funds may also be listed on certain non-U.S. exchanges. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Listing Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of shares of any Fund will continue to be met. The Listing Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the shares of a Fund from listing if, among other things: (i) a Fund is no longer eligible to operate in reliance on Rule 6c-11 under the Investment Company Act; (ii) any of the other listing requirements are not continuously maintained; or (iii) any event shall occur or condition shall exist that, in the opinion of the Listing Exchange, makes further dealings on the Listing Exchange inadvisable. The Listing Exchange will also remove shares of a Fund from listing and trading upon termination of the Fund.
As in the case of other publicly-traded securities, when you buy or sell shares of a Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission determined by that broker, as well as other charges.
The Trust reserves the right to adjust the share price of the Funds in the future to maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of the Funds or an investor's equity interest in the Funds.
Investment Strategies and Risks
Each Fund seeks to achieve its objective by investing primarily in securities issued by issuers that compose its relevant Underlying Index and in investments that provide substantially similar exposure to securities in the Underlying Index. Each Fund operates as an index fund and is not actively managed. Adverse performance of a security in a Fund’s portfolio will ordinarily not result in the elimination of the security from the Fund’s portfolio.
Each Fund engages in representative sampling, which is investing in a sample of securities selected by BFA to have a collective investment profile similar to that of the Fund's Underlying Index. Securities selected have aggregate investment characteristics (based on market capitalization and industry weightings), fundamental characteristics (such as return
2


variability, earnings valuation and yield) and liquidity measures similar to those of the Fund’s Underlying Index. A fund that uses representative sampling generally does not hold all of the securities that are in its underlying index.
Although the Funds do not seek leveraged returns, certain instruments used by the Funds may have a leveraging effect as described below.
Borrowing. Each Fund may borrow for temporary or emergency purposes, including to meet payments due from redemptions or to facilitate the settlement of securities or other transactions.
The purchase of securities while borrowings are outstanding may have the effect of leveraging a Fund. The incurrence of leverage increases a Fund’s exposure to risk, and borrowed funds are subject to interest costs that will reduce net income. Purchasing securities while borrowings are outstanding creates special risks, such as the potential for greater volatility in the NAV of Fund shares and in the yield on a Fund’s portfolio. In addition, the interest expenses from borrowings may exceed the income generated by a Fund’s portfolio and, therefore, the amount available (if any) for distribution to shareholders as dividends may be reduced. BFA may determine to maintain outstanding borrowings if it expects that the benefits to a Fund’s shareholders will outweigh the current reduced return.
Certain types of borrowings by a Fund must be made from a bank or may result in a Fund being subject to covenants in credit agreements relating to asset coverage, portfolio composition requirements and other matters. It is not anticipated that observance of such covenants would impede BFA’s management of a Fund’s portfolio in accordance with a Fund’s investment objectives and policies. However, a breach of any such covenants not cured within the specified cure period may result in acceleration of outstanding indebtedness and require a Fund to dispose of portfolio investments at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so.
Currency Transactions.A currency forward contract is an over-the-counter (OTC) obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days greater than two days from the date on which the contract is agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. A non-deliverable currency forward is an OTC currency forward settled in a specified currency, on a specified date, based on the difference between the agreed-upon exchange rate and the market exchange rate. A currency futures contract is a contract that trades on an organized futures exchange involving an obligation to deliver or acquire a specified amount of a specific currency, at a specified price and at a specified future time. Currency futures contracts may be settled on a net cash payment basis rather than by the sale and delivery of the underlying currency. The Funds do not expect to engage in currency transactions for the purpose of hedging against declines in the value of the Funds' assets that are denominated in a non-U.S. currency. A Fund may enter into non-U.S. currency forward and non-U.S. currency futures transactions to facilitate local securities settlements or to protect against currency exposure in connection with its distributions to shareholders, but may not enter into such contracts for speculative purposes.
Foreign exchange transactions involve a significant degree of risk and the markets in which foreign exchange transactions are effected may be highly volatile, highly specialized and highly technical. Significant changes, including changes in liquidity and prices, can occur in such markets within very short periods of time, often within minutes. Foreign exchange trading risks include, but are not limited to, exchange rate risk, counterparty risk, maturity gap, interest rate risk, and potential interference by foreign governments through regulation of local exchange markets, foreign investment or particular transactions in non-U.S. currency. If BFA utilizes foreign exchange transactions at an inappropriate time or judges market conditions, trends or correlations incorrectly, foreign exchange transactions may not serve their intended purpose of improving the correlation of a Fund's return with the performance of its Underlying Index and may lower the Fund’s return. A Fund could experience losses if the value of its currency forwards, options or futures positions were poorly correlated with its other investments or if it could not close out its positions because of an illiquid market or otherwise. In addition, a Fund could incur transaction costs, including trading commissions, in connection with certain non-U.S. currency transactions.
Diversification Status. The following table sets forth the diversification status of each Fund:
Diversified Funds
Non-Diversified Funds
iShares Core Dividend ETF
iShares Cohen & Steers REIT ETF
iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF
iShares Core High Dividend ETF
iShares Core U.S. REIT ETF
iShares Morningstar Growth ETF
3


Diversified Funds
Non-Diversified Funds
iShares Dow Jones U.S. ETF
iShares U.S. Basic Materials ETF
iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap ETF
iShares U.S. Consumer Staples ETF
iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Growth ETF
iShares U.S. Energy ETF
iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Value ETF
iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF
iShares Morningstar Small-Cap ETF
iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF
iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Growth ETF
iShares U.S. Technology ETF
iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Value ETF
iShares U.S. Transportation ETF
iShares Morningstar U.S. Equity ETF
iShares U.S. Utilities ETF
iShares Morningstar Value ETF
 
iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF *
 
iShares MSCI USA ESG Select ETF
 
iShares Select Dividend ETF
 
iShares U.S. Consumer Discretionary ETF
 
iShares U.S. Financials ETF
 
iShares U.S. Industrials ETF
 

*
The iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF intends to be diversified in approximately the same proportion as its Underlying Index is diversified. The iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF may become non-diversified, as defined in the 1940 Act, solely as a result of a change in relative market capitalization or index weighting of one or more constituents of its Underlying Index. Shareholder approval will not be sought if the iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF crosses from diversified to non-diversified status due solely to a change in its relative market capitalization or index weighting of one or more constituents of its Underlying Index. The Funds disclose their portfolio holdings and weightings at www.iShares.com.
A fund classified as diversified under the 1940 Act may not purchase securities of an issuer (other than (i) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities and (ii) securities of other investment companies) if, with respect to 75% of its total assets, (a) more than 5% of the fund’s total assets would be invested in securities of that issuer or (b) the fund would hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of that issuer. With respect to the remaining 25% of its total assets, the fund may invest more than 5% of its assets in one issuer. Under the 1940 Act, a fund cannot change its classification from diversified to non-diversified without shareholder approval. However, while the iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF is classified as diversified, under applicable no-action relief from the SEC staff, the fund may become non-diversified, as defined in the 1940 Act, solely as a result of a change in relative market capitalization or index weighting of one or more constituents of its Underlying Index and such a change does not require shareholder approval.
A non-diversified fund is a fund that is not limited by the 1940 Act with regard to the percentage of its assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer. The securities of a particular issuer (or securities of issuers in particular industries) may constitute a significant percentage of the underlying index of such a fund and, consequently, the fund’s investment portfolio. This may adversely affect a fund’s performance or subject the fund’s shares to greater price volatility than that experienced by more diversified investment companies.
Each Fund (whether diversified or non-diversified) intends to maintain the required level of diversification and otherwise conduct its operations so as to qualify as a regulated investment company (RIC) for purposes of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Internal Revenue Code), and to relieve the Fund of any liability for U.S. federal income tax to the extent that its earnings are distributed to shareholders, provided that the Fund satisfies a minimum distribution requirement. Compliance with the diversification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code may limit the investment flexibility of certain Funds and may make it less likely that the Funds will meet their respective investment objectives.
Futures, Options on Futures and Securities Options.Futures contracts, options on futures and securities options may be used by a Fund to simulate investment in its Underlying Index, to facilitate trading or to reduce transaction costs. Each Fund may enter into futures contracts and options on futures that are traded on a U.S. or non-U.S. futures exchange. Each Fund will not use futures, options on futures or securities options for speculative purposes. Each Fund intends to use futures and
4


options on futures in accordance with Rule 4.5 of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the CFTC) promulgated under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA). BFA, with respect to certain Funds, has claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term commodity pool operator in accordance with Rule 4.5 so that BFA, with respect to such Funds, is not subject to registration or regulation as a commodity pool operator under the CEA. See the Regulation Regarding Derivatives section of this SAI for more information.
Futures contracts provide for the future sale by one party and purchase by another party of a specified amount of a specific instrument or index at a specified future time and at a specified price. Stock index contracts are based on investments that reflect the market value of common stock of the firms included in the investments. Each Fund may enter into futures contracts to purchase securities indexes when BFA anticipates purchasing the underlying securities and believes prices will rise before the purchase will be made. Upon entering into a futures contract, a Fund will be required to deposit with the broker an amount of cash or cash equivalents known as initial margin, which is similar to a performance bond or good faith deposit on the contract and is returned to the Fund upon termination of the futures contract if all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments, known as variation margin, will be made to and from the broker daily as the price of the instrument or index underlying the futures contract fluctuates, making the long and short positions in the futures contract more or less valuable, a process known as marking-to-market. At any time prior to the expiration of a futures contract, each Fund may elect to close the position by taking an opposite position, which will operate to terminate the Fund’s existing position in the contract. An option on a futures contract, as contrasted with a direct investment in such a contract, gives the purchaser the right, but no obligation, in return for the premium paid, to assume a position in the underlying futures contract at a specified exercise price at any time prior to the expiration date of the option. Upon exercise of an option, the delivery of the futures position by the writer of the option to the holder of the option will be accompanied by delivery of the accumulated balance in the writer’s futures margin account that represents the amount by which the market price of the futures contract exceeds (in the case of a call) or is less than (in the case of a put) the exercise price of the option on the futures contract.
The potential for loss related to the purchase of an option on a futures contract is limited to the premium paid for the option plus transaction costs. Because the value of the option is fixed at the point of sale, there are no daily cash payments by the purchaser to reflect changes in the value of the underlying contract; however, the value of the option changes daily and that change would be reflected in the NAV of each Fund. The potential for loss related to writing call options is unlimited. The potential for loss related to writing put options is limited to the agreed-upon price per share, also known as the strike price, less the premium received from writing the put. Certain of the Funds may purchase and write put and call options on futures contracts that are traded on an exchange as a hedge against changes in value of their portfolio securities or in anticipation of the purchase of securities, and may enter into closing transactions with respect to such options to terminate existing positions. There is no guarantee that such closing transactions can be effected.
Securities options may be used by a Fund to obtain access to securities in its Underlying Index or to dispose of securities in its Underlying Index at favorable prices, to invest cash in a securities index that offers similar exposure to that provided by its Underlying Index or otherwise to achieve the Fund’s objective of tracking its Underlying Index.A call option gives a holder the right to purchase a specific security at a specified price (exercise price) within a specified period of time. A put option gives a holder the right to sell a specific security at an exercise price within a specified period of time. The initial purchaser of a call option pays the writer a premium, which is paid at the time of purchase and is retained by the writer whether or not such option is exercised. Each Fund may purchase put options to hedge its portfolio against the risk of a decline in the market value of securities held and may purchase call options to hedge against an increase in the price of securities it is committed to purchase. Each Fund may write put and call options along with a long position in options to increase its ability to hedge against a change in the market value of the securities it holds or is committed to purchase. Each Fund may purchase or sell securities options on a U.S. or non-U.S. securities exchange or in the OTC market through a transaction with a dealer. Options on a securities index are typically settled on a net basis based on the appreciation or depreciation of the index level over the strike price. Options on single name securities may be cash- or physically-settled, depending upon the market in which they are traded. Options may be structured so as to be exercisable only on certain dates or on a daily basis. Options may also be structured to have conditions to exercise (i.e., Knock-in Events) or conditions that trigger termination (i.e., Knock-out Events).
Lending Portfolio Securities.Each Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain borrowers that BFA determines to be creditworthy, including borrowers affiliated with BFA. The borrowers provide collateral that is maintained in an amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities loaned. No securities loan shall be made on behalf of a Fund if, as a result, the aggregate value of all securities loans of the particular Fund exceeds one-third of the value of such Fund's total
5


assets (including the value of the collateral received). A Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. Each Fund receives, by way of substitute payment, the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities that it would have otherwise received if the securities were not on loan.
With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower may be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. The Funds are compensated by any positive difference between the amount earned on the reinvestment of cash collateral and the fee paid to the borrower. In the case of collateral other than cash, a Fund is compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. Any cash collateral received by the Fund for such loans, and uninvested cash, may be reinvested in certain short-term instruments either directly on behalf of each Fund or through one or more joint accounts or money market funds, including those affiliated with BFA; such investments are subject to investment risk.
Each Fund conducts its securities lending pursuant to an exemptive order from the SEC permitting it to lend portfolio securities to borrowers affiliated with the Fund and to retain an affiliate of the Fund to act as securities lending agent. To the extent that a Fund engages in securities lending, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. (BTC) acts as securities lending agent for the Fund, subject to the overall supervision of BFA. BTC administers the lending program in accordance with guidelines approved by the Trust's Board of Trustees (the Board, the trustees of which are the Trustees). JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (JPMorgan) serves as custodian for the Funds in connection with certain securities lending activities.
Securities lending involves exposure to certain risks, including operational risk (i.e., the risk of losses resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process), gap risk (i.e., the risk of a mismatch between the return on cash collateral reinvestments and the fees a Fund has agreed to pay a borrower), foreign exchange risk (i.e., the risk of a shortfall at default when a cash collateral investment is denominated in a currency other than the currency of the assets being loaned due to movements in foreign exchange rates), and credit, legal, counterparty and market risks (including the risk that market events could lead the Fund to recall loaned securities or to lend less or not at all, which could lead to reduced securities lending revenue). If a securities lending counterparty were to default, a Fund would be subject to the risk of a possible delay in receiving collateral or in recovering the loaned securities, or to a possible loss of rights in the collateral. In the event a borrower does not return a Fund’s securities as agreed, the Fund’s ability to participate in a corporate action event may be impacted, or the Fund may experience losses if the proceeds received from liquidating the collateral do not at least equal the value of the loaned security at the time the collateral is liquidated, plus the transaction costs incurred in purchasing replacement securities. This latter event could trigger adverse tax consequences for a Fund. A Fund could lose money if its short-term investment of the collateral declines in value over the period of the loan. Substitute payments received by a Fund representing dividends paid on securities loaned out by the Fund will not be considered qualified dividend income. BTC will take into account the tax effects on shareholders caused by this difference in connection with a Fund’s securities lending program. Substitute payments received on tax-exempt securities loaned out will not be tax-exempt income. There could also be changes in the status of issuers under applicable laws and regulations, including tax regulations, that may impact the regulatory or tax treatment of loaned securities and could, for example, result in a delay in the payment of dividend equivalent payments owed to a Fund (as permitted by applicable law).
Regulations adopted by global prudential regulators require certain bank-regulated counterparties and certain of their affiliates to include in certain financial contracts, including many securities lending agreements, terms that delay or restrict the rights of counterparties, such as the Fund, to terminate such agreements, foreclose upon collateral, exercise other default rights or restrict transfers of credit support in the event that the counterparty and/or its affiliates are subject to certain types of resolution or insolvency proceedings. It is possible that these requirements, as well as potential additional government regulation and other developments in the market, could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to terminate existing securities lending agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements.
Liquidity Risk Management.Rule 22e-4 under the Investment Company Act (the Liquidity Rule) requires open-end funds, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs) such as the Funds, to establish a liquidity risk management program (the Liquidity Program) and enhance disclosures regarding fund liquidity. As required by the Liquidity Rule, the Funds have implemented a Liquidity Program, and the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees of the Trust, has appointed BFA as the administrator of the Liquidity Program. Under the Liquidity Program, BFA assesses, manages, and periodically reviews each Fund’s liquidity risk and classifies each investment held by a Fund as a highly liquid investment, moderately liquid investment, less liquid investment or illiquid investment. The Liquidity Rule defines liquidity risk as the risk that a Fund could not meet requests to redeem shares issued by a Fund without significant dilution of the remaining investors’ interest in a Fund. The liquidity of a Fund's portfolio investments is determined based on relevant market, trading
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and investment-specific considerations under the Liquidity Program. There are exclusions from certain portions of the liquidity risk management program requirements for in-kind ETFs, as defined in the Liquidity Rule. To the extent that an investment is deemed to be an illiquid investment or a less liquid investment, a Fund can expect to be exposed to greater liquidity risk.
Non-U.S. Securities.Certain Funds intend to purchase publicly traded common stocks of non-U.S. issuers. To the extent a Fund invests in stocks of non-U.S. issuers, certain of the Fund's investments in such stocks may be in the form of American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) and European Depositary Receipts (EDRs) (collectively, depositary receipts). Depositary receipts are receipts, typically issued by a bank or trust issuer, which evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a non-U.S. issuer. Depositary receipts may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as their underlying securities. ADRs typically are issued by a U.S. bank or trust company and evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a non-U.S. issuer. EDRs, which are sometimes referred to as continental depositary receipts, are receipts issued in Europe, typically by foreign banks and trust companies, that evidence ownership of either foreign or domestic underlying securities. GDRs are depositary receipts structured like global debt issues to facilitate trading on an international basis. Generally, ADRs, issued in registered form, are designed for use in the U.S. securities markets, and EDRs, issued in bearer form, are designed for use in European securities markets. GDRs are tradable both in the U.S. and in Europe and are designed for use throughout the world.
Depositary receipts are generally subject to the same risks as the foreign securities that they evidence or into which they may be converted. In addition to investment risks associated with the underlying issuer, depositary receipts expose a Fund to additional risks associated with the non-uniform terms that apply to depositary receipt programs, credit exposure to the depository bank and to the sponsors and other parties with whom the depository bank establishes the programs, currency risk and liquidity risk. Unsponsored programs, which are not sanctioned by the issuer of the underlying common stock, generally expose investors to greater risks than sponsored programs and do not provide holders with many of the shareholder benefits that come from investing in a sponsored depositary receipts.
Investing in the securities of non-U.S. issuers involves special risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in U.S. issuers. These include differences in accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards; the possibility of expropriation or confiscatory taxation; adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations; political instability, which could affect U.S. investments in non-U.S. countries; and potential restrictions on the flow of international capital. Non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less governmental regulation than U.S. issuers. Moreover, individual non-U.S. economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product (GDP), rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and balance of payment positions.
Regulation Regarding Derivatives.The CFTC subjects advisers to registered investment companies to regulation by the CFTC if a fund that is advised by the adviser either (i) invests, directly or indirectly, more than a prescribed level of its liquidation value in CFTC-regulated futures, options and swaps(CFTC Derivatives) or (ii) markets itself as providing investment exposure to such instruments. The CFTC also subjects advisers to registered investment companies to regulation by the CFTC if the registered investment company invests in one or more commodity pools. To the extent a Fund uses CFTC Derivatives, it intends to do so below such prescribed levels and intends not to market itself as a commodity pool or a vehicle for trading such instruments.
BFA has claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term commodity pool operator under the CEA pursuant to Rule 4.5 under the CEA with respect to each of the Funds. BFA is not, therefore, subject to registration or regulation as a commodity pool operator under the CEA with respect to the Funds.
The iShares Core Dividend ETF, iShares Core U.S. REIT ETF, iShares Dow Jones U.S. ETF, iShares Morningstar Growth ETF, iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap ETF, iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Growth ETF, iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Value ETF, iShares Morningstar Small-Cap ETF, iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Growth ETF, iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Value ETF, iShares Morningstar U.S. Equity ETF, iShares Morningstar Value ETF, iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF and iShares U.S. Financials ETF (the No-Action Letter Funds) may also have investments in underlying funds (and such underlying funds themselves may invest in underlying funds) not advised by BFA (the term underlying fund for purposes of the no-action letter referenced below may include, but is not limited to, certain securitized vehicles, mortgage or international real estate investment trusts, business development companies and, investment companies that may invest in CFTC Derivatives or in any of the foregoing), and therefore may be viewed by the CFTC as commodity pools. BFA may not have transparency into the holdings of these underlying funds because they are not advised by BFA. To address this issue of lack of transparency, the
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CFTC staff issued a no-action letter on November 29, 2012 permitting the adviser of a fund that invests in such underlying funds and that would otherwise have filed a claim of exclusion pursuant to CFTC Rule 4.5 to delay registration as a commodity pool operator until six months from the date on which the CFTC issues additional guidance on the treatment of CFTC Derivatives held by underlying funds. BFA, the adviser of the No-Action Letter Funds, has filed a claim with the CFTC for the Funds to rely on this no-action relief. Accordingly, BFA is not currently subject to registration or regulation as a commodity pool operator under the CEA in respect of the Funds.
Derivative contracts, including, without limitation, swaps, currency forwards, and non-deliverable forwards, are subject to regulation under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) in the U.S. and under comparable regimes in Europe, Asia and other non-U.S. jurisdictions. Swaps, non-deliverable forwards and certain other derivatives traded in the OTC market are subject to variation margin and initial margin requirements. Implementation of the margining and other provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act regarding clearing, mandatory trading, reporting and documentation of swaps and other derivatives have impacted and may continue to impact the costs to a Fund of trading these instruments and, as a result, may affect returns to investors in a Fund.
Rule 18f-4 under the Investment Company Act permits a Fund to enter into Derivatives Transactions (as defined below) and certain other transactions notwithstanding the restrictions on the issuance of senior securities under Section 18 of the Investment Company Act. Section 18 of the Investment Company Act, among other things, prohibits open-end funds, including the Funds, from issuing or selling any senior security, other than borrowing from a bank (subject to a requirement to maintain 300% asset coverage).
Under Rule 18f-4, Derivatives Transactions include the following: (1) any swap, security-based swap (including a contract for differences), futures contract, forward contract, option (excluding purchased options), any combination of the foregoing, or any similar instrument, under which a Fund is or may be required to make any payment or delivery of cash or other assets during the life of the instrument or at maturity or early termination, whether as margin or settlement payment or otherwise; (2) any short sale borrowing; (3) reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions (e.g., recourse and non-recourse tender option bonds, and borrowed bonds), if a Fund elects to treat these transactions as Derivatives Transactions under Rule 18f-4; and (4) when-issued or forward-settling securities (e.g., firm and standby commitments, including to-be-announced (TBA) commitments, and dollar rolls) and non-standard settlement cycle securities, unless the Fund intends to physically settle the transaction and the transaction will settle within 35 days of its trade date (the Delayed-Settlement Securities Provision).
Unless a Fund is relying on the Limited Derivatives User Exception (as defined below), the Fund must comply with Rule 18f-4 with respect to its Derivatives Transactions. Rule 18f-4, among other things, requires a Fund to adopt and implement a comprehensive written derivatives risk management program (DRMP) and comply with a relative or absolute limit on Fund leverage risk calculated based on value-at-risk (VaR). The DRMP is administered by a derivatives risk manager, who is appointed by the Board, including a majority of Independent Directors/Trustees, and periodically reviews the DRMP and reports to the Board.
Rule 18f-4 provides an exception from the DRMP, VaR limit and certain other requirements if a Fund's derivatives exposure (as defined in Rule 18f-4) is limited to 10% of its net assets (as calculated in accordance with Rule 18f-4) and the Fund adopts and implements written policies and procedures reasonably designed to manage its derivatives risks (the Limited Derivatives User Exception).
Repurchase Agreements.A repurchase agreement is an instrument under which the purchaser (i.e., a Fund) acquires a security and the seller agrees, at the time of the sale, to repurchase the security at a mutually agreed-upon time and price, thereby determining the yield during the purchaser’s holding period. Repurchase agreements may be construed to be collateralized loans by the purchaser to the seller secured by the securities transferred to the purchaser. If a repurchase agreement is construed to be a collateralized loan, the underlying securities will not be considered to be owned by a Fund but only to constitute collateral for the seller’s obligation to pay the repurchase price, and, in the event of a default by the seller, the Fund may suffer time delays and incur costs or losses in connection with the disposition of the collateral.
In any repurchase transaction, the collateral for a repurchase agreement may include: (i) cash items; (ii) obligations issued by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities; or (iii) obligations that, at the time the repurchase agreement is entered into, are determined to (A) have exceptionally strong capacity to meet their financial obligations and (B) are sufficiently liquid such that they can be sold at approximately their carrying value in the ordinary course of business within seven days.
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Repurchase agreements pose certain risks for a Fund that utilizes them. Such risks are not unique to the Funds, but are inherent in repurchase agreements. The Funds seek to minimize such risks, but because of the inherent legal uncertainties involved in repurchase agreements, such risks cannot be eliminated. Lower quality collateral and collateral with a longer maturity may be subject to greater price fluctuations than higher quality collateral and collateral with a shorter maturity. If the repurchase agreement counterparty were to default, lower quality collateral may be more difficult to liquidate than higher quality collateral. Should the counterparty default and the amount of collateral not be sufficient to cover the counterparty’s repurchase obligation, a Fund would likely retain the status of an unsecured creditor of the counterparty (i.e., the position a Fund would normally be in if it were to hold, pursuant to its investment policies, other unsecured debt securities of the defaulting counterparty) with respect to the amount of the shortfall. As an unsecured creditor, a Fund would be at risk of losing some or all of the principal and income involved in the transaction.
Reverse Repurchase Agreements.Reverse repurchase agreements involve the sale of securities with an agreement to repurchase the securities at an agreed-upon price, date and interest payment and have the characteristics of borrowing. Generally, the effect of such transactions is that a Fund can recover all or most of the cash invested in the portfolio securities involved during the term of the reverse repurchase agreement, while in many cases the Fund is able to keep some of the interest income associated with those securities. Such transactions are advantageous only if a Fund has an opportunity to earn a rate of interest on the cash derived from these transactions that is greater than the interest cost of obtaining the same amount of cash. Opportunities to realize earnings from the use of the proceeds equal to or greater than the interest required to be paid may not always be available, and a Fund intends to use the reverse repurchase technique only when BFA believes it will be advantageous to the Fund. The use of reverse repurchase agreements may exaggerate any increase or decrease in the value of a Fund’s assets. The use of reverse repurchase agreements is a form of leverage, and the proceeds obtained by a Fund through reverse repurchase agreements may be invested in additional securities.
Rule 18f-4 under the Investment Company Act permits a Fund to enter into reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions (e.g., recourse and non-recourse tender option bonds, borrowed bonds) notwithstanding the limitation on the issuance of senior securities in Section 18 of the Investment Company Act, provided that a Fund either (i) complies with the 300% asset coverage ratio with respect to such transactions and any other borrowings in the aggregate, or (ii) treats such transactions as Derivatives Transactions under Rule 18f-4. (See Regulation Regarding Derivatives above.)
Securities of Investment Companies.Each Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies (including money market funds) and real estate investment trusts (REITs) to the extent permitted by law. Pursuant to the 1940 Act, a Fund’s investment in registered investment companies is generally limited to, subject to certain exceptions: (i) 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of any one investment company; (ii) 5% of a Fund’s total assets with respect to any one investment company; and (iii) 10% of a Fund’s total assets with respect to investment companies in the aggregate. Other investment companies in which a Fund may invest can be expected to incur fees and expenses for operations, such as investment advisory and administration fees, which would be in addition to those incurred by the Fund. Pursuant to guidance issued by the SEC staff, fees and expenses of money market funds used for cash collateral received in connection with loans of securities are not treated as Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, which reflect a Fund’s pro rata share of the fees and expenses incurred by investing in other investment companies (as disclosed in the Prospectus, as applicable).
Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments.Each Fund may invest in short-term instruments, including money market instruments, on an ongoing basis to provide liquidity or for other reasons. Money market instruments are generally short-term investments that may include, but are not limited to: (i) shares of money market funds (including those advised by BFA or otherwise affiliated with BFA); (ii) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities (including government-sponsored enterprises); (iii) negotiable certificates of deposit (CDs), bankers’ acceptances, fixed-time deposits and other obligations of U.S. and non-U.S. banks (including non-U.S. branches) and similar institutions; (iv) commercial paper rated, at the date of purchase, Prime-1 by Moody's® Investors Service, Inc. (Moody's), F-1 by Fitch Ratings, Inc. (Fitch), or A-1 by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, a subsidiary of S&P Global, Inc. (S&P Global Ratings), or if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by BFA; (v) non-convertible corporate debt securities (e.g., bonds and debentures) with remaining maturities at the date of purchase of not more than 397 days and that have been determined to present minimal credit risks, in accordance with the requirements set forth in Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act; (vi) repurchase agreements; and (vii) short-term U.S. dollar-denominated obligations of non-U.S. banks (including U.S. branches) that, in the opinion of BFA, are of comparable quality to obligations of U.S. banks that may be purchased by a Fund. Any of these instruments may be purchased on a current or forward-settled basis. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Bankers’ acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers, usually in connection with international transactions.
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Swap Agreements.Swap agreements are contracts between parties in which one party agrees to make periodic payments to the other party based on a pre-determined underlying investment or notional amount. In return, the other party agrees to make periodic payments to the first party based on the return (or a differential in rate of return) earned or realized on the underlying investment or notional amount. Swap agreements will usually be performed on a net basis, with a Fund receiving or paying only the net amount of the two payments. The net amount of the excess, if any, of a Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each swap is accrued on a daily basis.
Certain of the Funds may enter into swap agreements, including currency swaps, interest rate swaps and index swaps. The use of swaps is a highly specialized activity that involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio security transactions. These transactions generally do not involve the delivery of securities or other underlying assets.
Tracking Stocks.A tracking stock is a separate class of common stock whose value is linked to a specific business unit or operating division within a larger company and is designed to track the performance of such business unit or division. The tracking stock may pay dividends to shareholders independent of the parent company. The parent company, rather than the business unit or division, generally is the issuer of tracking stock. However, holders of the tracking stock may not have the same rights as holders of the company’s common stock.
Future Developments.The Board may, in the future, authorize each Fund to invest in securities contracts and investments, other than those listed in this SAI and in the applicable Prospectuses, provided they are consistent with each Fund's investment objective and do not violate any of its investment restrictions or policies.
General Considerations and Risks
A discussion of some of the principal risks associated with an investment in a Fund is contained in the applicable Prospectus.
An investment in a Fund should be made with an understanding that the value of the Fund’s portfoliosecurities may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of the issuers of the portfolio securities, the value of stocks in general, and other factors that affect the market. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Borrowing Risk. Borrowing may exaggerate changes in the NAV of Fund shares and in the return on a Fund’s portfolio. Borrowing will cause a Fund to incur interest expense and other fees. The costs of borrowing may reduce a Fund’s return. Borrowing may cause a Fund to liquidate positions when it may not be advantageous to do so to satisfy its obligations.
Dividend-Paying Stock Risk. Investing in dividend-paying stocks involves the risk that such stocks may fall out of favor with investors and underperform the broader market. Companies that issue dividend-paying stocks are not required to pay or continue paying dividends on such stocks. It is possible that issuers of the stocks held by a Fund will not declare dividends in the future or will reduce or eliminate the payment of dividends (including reducing or eliminating anticipated accelerations or increases in the payment of dividends) in the future.
Illiquid Investments Risk.Each Fund may not acquire any illiquid investment if, immediately after the acquisition, the Fund would have invested more than 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that a Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. The liquidity of an investment will be determined based on relevant market, trading and investment specific considerations as set out in the Liquidity Program as required by the Liquidity Rule. Illiquid investments may trade at a discount to comparable, more liquid investments and a Fund may not be able to dispose of illiquid investments in a timely fashion or at their expected prices. If illiquid investments exceed 15% of a Fund’s net assets, the Liquidity Rule and the Liquidity Program will require that certain remedial actions be taken.
Money Market Instruments Risk. A Fund may hold money market instruments. The value of money market instruments may be affected by changes in interest rates or in the credit ratings of the investments, among other things. If a significant amount of a Fund's assets is invested in money market instruments, it may 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 Federal Deposit Insurance
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Corporation or any other government agency. It is possible to lose money by investing in a money market fund. Money market funds other than U.S. government money market funds and retail money market funds float their NAV instead of using a stable $1.00 per share price.
Operational Risk.BFA and a Fund's other service providers may experience disruptions or operating errors such as processing errors or human errors, inadequate or failed internal or external processes, or systems or technology failures, that could negatively impact the Funds. While service providers are required to have appropriate operational risk management policies and procedures, their methods of operational risk management may differ from a Fund’s in the setting of priorities, the personnel and resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. BFA, through its monitoring and oversight of service providers, seeks to ensure that service providers take appropriate precautions to avoid and mitigate risks that could lead to disruptions and operating errors. However, it is not possible for BFA or the other Fund service providers to identify all of the operational risks that may affect a Fund or to develop processes and controls to completely eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects.
Reference Rate Replacement Risk. A Fund may be exposed to financial instruments that recently transitioned from, or continue to be tied to, the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) to determine payment obligations, financing terms, hedging strategies or investment value. The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates LIBOR, has ceased publishing all LIBOR settings. In April 2023, however, the FCA announced that some USD LIBOR settings will continue to be published under a synthetic methodology until September 30, 2024 for certain legacy contracts. The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), which is a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities in the repurchase agreement market, has been used increasingly on a voluntary basis in new instruments and transactions. Under U.S. regulations that implement a statutory fallback mechanism to replace LIBOR, benchmark rates based on SOFR have replaced LIBOR in different categories of financial contracts.
Neither the effect of the LIBOR transition process nor its ultimate success can yet be known. While some existing LIBOR-based instruments may contemplate a scenario where LIBOR is no longer available by providing for an alternative rate-setting methodology, there may be significant uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of any such alternative methodologies to replicate LIBOR. Not all existing LIBOR-based instruments may have alternative rate-setting provisions and there remains uncertainty regarding the willingness and ability of issuers to add alternative rate-setting provisions in certain existing instruments. Parties to contracts, securities, or other instruments using LIBOR may disagree on transition rates or the application of transition regulation, potentially resulting in uncertainty of performance and the possibility of litigation. A Fund may have instruments linked to other interbank offered rates that may also cease to be published in the future.
Risk of Derivatives.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, a commodity (such as gold or silver), a currency or an index (a measure of value or rates, such as the S&P 500® or the prime lending rate). A Fund may invest in futures contracts, securities options and other derivatives. Compared to securities, derivatives can be more sensitive to changes in interest rates or to sudden fluctuations in market prices and thus a Fund’s losses may be greater if it invests in derivatives than if it invests only in conventional securities. Derivatives are also subject to counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party in the transaction will not fulfill its contractual obligations. Derivatives generally involve the incurrence of leverage.
When a derivative is used as a hedge against a position that a Fund holds or is committed to purchase, any loss generated by the derivative generally should be substantially offset by gains on the hedged investment, and vice versa. While hedging can reduce or eliminate losses, it can also reduce or eliminate gains, and in some cases, hedging can cause losses that are not offset by gains, and the Fund will recognize losses on both the investment and the hedge. Hedges are sometimes subject to imperfect matching between the derivative and the underlying security, and there can be no assurance that a Fund's hedging transactions, which entail additional transaction costs, will be effective.
Risk of Equity Securities.An investment in a Fund should be made with an understanding of the risks inherent in an investment in equity securities, including the risk that the financial condition of issuers may become impaired or that the general condition of stock markets may deteriorate (either of which may cause a decrease in the value of the portfolio securities and thus in the value of shares of the Fund). Common stocks are susceptible to general stock market fluctuations and to increases and decreases in value as market confidence and perceptions of their issuers change. These investor perceptions are based on various and unpredictable factors, including expectations regarding government, economic, monetary and fiscal policies, inflation and interest rates, economic expansion or contraction, and global or regional political,
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economic or banking crises. Common stocks may experience extreme price volatility due to actions taken by particular investors or groups of investors (for example, retail investors influenced by social media activity or other media coverage or significant short positions taken by institutional investors).
Holders of common stocks incur more risks than holders of preferred stocks and debt obligations because common stockholders generally have rights to receive payments from stock issuers that are inferior to the rights of creditors, or holders of debt obligations or preferred stocks. Further, unlike debt securities, which typically have a stated principal amount payable at maturity (the value of which, however, is subject to market fluctuations prior to maturity), or preferred stocks, which typically have a liquidation preference and which may have stated optional or mandatory redemption provisions, common stocks have neither a fixed principal amount nor a maturity date. In addition, issuers may, in times of distress or at their own discretion, decide to reduce or eliminate dividends, which may also cause their stock price to decline.
Although most of the securities in each Underlying Index are listed on a securities exchange, the principal trading market for some of the securities may be in the OTC market. The existence of a liquid trading market for certain securities may depend on whether dealers will make a market in such securities. There can be no assurance that a market will be made or maintained or that any such market will be or remain liquid. The price at which securities may be sold and the value of a Fund’s shares will be adversely affected if trading markets for the Fund’s portfolio securities are limited or absent, or if bid/ask spreads are wide.
Risk of Futures and Options on Futures Transactions.There are several risks accompanying the utilization of futures contracts and options on futures contracts. A position in futures contracts and options on futures contracts may be closed only on the exchange on which the contract was made (or a linked exchange). While each Fund plans to utilize futures contracts only if an active market exists for such contracts, there is no guarantee that a liquid market will exist for the contract at a specified time. Futures contracts, by definition, project price levels in the future and not current levels of valuation; therefore, market circumstances may result in a discrepancy between the price of the future and the movement in a Fund's Underlying Index. In the event of adverse price movements, a Fund would continue to be required to make daily cash payments to maintain its required margin. In such situations, if a Fund has insufficient cash, it may have to sell portfolio securities to meet daily margin requirements at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. In addition, a Fund may be required to deliver the instruments underlying the futures contracts it has sold.
The risk of loss in trading futures contracts or uncovered call options in some strategies (e.g., selling uncovered stock index futures contracts) is potentially unlimited. The Funds do not plan to use futures and options contracts in this way. The risk of a futures position may still be large as traditionally measured due to the low margin deposits required. In many cases, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss or gain to the investor relative to the size of a required margin deposit. The Funds, however, intend to utilize futures and options contracts in a manner designed to limit their risk exposure to levels comparable to a direct investment in the types of stocks in which they invest.
Utilization of futures and options on futures by a Fund involves the risk of imperfect or even negative correlation to its Underlying Index if the index underlying the futures contract differs from the Underlying Index. There is also the risk of loss of margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with whom a Fund has an open position in the futures contract or option. The purchase of put or call options will be based upon predictions by BFA as to anticipated trends, which predictions could prove to be incorrect.
Because the futures market generally imposes less burdensome margin requirements than the securities market, an increased amount of participation by speculators in the futures market could result in price fluctuations. Certain financial futures exchanges limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. The daily limit establishes the maximum amount by which the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price at the end of a trading session. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular type of contract, no trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. It is possible that futures contract prices could move to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of futures positions and subjecting each Fund to substantial losses. In the event of adverse price movements, each Fund would be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin.
Risk of Investing in Non-U.S. Equity Securities. An investment in any of the Funds that invest, directly or indirectly, in non-U.S. equity securities involves risks similar to those of investing in portfolios of equity securities traded on non-U.S. exchanges. These risks include market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic and political developments in those
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foreign countries, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in stock prices. Investing in securities issued by issuers domiciled in countries other than the domicile of the investor and denominated in currencies other than an investor’s local currency entails certain considerations and risks not typically encountered by the investor in making investments in its home country and in that country’s currency. These considerations include favorable or unfavorable changes in interest rates, currency exchange rates, exchange control regulations and the costs that may be incurred in connection with conversions between various currencies. Investing in any of these Funds also involves certain risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in a fund whose portfolio contains exclusively securities of U.S. issuers. These risks include generally less liquid and less efficient securities markets; generally greater price volatility; less publicly available information about issuers; the imposition of withholding or other taxes; the imposition of restrictions on the expatriation of funds or other assets of the Funds; higher transaction and custody costs; delays and risks attendant in settlement procedures; difficulties in enforcing contractual obligations; lower liquidity and significantly smaller market capitalization; different accounting and disclosure standards; lower levels of regulation of the securities markets; more substantial government interference with the economy and businesses; higher rates of inflation; greater social, economic, and political uncertainty; the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets; and the risk of war.
Risk of Swap Agreements.The risk of loss with respect to swaps is generally limited to the net amount of payments that a Fund is contractually obligated to make. Swap agreements are subject to the risk that the swap counterparty will default on its obligations. If such a default occurs, a Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction. However, such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws, which could affect such Fund’s rights as a creditor (e.g., a Fund may not receive the net amount of payments that it is contractually entitled to receive).
A Fund is required to post and collect variation margin and initial margin (comprised of specified liquid securities subject to haircuts) in connection with trading of OTC swaps. These requirements may raise the costs for a Fund’s investment in swaps.
Tracking Error Risk.A Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of a Fund’s performance from that of the applicable underlying index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities and other instruments held in a Fund’s portfolio and those included in its applicable underlying index, pricing differences, transaction costs incurred by a Fund, a Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of dividends or interest received by a Fund or distributions paid to a Fund’s shareholders, the requirements to maintain pass-through tax treatment, portfolio transactions carried out to minimize the distribution of capital gains to shareholders, acceptance of custom baskets, changes to the applicable underlying index or the costs to a Fund of complying with various new or existing regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because a Fund incurs fees and expenses, while its applicable underlying index does not. Tracking error may occur due to differences between the methodologies used in calculating the value of the applicable Underlying Index and determining a Fund’s NAV.
When an issuer is introduced by an index provider into an index tracked by a Fund, BFA may conduct an analysis on such issuer’s securities to identify and screen for outlier high risk behavior (such as rapid or unusual price growth that does not appear to be supported by publicly available information on the business and assets of the issuer, unusual or significant short interest or lending activity, negative sentiment, suspended trading or incorrect free-float calculations, which could be indicators of possible irregularities, miscalculations or even fraud). If it identifies such behavior, BFA may, where appropriate, alert the index provider as to the alleged issue. The index provider has sole discretion for the determination as to whether to continue to include the issuer’s securities in the rebalancing of its index. If the securities continue to be included in the index, BFA may underweight or exclude such securities from a Fund’s portfolio and, if it does so, such a fund will be subject to increased tracking error due to the divergence in the securities included in its portfolio from its underlying index. BFA’s underweighting or excluding such securities may result in a decline in a Fund’s net asset value. The application of the abovementioned analysis and screening to a Fund and its Underlying Index is in the sole discretion of BFA and its affiliates (without any guarantees). The analysis and screening may not exclude any or all high risk securities from an Underlying Index or a Fund’s portfolio, and the inclusion of such securities will result in an adverse impact to a Fund’s net asset value if one or more such securities declines in value.
Risk of Investing in Asia. Investments in securities of issuers in certain Asian countries involve risks not typically associated with investments in securities of issuers in other regions. Such heightened risksinclude, among others, expropriation and/or nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation, piracy of intellectual property, data and other security breaches (especially of
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data stored electronically), political instability, including authoritarian and/or military involvement in governmental decision-making, armed conflict and social instability as a result of religious, ethnic and/or socio-economic unrest. Certain Asian economies have experienced rapid rates of economic growth and industrialization in recent years, and there is no assurance that these rates of economic growth and industrialization will be maintained.
Certain Asian countries have democracies with relatively short histories, which may increase the risk of political instability. These countries have faced political and military unrest, and further unrest could present a risk to their local economies and securities markets. Indonesia and the Philippines have each experienced violence and terrorism, which has negatively impacted their economies. North Korea and South Korea each have substantial military capabilities, and historical tensions between the two countries present the risk of war. Escalated tensions involving the two countries and any outbreak of hostilities between the two countries, or even the threat of an outbreak of hostilities, could have a severe adverse effect on the entire Asian region. Certain Asian countries have also developed increasingly strained relationships with the U.S., and if these relations were to worsen, they could adversely affect Asian issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. Political, religious, and border disputes persist in India. India has recently experienced and may continue to experience civil unrest and hostilities with certain of its neighboring countries. Increased political and social unrest in these geographic areas could adversely affect the performance of investments in this region.
Certain governments in this region administer prices on several basic goods, including fuel and electricity, within their respective countries. Certain governments may exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector in their respective countries and may own or control many companies. Future government actions could have a significant effect on the economic conditions in this region, which in turn could have a negative impact on private sector companies. There is also the possibility of diplomatic developments adversely affecting investments in the region.
Corruption and the perceived lack of a rule of law in dealings with international companies in certain Asian countries may discourage foreign investment and could negatively impact the long-term growth of certain economies in this region. In addition, certain countries in the region are experiencing high unemployment and corruption, and have fragile banking sectors.
Some economies in this region are dependent on a range of commodities, including oil, natural gas and coal. Accordingly, they are strongly affected by international commodity prices and particularly vulnerable to any weakening in global demand for these products. The market for securities in this region may also be directly influenced by the flow of international capital, and by the economic and market conditions of neighboring countries. China is a key trading partner of many Asian countries and any changes in trading relationships between China and other Asian countries may affect the region as a whole. Adverse economic conditions or developments in neighboring countries may increase investors' perception of the risk of investing in the region as a whole, which may adversely impact the market value of the securities issued by companies in the region.
Risk of Investing in Australasia. The economies of Australasia, which include Australia and New Zealand, are dependent on exports from the agricultural and mining sectors. This makes Australasian economies susceptible to fluctuations in the commodity markets. Australasian economies are also increasingly dependent on their growing service and tourism industries. Australia and New Zealand are located in a part of the world that has historically been prone to natural disasters, such as drought and flooding. Any such event in the future could have a significant adverse impact on the economies of Australia and New Zealand and affect the value of securities held by a relevant Fund. The economies of Australia and New Zealand are dependent on trading with certain key trading partners, including Asia and the U.S. The economies of Australia and New Zealand are heavily dependent on the mining sector. Passage of new regulations limiting foreign ownership of companies in the mining sector or imposition of new taxes on profits of mining companies may dissuade foreign investment, and as a result, have a negative impact on companies to which a Fund has exposure.
Risk of Investing in Developed Countries. Many countries with developed markets have recently experienced significant economic pressures. These countries generally tend to rely on the services sectors (e.g., the financial services sector) as the primary source of economic growth and may be susceptible to the risks of individual service sectors. For example, companies in the financial services sector are subject to governmental regulation and, recently, government intervention, which may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and amount of capital they must maintain. Dislocations in the financial sector and perceived or actual governmental influence over certain financial companies may lead to credit rating downgrades and, as a result, impact, among other things, revenue growth for such companies. If financial companies experience a prolonged decline in revenue growth, certain developed countries that rely heavily on financial companies as an economic driver may experience a correlative slowdown. Concerns have emerged with respect to the
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economic health of certain developed countries. These concerns primarily stem from heavy indebtedness of many developed countries and their perceived inability to continue to service high debt loads without simultaneously implementing stringent austerity measures. Such concerns have led to tremendous downward pressure on the economies of these countries. As a result, it is possible that interest rates on debt of certain developed countries may rise to levels that make it difficult for such countries to service such debt. Spending on health care and retirement pensions in most developed countries has risen dramatically. Medical innovation, extended life expectancy and higher public expectations are likely to continue the increase in health care and pension costs. Any increase in health care and pension costs will likely have a negative impact on the economic growth of many developed countries. Certain developed countries rely on imports of certain key items, such as crude oil, natural gas, and other commodities. As a result, an increase in demand for, or price fluctuations of, certain commodities may negatively affect developed country economies. Developed market countries generally are dependent on the economies of certain key trading partners. Changes in any one economy may cause an adverse impact on several developed countries. In addition, heavy regulation of, among others, labor and product markets may have an adverse effect on certain issuers. Such regulations may negatively affect economic growth or cause prolonged periods of recession. Such risks, among others, may adversely affect the value of a Fund’s investments.
Risk of Investing in Europe. Investing in European countries may expose a Fund to the economic and political risks associated with Europe in general and the specific European countries in which it invests. The economies and markets of European countries are often closely connected and interdependent, and events in one European country can have an adverse impact on other European countries. A Fund makes investments in securities of issuers that are domiciled in, have significant operations in, or that are listed on at least one securities exchange within member states of the European Union (the EU). A number of countries within the EU are also members of the Economic and Monetary Union (the eurozone) and have adopted the euro as their currency. Eurozone membership requires member states to comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels and fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe. Changes in import or export tariffs, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro and other currencies of certain EU countries which are not in the eurozone, the default or threat of default by an EU member state on its sovereign debt, and/or an economic recession in an EU member state may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of other EU member states and their trading partners. Although certain European countries are not in the eurozone, many of these countries are obliged to meet the criteria for joining the eurozone.
Consequently, these countries must comply with many of the restrictions noted above. The European financial markets have experienced volatility and adverse trends due to concerns about economic downturns, government debt levels and the possible default of government debt in several European countries, including, but not limited to, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine. In order to prevent further economic deterioration, certain countries, without prior warning, can institute capital controls. Countries may use these controls to restrict volatile movements of capital entering and exiting their country. Such controls may negatively affect a Fund’s investments. A default or debt restructuring by any European country would adversely impact holders of that country’s debt and sellers of credit default swaps linked to that country’s creditworthiness, which may be located in countries other than those listed above. In addition, the credit ratings of certain European countries were downgraded in the past. These events have adversely affected the value and exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect the economies of every country in Europe, including countries that do not use the euro and non-EU member states. Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not produce the desired results, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and other entities of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world. In addition, one or more countries may abandon the euro and/or withdraw from the EU. The impact of these actions, especially if they occur in a disorderly fashion, is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching and could adversely impact the value of a Fund’s investments in the region.
The United Kingdom (the U.K.) left the EU (Brexit) on January 31, 2020. Brexit could adversely affect European or worldwide political, regulatory, economic or market conditions and could contribute to instability in global political institutions, regulatory agencies and financial markets.
Certain European countries have also developed increasingly strained relationships with the U.S., and if these relations were to worsen, they could adversely affect European issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. The national politics of countries in Europe have been unpredictable and subject to influence by disruptive political groups and ideologies, including for example, secessionist movements. The governments of European countries may be subject to change and such countries may experience social and political unrest. Unanticipated or sudden political or social developments may result in sudden and
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significant investment losses. The occurrence of terrorist incidents throughout Europe or war in the region also could impact financial markets. The impact of these events is not clear but could be significant and far-reachingand could adversely affect the value and liquidity of a Fund's investments.
Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The extent and duration of the military action, resulting sanctions and resulting future market disruptions, including declines in its stock markets and the value of the ruble against the U.S. dollar, are impossible to predict, but could be significant. Disruptions caused by Russian military action or other actions (including cyberattacks and espionage) or resulting actual and threatened responses to such activity, including purchasing and financing restrictions, boycotts or changes in consumer or purchaser preferences, sanctions, import and export restrictions, tariffs or cyberattacks on the Russian government, Russian companies or Russian individuals, including politicians, may impact Russia's economy, Russian issuers of securities in which a Fund invests, or the economies of Europe as a whole. Actual and threatened responses to Russian military action may also impact the markets for certain Russian commodities, such as oil and natural gas, as well as other sectors of the Russian economy, and are likely to have collateral impacts on such sectors across Europe and globally.
Risk of Investing in North America. A decrease in imports or exports, changes in trade regulations or an economic recession in any North American country can have a significant economic effect on the entire North American region and on some or all of the North American countries in which a Fund invests.
The U.S. is Canada's and Mexico's largest trading and investment partner. The Canadian and Mexican economies are significantly affected by developments in the U.S. economy. Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, total merchandise trade among the three countries has increased. However, political developments including the implementation of tariffs by the U.S., and the renegotiation of NAFTA in the form of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaced NAFTA on July 1, 2020, could negatively affect North America’s economic outlook and, as a result, the value of securities held by a Fund. Policy and legislative changes in one country may have a significant effect on North American markets generally, as well as on the value of certain securities held by a Fund.
Risk of Investing in the Basic Materials Industry. Issuers in the basic materials industry could be adversely affected by commodity price volatility, inflation, exchange rate fluctuations, social and political unrest, import controls and increased competition. Companies in the basic materials industry may be subject to swift fluctuations in supply and demand. Fluctuations may be caused by events relating to political and economic developments, the environmental impact of basic materials operations, and the success of exploration projects. Production of industrial materials often exceeds demand as a result of over-building or economic downturns, leading to poor investment returns. Issuers in the basic materials industry are at risk for environmental damage and product liability claims and may be adversely affected by depletion of resources, delays in technical progress, labor relations, tax and government regulations related to changes to, among other things, energy and environmental policies.
Risk of Investing in the Communication Services Sector. The communication services sector consists of both companies in the telecommunication services industry as well as those in the media and entertainment industry. Examples of companies in the telecommunication services industry group include providers of fiber-optic, fixed-line, cellular and wireless telecommunications networks. Companies in the media and entertainment industry group encompass a variety of services and products including television broadcasting, gaming products, social media, networking platforms, online classifieds, online review websites, and Internet search engines. Companies in the communication services sector may be affected by industry competition, substantial capital requirements, government regulation, and obsolescence of communications products and services due to technological advancement. Fluctuating domestic and international demand, shifting demographics and often unpredictable changes in consumer tastes can drastically affect a communication services company's profitability. In addition, while all companies may be susceptible to network security breaches, certain companies in the communication services sector may be particular targets of hacking and potential theft of proprietary or consumer information or disruptions in service, which could have a material adverse effect on their businesses.
The communication services sector of a country’s economy is often subject to extensive government regulation. The costs of complying with governmental regulations, delays or failure to receive required regulatory approvals, or the enactment of new regulatory requirements may negatively affect the business of communications companies. Government actions around the world, specifically in the area of pre-marketing clearance of products and prices, can be arbitrary and unpredictable. The communications services industry can also be significantly affected by intense competition for market share, including
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competition with alternative technologies such as wireless communications, product compatibility and standardization, consumer preferences, rapid product obsolescence, research and development of new products, lack of standardization or compatibility with existing technologies, and a dependency on patent and copyright protections. Companies in the communication services sector may encounter distressed cash flows due to the need to commit substantial capital to meet increasing competition, particularly in developing new products and services using new technology. Technological innovations may make the products and services of certain communications companies obsolete.
Telecommunications providers with exposure to the U.S. are generally required to obtain franchises or licenses in order to provide services in a given location. Licensing and franchise rights in the telecommunications sector are limited, which may provide an advantage to certain participants. Limited availability of such rights, high barriers to market entry and regulatory oversight, among other factors, have led to consolidation of companies within the sector, which could lead to further regulation or other negative effects in the future. Telecommunication providers investing in non-U.S. countries may be subject to similar risks. Additional risks include those related to competitive challenges in the U.S. from non-U.S. competitors engaged in strategic joint ventures with U.S. companies and in non-U.S. markets from both U.S. and non-U.S. competitors.
Companies in the media and entertainment industries can be significantly affected by several factors, including competition, particularly in formulation of products and services using new technologies, cyclicality of revenues and earnings, a potential decrease in the discretionary income of targeted individuals, changing consumer tastes and interests, and the potential increase in government regulation. Companies in the media and entertainment industries may become obsolete quickly. Advertising spending can be an important revenue source for media and entertainment companies. During economic downturns advertising spending typically decreases and, as a result, media and entertainment companies tend to generate less revenue.
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Cyclical Industry. A Fund may invest in consumer cyclical companies, which rely heavily on business cycles and economic conditions. Consumer cyclical companies include automotive manufacturers, retail companies, and housing-related companies. The consumer cyclical industry can be significantly affected by several factors, including, without limitation, the performance of domestic and international economies, exchange rates, changing consumer tastes and trends, marketing campaigns, cyclical revenue generation, consumer confidence, commodity price volatility, labor relations, interest rates, import and export controls, intense competition, technological developments and government regulation.
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Defensive Industry. A Fund is subject to risks faced by companies in the consumer defensive industry, including: governmental regulation affecting the permissibility of using various food additives and production methods, which could affect profitability; new laws or litigation that may adversely affect tobacco companies; fads, marketing campaigns and other factors affecting supply and demand that may strongly affect securities prices and profitability of food, beverage and fashion related products; and international events that may affect food and beverage companies that derive a substantial portion of their net income from foreign countries.
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Discretionary Sector. Companies engaged in the design, production or distribution of products or services for the consumer discretionary sector (including, without limitation, television and radio broadcasting, manufacturing, publishing, recording and musical instruments, motion pictures, photography, amusement and theme parks, gaming casinos, sporting goods and sports arenas, camping and recreational equipment, toys and games, apparel, travel-related services, automobiles, hotels and motels, and fast food and other restaurants) are subject to the risk that their products or services may become obsolete quickly. The success of these companies can depend heavily on disposable household income and consumer spending. During periods of an expanding economy, the consumer discretionary sector may outperform the consumer staples sector, but may underperform when economic conditions worsen. Moreover, the consumer discretionary sector can be significantly affected by several factors, including, without limitation, the performance of domestic and international economies, exchange rates, changing consumer preferences, demographics, marketing campaigns, cyclical revenue generation, consumer confidence, commodity price volatility, labor relations, interest rates, import and export controls, intense competition, technological developments and government regulation.
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Goods Industry. Companies in the consumer goods industry include companies involved in the design, production or distribution of goods for consumers, including food, household, home, personal and office products, clothing and textiles. The success of the consumer goods industry is tied closely to the performance of the domestic and international economy, interest rates, exchange rates, competition, consumer confidence and consumer disposable income. The consumer goods industry may be affected by trends, marketing campaigns and other factors
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affecting consumer demand. Governmental regulation affecting the use of various food additives may affect the profitability of certain companies in the consumer goods industry. Moreover, international events may affect food and beverage companies that derive a substantial portion of their net income from foreign countries. In addition, tobacco companies may be adversely affected by new laws, regulations and litigation. Many consumer goods may be marketed globally, and consumer goods companies may be affected by the demand and market conditions in other countries and regions. Companies in the consumer goods industry may be subject to severe competition, which may also have an adverse impact on their profitability. Changes in demographics and consumer preferences may affect the success of consumer products.
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Services Industry. The success of firms in the consumer services industry and certain retailers (including food and beverage, general retailers, media, and travel and leisure) is tied closely to the performance of the domestic and international economy, interest rates, exchange rates, competition and consumer confidence. The consumer services industry depends heavily on disposable household income and consumer spending. Companies in the consumer services industry may be subject to severe competition, which may also have an adverse impact on their profitability. Companies in the consumer services industry are facing increased government and regulatory scrutiny and may be subject to adverse government or regulatory action. Changes in demographics and consumer preferences may affect the success of consumer service providers.
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Staples Sector. Companies in the consumer staples sector may be adversely affected by changes in the global economy, consumer spending, competition, demographics and consumer preferences, and production spending. Companies in the consumer staples sector may also be affected by changes in global economic, environmental and political events, economic conditions, the depletion of resources, and government regulation. For instance, government regulations may affect the permissibility of using various food additives and production methods of companies that make food products, which could affect company profitability. In addition, tobacco companies may be adversely affected by the adoption of proposed legislation and/or by litigation. Companies in the consumer staples sector also may be subject to risks pertaining to the supply of, demand for and prices of raw materials. The prices of raw materials fluctuate in response to a number of factors, including, without limitation, changes in government agricultural support programs, exchange rates, import and export controls, changes in international agricultural and trading policies, and seasonal and weather conditions. Companies in the consumer staples sector may be subject to severe competition, which may also have an adverse impact on their profitability.
Risk of Investing in the Energy Sector. Companies in the energy sector are strongly affected by the changes in and volatility of global energy prices, energy supply and demand, government regulations and policies, energy production and conservation efforts, technological change, development of alternative energy sources, and other factors that they cannot control. Energy companies may have relatively high levels of debt and may be more likely to restructure their businesses if there are downturns in energy markets or in the global economy. If an energy company in a Fund's portfolio becomes distressed, a Fund could lose all or a substantial portion of its investment. The energy sector is cyclical and is highly dependent on commodity prices. Prices and supplies of energy may fluctuate significantly over short and long periods of time due to, among other things, national and international political changes, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) policies, changes in relationships among OPEC members and between OPEC and oil-importing nations, the regulatory environment, taxation policies, the enactment or cessation of trade sanctions, war or other geopolitical conflicts, and the economies of key energy-consuming countries. Companies in the energy sector may be adversely affected by terrorism, cyber incidents, natural disasters or other catastrophes. Companies in the energy sector are at risk of liability from accidents resulting in injury, loss of life or property, pollution or other environmental damage claims. Significant oil and gas deposits are located in emerging markets countries where corruption and security may raise significant risks, in addition to the other risks of investing in emerging markets. Additionally, the Middle East, where many companies in the energy sector may operate, has experienced conflict and unrest. Companies in the energy sector may also be adversely affected by changes in exchange rates, interest rates, economic conditions, tax treatment, government regulation and intervention, negative perception, efforts at energy conservation and world events in the regions in which the companies operate (e.g., expropriation, nationalization, confiscation of assets and property or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investments and repatriation of capital, military coups, social unrest, violence or labor unrest). Because a significant portion of revenues of companies in this sector is derived from a relatively small number of customers that are largely composed of governmental entities and utilities, governmental budget constraints may have a significant impact on companies in this sector. The energy sector is highly regulated. Entities operating in the energy sector are subject to significant regulation of nearly every aspect of their operations by governmental agencies. Such regulation can change rapidly or over time in both scope and intensity. Stricter laws, regulations or enforcement policies could be enacted, which would likely increase compliance costs and may materially adversely affect the financial performance of companies in the energy sector.
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The energy sector may experience significant market volatility. For example, Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 led to further disruptions and increased volatility in the energy and commodity futures markets due to actual and potential disruptions in the supply and demand for certain commodities, including oil and natural gas. The U.S. and other actors have enacted various sanctions and restrictions on business dealings with Russia, which include restrictions on imports of oil, natural gas and coal. The effect of the current sanctions and restrictions, as well as the extent and duration of the Russian military action, additional sanctions and associated market disruptions on the energy sector, are impossible to predict and depend on a number of factors. The effect of these events or any related developments could be significant and may have a severe adverse effect on the performance of a Fund.
Risk of Investing in the Financials Sector. Companies in the financials sector include small, regional and money center banks, securities brokerage firms, asset management companies, savings banks and thrift institutions, specialty finance companies (e.g., credit card, mortgage providers), insurance and insurance brokerage firms, consumer finance firms, financial conglomerates and foreign banking and financial companies.
Most financial companies are subject to extensive governmental regulation, which limits their activities and may affect their ability to earn a profit from a given line of business. Government regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for companies in the financials sector, including effects not intended by the regulation. Direct governmental intervention in the operations of financial companies and financial markets may materially and adversely affect the companies in which a Fund invests, including legislation in many countries that may increase government regulation, repatriation and other intervention. The impact of governmental intervention and legislative changes on any individual financial company or on the financials sector as a whole cannot be predicted. The valuation of financial companies has been and continues to be subject to unprecedented volatility and may be influenced by unpredictable factors, including interest rate risk and sovereign debt default. Certain financial businesses are subject to intense competitive pressures, including market share and price competition. Financial companies in foreign countries are subject to market-specific and general regulatory and interest rate concerns. In particular, government regulation in certain foreign countries may include taxes and controls on interest rates, credit availability, minimum capital requirements, bans on short sales, limits on prices and restrictions on currency transfers. In addition, companies in the financials sector may be the targets of hacking and potential theft of proprietary or customer information or disruptions in service, which could have a material adverse effect on their businesses.
The profitability of banks, savings and loan associations and other financial companies is largely dependent on the availability and cost of capital funds and can fluctuate significantly when interest rates change; for instance, when interest rates go up, the value of securities issued by many types of companies in the financials sector generally goes down. In other words, financial companies may be adversely affected in certain market cycles, including, without limitation, during periods of rising interest rates, which may restrict the availability and increase the cost of capital, and during periods of declining economic conditions, which may cause, among other things, credit losses due to financial difficulties of borrowers.
In addition, general economic conditions are important to the operations of these companies, and financial difficulties of borrowers may have an adverse effect on the profitability of financial companies. Companies in the financials sector are exposed directly to the credit risk of their borrowers and counterparties, who may be leveraged to an unknown degree, including through swaps and other derivatives products, and who at times may be unable to meet their obligations to the financial services companies. Financial services companies may have significant exposure to the same borrowers and counterparties, with the result that a borrower’s or counterparty’s inability to meet its obligations to one company may affect other companies with exposure to the same borrower or counterparty. This interconnectedness of risk, including cross-default risk, may result in significant negative impacts to the financial condition and reputation of companies with direct exposure to the defaulting counterparty as well as adverse cascading effects in the markets and the financials sector generally. Financial companies can be highly dependent upon access to capital markets, and any impediments to such access, such as adverse overall economic conditions or a negative perception in the capital markets of a financial company’s financial condition or prospects, could adversely affect its business. Deterioration of credit markets can have an adverse impact on a broad range of financial markets, causing certain financial companies to incur large losses. In these conditions, companies in the financials sector may experience significant declines in the valuation of their assets, take actions to raise capital and even cease operations. Some financial companies may also be required to accept or borrow significant amounts of capital from government sources and may face future government-imposed restrictions on their businesses or increased government intervention. In addition, there is no guarantee that governments will provide any such relief in the future. These actions may cause the securities of many companies in the financials sector to decline in value.
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Risk of Investing in the Healthcare Sector. Companies in the healthcare sector are often issuers whose profitability may be affected by extensive government regulation, restrictions on government reimbursement for medical expenses, rising or falling costs of medical products and services, pricing pressure, an increased emphasis on outpatient services, a limited number of products, industry innovation, changes in technologies and other market developments. Many healthcare companies are heavily dependent on patent protection and the actual or perceived safety and efficiency of their products.
Patents have a limited duration, and, upon expiration, other companies may market substantially similar generic products that are typically sold at a lower price than the patented product, which can cause the original developer of the product to lose market share and/or reduce the price charged for the product, resulting in lower profits for the original developer. As a result, the expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies.
In addition, because the products and services of many companies in the healthcare sector affect the health and well-being of many individuals, these companies are especially susceptible 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, which can result in increased development costs, delayed cost recovery and loss of competitive advantage to the extent that rival companies have developed competing products or procedures, adversely affecting the company’s revenues and profitability. In other words, delays in the regulatory approval process may diminish the opportunity for a company to profit from a new product or to bring a new product to market, which could have a material adverse effect on a company’s business. Healthcare companies may also be strongly affected by scientific biotechnology or technological developments, and their products may quickly become obsolete. Also, many healthcare companies offer products and services that are subject to governmental regulation and may be adversely affected by changes in governmental policies or laws. Changes in governmental policies or laws may span a wide range of topics, including cost control, national health insurance, incentives for compensation in the provision of healthcare services, tax incentives and penalties related to healthcare insurance premiums, and promotion of prepaid healthcare plans. 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.
Additionally, the expansion of facilities by healthcare-related providers may be subject to determinations of need by certain government authorities. This process not only generally increases the time and costs involved in these expansions, but also makes expansion plans uncertain, limiting the revenue and profitability growth potential of healthcare-related facilities operators and negatively affecting the prices of their securities. Moreover, in recent years, both local and national governmental budgets have come under pressure to reduce spending and control healthcare costs, which could both adversely affect regulatory processes and public funding available for healthcare products, services and facilities.
Risk of Investing in the Industrials Sector. The value of securities issued by companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by supply of and demand for both their specific products or services and for industrials sector products in general. The products of manufacturing companies may face obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction. Government regulations, trade disputes, world events and economic conditions may affect the performance of companies in the industrials sector. 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. For example, commodity price declines and unit volume reductions resulting from an over-supply of materials used in the industrials sector can adversely affect the sector. Furthermore, companies in the industrials sector may be subject to liability for environmental damage, product liability claims, depletion of resources, and mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control.
Risk of Investing in the Materials Sector. Companies in the materials sector may be adversely affected by commodity price volatility, exchange rate fluctuations, social and political unrest, war, import or export controls, increased competition, depletion of resources, technical progress, labor relations and government regulations, and mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control, among other factors. Such risks may adversely affect the issuers to which a Fund has exposure.
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Companies in the materials sector are also at risk of liability for environmental damage and product liability claims. Production of materials may exceed demand as a result of market imbalances or economic downturns, leading to poor investment returns. These risks are heightened for companies in the materials sector located in foreign markets.
Risk of Investing in the Real Estate Industry. Companies in the real estate industry include companies that invest in real estate, such as REITs, real estate holding and operating companies or real estate development companies (collectively, Real Estate Companies). Investing in Real Estate Companies exposes investors to the risks of owning real estate directly, as well as to risks that relate specifically to the way in which Real Estate Companies are organized and operated. The real estate industry is highly sensitive to general and local economic conditions and developments, and characterized by intense competition and periodic overbuilding. Investing in Real Estate Companies involves various risks. Some risks that are specific to Real Estate Companies are discussed in greater detail below.
Concentration Risk. Real Estate Companies may own a limited number of properties and concentrate their investments in a particular geographic region or property type. Economic downturns affecting a particular region, industry or property type may lead to a high volume of defaults within a short period.
Distressed Investment Risk. Real Estate Companies may invest in distressed, defaulted or out-of-favor bank loans. Identification and implementation by a Real Estate Company of loan modification and restructure programs involves a high degree of uncertainty. Even successful implementation may still require adverse compromises and may not prevent bankruptcy. Real Estate Companies may also invest in other debt instruments that may become non-performing, including the securities of companies with higher credit and market risk due to financial or operational difficulties. Higher risk securities may be less liquid and more volatile than the securities of companies not in distress.
Illiquidity Risk. Investing in Real Estate Companies may involve risks similar to those associated with investing in small-capitalization companies. Real Estate Company securities, like the securities of small-capitalization companies, may be more volatile than, and perform differently from, shares of large-capitalization companies. There may be less trading in Real Estate Company shares, which means that buy and sell transactions in those shares could have a magnified impact on share price, resulting in abrupt or erratic price fluctuations. In addition, real estate is relatively illiquid, and, therefore, a Real Estate Company may have a limited ability to vary or liquidate properties in response to changes in economic or other conditions.
Interest Rate Risk. Rising interest rates could result in higher costs of capital for Real Estate Companies, which could negatively impact a Real Estate Company’s ability to meet its payment obligations. Declining interest rates could result in increased prepayment on loans and require redeployment of capital in less desirable investments.
Leverage Risk. Real Estate Companies may use leverage (and some may be highly leveraged), which increases investment risk and could adversely affect a Real Estate Company’s operations and market value in periods of rising interest rates. Real Estate Companies are also exposed to the risks normally associated with debt financing. Financial covenants related to a Real Estate Company’s leverage may affect the ability of the Real Estate Company to operate effectively. In addition, real property may be subject to the quality of credit extended and defaults by borrowers and tenants. If the properties do not generate sufficient income to meet operating expenses, including, where applicable, debt service, ground lease payments, tenant improvements, third-party leasing commissions and other capital expenditures, the income and ability of a Real Estate Company to make payments of any interest and principal on its debt securities will be adversely affected.
Loan Foreclosure Risk. Real Estate Companies may foreclose on loans that the Real Estate Company originated and/or acquired. Foreclosure may generate negative publicity for the underlying property that affects its market value. In addition to the length and expense of such proceedings, the validity of the terms of the applicable loan may not be recognized in foreclosure proceedings. Claims and defenses asserted by borrowers or other lenders may interfere with the enforcement of rights by a Real Estate Company. Parallel proceedings, such as bankruptcy, may also delay resolution and limit the amount of recovery on a foreclosed loan by a Real Estate Company even where the property underlying the loan is liquidated.
Management Risk. Real Estate Companies are dependent upon management skills and may have limited financial resources. Real Estate Companies are generally not diversified and may be subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers and voluntary liquidation. In addition, transactions between Real Estate Companies and their affiliates may be subject to conflicts of interest, which may adversely affect a Real Estate Company’s shareholders. A Real Estate Company may also have joint venture investments in certain of its properties, and, consequently, its ability to control decisions relating to such properties may be limited.
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Property Risk. Real Estate Companies may be subject to risks relating to functional obsolescence or reduced desirability of properties; extended vacancies due to economic conditions and tenant bankruptcies; catastrophic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist acts; and casualty or condemnation losses. Real estate income and values also may be greatly affected by demographic trends, such as population shifts or changes in consumer preferences and values, or increasing vacancies or declining rents resulting from legal, cultural, technological, global or local economic developments.
Regulatory Risk. Real estate income and values may be adversely affected by such factors as applicable domestic and foreign laws (including tax laws). Government actions, such as tax increases, zoning law changes, mandated closures or other commercial restrictions or environmental regulations, also may have a major impact on real estate income and values. In addition, quarterly compliance with regulations limiting the proportion of asset types held by a U.S. REIT may force certain Real Estate Companies to liquidate or restructure otherwise attractive investments. Some countries may not recognize REITs or comparable structures as a viable form of real estate funds.
Underlying Investment Risk. Real Estate Companies make investments in a variety of debt and equity instruments with varying risk profiles. For instance, Real Estate Companies may invest in debt instruments secured by commercial property that have higher risks of delinquency and foreclosure than loans on single family homes due to a variety of factors associated with commercial property, including the tie between income available to service debt and productive use of the property. Real Estate Companies may also invest in debt instruments and preferred equity that are junior in an issuer’s capital structure and that involve privately negotiated structures. Subordinated debt investments, such as B-Notes and mezzanine loans, involve a greater credit risk of default due to the need to service more senior debt of the issuer. Similarly, preferred equity investments involve a greater risk of loss than conventional debt financing due to their non-collateralized nature and subordinated ranking. Investments in commercial mortgage-backed securities may also be junior in priority in the event of bankruptcy or similar proceedings. Investments in senior loans may be effectively subordinated if the senior loan is pledged as collateral. The ability of a holder of junior claims to proceed against a defaulting issuer is circumscribed by the terms of the particular contractual arrangement, which vary considerably from transaction to transaction.
U.S. Tax Risk. Certain U.S. Real Estate Companies are subject to special U.S. federal tax requirements. A REIT that fails to comply with such tax requirements may be subject to U.S. federal income taxation, which may affect the value of the REIT and the characterization of the REIT’s distributions. The U.S. federal tax requirement that a REIT distribute substantially all of its net income to its shareholders may result in a REIT having insufficient capital for future expenditures. A REIT that successfully maintains its qualification may still become subject to U.S. federal, state and local taxes, including excise, penalty, franchise, payroll, mortgage recording, and transfer taxes, both directly and indirectly through its subsidiaries. Because REITs often do not provide complete tax information until after the calendar year-end, a Fund may at times need to request permission to extend the deadline for issuing your tax reporting statement or supplement the information otherwise provided to you.
Risk of Investing in the Residential and Residential-Related REIT Sub-Industry. The Residential and Residential-Related REIT Sub-Industry consists of REITs with exposure to residential real estate and certain types of commercial real estate that complements residential real estate, including properties operated by healthcare providers and self-storage companies. In addition to the risks related to REITs generally, investments in these REITs are subject to additional subsector-specific risks. Residential real estate may be affected by unique supply and demand factors that do not apply to other REIT sub-sectors. In addition, certain investors may already have exposure to residential real estate through ownership of a primary residence or direct ownership of rental property. The value of healthcare-focused REITs may be affected by changes in federal or state regulation of healthcare providers and reimbursement rates to healthcare providers under Medicare, Medicaid and other public or private health insurance plans. Unlike less specialized commercial real estate, when tenants vacate healthcare-related properties, the ability of property management to find replacement tenants may be impaired by the properties’ specialized healthcare uses. Investments in self-storage REITs are subject to changes in demand levels for self-storage. In addition, self-storage operators may be liable for unplanned environmental and hazardous waste compliance costs associated with operating self-storage locations.
Risk of Investing in the Technology Sector. Technology companies are characterized by periodic new product introductions, innovations and evolving industry standards, and, as a result, face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Companies in the technology sector are often smaller and less experienced companies and may be subject to greater risks than larger companies; these risks may be heightened for technology companies in foreign markets. Technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological
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developments and frequent new product introduction, changes in consumer and business purchasing patterns, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. In addition, a rising interest rate environment tends to negatively affect companies in the technology sector because, in such an environment, those companies with high market valuations may appear less attractive to investors, which may cause sharp decreases in the companies’ market prices. Companies in the 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 technology sector are facing increased government and regulatory scrutiny and may be subject to adverse government or regulatory action. The technology sector may also be adversely affected by changes or trends in commodity prices, which may be influenced or characterized by unpredictable factors. Finally, while all companies may be susceptible to network security breaches, certain companies in the technology sector may be particular targets of hacking and potential theft of proprietary or consumer information or disruptions in service, which could have a material adverse effect on their businesses.
Risk of Investing in the Telecommunications Sector. The telecommunications sector of a country’s economy is often subject to extensive government regulation. The costs of complying with governmental regulations, delays or failure to receive required regulatory approvals, or the enactment of new regulatory requirements may negatively affect the business of telecommunications companies. Government actions around the world, specifically in the area of pre-marketing clearance of products and prices, can be arbitrary and unpredictable. Companies in the telecommunications sector may experience distressed cash flows due to the need to commit substantial capital to meet increasing competition, particularly in developing new products and services using new technology. Technological innovations may make the products and services of certain telecommunications companies obsolete. Finally, while all companies may be susceptible to network security breaches, certain companies in the telecommunications sector may be particular targets of hacking and potential theft of proprietary or consumer information or disruptions in service, which could have a material adverse effect on their businesses.
Risk of Investing in the Transportation Industry. Companies in the transportation industry may be adversely affected by changes in the economy, increases in fuel and operating costs, labor relations, technology developments, exchange rates, insurance costs, industry competition and government regulation. Companies in the transportation industry are also affected by severe weather events, mass casualty accidents or environmental catastrophes, acts of terrorism and other similar events that target or damage transportation infrastructure or vessels, war or risk of war, widespread disruption of technology systems and increasing equipment and operational costs. Such global or regional events and conditions may adversely affect the operations, financial condition and liquidity of companies in the transportation industry and cause insurance premiums to increase dramatically or result in insurance coverage becoming unavailable for certain business lines or assets. Securities of companies in the transportation industry are generally cyclical and occasionally subject to sharp price movements.
Risk of Investing in the Utilities Sector. The utilities sector may be adversely affected by changing commodity prices, government regulation stipulating rates charged by utilities, increased tariffs, changes in tax laws, interest rate fluctuations and changes in the cost of providing specific utility services. The utilities industry is also subject to potential terrorist attacks, natural disasters and severe weather conditions, as well as regulatory and operational burdens associated with the operation and maintenance of nuclear facilities. Government regulators monitor and control utility revenues and costs, and therefore may limit utility profits. In certain countries, regulatory authorities may also restrict a company’s access to new markets, thereby diminishing the company’s long-term prospects.
There are substantial differences among the regulatory practices and policies of various jurisdictions, and any regulatory agency may make major shifts in policy from time to time. There is no assurance that regulatory authorities will, in the future, grant rate increases. Additionally, existing and possible future regulatory legislation may make it even more difficult for utilities to obtain adequate relief. Certain of the issuers of securities held in a Fund's portfolio may own or operate nuclear generating facilities. Governmental authorities may from time to time review existing policies and impose additional requirements governing the licensing, construction and operation of nuclear power plants. Prolonged changes in climate conditions can also have a significant impact on both the revenues of an electric and gas utility as well as the expenses of a utility, particularly a hydro-based electric utility.
The rates that traditional regulated utility companies may charge their customers generally are subject to review and limitation by governmental regulatory commissions. Rate changes may occur only after a prolonged approval period or may not occur at all, which could adversely affect utility companies when costs are rising. The value of regulated utility debt securities (and, to a lesser extent, equity securities) tends to have an inverse relationship to the movement of interest rates. Certain utility companies have experienced full or partial deregulation in recent years. These utility companies are frequently more similar to industrial companies in that they are subject to greater competition and have been permitted by regulators to
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diversify outside of their original geographic regions and their traditional lines of business. As a result, some companies may be forced to defend their core business and may be less profitable. Deregulation may also permit a utility company to expand outside of its traditional lines of business and engage in riskier ventures.
Proxy Voting Policy
For the Funds, the Board has delegated the voting of proxies for each Fund’s securities to BFA pursuant to the Funds' Proxy Voting Policy, and BFA has adopted policies and procedures (collectively, the iShares ETFs Proxy Voting Policies) governing proxy voting by accounts managed by BFA, including the Funds.
Under the iShares ETFs Proxy Voting Policies, BFA will vote proxies related to Fund securities in the best interests of a Fund and its shareholders. From time to time, a vote may present a conflict between the interests of a Fund’s shareholders, on the one hand, and those of BFA, or any affiliated person of a Fund or BFA, on the other. BFA maintains policies and procedures that are designed to prevent undue influence on BFA’s proxy voting activity that might stem from any relationship between the issuer of a proxy (or any dissident shareholder) and BFA, BFA’s affiliates, a Fund or a Fund’s affiliates. Most conflicts are managed through a structural separation of BFA’s Corporate Governance Group from BFA’s employees with sales and client responsibilities. In addition, BFA maintains procedures to ensure that all engagements with corporate issuers or dissident shareholders are managed consistently and without regard to BFA’s relationship with the issuer of the proxy or the dissident shareholder. In certain instances, BFA may determine to engage an independent fiduciary to vote proxies as a further safeguard to avoid potential conflicts of interest or as otherwise required by applicable law.
Copies of the iShares ETFs Proxy Voting Policies are attached as Appendix A.
Information with respect to how proxies relating to the Funds' portfolio securities were voted during the 12-month period ended June 30 is available: (i) without charge, upon request, by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or through the Funds' website at www.iShares.com; and (ii) on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Portfolio Holdings Information
On each Business Day (as defined in the Creation and Redemption of Creation Units section of this SAI), prior to the opening of regular trading on the Fund’s primary listing exchange, a Fund discloses on its website (www.iShares.com) certain information relating to the portfolio holdings that will form the basis of a Fund’s next net asset value per share calculation.
In addition, certain information may also be made available to certain parties:
Communications of Data Files: A Fund may make available through the facilities of the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) or through posting on the www.iShares.com, prior to the opening of trading on each business day, a list of a Fund’s holdings (generally pro-rata) that Authorized Participants could deliver to a Fund to settle purchases of a Fund (i.e. Deposit Securities) or that Authorized Participants would receive from a Fund to settle redemptions of a Fund (i.e. Fund Securities). These files are known as the Portfolio Composition File and the Fund Data File (collectively, Files). The Files are applicable for the next trading day and are provided to the NSCC and/or posted on www.iShares.com after the close of markets in the U.S.
Communications with Authorized Participants and Liquidity Providers: Certain employees of BFA are responsible for interacting with Authorized Participants and liquidity providers with respect to discussing custom basket proposals as described in the Custom Baskets section of this SAI. As part of these discussions, these employees may discuss with an Authorized Participant or liquidity provider the securities a Fund is willing to accept for a creation, and securities that a Fund will provide on a redemption.
BFA employees may also discuss portfolio holdings-related information with broker/dealers, in connection with settling a Fund’s transactions, as may be necessary to conduct business in the ordinary course in a manner consistent with the disclosure in the Fund's current registration statements.
Communications with Listing Exchanges: From time to time, employees of BFA may discuss portfolio holdings information with the applicable primary listing exchange for a Fund as needed to meet the exchange listing standards.
Communications with Other Portfolio Managers: Certain information may be provided to employees of BFA who
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manage funds that invest a significant percentage of their assets in shares of an underlying fund as necessary to manage the fund’s investment objective and strategy.
Communication of Other Information: Certain explanatory information regarding the Files is released to Authorized Participants and liquidity providers on a daily basis, but is only done so after the Files are posted to www.iShares.com.
Third-Party Service Providers: Certain portfolio holdings information may be disclosed to Fund Trustees and their counsel, outside counsel for the Funds, auditors and to certain third-party service providers (i.e., fund administrator, custodian, proxy voting service) for which a non-disclosure, confidentiality agreement or other obligation is in place with such service providers, as may be necessary to conduct business in the ordinary course in a manner consistent with applicable policies, agreements with the Funds, the terms of the current registration statements and federal securities laws and regulations thereunder.
Liquidity Metrics: Liquidity Metrics, which seek to ascertain a Fund’s liquidity profile under BlackRock’s global liquidity risk methodology, include but are not limited to: (a) disclosure regarding the number of days needed to liquidate a portfolio or the portfolio’s underlying investments; and (b) the percentage of a Fund’s NAV invested in a particular liquidity tier under BlackRock’s global liquidity risk methodology. The dissemination of position-level liquidity metrics data and any non-public regulatory data pursuant to the Liquidity Rule (including SEC liquidity tiering) is not permitted unless pre-approved. Disclosure of portfolio-level liquidity metrics prior to 60 calendar days after calendar quarter-end requires a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement and approval of the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer. Portfolio-level liquidity metrics disclosure subsequent to 60 calendar days after calendar quarter-end requires the approval of portfolio management and must be disclosed to all parties requesting the information if disclosed to any party.
The Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer or his delegate may authorize disclosure of portfolio holdings information pursuant to the above policy and procedures, subject to restrictions on selective disclosure imposed by applicable law. The Board reviews the policy and procedures for disclosure of portfolio holdings information at least annually.
Construction and Maintenance of the Underlying Indexes
Descriptions of the Underlying Indexes are provided below.
With respect to certain underlying indexes of the iShares funds, BFA or its affiliates have held discussions with the applicable index provider regarding their business interest in licensing an index to track a particular market segment and conveyed investment concepts and strategies that could be considered for the index. The index provider designed and constituted such indices using concepts conveyed by BFA or its affiliates. For certain of these indices, the relevant fund may be the first or sole user of the underlying index. In its sole discretion, the index provider determines the composition of the securities and other instruments in such underlying index, the rebalance protocols of the underlying index, the weightings of the securities and other instruments in the underlying index, and any updates to the methodology. From time to time, BFA or its affiliates may also provide input relating to possible methodology changes of such underlying index pursuant to the index provider’s consultation process or pursuant to other communications with the index provider.
The Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index
Number of Components: approximately 28
Component Selection Criteria. A Cohen & Steers investment committee determines the securities (i.e., the components) of the Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index. The universe of REITs is first screened for market capitalization and liquidity requirements. To be eligible for inclusion, a REIT must have a minimum market capitalization of $500 million and a minimum of 600,000 shares traded per month for the previous six months. The investment committee determines the final 30 constituents based on a review process. Criteria for inclusion include the quality of the portfolio, property sector and geographic diversification, strong management, sound capital structure and a dominant position within a property sector.
After the final list of constituent REITs has been determined, constituent REITs are ranked according to their respective free float-adjusted market capitalization. Each constituent REIT that has an index weight greater than 8% will have its weight adjusted downward until it equals 8%. The weight of the remaining constituent REITs will be increased proportionately until
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the aggregate of all weights equals 100%. As a result, constituents will be large and liquid without any one issue dominating the Underlying Index.
Issue Changes. The Underlying Index is rebalanced quarterly. The weighting for each constituent is updated and adjustments are made if any constituent has a weighting over 8%. The constituents are reviewed for size and liquidity. A REIT will be removed from the Underlying Index if its market capitalization has fallen below $400 million or if the monthly trading volume has fallen below 500,000 shares per month for the previous six months. In order to prevent excessive turnover, the size and liquidity requirements are not as stringent during rebalancings as they are for initial inclusion.
Between rebalancing dates, mergers or bankruptcy may result in a deletion or weighting increase. Weighting increases must be greater than 5% and will be adjusted downward if the weighting increase results in the REIT’s weight becoming greater than 8%. In the case of a deletion, the investment committee will select a replacement company to ensure 30 constituents at all times.
Index Maintenance. Maintaining the Underlying Index includes monitoring and completing the adjustments for company additions and deletions, share changes, stock splits, stock dividends, and stock price adjustments due to restructuring and spin-offs. The Underlying Index is a total return index and therefore reflects the reinvestment of dividends. The Underlying Index is calculated by the NYSE Amex Equities and distributed in real time.
Index Availability. The Underlying Index is calculated and broadcast every 15 seconds over the Consolidated Tape Association’s Network B under the ticker RMP. This information is distributed by financial data vendors such as Bloomberg.
The Dow Jones Indexes
Component Selection Criteria. Securities of companies listed on a major U.S. exchange (such as the New York Stock Exchange, Inc. (NYSE), the NYSE American or the Nasdaq) are considered for inclusion in the Underlying Indexes, with the following general rules and exceptions. Non-common equity issues such as preferred stocks, convertible notes, warrants, rights, closed-end funds, trust receipts, limited liabilities companies, royalty trusts, units, limited partnerships, OTC bulletin boards, pink sheet stocks, investment companies, fixed-dividend shares, master limited partnerships (MLPs), special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), and stocks that do not meet certain minimum liquidity criteria generally are not eligible for inclusion in the indexes.
Component Selection Criteria Applicable to Dow Jones Subsector Index. The following index is referred to herein as the Dow Jones Subsector Index: Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services Index. The Dow Jones Subsector Index includes constituents of the Dow Jones U.S. Index classified in the following subsectors: banks, asset managers, consumer finance, specialty finance, investment services, and mortgage finance.
Issue Changes. Each Underlying Index is reviewed and rebalanced quarterly to maintain accurate representation of the market segment represented by the Underlying Index. Securities that are removed from an Underlying Index between reconstitution dates are not replaced. The only additions between rebalancing dates are as a result of initial public offerings (IPOs) and spin-offs. The Dow Jones Subsector Indexes will consider securities that change sector classifications for inclusion or removal based on the eligibility of the resulting subsector classification at the time of the change.
Components of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index are reviewed quarterly and the index is rebalanced annually. The only additions between rebalancing dates are as a result of spin-offs. Ineligible spin-offs are removed after at least one day of regular way trading.
Index Maintenance. Maintaining the Underlying Indexes includes monitoring and completing the adjustments for additions and deletions to each Underlying Index, share changes, stock splits, stock dividends, and stock price adjustments due to restructuring and spin-offs. Certain Underlying Indexes limit component securities to a maximum market capitalization. The Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index limits the weighting in the index of each component security to no greater than 10% of the Underlying Index.
Weighting. The component stocks are weighted according to the total value of their outstanding shares. The impact of a component’s price change is proportional to the issue’s total market value, which is the share price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding. Each Underlying Index is adjusted to reflect changes in capitalization resulting from mergers, acquisitions, stock rights, substitutions and other capital events. Each of the Underlying Indexes (except the Dow Jones U.S.
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Select Dividend Index) as described below, is a free float-adjusted market capitalization-weighted index, so the impact of a component’s price change is proportional to the component’s free float-adjusted market value, which is the share price multiplied by the number of float-adjusted shares outstanding. SPDJI defines the free float of a security as the proportion of shares outstanding that are deemed to be available for purchase in the public equity markets by investors. In practice, limitations on free float available to investors include: cross ownership (shares that are owned by other companies), ownership by governments (central or municipal) or their agencies, certain substantial levels of private ownership (by individuals, families or charitable trusts and foundations), and restricted shares. Under SPDJI's free float adjustment methodology, a company’s outstanding shares are adjusted if, and only if, an entity in any of the four qualified categories listed above owns 5% or more of the company. The company’s shares will not be adjusted if the block ownership is less than 5%. A constituent’s inclusion factor is equal to its estimated percentage of free float shares outstanding. For example, a constituent security with a free float of 67% will be included in the index at 67% of its market capitalization. However, a company’s outstanding shares are not adjusted by institutional investors’ holdings, which include, but are not limited to, the following categories: depositary banks; pension funds; mutual funds, ETF providers, investment funds, and asset managers; investment funds of insurance companies; and independent foundations not associated with the company.
Index Availability. The Underlying Indexes are calculated continuously and are available from major data vendors.
Additional Information. The Dow Jones U.S. Index, the Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services Index and the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index (collectively, the Dow Jones Indexes) are products of SPDJI, and have been licensed for use by BFA or its affiliates. S&P® is a registered trademark of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (SPFS); Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (Dow Jones); and these trademarks have been licensed for use by SPDJI and sublicensed for certain purposes by BFA and its affiliates. The Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDJI, Dow Jones, SPFS or their respective affiliates or third party licensors and none of such parties make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such product(s) nor do they have any liability for any errors, omissions, or interruptions of the Dow Jones Indexes.
Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services Index
Number of Components: approximately 103
Index Description. The Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services Index is a subset of the Dow Jones U.S. Index. The Underlying Index includes components of the following subsectors in the Dow Jones U.S. Index: banks, asset managers, consumer finance, specialty finance, investment services and mortgage finance.
Dow Jones U.S. Index
Number of Components: approximately 1,094
Index Description. The Dow Jones U.S. Index is a broad-based index representative of the total market for U.S. equity securities. The Underlying Index represents approximately the top 95% of the market capitalization of listed U.S. equities.
Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index
Number of Components: approximately 100
Index Description. The Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index measures the performance of the U.S.'s leading stocks by dividend yield. The Underlying Index is comprised of 100 of the highest dividend-yielding securities (excluding REITs) in the Dow Jones U.S. Index. To be included in the Underlying Index, each security (i) must have dividend-per-share greater than or equal to its five-year average dividend-per-share; (ii) must have a five-year average dividend coverage ratio of greater than or equal to 167%; (iii) must have a minimum three-month average daily trading volume of 200,000 shares (100,000 shares for current constituents); (iv) must have paid dividends in each of the previous five years; (v) must have a non-negative trailing 12-month earnings-per-share and (vi) must have a float-adjusted market cap of at least $3 billion ($2 billion for current constituents). The Underlying Index is rebalanced quarterly and reconstituted annually.
The FTSE Nareit Indexes
Component Selection Criteria. The FTSE Nareit® US Real Estate Index Series (FTSE Nareit Indexes) is primarily rule-based, but is also monitored by the FTSE Nareit Index Advisory Committee. All tax-qualified REITs that are listed on the NYSE or the NASDAQ are eligible for inclusion in the FTSE Nareit Indexes. Potential constituents for the FTSE Nareit Equity REITs Index are determined by sector classifications of constituents in the FTSE Nareit Composite Index. The FTSE Nareit Indexes are
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reviewed for changes on a quarterly basis in March, June, September and December for companies which do not qualify for fast entry, but which meet the criteria for eligible securities set out in the index rules. The review is based on data at the close of business on the Monday 4 weeks prior to the review effective date. The FTSE Nareit Index Advisory Committee meets quarterly, in March, June, September and December or more frequently, if required.
When calculating index component weights, component companies’ shares are adjusted for available free float. In general, shares held by governments, corporations, strategic partners, or other control groups are excluded from a constituent company’s outstanding shares. The FTSE Nareit Composite Index and FTSE Nareit Equity REITs Index are reviewed for changes in free float on a quarterly basis, and implementation of any changes to these indexes, and potentially the FTSE Nareit Indexes, occur after the close of business on the third Friday in March, June, September or December.
Index Maintenance. FTSE is responsible for the daily operation of the FTSE Nareit Indexes. FTSE will maintain records of the market capitalization of all constituents, and will make changes to the constituents and their weightings in accordance with index rules. FTSE will also carry out the periodic company reviews of the FTSE Nareit Indexes and implement the resulting constituent changes as required by index rules.
Issue Changes. A company will be added to the FTSE Nareit Equity REITs Index at the periodic review if its full market capitalization is greater than $100 million (before the application of any free float market adjustments), meets liquidity test in December, has at least 75 percent of their total assets invested in qualifying real estate assets, and has a free float greater than 5%. A company in the FTSE Nareit Equity REITs Index will be deleted at the periodic review if its market capitalization is below $100 million or fails the four screens.
Where a company, whether an existing constituent or not, undertakes an Initial Public Offering of a new equity security, that security will be eligible for fast entry inclusion to the FTSE Nareit Index Series if its full market capitalization using the closing price on the first day of trading is greater than the market capitalization of the company ranked 10th position or higher in the FTSE Nareit Real Estate 50 Index, before the application of individual constituent investability weightings.
New issues of companies that do not qualify for Fast Entry but meet the criteria for eligible securities and have been listed for over 20 business trading days will be eligible for inclusion in the FTSE Nareit Equity REITs Index. The review is based on data at the close of business on the Monday 4 weeks prior to the review effective date. The changes will be effective after the close of business on the third Friday in March, June, September and December.
If a constituent is delisted, or ceases to have a firm quotation, or is subject to a takeover offer which has been declared wholly unconditional, it will be removed from the indexes of which it is a constituent.
Index Availability. The FTSE Nareit Indexes are calculated continuously during normal trading hours of the NYSE and Nasdaq, and are closed on U.S. holidays.
Exchange Rates and Pricing. The prices used to calculate the FTSE Nareit Indexes are the Reuters daily closing prices or those figures accepted as such. FTSE Russell reserves the right to use an alternative pricing source on any given day. For end-of-day alternative currency calculations, FTSE Russell uses the WM/Reuters Closing Spot Rates.
FTSE Nareit Equity REITS Index
Number of Components: approximately 138
Index Description. The FTSE Nareit Equity REITS Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization-weighted index designed to measure performance of U.S. listed equity REITs, excluding infrastructure REITs, mortgage REITs and timber REITs.
The Morningstar Indexes
Component Selection Criteria. Except for Morningstar® US Dividend and Buyback Index, Morningstar Dividend Yield Focus Index, and Morningstar US Dividend Growth Index (as described below), the other Morningstar underlying indexes (the Morningstar Underlying Indexes), are a subset of the Morningstar® US Market Extended Index, a broad market index representing the top 99.5% of U.S. equity market capitalization. To be eligible for inclusion in the Morningstar US Market Extended Index, a stock must be listed on the NYSE, the NYSE American, or NASDAQ, domiciled in the U.S. or have its primary stock market activities carried out in the U.S., have sufficient historical fundamental data available so that Morningstar, Inc. (Morningstar) can classify investment style, and be in the top 75% of companies in the investable
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universe based on its liquidity score. A security’s liquidity score is based on its average monthly trading volume in U.S. dollars. American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), American Depositary Shares, fixed-dividend shares, convertible notes, warrants, rights, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, bank holding companies and royalty and statutory trusts are not eligible for inclusion in the US Market Extended Index.
Except for Morningstar® US Dividend and Buyback Index, Morningstar Dividend Yield Focus Index, and Morningstar US Dividend Growth Index, the Morningstar Underlying Indexes are part of the Morningstar US Style Index family, which is based on the same methodology as the well-known Morningstar Style Box. The Morningstar Style Box classification of each stock relies on prospective financial performance metrics – expressed as a yield (i.e., revenue yield, cash flow yield, dividend yield, and book value yield) and the per-share growth rate of each such metric – as derived from Morningstar’s proprietary models, and (when available) the Institutional Brokers Estimate System (IBES) forecast of each stock’s current year earnings per share and the IBES median long-term earnings growth forecast. The Morningstar Underlying Indexes are governed by transparent, objective rules for security selection, exclusion, rebalancing, and adjustments for corporate actions. Morningstar makes no subjective determinations related to index composition.
Market Capitalization Bands. For the Morningstar US Style Index family, the Index Provider selects stocks for each Underlying Index by size in descending order. The stocks that, in aggregate, account for 69% of the total market capitalization of the investable universe are assigned to the large-cap band. Those stocks that fall between the 69% and 71% of the capitalization of the investable universe may be classified as large-cap or mid-cap, depending on their classification at the previous reconstitution date. The stocks that fall between 71% and 89.5% of the investable universe are assigned to the mid-cap band. The stocks that fall between 89.5% and 90.5% of the capitalization of the investable universe may be classified as mid-cap or small-cap, depending on their classification at the previous reconstitution date. The stocks that fall between 90.5% and 99.45% of the capitalization of the investable universe are assigned to the small-cap extended band.
Issue Changes. Securities are added or deleted from each index based on rules outlined for security selection, exclusion, rebalancing, and adjustments for corporate actions as set forth in the Morningstar Index Rulebook. Morningstar makes no subjective determinations related to index composition.
Index Maintenance. The Morningstar U.S. Style Indexes are reconstituted twice annually, effective on the Monday following the third Friday of June and the Monday following the third Friday of December. The Morningstar® Dividend Yield Focus IndexSM is reconstituted four times annually, effective on the Monday following the third Friday of March, June, September and December. If the Monday is a holiday, reconstitution occurs on the Tuesday immediately following. Reconstitution is carried out after the day’s closing index values have been determined.
The Morningstar US Market Index is reconstituted twice annually, on the Monday following the third Friday of June and the Monday following the third Friday of December. The Morningstar US Dividend and Buyback Index is reconstituted annually and implemented after the close of business on the third Friday of June and is effective the following Monday, and the Morningstar US Dividend Growth Index is reconstituted once annually on the Monday following the third Friday of December. If the Monday is a holiday, reconstitution occurs on the Tuesday immediately following. Reconstitution is carried out after the day’s closing index values have been determined.
Index Availability. Morningstar Indexes are calculated continuously and are available from major data vendors.
Morningstar® Dividend Yield Focus IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 75
Index Description. The Morningstar® Dividend Yield Focus IndexSM offers exposure to high quality U.S based companies that have had strong financial health and an ability to sustain above average dividend payouts. The Underlying Index is a subset of the Morningstar® US Market IndexSM (a broad market index that represents approximately 97% of the market capitalization of publicly traded U.S. stocks). Constituents are screened for qualified income dividends, superior company quality and financial health as determined by Morningstar. Morningstar defines company quality in accordance with the Morningstar Economic Moat™ rating system, in which companies are assigned a moat rating of none, narrow or wide based on the prospect of earning above-average returns on capital and the strength of the company’s competitive advantage. Additionally, companies are screened for financial health using Morningstar’s Distance to Default measure, a quantitative option pricing approach that estimates a company’s probability of default. To qualify for inclusion in the Underlying Index, constituents must have a Morningstar Economic Moat rating of narrow or wide and have a Morningstar Distance to Default score in
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the top 50% of eligible dividend-paying companies within their sector. Companies that are not assigned a Morningstar Economic Moat rating must have a Morningstar Distance to Default score in the top 30% of eligible dividend-paying companies within their sector.
Morningstar® US Large Mid-Cap IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 715
Index Description. The Morningstar® US Large Mid-Cap IndexSM measures the performance of U.S. stocks issued by large-mid capitalization companies that have exhibited average growth and value characteristics, as determined by Morningstar. Morningstar defines large-mid capitalization stocks as those stocks that form approximately the top 90% of the market capitalization of the stocks eligible to be included in the Morningstar US Market Extended Index. The Index Provider then designates stocks as blend, growth or value based on their style orientations. Stocks of companies with, for example, relatively higher average historical and forecasted earnings, sales, book value and cash flow growth would be designated as growth securities. Stocks of companies with, for example, relatively low valuations based on price-to-book ratios, price-to-earnings ratios and other factors are designated as value securities. Stocks that exhibit both growth and value characteristics are designated as blend securities.
Morningstar® US Large-Mid Cap Broad Growth IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 453
Index Description. The Morningstar® US Large-Mid Cap Broad Growth IndexSM measures the performance of U.S. stocks issued by large-mid capitalization companies that have exhibited above-average growth characteristics as determined by Morningstar. Morningstar defines large-mid capitalization stocks as those stocks that form approximately the top 90% of the market capitalization of the stocks eligible to be included in the Morningstar US Market Extended Index. The Index Provider then designates stocks as blend, growth or value based on their style orientations. The stocks included in the Underlying Index are designated as growth because they are issued by companies that typically have higher than average historical and forecasted earnings, sales, book value and cash flow growth.
Morningstar® US Large-Mid Cap Broad Value IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 500
Index Description. The Morningstar® US Large-Mid Cap Broad Value IndexSM measures the performance of U.S. stocks issued by large-mid capitalization companies that have exhibited above-average value characteristics as determined by Morningstar. Morningstar defines large-mid capitalization stocks as those stocks that form approximately the top 90% of the market capitalization of the stocks eligible to be included in the Morningstar US Market Extended Index. The Index Provider then designates stocks as blend, growth or value based on their style orientations. The stocks included in the Underlying Index are designated as value because they are issued by companies that typically have relatively low valuations based on price-to-earnings, price-to-book value, price-to-sales, price-to-cash flow and dividend yields.
Morningstar® US Mid Cap IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 504
Index Description. The Morningstar® US Mid Cap IndexSM measures the performance of U.S. stocks issued by mid-capitalization companies that have exhibited both growth and value characteristics as determined by Morningstar. Morningstar defines mid-capitalization stocks as those stocks that generally fall between the 70th and 90th percentile of the market capitalization of the stocks eligible to be included in the Morningstar US Market Extended Index. The Index Provider then designates stocks as blend, growth or value based on their style orientations. Stocks of companies with, for example, relatively higher average historical and forecasted earnings, sales, book value and cash flow growth would be designated as growth securities. Stocks of companies with, for example, relatively low valuations based on price-to-book ratios, price-to-earnings ratios and other factors are designated as value securities. Stocks that exhibit both growth and value characteristics are designated as blend securities.
Morningstar® US Mid Cap Broad Growth IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 327
Index Description. The Morningstar® US Mid Cap Broad Growth IndexSM measures the performance of U.S. stocks issued by mid-capitalization companies that have exhibited above-average growth characteristics as determined by Morningstar.
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Morningstar defines mid-capitalization stocks as those stocks that generally fall between the 70th and 90th percentile of the market capitalization of the stocks eligible to be included in the Morningstar US Market Extended Index. The Index Provider then designates stocks as blend, growth or value based on their style orientations. The stocks included in the Underlying Index are designated as growth because they are issued by companies that typically have higher than average historical and forecasted earnings, sales, book value and cash flow growth.
Morningstar® US Mid Cap Broad Value IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 335
Index Description. The Morningstar® US Mid Cap Broad Value IndexSM measures the performance of U.S. stocks issued by mid-capitalization companies that have exhibited value characteristics as determined by Morningstar. Morningstar defines mid-capitalization stocks as those stocks that generally fall between the 70th and 90th percentile of the market capitalization of the stocks eligible to be included in the Morningstar US Market Extended Index. The Index Provider then designates stocks as blend, growth or value based on their style orientations. The stocks included in the Underlying Index are designated as value because they are issued by companies that typically have relatively low valuations based on price-to-earnings, price-to-book value, price-to-sales, price-to-cash flow and dividend yields.
Morningstar® US Small Cap Extended IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 1,775
Index Description. The Morningstar® US Small Cap Extended IndexSM measures the performance of U.S. stocks issued by small-capitalization companies that have exhibited both growth and value characteristics as determined by Morningstar. Morningstar defines small-capitalization stocks as those stocks that generally fall between the 90th and 99.5th percentile of the market capitalization of the stocks eligible to be included in the Morningstar US Market Extended Index. The Index Provider then designates stocks as blend, growth or value based on their style orientations. Stocks of companies with, for example, relatively higher average historical and forecasted earnings, sales, book value and cash flow growth would be designated as growth securities. Stocks of companies with, for example, relatively low valuations based on price-to-book ratios, price-to-earnings ratios and other factors are designated as value securities. Stocks that exhibit both growth and value characteristics are designated as blend securities.
Morningstar® US Small Cap Broad Growth Extended IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 1,120
Index Description. The Morningstar® US Small Cap Broad Growth Extended IndexSM measures the performance of U.S. stocks issued by small-capitalization companies that have exhibited above-average growth characteristics as determined by Morningstar. Morningstar defines small-capitalization stocks as those stocks that generally fall between the 90th and 99.5th percentile of the market capitalization of the stocks eligible to be included in the Morningstar US Market Extended Index. The Index Provider then designates stocks as blend, growth or value based on their style orientations. The stocks included in the Underlying Index are designated as growth because they are issued by companies that typically have higher than average historical and forecasted earnings, sales, book value and cash flow growth.
Morningstar® US Small Cap Broad Value Extended IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 1,158
Index Description. The Morningstar® US Small Cap Broad Value Extended IndexSM measures the performance of U.S. stocks issued by small-capitalization companies that have exhibited value characteristics as determined by Morningstar. Morningstar defines small capitalization stocks as those stocks that generally fall between the 90th and 99.5th percentile of the market capitalization of the stocks eligible to be included in the Morningstar US Market Extended Index. The Index Provider then designates stocks as blend, growth or value based on their style orientations. The stocks included in the Underlying Index are designated as value because they are issued by companies that typically have relatively low valuations based on price-to-earnings, price-to-book value, price-to-sales, price-to-cash flow and dividend yields.
Morningstar® US Dividend and Buyback IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 422
Index Description. The Morningstar® US Dividend and Buyback IndexSM is designed to provide exposure to U.S.- based companies that return capital to shareholders through either dividend payments or share buybacks. The Underlying Index
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consists of companies with the largest dividend and buyback programs in the market measured by adjusted shareholder yield, as determined by Morningstar. Morningstar’s adjusted shareholder yield calculation is described below. The Underlying Index is a subset of the Morningstar US Market Index (the Parent Index), which is a broad market index that represents approximately 97% of the market capitalization of publicly traded U.S. stocks.
Eligibility. The following rules are used for the initial constituent selection and reconstitution:
(1) a security must be a member of the Morningstar US Market Index;
(2) security must pay a dividend or repurchase shares resulting in a net share reduction. Total shareholder yield must exceed 0.1%. Morningstar defines total shareholder yield as the sum of the trailing 12 month dividend yield and the trailing 2 year buyback yield (annualized). Morningstar defines the trailing 12 month dividend yield as the sum of corporate action-adjusted dividends per-share paid in the 12 months before the data cutoff date (the last trading day of the month prior to the rebalancing date), divided by the share price on the cutoff date. Additionally, Morningstar defines the trailing 2 year buyback yield as the sum of net cash flow from share issuance from the eight most recent company quarterly reports available on the data cutoff date, divided by 2, divided by market capitalization of the company.
(3) companies in the top 5% of total shareholder yield are removed;
(4) the remaining companies are ranked by adjusted shareholder yield. Morningstar defines adjusted shareholder yield as the weighted average sum of the trailing 12 month dividend yield z-score and trailing 2 year buyback yield (annualized) z-score, with 75% and 25% weights, respectively. Z-score represents the number of standard deviations by which the data points in the sample differ from the mean;
(5) constituent securities are selected by decreasing order of adjusted shareholder yield until 50% coverage of total shareholder payout dollars (total shareholder yield multiplied by the float-adjusted market capitalization of the company as of the cutoff date) of the Parent Index is reached. Securities with negative total shareholder yield are not included in the aggregate calculation;
(6) the Underlying Index is weighted by total shareholder payout dollars;
(7) a 4.9% weight cap is applied on individual names to maintain sufficient diversification. The weight capping algorithm will preserve, starting with the smallest security, the relative weights between as many constituents as possible while enforcing the weight cap;
(8) sector weights are constrained at within 5% (positive or negative) of the Parent Index; and.
(9) the Underlying Index is reconstituted annually, rebalanced quarterly and calculated as of the cutoff date; at rebalance, the weights of the Underlying Index are adjusted for updated free-float, shares outstanding, and total shareholder yield data.
Morningstar® US Dividend Growth IndexSM
Number of Components: approximately 447
Index Description. The Morningstar US Dividend Growth Index, the Underlying Index, is a dividend dollars weighted index that seeks to measure the performance of U.S. companies selected based on a consistent history of growing dividends. The Underlying Index is a subset of the Morningstar US Market Index, which is a broad market index that represents approximately 97% of the market capitalization of publicly traded U.S. stocks. Eligible companies must pay a qualified dividend, must have at least five years of uninterrupted annual dividend growth and their earnings payout ratio must be less than 75%. Companies that are in the top decile based on dividend yield are excluded from the Underlying Index prior to the dividend growth and payout ratio screens.
Index Methodology. The Underlying Index methodology is as follows:
(1) a security must be a member of the Morningstar US Market Index;
(2) security must pay a qualified dividend (e.g., REITs are excluded);
(3) top decile yield payers are excluded;
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(4.1) apply dividend growth screen: must be currently paying dividends and have at least five years of uninterrupted annual dividend growth; dividend growth condition is considered met if either the current annualized dividend rate or the trailing twelve months aggregated dividend increased from the previous to the current reconstitution date;
(4.2) spinoff exception to growth rule: for a current constituent of the index, the requirement to raise dividend year-over-year to remain in the index after reconstitution will be waived if the constituent completed a spin-off in the preceding twelve months; any publicly trading spun-off entity of a current constituent will be immediately included in the index, but it will have to start increasing its dividend starting with the year following the next reconstitution to remain in the index. The current constituent will not require dividend growth in the spin-off year, where year means the twelve-month period between annual index reconstitutions;
(4.3) share repurchase exception to growth rule: for a current constituent of the index, the requirement to raise dividend year-over-year to remain in the index after reconstitution will be waived if the constituent kept the dividend constant and executed share repurchases in the preceding twelve months resulting in net decrease in its shares outstanding; this exception does not apply to constituents that decreased their dividend;
(5) apply growth sustainability screen: payout ratio must be less than 75%, and must have positive consensus earnings forecast. Payout ratio is forward looking and is calculated by the forward 12 month indicated dividend divided by the forward 12 month consensus earnings forecast;
(6) weight by dividend dollars (float adjusted common shares multiplied by the current annualized dividend rate per share);
(7) apply 3% weight cap on individual names to maintain sufficient diversification. The weight capping algorithm will preserve, starting with the smallest security, the relative weights between as many constituents as possible while enforcing the weight cap; and
(8) the index is reconstituted annually and rebalanced quarterly; at rebalance, index constituent list is not altered, but the weights of the constituents are re-adjusted back to the dividend dollar weighting.
The MSCI Indexes
The MSCI indexes were founded in 1969 by Capital International S.A. as the first international performance benchmarks constructed to facilitate accurate comparison of world markets. The MSCI single country standard equity indexes have covered the world's developed markets since 1969 and in 1987 MSCI commenced coverage of emerging markets.
Local stock exchanges traditionally calculated their own indexes which were generally not comparable with one another due to differences in the representation of the local market, mathematical formulas, base dates and methods of adjusting for capital changes. MSCI, however, applies the same calculation methodology to all markets for all single country standard equity indexes, both developed and emerging.
MSCI KLD 400 Social Index
Number of Components: 401
Component Selection Criteria and Index Description. The MSCI KLD 400 Social Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index designed to provide exposure to U.S. companies that have positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) characteristics. As of April 30, 2023, the Underlying Index consisted of 401 securities identified by MSCI from the universe of companies included in the MSCI USA IMI Index, which consists of the largest NYSE and NASDAQ listed U.S. equities ranked by investable market capitalization (after the application of any investability weightings). MSCI analyzes each eligible company’s ESG performance using proprietary ratings covering environmental, social, and governance criteria. MSCI seeks to include in the Underlying Index companies with high ESG ratings relative to their sector peers and in relation to the broader market. When selecting companies for the Underlying Index, MSCI also considers market capitalization and liquidity. Companies that MSCI determines have significant involvement in the following businesses are not eligible for the Underlying Index: fossil fuel extraction, fossil fuel reserve ownership, thermal coal mining, unconventional oil and gas extraction, thermal coal -based power generation, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, civilian firearms, nuclear power, controversial weapons, nuclear weapons, conventional weapons, adult entertainment and genetically modified organisms.
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Index Maintenance. The composition of the Underlying Index is reviewed on a quarterly basis. Companies can be added to the Underlying Index only at regular index reviews. Current index constituents are reviewed to determine if any should be removed due to ESG performance. In addition, if a constituent is removed from the MSCI USA IMI Index as a result of the index review, it will be simultaneously removed from the Underlying Index. The deleted companies are replaced with eligible companies taking into account size-segment and sector representation. The Underlying Index will be restored to 400 companies at each index review.
Maintaining the Underlying Index includes monitoring and completing the adjustments for company additions and removals, stock splits, stock dividends, float changes and stock price adjustments due to restructurings, spin-offs and other corporate actions. New additions to the MSCI USA IMI Index due to corporate events will not be added simultaneously to the Underlying Index, but will be considered for inclusion at the following index review. However, companies deleted from the MSCI USA IMI Index between index reviews are also deleted at the same time from the Underlying Index.
When the number of securities in the Underlying Index falls below 400 due to corporate events, no additions will be made to restore the number of constituents to 400 until the next quarterly index review.
Index Availability. The Underlying Index is calculated continuously and is available from major data vendors.
Calculation Methodology. The Fund utilizes the Underlying Index calculated with gross dividends reinvested. The use of gross dividends reflects the assumed reinvestment of the entire dividend distributed to holders of the underlying stock, without any adjustment for taxes or withholding. The Index is rebalanced on a quarterly basis coinciding with the regular index review of the MSCI Global Investable Market Indexes.
MSCI USA Extended ESG Select Index
Number of Components: approximately 172
Component Selection Criteria and Index Description. The Underlying Index is an optimized index designed to measure the equity performance of U.S. companies that have ESG characteristics, while exhibiting risk and return characteristics similar to the MSCI USA Index.
As of April 30, 2023, the Underlying Index consisted of 172 securities included in the MSCI USA Index. MSCI evaluates each eligible company’s ESG performance using standardized criteria and assigns an overall rating to each company. ESG scores are normalized and factored into the optimization process. Optimization is a quantitative process that considers the market capitalization weights from the MSCI USA Index, ESG scores, and additional optimization constraints to select and weigh the constituents in the Underlying Index. Normalization of the ESG scores allows the optimization to assess each score in the context of the overall distribution of the ESG scores.
The selection process is designed so that companies with relatively high overall ratings have a higher representation in the Underlying Index than in the MSCI USA Index. Companies with relatively low overall ratings have a lower representation in the Underlying Index than in the MSCI USA Index. Exceptions may result from the Underlying Index’s objective of having risk and return characteristics similar to those of the MSCI USA Index.
The Underlying Index constituents are selected from the MSCI USA Index, which is made up of securities of large-capitalization and mid-capitalization U.S. companies. The Index Provider excludes securities of companies involved in the business of tobacco, alcohol, gambling, nuclear power and weapons, fossil fuel extraction, thermal coal and unconventional oil and gas businesses (e.g., thermal coal extraction and generation or oil sands extraction), companies involved with conventional and controversial weapons, producers and major retailers of civilian firearms, as well as companies involved in very severe business controversies. The Index Provider defines a controversy as an instance or ongoing situation in which company operations and/or products allegedly have a negative environmental, social and/or governance impact. Each controversy case is assessed for the severity of its impact on society. The Index Provider generally classifies companies as involved in a particular business based on revenue or percentage of revenue thresholds (e.g., 10%) for certain products and activities in an excluded industry. The securities of certain companies will be excluded regardless of revenue measures (e.g., all companies involved in the manufacturing of controversial weapons are excluded). The Underlying Index generally follows the same index methodology as the MSCI USA ESG Select Index, except that it applies an additional ineligibility criteria for retailers of civilian firearms (which is a revenue-threshold based classification). Existing constituents are required to have an MSCI ESG Controversies Score above 0 to remain in the index, while companies that are currently not constituents of the
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index are required to have an MSCI ESG Controversies Score above 2 to be eligible for inclusion. To maintain risk and return characteristics similar to the MSCI USA Index, the universe of eligible companies are optimized using parameters for predicted tracking error (1.8%) relative to the parent index, maximum (5%) and minimum (0.1%) constituent weight relative to the parent index, sector variation from the parent index (+/-3%), turnover and other factors. Since constituent selection and weights are determined using optimization, the Underlying Index is not capitalization weighted.
Index Maintenance. The composition of the Underlying Index is reviewed on a quarterly basis. Companies can only be added to the Underlying Index at regular index reviews. Current index constituents are reviewed to determine if any of them should be removed using the optimization described above. At the quarterly index reviews, companies with ESG Controversies Scores below are removed. The Underlying Index is optimized on a quarterly basis coinciding with the regular index reviews of the MSCI Global Investable Market Indexes. Changes are effective at the beginning of March, June, September and December.
Maintaining the Underlying Index includes monitoring and completing the adjustments for company additions and removals, stock splits, stock dividends, float changes and stock price adjustments due to restructurings, spin-offs and other corporate actions. Companies deleted from the MSCI USA Index between quarterly index reviews due to corporate events maintenance are simultaneously deleted from the Underlying Index.
Index Availability. The MSCI USA Extended ESG Select Index is calculated continuously and is available from major data vendors.
Calculation Methodology. The Fund utilizes the Underlying Index calculated with gross dividends reinvested. The use of gross dividends reflects the assumed reinvestment of the entire dividend distributed to holders of the underlying stock, without any adjustment for taxes or withholding. The Index is rebalanced on a quarterly basis coinciding with the regular Index Review of the MSCI Global Investable Market Indexes.
Additional Information. MSCI, MSCI KLD 400 Social Index and MSCI USA Extended ESG Select Index are servicemarks of MSCI Inc. and have been licensed for use for certain purposes by BFA or its affiliates. The Funds are neither sponsored, endorsed, sold nor promoted by MSCI Inc., and MSCI Inc. makes no representation regarding the advisability of investing in any of the Funds.
The Russell Indexes
Component Selection Criteria. The securities in the Russell indexes (sometimes referred to as the components) are reviewed and reconstituted annually, typically after the close on the last Friday in June to reflect changes in the marketplace. The Russell 1000® Index is a subset of the Russell 3000® Index.
The Russell 3000® Index measures the performance of approximately the largest 3,000 U.S. companies, representing approximately 98% of the investable U.S. equity market. The Russell 3000® Index is constructed to provide a comprehensive, unbiased, and stable barometer of the broad market and is completely reconstituted annually, typically after the close on the last Friday in June, to ensure new and growing equities are included.
The starting universe for the Russell 3000® Index includes all issuers listed on a U.S. Exchange that are either U.S. incorporated or incorporated in certain non-U.S. jurisdictions as Benefit-Driven Incorporations (typically tax benefit incorporations), subject to the following rules and exceptions:
stocks must trade at or above $1.00 on the last business day of August to be eligible for inclusion. If a stock in the index has a price lower than $1, it can remain in the index if the average price for the month is greater than $1;
for ranking and membership determination, all common share classes for a single company are combined to determine total market capitalization;
in cases where there are multiple common stock share classes and the share classes act independently of each other, each class is considered for inclusion separately; and
also excluded are preferred and convertible preferred stock, participating preferred stock, redeemable shares, warrants and rights, trust receipts, royalty trusts, limited liability issuers, OTC bulletin boards and pink sheet stocks, mutual funds, limited partnerships, and foreign stocks.
All eligible securities are sorted by decreasing total market capitalization to determine index eligibility.
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The Russell 1000 Index is constructed to provide a comprehensive and unbiased barometer for the large- and mid-capitalization segments of the investable U.S. equity market. It is a float-adjusted capitalization-weighted index consisting approximately 1000 of the largest issuers in the Russell 3000 Index.
For the Russell 3000® Index and the Russell 1000® Index, the weights of component issuers are adjusted based on available float-weighted capitalization according to the market value of their available outstanding shares. The impact of a component security’s price change is proportional to the issuer’s total market value, which is the share price times the number of shares available. Each Russell Index is adjusted to reflect changes in capitalization resulting from mergers, acquisitions, stock rights, substitutions and other capital events.
Frank Russell Company uses a probability measure to assign stocks to the growth and value style indexes. The probability measure is used to indicate the degree of certainty that a stock is value or growth, based on three fundamental indicators: relative price-to-book ratio, Institutional Brokers’ Estimate System forecast medium-term growth (2 years) and sales per share historical growth (5 years). This method allows stocks to be represented as having both growth and value characteristics, while preserving the additive nature of the indexes. As a result, a stock may be a component of a Russell growth style index and also a component of the corresponding value style index, although the stock would likely have a different weight in each index.
Issue Changes. Securities that leave the Russell Indexes between reconstitution dates are not replaced. Thus, the number of securities in the investments over the year will fluctuate according to corporate activity. When a stock is acquired, delisted or moves to the pink sheets or OTC bulletin boards, the stock is deleted from the relevant indexes.
When acquisitions or mergers take place, the stock’s capitalization moves to the acquiring stock, hence, mergers have no effect on index total capitalization if the acquiring stock is part of the index. The only additions between reconstitution dates are as a result of spin-offs and IPOs.
Index Maintenance. Maintaining the Russell indexes includes monitoring and completing the adjustments for company additions and deletions, share changes, stock splits, stock dividends, and stock price adjustments due to restructuring and spin-offs and quarterly initial public offerings. In addition, significant share capital changes are made at month-end. The divisor is adjusted for all changes in company market value to leave the value of the investments unaffected. All divisor adjustments are made after the close of trading and after the calculation of the closing value of the Russell indexes.
Index Availability. The Russell indexes are calculated continuously and are available from major data vendors.
Russell 1000 Basic Materials RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index
Number of Components: approximately 39
Index Description. The Russell 1000 Basic Materials RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index is designed to measure the performance of large- and mid-capitalization companies in the basic materials sector of the U.S. equity market. It is a subset of the market capitalization-weighted Russell 1000 Index.
The Underlying Index uses a capping methodology to constrain at quarterly rebalance: (i) the weight of any single issuer (as determined by Russell) to a maximum of 22.5%, and (ii) the aggregate weight of all issuers that individually exceed 4.5% of the index weight to a maximum of 45%.
Russell 1000 Consumer Discretionary 40 Act 15/22.5 Daily Capped Index
Number of Components: approximately 173
Index Description. The Russell 1000 Consumer Discretionary 40 Act 15/22.5 Daily Capped Index is designed to measure the performance of large- and mid-capitalization companies in the consumer discretionary sector of the U.S. equity market. It is a subset of the market capitalization-weighted Russell 1000 Index.
The Underlying Index uses a capping methodology to constrain at quarterly rebalance: (i) the weight of any single issuer (as determined by Russell) to a maximum of 15%, and (ii) the aggregate weight of all issuers that individually exceed 4.5% of the index weight to a maximum of 22.5%. Between scheduled quarterly index reviews, the Underlying Index is monitored daily using constituent weights and forward looking information to ensure all companies that constitute more than 4.8% of the
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weight of the Underlying Index do not constitute more than 24% of a weight of the Underlying Index in the aggregate. On the calculation day where the threshold has been breached, the index is recapped using the quarterly capping methodology.
Russell 1000 Consumer Staples RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index
Number of Components: approximately 52
Index Description. The Russell 1000 Consumer Staples RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index is designed to measure the performance of large- and mid-capitalization companies in the consumer staples sector of the U.S. equity market. It is a subset of the market capitalization-weighted Russell 1000 Index.
The Underlying Index uses a capping methodology to constrain at quarterly rebalance: (i) the weight of any single issuer (as determined by Russell) to a maximum of 22.5%, and (ii) the aggregate weight of all issuers that individually exceed 4.5% of the index weight to a maximum of 45%.
Russell 1000 Energy RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index
Number of Components: approximately 42
Index Description. The Russell 1000 Energy RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index is designed to measure the performance of large- and mid-capitalization companies in the energy sector of the U.S. equity market. It is a subset of the market capitalization-weighted Russell 1000 Index.
The Underlying Index uses a capping methodology to constrain at quarterly rebalance: (i) the weight of any single issuer (as determined by Russell) to a maximum of 22.5%, and (ii) the aggregate weight of all issuers that individually exceed 4.5% of the index weight to a maximum of 45%.
Russell 1000 Financials 40 Act 15/22.5 Daily Capped Index
Number of Components: approximately 139
Index Description. The Russell 1000 Financials 40 Act 15/22.5 Daily Capped Index is designed to measure the performance of large- and mid-capitalization companies in the financials sector of the U.S. equity market. It is a subset of the market capitalization-weighted Russell 1000 Index.
The Underlying Index uses a capping methodology to constrain at quarterly rebalance: (i) the weight of any single issuer (as determined by Russell) to a maximum of 15%, and (ii) the aggregate weight of all issuers that individually exceed 4.5% of the index weight to a maximum of 22.5%. Between scheduled quarterly index reviews, the Underlying Index is monitored daily using constituent weights and forward looking information to ensure all companies that constitute more than 4.8% of the weight of the Underlying Index do not constitute more than 24% of the weight of the Underlying Index in the aggregate. On the calculation day where the threshold has been breached, the index is recapped using the quarterly capping methodology.
Russell 1000 Health Care RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index
Number of Components: approximately 112
Index Description. The Russell 1000 Health Care RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index is designed to measure the performance of large- and mid-capitalization companies in the healthcare sector of the U.S. equity market. It is a subset of the market capitalization-weighted Russell 1000 Index.
The Underlying Index uses a capping methodology to constrain at quarterly rebalance: (i) the weight of any single issuer (as determined by Russell) to a maximum of 22.5%, and (ii) the aggregate weight of all issuers that individually exceed 4.5% of the index weight to a maximum of 45%.
Russell 1000 Industrials 40 Act 15/22.5 Daily Capped Index
Number of Components: approximately 179
Index Description. The Russell 1000 Industrials 40 Act 15/22.5 Daily Capped Index is designed to measure the performance of large- and mid-capitalization companies in the industrials sector of the U.S. equity market. It is a subset of the market capitalization-weighted Russell 1000 Index.
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The Underlying Index uses a capping methodology to constrain at quarterly rebalance: (i) the weight of any single issuer (as determined by Russell) to a maximum of 15%, and (ii) the aggregate weight of all issuers that individually exceed 4.5% of the index weight to a maximum of 22.5%. Between scheduled quarterly index reviews, the Underlying Index is monitored daily using constituent weights and forward looking information to ensure all companies that constitute more than 4.8% of the weight of the Underlying Index do not constitute more than 24% of the weight of the Underlying Index in the aggregate. On the calculation day where the threshold has been breached, the index is recapped using the quarterly capping methodology.
Russell 1000 Technology RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index
Number of Components: approximately 139
Index Description. The Russell 1000 Technology RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index is designed to measure the performance of large- and mid-capitalization companies in the technology sector of the U.S. equity market. It is a subset of the market capitalization-weighted Russell 1000 Index.
The Underlying Index uses a capping methodology to constrain at quarterly rebalance: (i) the weight of any single issuer (as determined by Russell) to a maximum of 22.5%, and (ii) the aggregate weight of all issuers that individually exceed 4.5% of the index weight to a maximum of 45%.
Russell 1000 Utilities RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index
Number of Components: approximately 44
Index Description. The Russell 1000 Utilities RIC 22.5/45 Capped Index is designed to measure the performance of large- and mid-capitalization companies in the utilities sector of the U.S. equity market. It is a subset of the market capitalization-weighted Russell 1000 Index.
The Underlying Index uses a capping methodology to constrain at quarterly rebalance: (i) the weight of any single issuer (as determined by Russell) to a maximum of 22.5%, and (ii) the aggregate weight of all issuers that individually exceed 4.5% of the index weight to a maximum of 45%.
The S&P Select Industry FMC Index
Component Selection Criteria. SPDJI’s various Index Committees are responsible for the overall management of SPDJI’s indices (S&P DJI Indices). Issuers (i.e., the components) selected for the S&P U.S. indexes represent a broad range of industry segments within the U.S. economy. The starting universe of publicly traded U.S. issuers classified by the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS® ) must be a member of the S&P Total Market Index (TMI). The issuers are screened to eliminate Business development companies (BDCs), preferred stock, limited partnerships (LPs), convertible preferred stock, master limited partnerships (MLPs), unit trusts, limited liability companies (LLCs), equity warrants, closed-end funds, convertible bonds, ETFs, investment trusts, ETNs, rights, royalty trusts, American depositary receipts (ADRs), and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). The stock of each constituent must trade on either the NYSE, the NYSE American, Cboe or on NASDAQ. Additionally, only one share class per constituent will be included in an Index. The share class is selected by SPDJI and is generally defined as the largest, most liquid share class. The following criteria are then analyzed to determine an issuer’s eligibility for inclusion in the S&P DJI Indexes: (i) where the issuers are domiciled; (ii) the exchange listing; (iii) the organizational structure; (iv) share type; (v) liquidity; and (vi) investable weight factor (the available float shares divided by total shares outstanding).
The S&P DJI’s Indices are capitalization-weighted, based on the following formula: number of outstanding shares of a constituent (as determined by the float-adjusted market capitalization using SPDJI’s methodology) multiplied by the constituent’s share price. The market capitalizations of an Index’s components are adjusted to reflect changes in capitalization resulting from mergers, acquisitions, stock rights, substitutions and other capital events. The market capitalizations of an Index’s constituent are adjusted for all strategic holdings, including private, corporate, and government holdings.
Index Eligibility. To qualify for membership in the index, at each quarterly rebalancing, a stock must be a member of the S&P Total Market Index (the TMI) and classified by S&P DJI Indices as a primary sub-industry stock (primary stock) for its index. Further, eligible stocks must meet at least one of the following float-adjusted market capitalization (FMC) and float-adjusted liquidity ratio (FALR) requirements determined by S&P DJI Indices:
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a. Be a current constituent, have an FMC greater than or equal to US$ 300 million, and have an FALR greater than or equal to 50%.
b. Have an FMC greater than or equal to US$ 500 million and an FALR greater than or equal to 90%.
c. Have an FMC greater than or equal to US$ 400 million and an FALR greater than or equal to 150%.
However, minimum FMC requirements may be relaxed for each S&P Select Industry FMC Index to ensure that there are at least 22 stocks in each index as of each rebalancing effective date.
Issue Changes. General oversight responsibility for the S&P DJI Indices, including overall policy guidelines and methodology, is handled by the S&P Global Index Committee. Maintenance of component investments, including additions and deletions to these investments, is the responsibility of separate regional index committees composed of S&P staff specialized in the various regional equity markets and, in some cases, with the assistance of local stock exchanges. Public announcements of index changes as the result of committee decisions will generally be made two business days in advance of the anticipated effective date whenever possible, although for exceptional corporate events announcements may be made earlier.
Stocks are added between rebalancing dates only if a deletion in the index causes the stock count to fall below 22. In those cases, each stock deletion is accompanied with a stock addition. The new addition will be added to the index with index shares that are commensurate with the index shares of the stock in a hypothetical rebalancing using the closing prices on the date the addition is announced. The index shares for all current constituents will remain constant. In the case of spin-offs, the S&P Select Industry FMC Index will follow the S&P TMI’s treatment of the action.
A stock is deleted from an S&P Select Industry FMC Index if the S&P TMI drops the stock. If a stock deletion causes the number of stocks in the relevant index to fall below 22, each stock deletion is accompanied with a corresponding stock addition. In the case of mergers involving two index constituents, the merged entity will remain in the index provided that it meets all general eligibility requirements. In case of GICS changes, where a stock does not belong to a qualifying sub-industry after the classification change, it is removed from the relevant index at the next rebalancing.
Index Maintenance. Maintaining the S&P DJI Indices includes monitoring and completing the adjustments for issuer additions and deletions, share changes, stock splits, stock dividends, and stock price adjustments due to restructuring and spin-offs.
Index membership is reviewed quarterly and occurs after the closing on the third Friday of the quarter ending month. The reference date for additions and deletions is after the closing of the last trading date of the previous month. Closing prices as of the Wednesday prior to the second Friday of the rebalancing month are used for setting capped index weights.
An issuer will be removed from the S&P DJI Indices as a result of mergers/acquisitions, bankruptcy, or restructuring. An issuer is removed from the relevant index as close as possible to the actual date on which the event occurred. An issuer can be removed from an index because it no longer meets current criteria for inclusion and/or is no longer representative of its industry group. All replacement issuers are selected based on the above component section criteria.
When calculating index weights, individual component shares held by governments, corporations, strategic partners, or other control groups are excluded from the issuer’s shares outstanding. Shares owned by other issuers are also excluded regardless of whether they are index components. In countries with regulated environments, where a foreign investment limit exists at the sector or issuer level, the constituent’s weight will reflect either the foreign investment limit or the percentage float, whichever is the more restrictive.
Each issuer’s financial statements will be used to update the major shareholders’ ownership. However, during the course of the year, SPDJI also monitors each issuer’s Investable Weight Factor (IWF) which is SPDJI’s term for the mathematical float factor used to calculate the float adjustment. If a change in IWF is caused by a major corporate action (i.e., privatization, merger, takeover, or share offering) and the change equal to or greater than 5%, a float adjustment will be implemented as soon as reasonably possible. Changes in the number of shares outstanding driven by corporate events such as stock dividends, splits, and rights issues will be adjusted on the ex-date. Share changes of 5% or greater are implemented when they occur. Share changes of less than 5% are only updated on a quarterly basis on the Friday near the end of the calendar quarter. Generally, index changes due to rebalancing are announced two days before the effective date by way of a news release posted on www.us.spindices.com.
Index Availability. The S&P Select Industry FMC Index is calculated continuously and is available from major data vendors.
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S&P Transportation Select Industry FMC Capped Index
Number of Components: approximately 47
Index Description. The S&P Transportation Select Industry FMC Capped Index is designed to measure the performance of U.S. companies within the transportation industry. Securities in the Underlying Index are weighted based on the float-adjusted market value of their outstanding shares.
The Underlying Index uses a capping methodology to constrain at quarterly rebalance: (i) the weight of any single issuer (as determined by SPDJI) to a maximum of 22.5%, and (ii) the aggregate weight of all issuers that individually exceed 4.5% of the index weight to a maximum of 45%.
Closing prices as of the second Friday of the last month of the quarter are used for setting Underlying Index weights for each quarterly rebalancing. The Underlying Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization weighted version of the S&P Transportation Select Industry Index. If any issuer’s weight exceeds 22.5% at quarterly rebalance, that issuer’s weight is capped and all excess weight is proportionally redistributed to all uncapped issuers within the Underlying Index. If, after this redistribution, any other issuer breaches the issuer weight cap the process is repeated iteratively until no issuer breaches the issuer capping rule. If the aggregate weight of issuers with weights greater than 4.5% exceeds 45% of the Underlying Index, all issues are ranked in descending order of their weights and the issuer with the smallest weight above 4.5% is identified and reduced until (1) the aggregate weight of issuers with weights greater than 4.5% equals 45% or less, or (2) 4.5%, whichever is greater. The excess weight is proportionally redistributed to all issuers with weights below 4.5% such that any issuer that receives such excess weight does not breach the 4.5% cap. This process is repeated iteratively until the aggregate weight of issuers with weights greater than 4.5% equals 45% or less. The weight of one or more securities in the Underlying Index may exceed these constraints due to fluctuations in market value, corporate actions or other events that change the index composition between quarterly rebalance dates.
For more information about SPDJI, including its limited relationship with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates and the limitations of the S&P DJI indices, please refer to the applicableProspectus.
Investment Policies
The Board has adopted as fundamental policies the following numbered investment policies, which cannot be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the applicable Fund’s outstanding voting securities. A vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of a Fund is defined in the 1940 Act as the lesser of (i) 67% or more of the voting securities present at a shareholder meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of outstanding voting securities of the Fund. Each Fund has also adopted certain non-fundamental investment policies, including its investment objective. Non-fundamental investment policies may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval. Therefore, each Fund may change its investment objective and its Underlying Index without shareholder approval.
Fundamental Investment Policies
Each Fund (other than the iShares Core Dividend ETF, iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF, iShares Core High Dividend ETF, iShares Dow Jones U.S. ETF, iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF and iShares Select Dividend ETF) will not:
1.
Concentrate its investments (i.e., hold 25% or more of its total assets in the stocks of a particular industry or group of industries), except that each Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its Underlying Index concentrates in the stocks of such particular industry or group of industries. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, and securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
2.
Borrow money, except that (i) each Fund may borrow from banks for temporary or emergency (not leveraging) purposes, including the meeting of redemption requests which might otherwise require the untimely disposition of securities, and (ii) each Fund may, to the extent consistent with its investment policies, enter into repurchase agreements, reverse repurchase agreements, forward roll transactions and similar investment strategies and techniques. To the extent that it engages in transactions described in (i) and (ii), each Fund will be limited so that no
40


more than 33 1/3% of the value of its total assets (including the amount borrowed) is derived from such transactions. Any borrowings which come to exceed this amount will be reduced in accordance with applicable law.
3.
Issue any senior security, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as amended, andas interpreted, modified or otherwise permitted by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.
4.
Make loans, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as amended, andas interpreted, modified or otherwise permitted by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.
5.
Purchase or sell real estate, real estate mortgages, commodities or commodity contracts, but this restriction shall not prevent each Fund from trading in futures contracts and options on futures contracts (including options on currencies to the extent consistent with each Fund’s investment objective and policies).
6.
Engage in the business of underwriting securities issued by other persons, except to the extent that each Fund may technically be deemed to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act, in disposing of portfolio securities.
Each of the iShares Dow Jones U.S. ETF and iShares Select Dividend ETF will not:
1.
Concentrate its investments (i.e., hold 25% or more of its total assets in the stocks of a particular industry or group of industries), except that each Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its Underlying Index concentrates in the stocks of such particular industry or group of industries. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, and securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
2.
Borrow money, except that (i) each Fund may borrow from banks for temporary or emergency (not leveraging) purposes, including the meeting of redemption requests which might otherwise require the untimely disposition of securities, and (ii) each Fund may, to the extent consistent with its investment policies, enter into repurchase agreements, reverse repurchase agreements, forward roll transactions and similar investment strategies and techniques. To the extent that it engages in transactions described in (i) and (ii), each Fund will be limited so that no more than 33 1/3% of the value of its total assets (including the amount borrowed) is derived from such transactions. Any borrowings which come to exceed this amount will be reduced in accordance with applicable law.
3.
Issue senior securities as defined in the 1940 Act and the rules, regulations and orders thereunder, except as permitted under the 1940 Act and the rules, regulations and orders thereunder.
4.
Make loans. This restriction does not apply to: (i) the purchase of debt obligations in which each Fund may invest consistent with its investment objectives and policies; (ii) repurchase agreements and reverse repurchase agreements; and (iii) loans of its portfolio securities, to the fullest extent permitted under the 1940 Act.
5.
Purchase or sell real estate, real estate mortgages, commodities or commodity contracts, but this restriction shall not prevent each Fund from trading in futures contracts and options on futures contracts (including options on currencies to the extent consistent with each Fund’s investment objective and policies).
6.
Engage in the business of underwriting securities issued by other persons, except to the extent that each Fund may technically be deemed to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act in disposing of portfolio securities.
Each of the iShares Core High Dividend ETF and iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF will not:
1.
Concentrate its investments (i.e., invest 25% or more of its total assets in the securities of a particular industry or group of industries), except that each Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its Underlying Index concentrates in the securities of such particular industry or group of industries. For purposes of this limitation, securities of the U.S. government (including its agencies and instrumentalities), repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities, and securities of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions are not considered to be issued by members of any industry.
2.
Borrow money, except that (i) each Fund may borrow from banks for temporary or emergency (not leveraging) purposes, including the meeting of redemption requests which might otherwise require the untimely disposition of securities; and (ii) each Fund may, to the extent consistent with its investment policies, enter into repurchase agreements, reverse repurchase agreements, forward roll transactions and similar investment strategies and techniques. To the extent that it engages in transactions described in (i) and (ii), each Fund will be limited so that no more than 33 1/3% of the value of its total assets (including the amount borrowed) is derived from such transactions. Any borrowings which come to exceed this amount will be reduced in accordance with applicable law.
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3.
Issue any senior security, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as interpreted, modified or otherwise permitted by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.
4.
Make loans, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as interpreted, modified or otherwise permitted by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.
5.
Purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments (but this restriction shall not prevent each Fund from investing in securities of companies engaged in the real estate business or securities or other instruments backed by real estate or mortgages), or commodities or commodity contracts (but this restriction shall not prevent each Fund from trading in futures contracts and options on futures contracts, including options on currencies to the extent consistent with each Fund’s investment objective and policies).
6.
Engage in the business of underwriting securities issued by other persons, except to the extent that each Fund may technically be deemed to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act, in disposing of portfolio securities.
The iShares Core Dividend ETF will not:
1.
Concentrate its investments in a particular industry, as that term is used in the 1940 Act, except that the Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its Underlying Index concentrates in the securities of a particular industry or group of industries.
2.
Borrow money, except as permitted under the 1940 Act.
3.
Issue senior securities to the extent such issuance would violate the 1940 Act.
4.
Purchase or hold real estate, except the Fund may purchase and hold securities or other instruments that are secured by, or linked to, real estate or interests therein, securities of REITs, mortgage-related securities and securities of issuers engaged in the real estate business, and the Fund may purchase and hold real estate as a result of the ownership of securities or other instruments.
5.
Underwrite securities issued by others, except to the extent that the sale of portfolio securities by the Fund may be deemed to be an underwriting or as otherwise permitted by applicable law.
6.
Purchase or sell commodities or commodity contracts, except as permitted by the 1940 Act.
7.
Make loans to the extent prohibited by the 1940 Act.
The iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF will not:
1.
Concentrate its investments in a particular industry, as that term is used in the 1940 Act, except that the Fund will concentrate to approximately the same extent that its Underlying Index concentrates in the securities of a particular industry or group of industries.
2.
Borrow money, except as permitted under the 1940 Act.
3.
Issue senior securities to the extent such issuance would violate the 1940 Act.
4.
Purchase or hold real estate, except the Fund may purchase and hold securities or other instruments that are secured by, or linked to, real estate or interests therein, securities of REITs, mortgage-related securities and securities of issuers engaged in the real estate business, and the Fund may purchase and hold real estate as a result of the ownership of securities or other instruments.
5.
Underwrite securities issued by others, except to the extent that the sale of portfolio securities by the Fund may be deemed to be an underwriting or as otherwise permitted by applicable law.
6.
Purchase or sell commodities or commodity contracts, except as permitted by the 1940 Act.
7.
Make loans to the extent prohibited by the 1940 Act.
8.
Make any investment inconsistent with the Fund's classification as a diversified company under the 1940 Act.
Notations Regarding each of the iShares Core Dividend ETF's and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF's Fundamental Investment Policies
The following notations are not considered to be part of the iShares Core Dividend ETF's and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF’s fundamental investment policies and are subject to change without shareholder approval.
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With respect to the fundamental policy relating to concentration set forth in (1) above, the Investment Company Act does not define what constitutes concentration in an industry. The SEC staff has taken the position that investment of 25% or more of a fund’s total assets in one or more issuers conducting their principal activities in the same industry or group of industries constitutes concentration. It is possible that interpretations of concentration could change in the future. The policy in (1) above will be interpreted to refer to concentration as that term may be interpreted from time to time. The policy also will be interpreted to permit investment without limit in the following: securities of the U.S. government and its agencies or instrumentalities; securities of state, territory, possession or municipal governments and their authorities, agencies, instrumentalities or political subdivisions; and repurchase agreements collateralized by any such obligations. Accordingly, issuers of the foregoing securities will not be considered to be members of any industry. There also will be no limit on investment in issuers domiciled in a single jurisdiction or country. Finance companies will be considered to be in the industries of their parents if their activities are primarily related to financing the activities of the parents. Each foreign government will be considered to be a member of a separate industry. With respect to the iShares Core Dividend ETF's and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF's industry classifications, the Fund currently utilizes any one or more of the industry sub-classifications used by one or more widely recognized market indexes or rating group indexes, and/or as defined by Fund management. The policy also will be interpreted to give broad authority to the iShares Core Dividend ETF and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF as to how to classify issuers within or among industries.
With respect to the fundamental policy relating to borrowing money set forth in (2) above, the Investment Company Act permits the iShares Core Dividend ETF and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF to borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of the Fund's total assets from banks for any purpose, and to borrow up to 5% of the Fund's total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes. (Each Fund's total assets include the amounts being borrowed.) To limit the risks attendant to borrowing, the Investment Company Act requires the iShares Core Dividend ETF and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF to maintain at all times an asset coverage of at least 300% of the amount of its borrowings. Asset coverage means the ratio that the value of the iShares Core Dividend ETF's and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF's total assets (including amounts borrowed), minus liabilities other than borrowings, bears to the aggregate amount of all borrowings. Borrowing money to increase portfolio holdings is known as leveraging. Certain trading practices and investments, such as reverse repurchase agreements, may be considered to be borrowings or involve leverage and thus are subject to the Investment Company Act restrictions. In accordance with Rule 18f-4 under the Investment Company Act, when the iShares Core Dividend ETF and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF engage in reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions, the Fund may either (i) maintain asset coverage of at least 300% with respect to such transactions and any other borrowings in the aggregate, or (ii) treat such transactions as derivatives transactions and comply with Rule 18f-4 with respect to such transactions. Short-term credits necessary for the settlement of securities transactions and arrangements with respect to securities lending will not be considered to be borrowings under the policy. Practices and investments that may involve leverage but are not considered to be borrowings are not subject to the policy.
With respect to the fundamental policy relating to underwriting set forth in (5) above, the Investment Company Act does not prohibit the iShares Core Dividend ETF and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF from engaging in the underwriting business or from underwriting the securities of other issuers; in fact, in the case of diversified funds, the Investment Company Act permits a fund to have underwriting commitments of up to 25% of its assets under certain circumstances. Those circumstances currently are that the amount of the iShares Core Dividend ETF's and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF’s underwriting commitments, when added to the value of a fund’s investments in issuers where a fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of those issuers, cannot exceed the 25% cap. A fund engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act. Although it is not believed that the application of the 1933 Act provisions described above would cause the iShares Core Dividend ETF and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF to be engaged in the business of underwriting, the policy in (5) above will be interpreted not to prevent a fund from engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities, regardless of whether a fund may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act or is otherwise engaged in the underwriting business to the extent permitted by applicable law.
With respect to the fundamental policy relating to lending set forth in (7) above, the Investment Company Act does not prohibit the iShares Core Dividend ETF and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF from making loans (including lending its securities); however, SEC staff interpretations currently prohibit funds from lending more than one-third of their total assets (including lending its securities), except through the purchase of debt obligations or the use of repurchase agreements. In addition, collateral arrangements with respect to options, forward currency and futures transactions and other derivative instruments (as applicable), as well as delays in the settlement of securities transactions, will not be considered loans.
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Non-Fundamental Investment Policies
iShares Core Dividend ETF and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF
Each Fund has adopted a non-fundamental policy not to make short sales of securities or maintain a short position, except to the extent permitted by the Fund's Prospectus and SAI, as amended from time to time, and applicable law.
All Funds Other Than the iShares Core Dividend ETF and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF
Each Fund has adopted a non-fundamental policy not to invest in the securities of a company for the purpose of exercising management or control, or purchase or otherwise acquire any illiquid investment, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, which currently limits each Fund's holdings in illiquid investments to 15% of a Fund's net assets. BFA monitors Fund holdings in illiquid investments, pursuant to the Liquidity Program.
If any percentage restriction described above is complied with at the time of an investment, a later increase or decrease in percentage resulting from a change in values of assets will not constitute a violation of such restriction, except that certain percentage limitations will be observed continuously in accordance with applicable law.
All Funds
Each Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy in accordance with Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, for all Funds other than iShares Morningstar Growth ETF, iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap ETF, iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Growth ETF, iShares Morningstar Mid-Cap Value ETF, iShares Morningstar Small-Cap ETF, iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Growth ETF, iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Value ETF, iShares Morningstar U.S. Equity ETF and iShares Morningstar Value ETF (the iShares Morningstar ETFs) and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF, in component securities of the Underlying Index or in depositary receipts representing component securities in the Underlying Index and for each of the iShares Morningstar ETFs and iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF, in component securities of its Underlying Index. Each Fund also has adopted a policy to provide its shareholders with at least 60 days’ prior written notice of any change in such policy. If, subsequent to an investment, the 80% requirement is no longer met, a Fund’s future investments will be made in a manner that will bring the Fund into compliance with this policy.
Each Fund has adopted a non-fundamental policy not to purchase securities of other investment companies, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. As a matter of policy, however, a Fund will not purchase shares of any registered open-end investment company or registered unit investment trust, in reliance on Section 12(d)(1)(F) or (G) (the fund of funds provisions) of the 1940 Act, at any time the Fund has knowledge that its shares are purchased by another investment company investor in reliance on the provisions of subparagraph (G) of Section 12(d)(1).
Unless otherwise indicated, all limitations under the Fund's fundamental or non-fundamental investment policies apply only at the time that a transaction is undertaken. Any change in the percentage of the Fund's assets invested in certain securities or other instruments resulting from market fluctuations or other changes in the Fund’s total assets will not require the Fund to dispose of an investment until BFA determines that it is practicable to sell or close out the investment without undue market or tax consequences.
Continuous Offering
The method by which Creation Units are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Units are issued and sold by the Funds on an ongoing basis, at any point a distribution, as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may occur. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the 1933 Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Units after placing an order with the Distributor, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers or if it chooses to couple the creation of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the 1933 Act must take into account all of the
44


facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a categorization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not underwriters but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, generally are required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the 1933 Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares of the Funds are reminded that, pursuant to Rule 153 under the 1933 Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the 1933 Act owed to an exchange member in connection with a sale on the Listing Exchange generally is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available at the Listing Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available only with respect to transactions on an exchange.
Management
Trustees and Officers. The Board has responsibility for the overall management and operations of the Funds, including general supervision of the duties performed by BFA and other service providers. Each Trustee serves until he or she resigns, is removed, dies, retires or becomes incapacitated. Each officer shall hold office until his or her successor is elected and qualifies or until his or her death, resignation or removal. Trustees who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust are referred to as independent trustees (Independent Trustees).
The registered investment companies advised by BFA or its affiliates (the BlackRock-advised Funds) are organized into one complex of open-end equity, multi-asset, index and money market funds and ETFs (the BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex), one complex of closed-end funds and open-end non-index fixed-income funds (including ETFs) (the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex) and one complex of ETFs (Exchange-Traded Fund Complex) (each, a BlackRock Fund Complex). Each Fund is included in the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex. Each Trustee also serves as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust and, as a result, oversees all of the funds within the Exchange-Traded Fund Complex, which consists of 397 funds as of September 1, 2023. With the exception of Robert S. Kapito, Salim Ramji, Dominik Rohé and Aaron Wasserman, the address of each Trustee and officer is c/o BlackRock, Inc., 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. The address of Mr. Kapito, Mr. Ramji, Mr. Rohé and Mr. Wasserman is c/o BlackRock, Inc., 50 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001. The Board has designated John E. Kerrigan as its Independent Board Chair. Additional information about the Funds' Trustees and officers may be found in this SAI, which is available without charge, upon request, by calling toll-free 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737).
Interested Trustees
Name (Year of Birth)
Position
Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Robert S. Kapito1
(1957)
Trustee
(since 2009).
President, BlackRock, Inc. (since
2006); Vice Chairman of BlackRock,
Inc. and Head of BlackRock’s
Portfolio Management Group (since
its formation in 1998) and BlackRock,
Inc.’s predecessor entities (since
1988); Trustee, University of
Pennsylvania (since 2009); President
of Board of Directors, Hope & Heroes
Children’s Cancer Fund (since 2002).
Director of BlackRock, Inc. (since
2006); Director of iShares, Inc. (since
2009); Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF
Trust (since 2011).
45


Name (Year of Birth)
Position
Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Salim Ramji2
(1970)
Trustee (since
2019).
Senior Managing Director, BlackRock,
Inc. (since 2014); Global Head of
BlackRock’s ETF and Index
Investments Business (since 2019);
Head of BlackRock’s U.S. Wealth
Advisory Business (2015-2019);
Global Head of Corporate Strategy,
BlackRock, Inc. (2014-2015); Senior
Partner, McKinsey & Company (2010-
2014).
Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2019);
Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust
(since 2019).

1
Robert S. Kapito is deemed to be an interested person (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust due to his affiliations with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates.
2
Salim Ramji is deemed to be an interested person (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust due to his affiliations with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates.
Independent Trustees
Name (Year of Birth)
Position
Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
John E. Kerrigan
(1955)
Trustee
(since 2005);
Independent Board
Chair
(since 2022).
Chief Investment Officer, Santa Clara
University (since 2002).
Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005);
Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust
(since 2011); Independent Board
Chair of iShares, Inc. and iShares U.S.
ETF Trust (since 2022).
Jane D. Carlin
(1956)
Trustee
(since 2015); Risk
Committee Chair
(since 2016).
Consultant (since 2012); Member of
the Audit Committee (2012-2018),
Chair of the Nominating and
Governance Committee (2017-2018)
and Director of PHH Corporation
(mortgage solutions) (2012-2018);
Managing Director and Global Head
of Financial Holding Company
Governance & Assurance and the
Global Head of Operational Risk
Management of Morgan Stanley
(2006-2012).
Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2015);
Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust
(since 2015); Member of the Audit
Committee (since 2016), Chair of the
Audit Committee (since 2020) and
Director of The Hanover Insurance
Group, Inc. (since 2016).
Richard L. Fagnani
(1954)
Trustee
(since 2017); Audit
Committee Chair
(since 2019).
Partner, KPMG LLP (2002-2016);
Director of One Generation Away
(since 2021).
Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2017);
Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust
(since 2017).
46


Name (Year of Birth)
Position
Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Other Directorships
Held by Trustee
Cecilia H. Herbert
(1949)
Trustee
(since 2005);
Nominating and
Governance and
Equity Plus
Committee Chairs
(since 2022).
Chair of the Finance Committee
(since 2019) and Trustee and
Member of the Finance, Audit and
Quality Committees of Stanford
Health Care (since 2016); Trustee of
WNET, New York's public media
company (since 2011) and Member
of the Audit Committee (since 2018),
Investment Committee (since 2011)
and Personnel Committee (since
2022); Member of the Wyoming
State Investment Funds Committee
(since 2022); Trustee of Forward
Funds (14 portfolios) (2009-2018);
Trustee of Salient MF Trust (4
portfolios) (2015-2018); Director of
the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts
(since 2021).
Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2005);
Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust
(since 2011).
Drew E. Lawton
(1959)
Trustee
(since 2017); 15(c)
Committee Chair
(since 2017).
Senior Managing Director of New
York Life Insurance Company (2010-
2015).
Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2017);
Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust
(since 2017); Director of Jackson
Financial Inc. (since 2021).
John E. Martinez
(1961)
Trustee
(since 2003);
Securities Lending
Committee Chair
(since 2019).
Director of Real Estate Equity
Exchange, Inc. (since 2005); Director
of Cloudera Foundation (2017-2020);
and Director of Reading Partners
(2012-2016).
Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2003);
Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust
(since 2011).
Madhav V. Rajan
(1964)
Trustee
(since 2011); Fixed
Income Plus
Committee Chair
(since 2019).
Dean, and George Pratt Shultz
Professor of Accounting, University
of Chicago Booth School of Business
(since 2017); Advisory Board
Member (since 2016) and Director
(since 2020) of C.M. Capital
Corporation; Chair of the Board for
the Center for Research in Security
Prices, LLC (since 2020); Robert K.
Jaedicke Professor of Accounting,
Stanford University Graduate School
of Business (2001-2017); Professor of
Law (by courtesy), Stanford Law
School (2005-2017); Senior Associate
Dean for Academic Affairs and Head
of MBA Program, Stanford University
Graduate School of Business (2010-
2016).
Director of iShares, Inc. (since 2011);
Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust
(since 2011).
47


Officers
Name (Year of Birth)
Position
Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Dominik Rohé
(1973)
President (since
2023).
Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc.
(since 2005); Head of Americas ETF
and Index Investments (since 2023);
Head of Latin America (2019-2023).
Trent Walker
(1974)
Treasurer and Chief
Financial Officer
(since 2020).
Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc.
(since September 2019); Chief
Financial Officer of iShares Delaware
Trust Sponsor LLC, BlackRock Funds,
BlackRock Funds II, BlackRock Funds
IV, BlackRock Funds V and BlackRock
Funds VI (since 2021); Executive Vice
President of PIMCO (2016-2019);
Senior Vice President of PIMCO
(2008-2015); Treasurer (2013-2019)
and Assistant Treasurer (2007-2017)
of PIMCO Funds, PIMCO Variable
Insurance Trust, PIMCO ETF Trust,
PIMCO Equity Series, PIMCO Equity
Series VIT, PIMCO Managed
Accounts Trust, 2 PIMCO-sponsored
interval funds and 21 PIMCO-
sponsored closed-end funds.
Aaron Wasserman
(1974)
Chief Compliance
Officer (since 2023).
Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc.
(since 2018); Chief Compliance
Officer of the BlackRock Multi-Asset
Complex, the BlackRock Fixed-
Income Complex and the Exchange-
Traded Fund Complex (since 2023);
Deputy Chief Compliance Officer for
the BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex,
the BlackRock Fixed-Income
Complex and the Exchange-Traded
Fund Complex (2014-2023).
Marisa Rolland
(1980)
Secretary (since
2022).
Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc.
(since 2023); Director, BlackRock, Inc.
(2018-2022); Vice President,
BlackRock, Inc. (2010-2017).
Rachel Aguirre
(1982)
Executive Vice
President (since
2022).
Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc.
(since 2018); Director, BlackRock, Inc.
(2009-2018); Head of U.S. iShares
Product (since 2022); Head of EII U.S.
Product Engineering (since 2021);
Co-Head of EII’s Americas Portfolio
Engineering (2020-2021); Head of
Developed Markets Portfolio
Engineering (2016-2019).
48


Name (Year of Birth)
Position
Principal Occupation(s)
During the Past 5 Years
Jennifer Hsui
(1976)
Executive Vice
President (since
2022).
Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc.
(since 2009); Co-Head of Index
Equity (since 2022).
James Mauro
(1970)
Executive Vice
President (since
2021).
Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc.
(since 2010); Head of Fixed Income
Index Investments in the Americas
and Head of San Francisco Core
Portfolio Management (since 2020).
The Board has concluded that, based on each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes or skills on an individual basis and in combination with those of the other Trustees, each Trustee should serve as a Trustee of the Board. Among the attributes common to all Trustees are their ability to review critically, evaluate, question and discuss information provided to them, to interact effectively with the Funds' investment adviser, other service providers, counsel and the independent registered public accounting firm, and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties as Trustees. A Trustee’s ability to perform his or her duties effectively may have been attained through the Trustee’s educational background or professional training; business, consulting, public service or academic positions; experience from service as a Board member of the Funds and the other funds in the Trust (and any predecessor funds), other investment funds, public companies, or non-profit entities or other organizations; and/or other life experiences. Also, set forth below is a brief discussion of the specific experience, qualifications, attributes or skills of each Trustee that led the Board to conclude that he or she should serve (or continue to serve) as a Trustee.
Robert S. Kapito has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2009. Mr. Kapito has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2009, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011 and a Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2006. Mr. Kapito served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. In addition, he has over 20 years of experience as part of BlackRock, Inc. and BlackRock’s predecessor entities. Mr. Kapito serves as President of BlackRock, Inc., and is a member of the Global Executive Committee and Chairman of the Global Operating Committee. He is responsible for day-to-day oversight of BlackRock's key operating units, including Investment Strategies, Client Businesses, Technology & Operations, and Risk & Quantitative Analysis. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in 2007, Mr. Kapito served as Vice Chairman of BlackRock, Inc. and Head of BlackRock's Portfolio Management Group. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing all portfolio management within BlackRock, including the Fixed Income, Equity, Liquidity, and Alternative Investment Groups. Mr. Kapito serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors. He has also been President of the Board of Directors for the Hope & Heroes Children's Cancer Fund since 2002. Mr. Kapito earned a BS degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1979, and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School in 1983.
Salim Ramji has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Ramji has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2019. Mr. Ramji is the Global Head of BlackRock’s ETF and Index Investments business. In addition, he is a member of BlackRock’s Global Executive Committee. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities in 2019, Mr. Ramji was Head of BlackRock's U.S. Wealth Advisory business, where he was responsible for leading BlackRock's relationships with wealth management firms and platforms, for distributing BlackRock's alpha-seeking and iShares investment capabilities and for the adoption of BlackRock's portfolio construction and digital wealth technologies to financial advisors. Mr. Ramji joined BlackRock in 2014, serving initially as the Global Head of Corporate Strategy. Prior to BlackRock, Mr. Ramji was a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, where he led the Asset and Wealth Management practice areas. He started his career as a corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions lawyer at Clifford Chance LLP in London and Hong Kong. He has served as a Trustee of Graham Windham, a New York-based child care agency, since 2007. Mr. Ramji earned a bachelor's degree in economics and politics from University of Toronto, a law degree from Cambridge University and is a CFA charter holder.
John E. Kerrigan has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2005 and Chair of the Trust's Board since 2022. Mr. Kerrigan has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, Chair of the Equity Plus and Nominating and Governance Committees of each Board from 2019 to 2021, and as Chair of each Board since 2022. Mr. Kerrigan served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. Mr. Kerrigan has served as Chief Investment Officer of Santa Clara University since 2002. Mr. Kerrigan was formerly a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch & Co.,
49


including the following responsibilities: Managing Director, Institutional Client Division, Western United States. Mr. Kerrigan has been a Director, since 1999, of The BASIC Fund (Bay Area Scholarships for Inner City Children). Mr. Kerrigan has a BA degree from Boston College and is a Chartered Financial Analyst Charterholder.
Jane D. Carlin has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2015 and Chair of the Risk Committee since 2016. Ms. Carlin has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2015, and Chair of the Risk Committee of each Board since 2016. Ms. Carlin has served as a consultant since 2012 and formerly served as Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Holding Company Governance & Assurance and the Global Head of Operational Risk Management of Morgan Stanley from 2006 to 2012. In addition, Ms. Carlin served as Managing Director and Global Head of the Bank Operational Risk Oversight Department of Credit Suisse Group from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that, Ms. Carlin served as Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel of Morgan Stanley. Ms. Carlin has over 30 years of experience in the financial sector and has served in a number of legal, regulatory, and risk management positions. Ms. Carlin has served as a member of the Audit Committee and as a Director of The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., each since 2016, and as Chair of the Audit Committee since 2020. Ms. Carlin served as a member of the Audit Committee from 2012 to 2018, Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee from 2017 to 2018 and as an Independent Director on the Board of PHH Corporation from 2012 to 2018. She previously served as a Director on the Boards of Astoria Financial Corporation and Astoria Bank. Ms. Carlin was appointed by the United States Treasury to the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security, where she served as Chairperson from 2010 to 2012 and Vice Chair and Chair of the Cyber Security Committee from 2009 to 2010. Ms. Carlin has a BA degree in political science from State University of New York at Stony Brook and a JD degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Richard L. Fagnani has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2017 and Chair of the Audit Committee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Fagnani has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2017, and Chair of the Audit Committee of each Board since 2019. Mr. Fagnani served as an Advisory Board Member of the Trust, iShares U.S. ETF Trust and iShares, Inc. from April 2017 to June 2017. Mr. Fagnani served as a Senior Audit Partner at KPMG LLP from 2002 to 2016, most recently as the U.S. asset management audit practice leader responsible for setting strategic direction and execution of the operating plan for the asset management audit practice. In addition, from 1977 to 2002, Mr. Fagnani served as an Audit Partner at Andersen LLP, where he developed and managed the asset management audit practice in the Philadelphia office. Mr. Fagnani served as a Trustee on the Board of the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia from 2009 to 2014 and as a member of the School of Business Advisory Board at LaSalle University from 2006 to 2014. Mr. Fagnani has also served as a Director of One Generation Away, a non-profit which works to bring healthy food directly to people in need, since 2021. Mr. Fagnani has a BS degree in Accounting from LaSalle University.
Cecilia H. Herbert has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2005 and Chair of the Equity Plus and Nominating and Governance Committees of the Trust since 2022. Ms. Herbert has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2005, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, Chair of the Trust's Board from 2016 to 2021, and Chair of the Equity Plus and Nominating and Governance Committees of each Board since 2022. Ms. Herbert served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. Previously, Ms. Herbert served as Trustee of the Montgomery Funds from 1992 to 2003, the Pacific Select Funds from 2004 to 2005, the Forward Funds from 2009 to 2018, the Salient Funds from 2015 to 2018 and the Thrivent Church Loan and Income Fund from 2019 to 2022. She has served as a member of the Finance, Audit and Quality Committees and Trustee of Stanford Health Care since 2016 and became Chair of the Finance Committee of Stanford Health Care in 2019. She has served as a Trustee of WNET, New York’s public media station, since 2011 and a Member of its Audit Committee since 2018. She was appointed to the Wyoming State Investment Funds Committee in 2022. She became a member of the Governing Council of the Independent Directors Council in 2018. She has served as a Director of the Senior Center of Jackson Hole since 2020 and of the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts since 2021. She was President of the Board of Catholic Charities CYO, the largest social services agency in the San Francisco Bay Area, from 2007 to 2011 and a member of that board from 1992 to 2013. She worked from 1973 to 1990 at J.P. Morgan/Morgan Guaranty Trust doing international corporate finance and corporate lending, retiring as Managing Director and Head of the West Coast Office. Ms. Herbert has been on numerous non-profit boards, chairing investment and finance committees. She holds a double major in economics and communications from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Drew E. Lawton has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2017 and Chair of the 15(c) Committee of the Trust since 2017. Mr. Lawton has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc., a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust, and Chair of the 15(c) Committee of each Board since 2017. Mr. Lawton also served as an Advisory Board Member of the Trust, iShares, Inc. and iShares U.S. ETF Trust from 2016 to 2017. Mr. Lawton served as Director of Principal Funds, Inc., Principal Variable Contracts Funds, Inc. and Principal Exchange-Traded Funds from March 2016 to October 2016. Mr. Lawton has also served as a member of the
50


Compensation and Finance and Risk Committees and Director of Jackson Financial Inc. since 2021. Mr. Lawton served in various capacities at New York Life Insurance Company from 2010 to 2015, most recently as a Senior Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of New York Life Investment Management. From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Lawton was the President of Fridson Investment Advisors, LLC. Mr. Lawton previously held multiple roles at Fidelity Investments from 1997 to 2008. Mr. Lawton has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Texas since 2021. Mr. Lawton has a BA degree in Administrative Science from Yale University and an MBA from University of North Texas.
John E. Martinez has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2003 and Chair of the Securities Lending Committee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Martinez has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. since 2003, a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, and Chair of the Securities Lending Committee of each Board since 2019. Mr. Martinez served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2010 to 2015. Mr. Martinez is a Director of Real Estate Equity Exchange, Inc., providing governance oversight and consulting services to this privately held firm that develops products and strategies for homeowners in managing the equity in their homes. From 2017 to 2020, Mr. Martinez served as a Board member for the Cloudera Foundation. Mr. Martinez previously served as Director of Barclays Global Investors (BGI) UK Holdings, where he provided governance oversight representing BGI’s shareholders (Barclays PLC, BGI management shareholders) through oversight of BGI’s worldwide activities. Mr. Martinez also previously served as Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Global Index and Markets Group of BGI, Chairman of Barclays Global Investor Services and Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Markets Group of BGI. From 2003 to 2012, he was a Director and Executive Committee Member for Larkin Street Youth Services. He now serves on the Larkin Street Honorary Board. From 2012 to 2016, Mr. Martinez served as a Director for Reading Partners. Mr. Martinez has an AB degree in economics from The University of California, Berkeley and holds an MBA degree in finance and statistics from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Madhav V. Rajan has been a Trustee of the Trust since 2011 and Chair of the Fixed Income Plus Committee of the Trust since 2019. Mr. Rajan has also served as a Director of iShares, Inc. and a Trustee of iShares U.S. ETF Trust since 2011, and Chair of the Fixed Income Plus Committee of each Board since 2019. Mr. Rajan served as a Director of iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF, Inc. from 2011 to 2015. Mr. Rajan is the Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and also serves as Chair of the Board for the Center for Research in Security Prices, LLC, an affiliate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, since 2020. He has served on the Advisory Board of C.M. Capital Corporation since 2016 and as a Director of C.M. Capital Corporation since 2020. From 2001 to 2017, Mr. Rajan was the Robert K. Jaedicke Professor of Accounting at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. In April 2017, he received the school’s Robert T. Davis Award for Lifetime Achievement and Service. He has taught accounting for over 25 years to undergraduate, MBA and law students, as well as to senior executives. From 2010 to 2016, Mr. Rajan served as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and head of the MBA Program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Mr. Rajan served as editor of The Accounting Review from 2002 to 2008 and is co-author of Cost Accounting: A Managerial Emphasis, a leading cost accounting textbook. From 2013 to 2018, Mr. Rajan served on the Board of Directors of Cavium Inc., a semiconductor company. Mr. Rajan holds MS and PhD degrees in Accounting from Carnegie Mellon University.
Board – Leadership Structure and Oversight Responsibilities
Overall responsibility for oversight of the Funds rests with the Board. The Board has engaged BFA to manage the Funds on a day-to-day basis. The Board is responsible for overseeing BFA and other service providers in the operations of the Funds in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act, applicable provisions of state and other laws and the Trust’s charter. The Board is currently composed of nine members, seven of whom are Independent Trustees. The Board currently conducts regular in person meetings four times a year. In addition, the Board frequently holds special in person or telephonic meetings or informal conference calls to discuss specific matters that may arise or require action between regular meetings. The Independent Trustees meet regularly outside the presence of management, in executive session or with other service providers to the Trust.
The Board has appointed an Independent Trustee to serve in the role of Board Chair. The Board Chair’s role is to preside at all meetings of the Board and to act as a liaison with service providers, officers, attorneys, and other Trustees generally between meetings. The Board Chair may also perform such other functions as may be delegated by the Board from time to time. The Board has established seven standing Committees: a Nominating and Governance Committee, an Audit Committee, a 15(c) Committee, a Securities Lending Committee