Form 497 iSHARES TRUST

November 10, 2021 4:32 PM EST

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Form 497

 June 29, 2021
  (as revised November 10, 2021)
    
 2021 Prospectus
iShares Trust
•  iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF | SGOV |  NYSE ARCA
  
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 


 

Table of Contents
ICE® is a trademark of ICE Data Indices, LLC or its affiliates and has been licensed for use for certain purposes by BlackRock Fund Advisors or its affiliates. iShares® and BlackRock® are registered trademarks of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates.
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iSHARES® 0-3 MONTH TREASURY BOND ETF
Ticker: SGOV Stock Exchange: NYSE Arca
Investment Objective
The iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track the investment results of an index composed of U.S. Treasury bonds with remaining maturities of less than or equal to three months.
Fees and Expenses
The following table describes the fees and expenses that you will incur if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. The investment advisory agreement between iShares Trust (the “Trust”) and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”) provides that BFA will pay all operating expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses. BFA, the investment adviser to the Fund, has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fee so that the Fund’s total annual fund operating expenses after the fee waiver will not exceed 0.03% through June 30, 2022. The contractual waiver may be terminated prior to June 30, 2022 only upon written agreement of the Trust and BFA.
You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below.
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(ongoing expenses that you pay each year as a
percentage of the value of your investments)
Management
Fees
  Distribution and
Service (12b-1)
Fees
  Other
Expenses1
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
  Fee Waiver   Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
After
Fee Waiver
0.12%   None   0.00%   0.12%   (0.09)%   0.03%

1 The amount rounded to 0.00%.
Example. This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of owning shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
1 Year   3 Years   5 Years   10 Years
$3   $30   $59   $145
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Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may pay transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in the Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. From inception (May 26, 2020) to the most recent fiscal year end, the Fund's portfolio turnover rate was 326% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund seeks to track the investment results of the ICE® 0-3 Month US Treasury Securities Index (the “Underlying Index”), which measures the performance of public obligations of the U.S. Treasury that have a remaining maturity of less than or equal to three months. As of February 28, 2021, there were 34 components in the Underlying Index.
The Underlying Index is market value-weighted based on amounts outstanding of issuances consisting of publicly issued U.S. Treasury securities that have a remaining term to final maturity of less than or equal to three months as of the rebalance date and $1 billion or more of outstanding face value, excluding amounts held by the Federal Reserve System Open Market Account. In addition, the securities in the Underlying Index must have a fixed coupon schedule and be denominated in U.S. dollars. Excluded from the Underlying Index are inflation-linked securities and zero-coupon bonds that have been stripped from coupon-paying 
bonds (e.g., Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities). However, the amounts outstanding of qualifying coupon securities in the Underlying Index are not reduced by any individual components of such securities (i.e., coupon or principal) that have been stripped after inclusion in the Underlying Index. The Underlying Index is rebalanced on the last calendar day of each month. 
The Underlying Index does not provide for the reinvestment of cash flows from coupon payments or the proceeds of maturing component securities between rebalance dates. Consequently, the Fund may hold money market instruments. 
BFA uses a “passive” or indexing approach to try to achieve the Fund’s investment objective. Unlike many investment companies, the Fund does not try to “beat” the index it tracks and does not seek temporary defensive positions when markets decline or appear overvalued. 
Indexing may eliminate the chance that the Fund will substantially outperform the Underlying Index but also may reduce some of the risks of active management, such as poor security selection. Indexing seeks to achieve lower costs and better after-tax performance by aiming to keep portfolio turnover low in comparison to actively managed investment companies. 
BFA uses a representative sampling indexing strategy to manage the Fund. “Representative sampling” is an indexing strategy that involves investing in a representative sample of securities that collectively has an investment profile similar to that of an applicable underlying index. The securities 
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selected are expected to have, in the aggregate, investment characteristics (based on factors such as market value and industry weightings), fundamental characteristics (such as return variability, duration, maturity, credit ratings and yield) and liquidity measures similar to those of an applicable underlying index. The Fund may or may not hold all of the securities in the Underlying Index. 
The Fund will invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index, and the Fund will invest at least 90% of its assets in U.S. Treasury securities that BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. The Fund will invest no more than 10% of its assets in futures, options and swap contracts that BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. Cash and cash equivalent investments associated with a derivative position will be treated as part of that position for the purposes of calculating investments not included in the Underlying Index. The Fund seeks to track the investment results of the Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Fund. 
The Fund may lend securities representing up to one-third of the value of the Fund’s total assets (including the value of any collateral received). 
The Underlying Index is sponsored by ICE Data Indices, LLC or its affiliates (collectively, the “Index Provider” or “IDI”), which is independent of the Fund and BFA. The Index Provider determines the composition and relative weightings of the securities in the Underlying Index and publishes information regarding the market value of the Underlying Index. 
Summary of Principal Risks
As with any investment, you could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund's performance could trail that of other investments. The Fund is subject to certain risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund's net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk. U.S. Treasury obligations may differ from other securities in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics and may provide relatively lower returns than those of other securities. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit rating of the U.S. government may cause the value of the Fund's U.S. Treasury obligations to decline.
Interest Rate Risk. During periods of very low or negative interest rates, the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns or pay dividends to Fund shareholders. Very low or negative interest rates may magnify interest rate risk. Changing interest rates, including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on markets, result in heightened market volatility and detract from the Fund’s performance to the extent the Fund is exposed to such interest rates. Additionally, under certain market conditions in which interest rates are low and the market prices for portfolio securities have increased, the Fund may have a very low or even negative yield. A low or negative yield would cause the Fund to lose 
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money in certain conditions and over certain time periods. An increase in interest rates will generally cause the value of securities held by the Fund to decline, may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and may adversely affect the liquidity of certain fixed-income investments, including those held by the Fund. The historically low interest rate environment heightens the risks associated with rising interest rates. 
Income Risk. The Fund's income may decline if interest rates fall. This decline in income can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding bonds as bonds in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, bonds in the Underlying Index are substituted, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional bonds. 
Risk of Investing in the U.S. Certain changes in the U.S. economy, such as when the U.S. economy weakens or when its financial markets decline, may have an adverse effect on the securities to which the Fund has exposure. 
Asset Class Risk. Securities in the Underlying Index or in the Fund's portfolio may underperform in comparison to the general financial markets, a particular financial market or other asset classes. 
Assets Under Management (AUM) Risk. From time to time, an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section of this prospectus (the “Prospectus”)), a third-party investor, the Fund’s adviser or an affiliate of the Fund’s adviser, or a fund may invest in the Fund and hold its investment for a specific period of time to allow the Fund to achieve size or scale. There can be no assurance that any such entity would not redeem its 
investment or that the size of the Fund would be maintained at such levels, which could negatively impact the Fund. 
Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting. 
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector, market segment or asset class. 
Cybersecurity Risk. Failures or breaches of the electronic systems of the Fund, the Fund's adviser, distributor, the Index Provider and other service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests have the ability to cause disruptions, negatively impact the Fund’s business operations and/or potentially result in financial 
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losses to the Fund and its shareholders. While the Fund has established business continuity plans and risk management systems seeking to address system breaches or failures, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems of the Fund’s Index Provider and other service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or issuers of securities in which the Fund invests. 
High Portfolio Turnover Risk. High portfolio turnover (considered by the Fund to mean higher than 100% annually) may result in increased transaction costs to the Fund, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of the securities and on reinvestment in other securities. 
Index-Related Risk. There is no guarantee that the Fund’s investment results will have a high degree of correlation to those of the Underlying Index or that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Underlying Index. Errors in index data, index computations or the construction of the Underlying Index in accordance with its methodology may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders. Unusual market conditions may cause the Index Provider to postpone a scheduled rebalance, which could cause the Underlying Index to vary from its normal or expected composition. 
Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus has resulted in travel restrictions, disruption of healthcare systems, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, layoffs, ratings downgrades, defaults and other significant economic impacts. Certain markets have experienced temporary closures, extreme volatility, severe losses, reduced liquidity and increased trading costs. These events will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and could impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities or cause elevated tracking error and increased premiums or discounts to the Fund's NAV. Other infectious illness outbreaks in the future may result in similar impacts. 
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due. 
Management Risk. As the Fund will not fully replicate the Underlying Index, it is subject to the risk that BFA's investment strategy may not produce the intended results. 
Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in 
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increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. 
Market Trading Risk. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares, losses from trading in secondary markets, periods of high volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV. 
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks. 
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed, and BFA generally does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets. 
Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in 
the event of a decline in the value of collateral provided for loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. 
Tracking Error Risk. The Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences, transaction costs incurred by the Fund, the Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of distributions, 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 Underlying Index or the costs to the Fund of complying with various new or existing regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because the Fund incurs fees and expenses, while the Underlying Index does not. 
Performance Information
As of the date of the Prospectus, the Fund has been in operation for less than one full calendar year and therefore does not report its performance information.
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Management
Investment Adviser. BlackRock Fund Advisors.
Portfolio Managers. James Mauro and Karen Uyehara (the “Portfolio Managers”) are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager supervises a portfolio management team. Mr. Mauro and Ms. Uyehara have been Portfolio Managers of the Fund since 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund is an exchange-traded fund (commonly referred to as an “ETF”). Individual shares of the Fund may only be bought and sold in the secondary market through a broker-dealer. Because ETF shares trade at market prices rather than at NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (a premium) or less than NAV (a discount). An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase shares of the Fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for shares of the Fund (ask) when buying or selling shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”).
Tax Information
The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (“IRA”), in which case, your distributions generally will be taxed when withdrawn. Certain states and localities may exempt from tax distributions attributable to interest from U.S. federal government obligations. Please consult your personal tax advisor.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), BFA or other related companies may pay the intermediary for marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems or other services related to the sale or promotion of the Fund. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
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More Information About the Fund
This Prospectus contains important information about investing in the Fund. Please read this Prospectus carefully before you make any investment decisions. Additional information regarding the Fund is available at www.iShares.com.
BFA is the investment adviser to the Fund. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca”). The market price for a share of the Fund may be different from the Fund’s most recent NAV.
ETFs are funds that trade like other publicly-traded securities. The Fund is designed to track an index. Similar to shares of an index mutual fund, each share of the Fund represents an ownership interest in an underlying portfolio of securities and other instruments intended to track a market index. Unlike shares of a mutual fund, which can be bought and redeemed from the issuing fund by all shareholders at a price based on NAV, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed directly from the Fund at NAV solely by Authorized Participants and only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (“Creation Units”). Also unlike shares of a mutual fund, shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange and trade in the secondary market at market prices that change throughout the day.
The Fund invests in a particular segment of the securities markets and seeks to track the performance of a securities index that is not representative of the market as a whole. The Fund is designed to be used as part of broader asset allocation strategies. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund should not constitute a complete investment program.
An index is a financial calculation, based on a grouping of financial instruments, and is not an investment product, while the Fund is an actual investment portfolio. The performance of the Fund and the Underlying Index may vary for a number of reasons, including transaction costs, non-U.S. currency valuations, asset valuations, corporate actions (such as mergers and spin-offs), timing variances and differences between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index resulting from the Fund's use of representative sampling or from legal restrictions (such as diversification requirements) that apply to the Fund but not to the Underlying Index. From time to time, the Index Provider may make changes to the methodology or other adjustments to the Underlying Index. Unless otherwise determined by BFA, any such change or adjustment will be reflected in the calculation of the Underlying Index performance on a going-forward basis after the effective date of such change or adjustment. Therefore, the Underlying Index performance shown for periods prior to the effective date of any such change or adjustment will generally not be recalculated or restated to reflect such change or adjustment.
“Tracking error” is the divergence of the Fund's performance from that of the Underlying Index. Because the Fund uses a representative sampling indexing strategy, it can be expected to have a larger tracking error than if it used a replication indexing strategy. “Replication” is an indexing strategy in which a fund invests in substantially all
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of the securities in its underlying index in approximately the same proportions as in the underlying index.
The Fund may borrow as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes, including to meet redemptions or to facilitate the settlement of securities or other transactions. The Fund does not intend to borrow money in order to leverage its portfolio.
An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit and it is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency, BFA or any of its affiliates.
The Fund's investment objective and the Underlying Index may be changed without shareholder approval.
A Further Discussion of Principal Risks
The Fund is subject to various risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund’s NAV, trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. You could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund could underperform other investments. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk. U.S. Treasury obligations may differ from other securities in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit rating of the U.S. government may cause the value of the Fund's U.S. Treasury obligations to decline. On August 5, 2011, S&P Global Ratings downgraded U.S. Treasury securities from AAA rating to AA+ rating. A further downgrade of the ratings of U.S. government debt obligations, which are often used as a benchmark for other borrowing arrangements, could result in higher interest rates for individual and corporate borrowers, cause disruptions in the international bond markets and have a substantial negative effect on the U.S. economy. A downgrade of U.S. Treasury securities from another ratings agency or a further downgrade below AA+ rating by S&P Global Ratings may cause the value of the Fund’s U.S. Treasury obligations to decline.
Interest Rate Risk. If interest rates rise, the value of fixed-income securities or other instruments held by the Fund would likely decrease. A measure investors commonly use to determine this price sensitivity is called duration. Fixed-income securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making their prices more volatile than those of securities with shorter durations. To the extent the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in fixed-income securities with longer duration, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Fund's investments to decline significantly, which would adversely affect the value of the Fund. An increase in interest rates may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and adversely affect certain fixed-income investments, including those held by the Fund. In addition, decreases in fixed income dealer market-making capacity may lead to lower trading volume, heightened volatility, wider bid-ask spreads and less transparent pricing in certain fixed-income markets.
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The historically low interest rate environment was created in part by the world’s major central banks keeping their overnight policy interest rates at, near or below zero percent and implementing monetary policy facilities, such as asset purchase programs, to anchor longer-term interest rates below historical levels. During periods of very low or negative interest rates, the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns or pay dividends to Fund shareholders. Certain countries have recently experienced negative interest rates on certain fixed-income instruments. Very low or negative interest rates may magnify interest rate risk. Changing interest rates, including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on markets, result in heightened market volatility and detract from the Fund’s performance to the extent the Fund is exposed to such interest rates. Additionally, under certain market conditions in which interest rates are set at low levels and the market prices of portfolio securities have increased, the Fund may have a very low, or even negative yield. A low or negative yield would cause the Fund to lose money in certain conditions and over certain time periods. Central banks may increase their short-term policy rates or begin phasing out, or “tapering,” accommodative monetary policy facilities in the future. The timing, coordination, magnitude and effect of such policy changes on various markets are uncertain, and such changes in monetary policy may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments.
Income Risk. The Fund’s income may decline if interest rates fall. This decline in income can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding bonds as bonds in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, bonds in the Underlying Index are substituted, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional bonds. The Index Provider’s substitution of bonds in the Underlying Index may occur, for example, when the time to maturity for the bond no longer matches the Underlying Index’s stated maturity guidelines.
Risk of Investing in the U.S. A decrease in imports or exports, changes in trade regulations and/or an economic recession in the U.S. may have a material adverse effect on the U.S. economy and the securities listed on U.S. exchanges. Proposed and adopted policy and legislative changes in the U.S. are changing many aspects of financial, commercial, public health, environmental, and other regulation and may have a significant effect on U.S. markets generally, as well as on the value of certain securities. Governmental agencies project that the U.S. will continue to maintain elevated public debt levels for the foreseeable future. Although elevated debt levels do not necessarily indicate or cause economic problems, elevated public debt service costs may constrain future economic growth.
The U.S. has developed increasingly strained relations with a number of foreign countries. If relations with certain countries deteriorate, it could adversely affect U.S. issuers as well as non-U.S. issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. The U.S. has also experienced increased internal unrest and discord, as well as significant challenges in managing and containing the outbreak of COVID-19. If these trends were to continue, it may have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy and the issuers in which the Fund invests.
Asset Class Risk. The securities in the Underlying Index or in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to other securities or indexes that track other countries,
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groups of countries, regions, industries, groups of industries, markets, market segments, asset classes or sectors. Various types of securities and indexes may experience cycles of outperformance and underperformance in comparison to the general financial markets. This may cause the Fund to underperform other investment vehicles that invest in different asset classes.
Assets Under Management (AUM) Risk. From time to time, an Authorized Participant, a third-party investor, the Fund’s adviser or an affiliate of the Fund’s adviser, or a fund may invest in the Fund and hold its investment for a specific period of time to allow the Fund to achieve size or scale. There can be no assurance that any such entity would not redeem its investment or that the size of the Fund would be maintained at such levels, which could negatively impact the Fund.
Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem Creation Units, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting.
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector, market segment or asset class. The Fund may be more adversely affected by the underperformance of those securities and/or other assets, may experience increased price volatility and may be more susceptible to adverse economic, market, political or regulatory occurrences affecting those securities and/or other assets than a fund that does not concentrate its investments.
Cybersecurity Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as the internet to conduct business, the Fund, Authorized Participants, service providers and the relevant listing exchange are susceptible to operational, information security and related “cyber” risks both directly and through their service providers. Similar types of cybersecurity risks are also present for issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers and may cause the Fund’s investment in such issuers to lose value. Unlike many other types of risks faced by the Fund, these risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyberattacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e.,
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efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities with nation-state backing.
Cybersecurity failures by, or breaches of, the systems of the Fund’s adviser, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, index and benchmark providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses, interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, disclosure of confidential trading information, impediments to trading, submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders, the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, cyberattacks may render records of Fund assets and transactions, shareholder ownership of Fund shares, and other data integral to the functioning of the Fund inaccessible or inaccurate or incomplete. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber incidents, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful or that cyberattacks will go undetected. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, the Index Provider, market makers or Authorized Participants. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
High Portfolio Turnover Risk. High portfolio turnover (considered by the Fund to mean higher than 100% annually) may result in increased transaction costs to the Fund, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of the securities and on reinvestment in other securities. These effects of higher than normal portfolio turnover may adversely affect Fund performance.
Index-Related Risk. The Fund seeks to achieve a return that corresponds generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Underlying Index as published by the Index Provider. There is no assurance that the Index Provider or any agents that may act on its behalf will compile the Underlying Index accurately, or that the Underlying Index will be determined, composed or calculated accurately. While the Index Provider provides descriptions of what the Underlying Index is designed to achieve, neither the Index Provider nor its agents provide any warranty or accept any liability in relation to the quality, accuracy or completeness of the Underlying Index or its related data, and they do not guarantee that the Underlying Index will be in line with the Index Provider’s methodology. BFA’s mandate as described in this Prospectus is to manage the Fund consistently with the Underlying Index provided by the Index Provider to BFA. BFA does not provide any warranty or guarantee against the Index Provider’s or any agent’s errors. Errors in respect of the quality, accuracy and completeness of the data used to compile the Underlying Index may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all,
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particularly where the indices are less commonly used as benchmarks by funds or managers. Such errors may negatively or positively impact the Fund and its shareholders. For example, during a period where the Underlying Index contains incorrect constituents, the Fund would have market exposure to such constituents and would be underexposed to the Underlying Index’s other constituents. Shareholders should understand that any gains from Index Provider errors will be kept by the Fund and its shareholders and any losses or costs resulting from Index Provider errors will be borne by the Fund and its shareholders.
Unusual market conditions may cause the Index Provider to postpone a scheduled rebalance to the Underlying Index, which could cause the Underlying Index to vary from its normal or expected composition. The postponement of a scheduled rebalance in a time of market volatility could mean that constituents of the Underlying Index that would otherwise be removed at rebalance due to changes in market value, issuer credit ratings, or other reasons may remain, causing the performance and constituents of the Underlying Index to vary from those expected under normal conditions. Apart from scheduled rebalances, the Index Provider or its agents may carry out additional ad hoc rebalances to the Underlying Index due to reaching certain weighting constraints, unusual market conditions or corporate events or, for example, to correct an error in the selection of index constituents. When the Underlying Index is rebalanced and the Fund in turn rebalances its portfolio to attempt to increase the correlation between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index, any transaction costs and market exposure arising from such portfolio rebalancing will be borne directly by the Fund and its shareholders. Therefore, errors and additional ad hoc rebalances carried out by the Index Provider or its agents to the Underlying Index may increase the costs to and the tracking error risk of the Fund.
Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in December 2019 has spread globally. The impact of this outbreak has adversely affected the economies of many nations and the global economy, and may impact individual issuers and capital markets in ways that cannot be foreseen. The duration of the outbreak and its effects cannot be predicted with certainty. Any market or economic disruption can be expected to result in elevated tracking error and increased premiums or discounts to the Fund's NAV.
General Impact. This outbreak has resulted in travel restrictions, closed international borders, enhanced health screenings at ports of entry and elsewhere, disruption of, and delays in, healthcare service preparation and delivery, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, temporary and permanent closures of stores, restaurants and other commercial establishments, layoffs, defaults and other significant economic impacts, as well as general concern and uncertainty.
Market Volatility. The outbreak has also resulted in extreme volatility, severe losses, and disruptions in markets which can adversely impact the Fund and its investments, including impairing hedging activity to the extent a Fund engages in such activity, as expected correlations between related markets or instruments may no longer apply. In addition, to the extent the Fund invests in short-term instruments that have negative yields, the Fund’s value may be impaired as a result. Certain
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  issuers of equity securities have cancelled or announced the suspension of dividends. The outbreak has, and may continue to, negatively affect the credit ratings of some fixed-income securities and their issuers.
Market Closures. Certain local markets have been or may be subject to closures, and there can be no assurance that trading will continue in any local markets in which the Fund may invest, when any resumption of trading will occur or, once such markets resume trading, whether they will face further closures. Any suspension of trading in markets in which the Fund invests will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and will impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities in such markets.
Operational Risk. The outbreak could also impair the information technology and other operational systems upon which the Fund’s service providers, including BFA, rely, and could otherwise disrupt the ability of employees of the Fund’s service providers to perform critical tasks relating to the Fund, for example, due to the service providers’ employees performing tasks in alternate locations than under normal operating conditions or the illness of certain employees of the Fund’s service providers.
Governmental Interventions. Governmental and quasi-governmental authorities and regulators throughout the world have responded to the outbreak and the resulting economic disruptions with a variety of fiscal and monetary policy changes, including direct capital infusions into companies and other issuers, new monetary policy tools, and lower interest rates. An unexpected or sudden reversal of these policies, or the ineffectiveness of such policies, is likely to increase market volatility, which could adversely affect the Fund’s investments.
Pre-Existing Conditions. Public health crises caused by the outbreak may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally, which could adversely affect the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund's NAV.
Other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future could have similar or other unforeseen effects.
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due.
Management Risk. Because BFA uses a representative sampling indexing strategy, the Fund will not fully replicate the Underlying Index and may hold securities not included in the Underlying Index. As a result, the Fund is subject to the risk that BFA’s investment strategy, the implementation of which is subject to a number of constraints, may not produce the intended results.
Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. Market risk arises mainly from uncertainty about future values of financial instruments and may be influenced by price, currency and interest rate movements. It represents the potential loss the Fund may suffer through holding financial instruments in the face of
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market movements or uncertainty. The value of a security or other asset may decline due to changes in general market conditions, economic trends or events that are not specifically related to the issuer of the security or other asset, or factors that affect a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. During a general market downturn, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected. Fixed-income securities with short-term maturities are generally less sensitive to such changes than are fixed-income securities with longer-term maturities. Changes in market conditions and interest rates generally do not have the same impact on all types of securities and instruments.
Market Trading Risk.
Absence of Active Market. Although shares of the Fund are listed for trading on one or more stock exchanges, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained by market makers or Authorized Participants.
Risk of Secondary Listings. The Fund's shares may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the U.S. stock exchange where the Fund's primary listing is maintained, and may otherwise be made available to non-U.S. investors through funds or structured investment vehicles similar to depositary receipts. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s shares will continue to trade on any such stock exchange or in any market or that the Fund’s shares will continue to meet the requirements for listing or trading on any exchange or in any market. The Fund's shares may be less actively traded in certain markets than in others, and investors are subject to the execution and settlement risks and market standards of the market where they or their broker direct their trades for execution. Certain information available to investors who trade Fund shares on a U.S. stock exchange during regular U.S. market hours may not be available to investors who trade in other markets, which may result in secondary market prices in such markets being less efficient.
Secondary Market Trading Risk. Shares of the Fund may trade in the secondary market at times when the Fund does not accept orders to purchase or redeem shares. At such times, shares may trade in the secondary market with more significant premiums or discounts than might be experienced at times when the Fund accepts purchase and redemption orders.
Secondary market trading in Fund shares may be halted by a stock exchange because of market conditions or for other reasons. In addition, trading in Fund shares on a stock exchange or in any market may be subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to “circuit breaker” rules on the stock exchange or market.
Shares of the Fund, similar to shares of other issuers listed on a stock exchange, may be sold short and are therefore subject to the risk of increased volatility and price decreases associated with being sold short. In addition, trading activity in derivative
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products based on the Fund may lead to increased trading volume and volatility in the secondary market for the shares of the Fund.
Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. Shares of the Fund trade on stock exchanges at prices at, above or below the Fund’s most recent NAV. The NAV of the Fund is calculated at the end of each business day and fluctuates with changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings. The trading price of the Fund's shares fluctuates continuously throughout trading hours based on both market supply of and demand for Fund shares and the underlying value of the Fund's portfolio holdings or NAV. As a result, the trading prices of the Fund’s shares may deviate significantly from NAV during periods of market volatility, including during periods of significant redemption requests or other unusual market conditions. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at NAV, BFA believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of the Fund are not likely to be sustained over the long term (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their NAVs). While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it more likely that the Fund’s shares normally will trade on stock exchanges at prices close to the Fund’s next calculated NAV, exchange prices are not expected to correlate exactly with the Fund's NAV due to timing reasons, supply and demand imbalances and other factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions, including disruptions at market makers, Authorized Participants, or other market participants, and during periods of significant market volatility, may result in trading prices for shares of the Fund that differ significantly from its NAV. Authorized Participants may be less willing to create or redeem Fund shares if there is a lack of an active market for such shares or its underlying investments, which may contribute to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to NAV.
Costs of Buying or Selling Fund Shares. Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange involves two types of costs that apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you will likely incur a brokerage commission and other charges. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread”; that is, the difference between what investors are willing to pay for Fund shares (the “bid” price) and the price at which they are willing to sell Fund shares (the “ask” price). The spread, which varies over time for shares of the Fund based on trading volume and market liquidity, is generally narrower if the Fund has more trading volume and market liquidity and wider if the Fund has less trading volume and market liquidity. In addition, increased market volatility may cause wider spreads. There may also be regulatory and other charges that are incurred as a result of trading activity. Because of the costs inherent in buying or selling Fund shares, frequent trading may detract significantly from investment results and an investment in Fund shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments through a brokerage account.
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund's service providers, counterparties or other third-parties,
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failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed and may be affected by a general decline in market segments related to the Underlying Index. The Fund invests in securities included in, or representative of, the Underlying Index, regardless of their investment merits. BFA generally does not attempt to invest the Fund's assets in defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets.
Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of collateral provided for loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. (“BTC”), the Fund's securities lending agent, will take into account the tax impact to shareholders of substitute payments for dividends when managing the Fund's securities lending program.
Tracking Error Risk. The Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences, transaction costs incurred by the Fund, the Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of distributions, 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 Underlying Index or the costs to the Fund of complying with various new or existing regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because the Fund incurs fees and expenses, while the Underlying Index does not.
A Further Discussion of Other Risks
The Fund may also be subject to certain other risks associated with its investments and investment strategies. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Borrowing Risk. Borrowing may exaggerate changes in the NAV of Fund shares and in the return on the Fund’s portfolio. Borrowing will cost the Fund interest expense and other fees. The costs of borrowing may reduce the Fund’s return. Borrowing may also cause the Fund to liquidate positions when it may not be advantageous to do so to satisfy its obligations.
Cash Management Risk. To the extent the Fund holds cash, the Fund will earn reduced income (if any) on the cash and will be subject to the credit risk of the depository institution holding the cash and any fees imposed on large cash balances. If a significant amount of the Fund’s assets are invested in cash and cash equivalents,
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the Fund may underperform other funds that do not similarly invest in cash and cash equivalents for investment purposes and/or to collateralize derivative instruments.
Close-Out Risk for Qualified Financial Contracts. Regulations adopted by global prudential regulators require counterparties that are part of U.S. or foreign global systemically important banking organizations to include contractual restrictions on close-out and cross-default in agreements relating to qualified financial contracts. Qualified financial contracts include agreements relating to swaps, currency forwards and other derivatives as well as repurchase agreements and securities lending agreements. The restrictions prevent the Fund from closing out a qualified financial contract during a specified time period if the counterparty is subject to resolution proceedings and also prohibit the Fund from exercising default rights due to a receivership or similar proceeding of an affiliate of the counterparty. These requirements may increase credit risk and other risks to the Fund.
Illiquid Investments Risk. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. To the extent the Fund holds illiquid investments, the illiquid investments may reduce the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices. An investment may be illiquid due to, among other things, the reduced number and capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in securities or instruments or the lack of an active market for such securities or instruments. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities or instruments with substantial market and/or credit risk, the Fund will tend to have increased exposure to the risks associated with illiquid investments. Liquid investments may become illiquid after purchase by the Fund, particularly during periods of market turmoil. There can be no assurance that a security or instrument that is deemed to be liquid when purchased will continue to be liquid for as long as it is held by the Fund, and any security or instrument held by the Fund may be deemed an illiquid investment pursuant to the Fund’s liquidity risk management program. Illiquid investments may be harder to value, especially in changing markets. Although the Fund primarily seeks to redeem shares of the Fund on an in-kind basis, if the Fund is forced to sell underlying investments at reduced prices or under unfavorable conditions to meet redemption requests or for other cash needs, the Fund may suffer a loss. This may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment or other circumstances where redemptions from the Fund may be greater than normal. Other market participants may be attempting to liquidate holdings at the same time as the Fund, causing increased supply of the Fund’s underlying investments in the market and contributing to illiquid investments risk and downward pricing pressure. During periods of market volatility, liquidity in the market for the Fund’s shares may be impacted by the liquidity in the market for the underlying securities or instruments held by the Fund, which could lead to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to the Fund’s NAV.
Money Market Instruments Risk. The value of money market instruments may be affected by changing interest rates and by changes in the credit ratings of the investments. If a significant amount of the Fund's assets are invested in money market
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instruments, it will be more difficult for the Fund to achieve its investment objective. An investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. It is possible to lose money by investing in a money market fund. Money market funds other than government money market funds or retail money market funds “float” their NAV instead of using a stable $1.00 per share price.
Threshold/Underinvestment Risk. If certain aggregate and/or fund-level ownership thresholds are reached through transactions undertaken by BFA, its affiliates or the Fund, or as a result of third-party transactions or actions by an issuer or regulator, the ability of BFA and its affiliates on behalf of clients (including the Fund) to purchase or dispose of investments, or exercise rights or undertake business transactions, may be restricted by regulation or otherwise impaired. The capacity of the Fund to make investments in certain securities may be affected by the relevant threshold limits, and such limitations may have adverse effects on the liquidity and performance of the Fund’s portfolio holdings compared to the performance of the Underlying Index. This may increase the risk of the Fund being underinvested to the Underlying Index and increase the risk of tracking error.
For example, in certain circumstances where the Fund invests in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries or in certain emerging or international markets, is subject to corporate or regulatory ownership restrictions, or invests in certain futures or other derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate and/or fund-level amount invested or voted by BFA and its affiliates for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including the Fund) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BFA and its affiliates, the Fund or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions.
Portfolio Holdings Information
A description of the Trust's policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is available in the Fund's Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The Fund discloses its portfolio holdings daily at www.iShares.com. Fund fact sheets provide information regarding the Fund's top holdings and may be requested by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737).
Management
Investment Adviser. As investment adviser, BFA has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Fund. BFA provides an investment program for the Fund and manages the investment of the Fund’s assets. In managing the Fund, BFA may draw upon the research and expertise of its asset management affiliates with respect to certain portfolio securities. In seeking to achieve the Fund's investment objective, BFA uses teams of portfolio managers, investment strategists and other investment specialists. This team approach brings together many disciplines and leverages BFA’s extensive resources.
Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement between BFA and the Trust (entered into on behalf of the Fund), BFA is responsible for substantially all expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with
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respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses (as determined by a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust).
For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA is paid a management fee from the Fund based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at the annual rate of 0.12%. Effective September 30, 2020, BFA has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fee so that the Fund’s total annual fund operating expenses after the fee waiver will not exceed 0.03% through June 30, 2022. The contractual waiver may be terminated prior to June 30, 2022 only upon written agreement of the Trust and BFA. Prior to September 30, 2020, BFA had contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fee so that the Fund's total annual fund operating expenses after the fee waiver would not exceed 0.07%. The contractual waiver was discontinued as of September 30, 2020, by written agreement of the Trust and BFA. In addition, BFA may from time to time voluntarily waive and/or reimburse fees or expenses in order to limit total annual fund operating expenses (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, if any). Any such voluntary waiver or reimbursement may be eliminated by BFA at any time.
BFA is located at 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. It is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). As of March 31, 2021, BFA and its affiliates provided investment advisory services for assets in excess of $9.01 trillion. BFA and its affiliates trade and invest for their own accounts in the actual securities and types of securities in which the Fund may also invest, which may affect the price of such securities.
A discussion regarding the basis for the approval by the Trust's Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of the Investment Advisory Agreement with BFA is available in the Fund's Semi-Annual Report for the period ended August 31.
Portfolio Managers. James Mauro and Karen Uyehara are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager is responsible for various functions related to portfolio management, including, but not limited to, investing cash inflows, coordinating with members of his portfolio management team to focus on certain asset classes, implementing investment strategy, researching and reviewing investment strategy and overseeing members of his portfolio management team that have more limited responsibilities.
James Mauro has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Mauro was a Vice President at State Street Global Advisors. Mr. Mauro has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2020.
Karen Uyehara has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a senior portfolio manager since 2010. Prior to that, Ms. Uyehara was a portfolio manager at Western Asset Management Company (WAMCO). Ms. Uyehara has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2021.
The Fund's SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Managers' compensation, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Managers' ownership (if any) of shares in the Fund.
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Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent. State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) is the administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund.
Conflicts of Interest. The investment activities of BFA and its affiliates (including BlackRock and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Affiliates”)), and their respective directors, officers or employees, in the management of, or their interest in, their own accounts and other accounts they manage, may present conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA and its Affiliates provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow investment programs similar to that of the Fund. BFA and its Affiliates are involved worldwide with a broad spectrum of financial services and asset management activities and may engage in the ordinary course of business in activities in which their interests or the interests of their clients may conflict with those of the Fund. BFA or one or more Affiliates act, or may act, as an investor, research provider, investment manager, commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, financier, underwriter, adviser, trader, lender, index provider, agent and/or principal, and have other direct and indirect interests in securities, currencies, commodities, derivatives and other instruments in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. The Fund may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies with which an Affiliate has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Fund may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which an Affiliate provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. The Fund also may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies for which an Affiliate provides or may in the future provide research coverage. An Affiliate may have business relationships with, and purchase or distribute or sell services or products from or to, distributors, consultants or others who recommend the Fund or who engage in transactions with or for the Fund, and may receive compensation for such services. BFA or one or more Affiliates may engage in proprietary trading and advise accounts and funds that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in and compete for transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and other instruments as the Fund. This may include transactions in securities issued by other open-end and closed-end investment companies (which may include investment companies that are affiliated with the Fund and BFA, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”)). The trading activities of BFA and these Affiliates are carried out without reference to positions held directly or indirectly by the Fund and may result in BFA or an Affiliate having positions in certain securities that are senior or junior to, or have interests different from or adverse to, the securities that are owned by the Fund.
Neither BlackRock nor any Affiliate is under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Fund. As a result, an Affiliate may compete with the Fund for appropriate investment opportunities. The results of the Fund's investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of an Affiliate and of other accounts managed by BlackRock or an Affiliate, and it is possible that the Fund could
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sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible.
In addition, the Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which BFA or an Affiliate or its or their directors, officers, employees or clients have an adverse interest. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by clients advised or managed by BFA or its Affiliates may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more clients or by BFA or its Affiliates or their directors, officers or employees may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund.
The Fund's activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to BFA or one or more Affiliates and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions.
Under a securities lending program approved by the Board, the Fund has retained BTC, an Affiliate of BFA, to serve as the securities lending agent for the Fund to the extent that the Fund participates in the securities lending program. For these services, the securities lending agent will receive a fee from the Fund, including a fee based on the returns earned on the Fund’s investment of the cash received as collateral for the loaned securities. In addition, one or more Affiliates may be among the entities to which the Fund may lend its portfolio securities under the securities lending program.
It is also possible that, from time to time, BlackRock and/or its advisory clients (including other funds and separately managed accounts) may, subject to compliance with applicable law, purchase and hold shares of the Fund. The price, availability, liquidity, and (in some cases) expense ratio of the Fund may be impacted by purchases and sales of the Fund by BlackRock and/or its advisory clients.
The activities of BFA and its Affiliates and their respective directors, officers or employees may give rise to other conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA has adopted policies and procedures designed to address these potential conflicts of interest. See the SAI for further information.
Shareholder Information
Additional shareholder information, including how to buy and sell shares of the Fund, is available free of charge by calling toll-free: 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting our website at www.iShares.com.
Buying and Selling Shares. Shares of the Fund may be acquired or redeemed directly from the Fund only in Creation Units or multiples thereof, as discussed in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. Once created, shares of the Fund generally trade in the secondary market in amounts less than a Creation Unit.
Shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange for trading during the trading day. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like shares of other publicly-traded companies. The Trust does not impose any minimum investment
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for shares of the Fund purchased on an exchange or otherwise in the secondary market. The Fund's shares trade under the ticker symbol “SGOV.”
Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange or other secondary market involves two types of costs that may apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission and other charges. The commission is frequently a fixed amount and may be a significant proportional cost for investors seeking to buy or sell small amounts of shares. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread,” that is, any difference between the bid price and the ask price. The spread varies over time for shares of the Fund based on the Fund’s trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund has high trading volume and market liquidity, and higher if the Fund has little trading volume and market liquidity (which is often the case for funds that are newly launched or small in size). The Fund's spread may also be impacted by the liquidity or illiquidity of the underlying securities held by the Fund, particularly for newly launched or smaller funds or in instances of significant volatility of the underlying securities.
The Board has adopted a policy of not monitoring for frequent purchases and redemptions of Fund shares (“frequent trading”) that appear to attempt to take advantage of a potential arbitrage opportunity presented by a lag between a change in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities after the close of the primary markets for the Fund’s portfolio securities and the reflection of that change in the Fund’s NAV (“market timing”), because the Fund sells and redeems its shares directly through transactions that are in-kind and/or for cash, subject to the conditions described below under Creations and Redemptions. The Board has not adopted a policy of monitoring for other frequent trading activity because shares of the Fund are listed for trading on a national securities exchange.
The national securities exchange on which the Fund's shares are listed is open for trading Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and the following holidays (or the days on which they are observed): New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The Fund’s listing exchange is NYSE Arca.
Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act generally restricts investments by investment companies, including foreign and unregistered investment companies, in the securities of other investment companies. For example, a registered investment company (the “Acquired Fund”), such as the Fund, may not knowingly sell or otherwise dispose of any security issued by the Acquired Fund to any investment company (the “Acquiring Fund”) or any company or companies controlled by the Acquiring Fund if, immediately after such sale or disposition: (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the Acquired Fund is owned by the Acquiring Fund and any company or companies controlled by the Acquiring Fund, or (ii) more than 10% of the total outstanding voting stock of the Acquired Fund is owned by the Acquiring Fund and other investment companies and companies controlled by them. However, registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in SEC rules or in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust (when available). In order for a registered investment company to invest in shares of the Fund beyond the limitations of Section
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12(d)(1) pursuant to the exemptive relief obtained by the Trust (when available), the registered investment company must enter into an agreement with the Trust. Foreign investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund only up to the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to any applicable SEC no-action relief.
Book Entry. Shares of the Fund are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of, and holds legal title to, all outstanding shares of the Fund.
Investors owning shares of the Fund are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for shares of the Fund. DTC participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of stock certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other securities that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Prices. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares in the secondary market generally differ from the Fund’s daily NAV and are affected by market forces such as the supply of and demand for ETF shares and underlying securities held by the Fund, economic conditions and other factors.
Determination of Net Asset Value. The NAV of the Fund normally is determined twice daily Monday through Friday, generally as of 12:00 p.m., Eastern time and as of the close of regular trading hours of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day that the NYSE is open for trading, based on prices at the time of closing, provided that any Fund assets or liabilities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar are translated into U.S. dollars at the prevailing market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more data service providers. The NAV of the Fund is calculated by dividing the value of the net assets of the Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by the total number of outstanding shares of the Fund, generally rounded to the nearest cent.
The value of the securities and other assets and liabilities held by the Fund are determined pursuant to valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board.
The Fund values fixed-income portfolio securities using last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by the Fund's approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board. Pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but the Fund may hold or transact in such securities in smaller odd lot sizes. Odd lots often trade at lower prices than institutional round lots. An amortized cost method of valuation may be
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used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless BlackRock determines in good faith that such method does not represent fair value.
Generally, trading in non-U.S. securities and money market instruments is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of business on the NYSE. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of the Fund are determined as of such times.
When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BlackRock to be unreliable, the Fund’s investments are valued at fair value. Fair value determinations are made by BlackRock in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Board. BlackRock may conclude that a market quotation is not readily available or is unreliable if a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source due to its lack of trading or other reasons, if a market quotation differs significantly from recent price quotations or otherwise no longer appears to reflect fair value, where the security or other asset or liability is thinly traded, when there is a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation, or if the trading market on which a security is listed is suspended or closed and no appropriate alternative trading market is available. A “significant event” is deemed to occur if BlackRock determines, in its reasonable business judgment prior to or at the time of pricing the Fund’s assets or liabilities, that the event is likely to cause a material change to the closing market price of one or more assets held by, or liabilities of, the Fund.
Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of an asset or liability held by the Fund is the amount the Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or the cost to extinguish that liability in an arm’s-length transaction. Valuing the Fund’s investments using fair value pricing will result in prices that may differ from current market valuations and that may not be the prices at which those investments could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used. Use of fair value prices and certain current market valuations could result in a difference between the prices used to calculate the Fund’s NAV and the prices used by the Underlying Index, which, in turn, could result in a difference between the Fund’s performance and the performance of the Underlying Index.
Dividends and Distributions
General Policies. Dividends from net investment income, if any, generally are declared and paid at least once a year by the Fund. Distributions of net realized securities gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but the Trust may make distributions on a more frequent basis for the Fund. The Trust reserves the right to declare special distributions if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve its status as a regulated investment company or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income or realized gains.
Dividends and other distributions on shares of the Fund are distributed on a pro rata basis to beneficial owners of such shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC participants and indirect participants to beneficial owners then of record with proceeds received from the Fund.
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Dividend Reinvestment Service. No dividend reinvestment service is provided by the Trust. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by beneficial owners of the Fund for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Beneficial owners should contact their broker to determine the availability and costs of the service and the details of participation therein. Brokers may require beneficial owners to adhere to specific procedures and timetables. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole shares of the Fund purchased in the secondary market.
Taxes. As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in shares of the Fund will be taxed. The tax information in this Prospectus is provided as general information, based on current law. There is no guarantee that shares of the Fund will receive certain regulatory or accounting treatment. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund.
Unless your investment in Fund shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an IRA, in which case your distributions generally will be taxable when withdrawn, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Fund shares.
Taxes on Distributions. Distributions from the Fund’s net investment income, including distributions of income from securities lending and distributions out of the Fund's net short-term capital gains, if any, are taxable to you as ordinary income. The Fund's distributions of net long-term capital gains, if any, in excess of net short-term capital losses are taxable as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you have held the shares. Long-term capital gains are eligible for taxation at a maximum rate of 15% or 20% for non-corporate shareholders, depending on whether their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. Distributions from the Fund are subject to a 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax on “net investment income,” for individuals with incomes exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly) and of estates and trusts. In general, your distributions are subject to U.S. federal income tax for the year when they are paid. Certain distributions paid in January, however, may be treated as paid on December 31 of the prior year. Certain states and localities may exempt from tax distributions attributable to interest from U.S. federal government obligations. Consult your personal tax advisor.
If the Fund's distributions exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, all or a portion of the distributions made in the taxable year may be recharacterized as a return of capital to shareholders. Distributions in excess of the Fund’s minimum distribution requirements, but not in excess of the Fund’s earnings and profits, will be taxable to shareholders and will not constitute nontaxable returns of capital. A return of capital distribution generally will not be taxable but will reduce the shareholder's cost basis and will result in a higher capital gain or lower capital loss when those shares on which the distribution was received are sold. Once a shareholder's cost basis is reduced to zero, further distributions will be treated as capital gain, if the shareholder holds shares of the Fund as capital assets.
If you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the U.S. or if you are a non-U.S. entity (other than a pass-through entity to the extent owned by U.S. persons), the Fund’s
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ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gains) will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. federal withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies provided that withholding tax will generally not apply to any gain or income realized by a non-U.S. shareholder in respect of any distributions of long-term capital gains or upon the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund.
Separately, a 30% withholding tax is currently imposed on U.S.-source dividends, interest and other income items paid to (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. account holders and (ii) certain other foreign entities, unless they certify certain information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. owners. To avoid withholding, foreign financial institutions will need to (i) enter into agreements with the IRS that state that they will provide the IRS information, including the names, addresses and taxpayer identification numbers of direct and indirect U.S. account holders; comply with due diligence procedures with respect to the identification of U.S. accounts; report to the IRS certain information with respect to U.S. accounts maintained, agree to withhold tax on certain payments made to non-compliant foreign financial institutions or to account holders who fail to provide the required information; and determine certain other information concerning their account holders, or (ii) in the event that an applicable intergovernmental agreement and implementing legislation are adopted, provide local revenue authorities with similar account holder information. Other foreign entities may need to report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner or provide certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership, unless certain exceptions apply.
If you are a resident or a citizen of the U.S., by law, backup withholding at a 24% rate will apply to your distributions and proceeds if you have not provided a taxpayer identification number or social security number and made other required certifications.
Taxes When Shares are Sold. Currently, any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares is generally treated as a long-term gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than one year. Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares held for one year or less is generally treated as short-term gain or loss, except that any capital loss on the sale of shares held for six months or less is treated as long-term capital loss to the extent that capital gain dividends were paid with respect to such shares. Any such capital gains, including from sales of Fund shares or from capital gain dividends, are included in “net investment income” for purposes of the 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax mentioned above.
The foregoing discussion summarizes some of the consequences under current U.S. federal tax law of an investment in the Fund. It is not a substitute for personal tax advice. You may also be subject to state and local taxation on Fund distributions and sales of shares. Certain states and localities may exempt from tax distributions attributable to interest from U.S. federal government obligations. Consult your personal tax advisor about the potential tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund under all applicable tax laws.
Creations and Redemptions. Prior to trading in the secondary market, shares of the Fund are “created” at NAV by market makers, large investors and institutions only in
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block-size Creation Units or multiples thereof. Each “creator” or authorized participant (an “Authorized Participant”) has entered into an agreement with the Fund's distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of BFA. An Authorized Participant is a member or participant of a clearing agency registered with the SEC, which has a written agreement with the Fund or one of its service providers that allows such member or participant to place orders for the purchase and redemption of Creation Units.
A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the Distributor and the Fund, generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits into the Fund a designated portfolio of securities, assets or other positions (a “creation basket”), and an amount of cash (including any cash representing the value of substituted securities, assets or other positions), if any, which together approximate the holdings of the Fund in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units. Similarly, shares can be redeemed only in Creation Units, generally for a designated portfolio of securities, assets or other positions (a “redemption basket”) held by the Fund and an amount of cash (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted). The Fund may, in certain circumstances, offer Creation Units partially or solely for cash. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares are not redeemable by the Fund. Creation and redemption baskets may differ and the Fund will accept “custom baskets.” More information regarding custom baskets is contained in the Fund's SAI.
The prices at which creations and redemptions occur are based on the next calculation of NAV after a creation or redemption order is received in an acceptable form under the authorized participant agreement.
Only an Authorized Participant may create or redeem Creation Units with the Fund. Authorized Participants may create or redeem Creation Units for their own accounts or for customers, including, without limitation, affiliates of the Fund.
In the event of a system failure or other interruption, including disruptions at market makers or Authorized Participants, orders to purchase or redeem Creation Units either may not be executed according to the Fund's instructions or may not be executed at all, or the Fund may not be able to place or change orders.
To the extent the Fund engages in in-kind transactions, the Fund intends to comply with the U.S. federal securities laws in accepting securities for deposit and satisfying redemptions with redemption securities by, among other means, assuring that any securities accepted for deposit and any securities used to satisfy redemption requests will be sold in transactions that would be exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined in Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, will not be able to receive restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A.
Creations and redemptions must be made through a firm that is either a member of the Continuous Net Settlement System of the National Securities Clearing Corporation or a DTC participant that has executed an agreement with the Distributor with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Unit aggregations. Information about the
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procedures regarding creation and redemption of Creation Units (including the cut-off times for receipt of creation and redemption orders) is included in the Fund's SAI.
Because new shares may be created and issued on an ongoing basis, at any point during the life of the Fund a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may be occurring. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters subject to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. Any determination of whether one is an underwriter must take into account all the relevant facts and circumstances of each particular case.
Broker-dealers should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to ordinary secondary transactions), and thus dealing with shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the 1933 Act. For delivery of prospectuses to exchange members, the prospectus delivery mechanism of Rule 153 under the 1933 Act is available only with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange.
Householding. Householding is an option available to certain Fund investors. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Please contact your broker-dealer if you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, or if you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status.
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Distribution
The Distributor or its agent distributes Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in shares of the Fund. The Distributor has no role in determining the policies of the Fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by the Fund. The Distributor’s principal address is 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.
BFA or its affiliates make payments to broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks or other intermediaries (together, “intermediaries”) related to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, data provision services, or their making shares of the Fund and certain other iShares funds available to their customers generally and in certain investment programs. Such payments, which may be significant to the intermediary, are not made by the Fund. Rather, such payments are made by BFA or its affiliates from their own resources, which come directly or indirectly in part from fees paid by the iShares funds complex. Payments of this type are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments. A financial intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it recommends or makes available, or the level of services provided, to its customers based on the payments or other financial incentives it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments or other financial incentives offered or made to an intermediary create conflicts of interest between the intermediary and its customers and may cause the intermediary to recommend the Fund or other iShares funds over another investment. More information regarding these payments is contained in the Fund's SAI. Please contact your salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any such payments his or her firm may receive from BFA or its affiliates.
Financial Highlights
The financial highlights table is intended to help investors understand the Fund’s financial performance since inception. Certain information reflects financial results for a single share of the Fund. The total return in the table represents the rate that an investor would have earned (or lost) on an investment in the Fund, assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions. This information has been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, whose report is included, along with the Fund's financial statements, in the Fund's Annual Report (available upon request).
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Financial Highlights
(For a share outstanding throughout the period)
  iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF
  Period From
05/26/20(a)
to 02/28/21
Net asset value, beginning of period $100.01
Net investment income(b) 0.05
Net realized and unrealized gain(c) 0.00(d)
Net increase from investment operations 0.05
Distributions(e)  
From net investment income (0.05)
Total distributions (0.05)
Net asset value, end of period $100.01
Total Return  
Based on net asset value 0.05%(f)
Ratios to Average Net Assets  
Total expenses 0.12%(g)
Total expenses after fees waived 0.03%(g)
Net investment income 0.07%(g)
Supplemental Data  
Net assets, end of period (000) $735,108
Portfolio turnover rate(h) 326%(f)

(a) Commencement of operations.
(b) Based on average shares outstanding.
(c) The amount reported for a share outstanding may not accord with the change in aggregate gains and losses in securities for the fiscal period due to the timing of capital share transactions in relation to the fluctuating market values of the Fund’s underlying securities.
(d) Rounds to less than $0.01.
(e) Distributions for annual periods determined in accordance with U.S. federal income tax regulations.
(f) Not annualized.
(g) Annualized.
(h) Portfolio turnover rate excludes in-kind transactions.
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Index Provider
The Underlying Index is owned, maintained and administered by IDI. IDI is not affiliated with the Trust, BFA, State Street, the Distributor or any of their respective affiliates.
BFA or its affiliates have entered into a license agreement with the Index Provider to use the Underlying Index. BFA, or its affiliates, sublicenses rights in the Underlying Index to the Trust at no charge.
Disclaimers
IDI is used with permission. ICE® is a trademark of IDI or its affiliates and has been licensed, along with the Underlying Index for use by BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates (“BlackRock”) in connection with the Fund. Neither BlackRock, Inc., the Trust nor the Fund, as applicable, is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by IDI, its affiliates or its third party suppliers (“IDI and its Suppliers”). IDI and its Suppliers make no representations or warranties regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally, in the Fund particularly, the Trust or the ability of the Underlying Index to track general stock market performance. IDI’s only relationship to BlackRock is the licensing of certain trademarks and trade names and the Underlying Index or components thereof. The Underlying Index is determined, composed and calculated by IDI without regard to BlackRock or the Fund or its holders. IDI has no obligation to take the needs of BlackRock or the holders of the Fund into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Underlying Index. IDI is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of the Fund to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Fund is to be priced, sold, purchased, or redeemed. Except for certain custom index calculation services, all information provided by IDI is general in nature and not tailored to the needs of BlackRock or any other person, entity or group of persons. IDI has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing, or trading of the Fund. IDI is not an investment adviser. Inclusion of a security within an index is not a recommendation by IDI to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.
IDI AND ITS SUPPLIERS DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES AND REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS AND/OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE, INCLUDING THE UNDERLYING INDEX, INDEX DATA AND ANY INFORMATION INCLUDED IN, RELATED TO, OR DERIVED THEREFROM (“INDEX DATA”). IDI AND ITS SUPPLIERS SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY DAMAGES OR LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO THE ADEQUACY, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS OR COMPLETENESS OF THE UNDERLYING INDEX AND THE INDEX DATA, WHICH ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” BASIS AND YOUR USE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Shares of the Fund are not sponsored, endorsed or promoted by NYSE Arca. NYSE Arca makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the
25

 

owners of shares of the Fund or any member of the public regarding the ability of the Fund to track the total return performance of the Underlying Index or the ability of the Underlying Index to track stock market performance. NYSE Arca is not responsible for, nor has it participated in, the determination of the compilation or the calculation of the Underlying Index, nor in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of shares of the Fund to be issued, nor in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the shares are redeemable. NYSE Arca has no obligation or liability to owners of shares of the Fund in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the shares of the Fund.
NYSE Arca does not guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. NYSE Arca makes no warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by the Trust on behalf of the Fund as licensee, licensee’s customers and counterparties, owners of shares of the Fund, or any other person or entity from the use of the Underlying Index or any data included therein in connection with the rights licensed as described herein or for any other use.
NYSE Arca makes no express or implied warranties and hereby expressly disclaims all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to the Underlying Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall NYSE Arca have any liability for any direct, indirect, special, punitive, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits) even if notified of the possibility of such damages.
The past performance of the Underlying Index is not a guide to future performance. BFA and its affiliates do not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein and BFA and its affiliates shall have no liability for any errors, omissions or interruptions therein. BFA and its affiliates make no warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of the Fund or to any other person or entity, as to results to be obtained by the Fund from the use of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall BFA or its affiliates have any liability for any special, punitive, direct, indirect, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits), even if notified of the possibility of such damages.
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Want to know more?
iShares.com     |    1-800-474-2737
Information on the Fund’s net asset value, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads can be found at www.iShares.com. Copies of the Prospectus, SAI and recent shareholder reports can be found on our website at www.iShares.com. For more information about the Fund, you may request a copy of the SAI. The SAI provides detailed information about the Fund and is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. This means that the SAI, for legal purposes, is a part of this Prospectus.
Additional information about the Fund's investments is available in the Fund's Annual and Semi-Annual Reports to shareholders. In the Fund's Annual Report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund's performance during the last fiscal year.
If you have any questions about the Trust or shares of the Fund or you wish to obtain the SAI, Semi-Annual or Annual Report free of charge, please:
Call: 1-800-iShares or 1-800-474-2737 (toll free)
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Eastern time)
Email: [email protected]
Write: c/o BlackRock Investments, LLC
1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540
Reports and other information about the Fund are available on the EDGAR database on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov, and copies of this information may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: [email protected]
No person is authorized to give any information or to make any representations about the Fund and its shares not contained in this Prospectus and you should not rely on any other information. Read and keep this Prospectus for future reference.
©2021 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved. iSHARES® and BLACKROCK® are registered trademarks of BFA and its affiliates. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
Investment Company Act File No.: 811-09729
IS-P-SGOV-1121

 June 29, 2021
  (as revised November 10, 2021)
    
 2021 Prospectus
iShares Trust
•  iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF | SHV | NASDAQ
  
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has not approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 


 

Table of Contents
ICE® is a trademark of ICE Data Indices, LLC or its affiliates and has been licensed for use for certain purposes by BlackRock Fund Advisors or its affiliates. iShares® and BlackRock® are registered trademarks of BlackRock Fund Advisors and its affiliates.
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iSHARES® SHORT TREASURY BOND ETF
Ticker: SHV Stock Exchange: NASDAQ
Investment Objective
The iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track the investment results of an index composed of U.S. Treasury bonds with remaining maturities of one year or less.
Fees and Expenses
The following table describes the fees and expenses that you will incur if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. The investment advisory agreement between iShares Trust (the “Trust”) and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”) provides that BFA will pay all operating expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses. The Fund may incur “Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses.” Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses reflect the Fund's pro rata share of the fees and expenses incurred by investing in other investment companies. The impact of Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses is included in the total returns of the Fund. Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses are not included in the calculation of the ratio of expenses to average net assets shown in the Financial Highlights section of the Fund's prospectus (the “Prospectus”). BFA, the investment adviser to the Fund, has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fees in an amount equal to the Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, if any, attributable to investments by the Fund in other funds advised by BFA, or its affiliates, through June 30, 2026. The contractual waiver may be terminated prior to June 30, 2026 only upon written agreement of the Trust and BFA.
You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below.
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(ongoing expenses that you pay each year as a
percentage of the value of your investments)1
Management
Fees
  Distribution and
Service (12b-1)
Fees
  Other
Expenses 2
  Acquired Fund Fees
and Expenses
  Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
  Fee Waiver   Total Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
After
Fee Waiver
0.15%   None   0.00%   0.01%   0.16%   (0.01%)   0.15%

1 The expense information in the table has been restated to reflect current fees.
2 The amount rounded to 0.00%.
S-1

 

Example. This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of owning shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
1 Year   3 Years   5 Years   10 Years
$15   $48   $85   $199
Portfolio Turnover. The Fund may pay transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in the Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund's portfolio turnover rate was 115% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund seeks to track the investment results of the ICE® Short US Treasury Securities Index (the “Underlying Index”), which measures the performance of public obligations of the U.S. Treasury that have a remaining maturity of less than or equal to one year. Under normal circumstances, the Fund will seek to maintain a weighted average maturity of less than one year. Weighted average maturity is the U.S. dollar weighted average of the remaining term to maturity of the underlying securities in the Fund’s portfolio. As of February 28, 2021, there were 82 components in the Underlying 
Index. 
The Underlying Index is market value-weighted based on amounts outstanding of issuances consisting of publicly issued U.S. Treasury securities that have a remaining term to final maturity of less than or equal to one year as of the rebalance date and $1 billion or more of outstanding face value, excluding amounts held by the Federal Reserve System Open Market Account. In addition, the securities in the Underlying Index must have a fixed coupon schedule and be denominated in U.S. dollars. Excluded from the Underlying Index are inflation-linked debt and zero-coupon bonds that have been stripped from coupon-paying bonds (e.g., Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities). However, the amounts outstanding of qualifying coupon securities in the Underlying Index are not reduced by any individual components of such securities (i.e., coupon or principal) that have been stripped after inclusion in the Underlying Index. The Underlying Index is rebalanced on the last calendar day of each month. 
BFA uses a “passive” or indexing approach to try to achieve the Fund’s investment objective. Unlike many investment companies, the Fund does 
 
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not try to “beat” the index it tracks and does not seek temporary defensive positions when markets decline or appear overvalued. 
Indexing may eliminate the chance that the Fund will substantially outperform the Underlying Index but also may reduce some of the risks of active management, such as poor security selection. Indexing seeks to achieve lower costs and better after-tax performance by aiming to keep portfolio turnover low in comparison to actively managed investment companies. 
BFA uses a representative sampling indexing strategy to manage the Fund. “Representative sampling” is an indexing strategy that involves investing in a representative sample of securities that collectively has an investment profile similar to that of an applicable underlying index. The securities selected are expected to have, in the aggregate, investment characteristics (based on factors such as market value and industry weightings), fundamental characteristics (such as return variability, duration, maturity, credit ratings and yield) and liquidity measures similar to those of an applicable underlying index. The Fund may or may not hold all of the securities in the Underlying Index. 
The Fund will invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index, and the Fund will invest at least 90% of its assets in U.S. Treasury securities that BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. The Fund will invest no more than 10% of its assets in futures, options and swaps contracts that BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. Cash and cash equivalent investments associated with a 
derivative position will be treated as part of that position for the purposes of calculating investments not included in the Underlying Index. The Fund seeks to track the investment results of the Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Fund. 
The Fund may lend securities representing up to one-third of the value of the Fund’s total assets (including the value of any collateral received). 
The Underlying Index is sponsored by ICE Data Indices, LLC or its affiliates (collectively, the “Index Provider” or “IDI”), which is independent of the Fund and BFA. The Index Provider determines the composition and relative weightings of the securities in the Underlying Index and publishes information regarding the market value of the Underlying Index. 
Summary of Principal Risks
As with any investment, you could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund's performance could trail that of other investments. The Fund is subject to certain risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund's net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Asset Class Risk. Securities in the Underlying Index or in the Fund's portfolio may underperform in comparison to the general financial markets, a particular financial market or other asset classes.
Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus) 
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may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting. 
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector, market segment or asset class. 
Cybersecurity Risk. Failures or breaches of the electronic systems of the Fund, the Fund's adviser, distributor, the Index Provider and other service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests have the ability to cause disruptions, negatively impact the Fund’s business operations and/or potentially result in financial losses to the Fund and its shareholders. While the Fund has established business continuity plans and risk management systems seeking to address system breaches or failures, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems. 
Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems of the Fund’s Index Provider and other service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or issuers of securities in which the Fund invests. 
High Portfolio Turnover Risk. High portfolio turnover (considered by the Fund to mean higher than 100% annually) may result in increased transaction costs to the Fund, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of the securities and on reinvestment in other securities. 
Income Risk. The Fund's income may decline if interest rates fall. This decline in income can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding bonds as bonds in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, bonds in the Underlying Index are substituted, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional bonds. 
Index-Related Risk. There is no guarantee that the Fund’s investment results will have a high degree of correlation to those of the Underlying Index or that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Underlying Index. Errors in index data, index computations or the construction of the Underlying Index in accordance with its methodology may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders. Unusual market conditions may cause the Index Provider to postpone a scheduled 
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rebalance, which could cause the Underlying Index to vary from its normal or expected composition. 
Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus has resulted in travel restrictions, disruption of healthcare systems, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, layoffs, ratings downgrades, defaults and other significant economic impacts. Certain markets have experienced temporary closures, extreme volatility, severe losses, reduced liquidity and increased trading costs. These events will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and could impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities or cause elevated tracking error and increased premiums or discounts to the Fund's NAV. Other infectious illness outbreaks in the future may result in similar impacts. 
Interest Rate Risk. During periods of very low or negative interest rates, the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns or pay dividends to Fund shareholders. Very low or negative interest rates may magnify interest rate risk. Changing interest rates, including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on markets, result in heightened market volatility and detract from the Fund’s performance to the extent the Fund is exposed to such interest rates. Additionally, under certain market conditions in which interest rates are low and the market prices for portfolio securities have increased, the Fund may have a very low or even negative yield. A low or negative yield would cause the Fund to lose money in certain conditions and over certain time periods. An increase in interest rates will generally cause the 
value of securities held by the Fund to decline, may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and may adversely affect the liquidity of certain fixed-income investments, including those held by the Fund. The historically low interest rate environment heightens the risks associated with rising interest rates. 
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due. 
Management Risk. As the Fund will not fully replicate the Underlying Index, it is subject to the risk that BFA's investment strategy may not produce the intended results. 
Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. 
Market Trading Risk. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares, losses from trading in secondary markets, periods of high volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES 
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TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV. 
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks. 
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed, and BFA generally does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets. 
Risk of Investing in the U.S. Certain changes in the U.S. economy, such as when the U.S. economy weakens or when its financial markets decline, may have an adverse effect on the securities to which the Fund has exposure. 
Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of collateral provided for loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. 
Tracking Error Risk. The Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences, transaction costs incurred by the Fund, the Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of distributions, 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 Underlying Index or the costs to the Fund of complying with various new or existing regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because the Fund incurs fees and expenses, while the Underlying Index does not. 
U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk. U.S. Treasury obligations may differ from other securities in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics and may provide relatively lower returns than those of other securities. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit rating of the U.S. government may cause the value of the Fund's U.S. Treasury obligations to decline. 
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Performance Information
The bar chart and table that follow show how the Fund has performed on a calendar year basis and provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund. Both assume that all dividends and distributions have been reinvested in the Fund. Past performance (before and after taxes) does not necessarily indicate how the Fund will perform in the future. If BFA had not waived certain Fund fees during certain periods, the Fund's returns would have been lower.
Year by Year Returns1 (Years Ended December 31)
  

1 The Fund’s year-to-date return as of March 31, 2021 was 0.01%. 
The best calendar quarter return during the periods shown above was 0.85% in the 1st quarter of 2020; the worst was -0.08% in the 4th quarter of 2015
Updated performance information, including the Fund’s current NAV, may be obtained by visiting our website at www.iShares.com or by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) (toll free)
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Average Annual Total Returns
(for the periods ended December 31, 2020)
  One Year   Five Years   Ten Years
(Inception Date: 1/5/2007)          
Return Before Taxes 0.83%   1.19%   0.61%
Return After Taxes on Distributions1 0.52%   0.72%   0.37%
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares1 0.49%   0.71%   0.36%
ICE Short US Treasury Securities Index (Index returns do not reflect deductions for fees, expenses, or taxes)2 0.95%   1.33%   0.74%

1 After-tax returns in the table above are calculated using the historical highest individual U.S. federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state or local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown, and after-tax returns shown are not relevant to tax-exempt investors or investors who hold shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”). Fund returns after taxes on distributions and sales of Fund shares are calculated assuming that an investor has sufficient capital gains of the same character from other investments to offset any capital losses from the sale of Fund shares. As a result, Fund returns after taxes on distributions and sales of Fund shares may exceed Fund returns before taxes and/or returns after taxes on distributions.
2 Index returns through June 30, 2016 reflect the performance of the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Short Treasury Bond Index. Index returns beginning on July 1, 2016 through April 30, 2020 reflect the performance of the ICE U.S. Treasury Short Bond Index. Index returns beginning on May 1, 2020 reflect the performance of the ICE Short US Treasury Securities Index.
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Management
Investment Adviser. BlackRock Fund Advisors.
Portfolio Managers. James Mauro and Karen Uyehara (the “Portfolio Managers”) are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager supervises a portfolio management team. Mr. Mauro and Ms. Uyehara have been Portfolio Managers of the Fund since 2011 and 2021, respectively.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund is an exchange-traded fund (commonly referred to as an “ETF”). Individual shares of the Fund may only be bought and sold in the secondary market through a broker-dealer. Because ETF shares trade at market prices rather than at NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (a premium) or less than NAV (a discount). An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase shares of the Fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for shares of the Fund (ask) when buying or selling shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”).
Tax Information
The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement such as a 401(k) plan or an IRA, in which case, your distributions generally will be taxed when withdrawn. Certain states and localities may exempt from tax distributions attributable to interest from U.S. federal government obligations. Please consult your personal tax advisor.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), BFA or other related companies may pay the intermediary for marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems or other services related to the sale or promotion of the Fund. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
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More Information About the Fund
This Prospectus contains important information about investing in the Fund. Please read this Prospectus carefully before you make any investment decisions. Additional information regarding the Fund is available at www.iShares.com.
BFA is the investment adviser to the Fund. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”). The market price for a share of the Fund may be different from the Fund’s most recent NAV.
ETFs are funds that trade like other publicly-traded securities. The Fund is designed to track an index. Similar to shares of an index mutual fund, each share of the Fund represents an ownership interest in an underlying portfolio of securities and other instruments intended to track a market index. Unlike shares of a mutual fund, which can be bought and redeemed from the issuing fund by all shareholders at a price based on NAV, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed directly from the Fund at NAV solely by Authorized Participants and only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (“Creation Units”). Also unlike shares of a mutual fund, shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange and trade in the secondary market at market prices that change throughout the day.
The Fund invests in a particular segment of the securities markets and seeks to track the performance of a securities index that is not representative of the market as a whole. The Fund is designed to be used as part of broader asset allocation strategies. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund should not constitute a complete investment program.
An index is a financial calculation, based on a grouping of financial instruments, and is not an investment product, while the Fund is an actual investment portfolio. The performance of the Fund and the Underlying Index may vary for a number of reasons, including transaction costs, non-U.S. currency valuations, asset valuations, corporate actions (such as mergers and spin-offs), timing variances and differences between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index resulting from the Fund's use of representative sampling or from legal restrictions (such as diversification requirements) that apply to the Fund but not to the Underlying Index. From time to time, the Index Provider may make changes to the methodology or other adjustments to the Underlying Index. Unless otherwise determined by BFA, any such change or adjustment will be reflected in the calculation of the Underlying Index performance on a going-forward basis after the effective date of such change or adjustment. Therefore, the Underlying Index performance shown for periods prior to the effective date of any such change or adjustment will generally not be recalculated or restated to reflect such change or adjustment.
“Tracking error” is the divergence of the Fund's performance from that of the Underlying Index. Because the Fund uses a representative sampling indexing strategy, it can be expected to have a larger tracking error than if it used a replication indexing strategy. “Replication” is an indexing strategy in which a fund invests in substantially all
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of the securities in its underlying index in approximately the same proportions as in the underlying index.
The Fund may borrow as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes, including to meet redemptions or to facilitate the settlement of securities or other transactions. The Fund does not intend to borrow money in order to leverage its portfolio.
An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit and it is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency, BFA or any of its affiliates.
The Fund's investment objective and the Underlying Index may be changed without shareholder approval.
A Further Discussion of Principal Risks
The Fund is subject to various risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund’s NAV, trading price, yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. You could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Fund could underperform other investments. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Asset Class Risk. The securities in the Underlying Index or in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to other securities or indexes that track other countries, groups of countries, regions, industries, groups of industries, markets, market segments, asset classes or sectors. Various types of securities and indexes may experience cycles of outperformance and underperformance in comparison to the general financial markets. This may cause the Fund to underperform other investment vehicles that invest in different asset classes.
Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund, and none of those Authorized Participants is obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. The Fund has a limited number of institutions that may act as Authorized Participants on an agency basis (i.e., on behalf of other market participants). To the extent that Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other Authorized Participant is able to step forward to create or redeem Creation Units, Fund shares may be more likely to trade at a premium or discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts or delisting.
Concentration Risk. The Fund may be susceptible to an increased risk of loss, including losses due to adverse events that affect the Fund’s investments more than the market as a whole, to the extent that the Fund's investments are concentrated in the securities and/or other assets of a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector, market segment or asset class. The Fund may be more adversely affected by the underperformance of those securities and/or other assets, may experience increased price volatility and may be more susceptible to adverse economic, market, political or regulatory
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occurrences affecting those securities and/or other assets than a fund that does not concentrate its investments.
Cybersecurity Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as the internet to conduct business, the Fund, Authorized Participants, service providers and the relevant listing exchange are susceptible to operational, information security and related “cyber” risks both directly and through their service providers. Similar types of cybersecurity risks are also present for issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers and may cause the Fund’s investment in such issuers to lose value. Unlike many other types of risks faced by the Fund, these risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyberattacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities with nation-state backing.
Cybersecurity failures by, or breaches of, the systems of the Fund’s adviser, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, index and benchmark providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, Authorized Participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses, interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, disclosure of confidential trading information, impediments to trading, submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders, the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, cyberattacks may render records of Fund assets and transactions, shareholder ownership of Fund shares, and other data integral to the functioning of the Fund inaccessible or inaccurate or incomplete. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber incidents, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful or that cyberattacks will go undetected. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, the Index Provider, market makers or Authorized Participants. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
High Portfolio Turnover Risk. High portfolio turnover (considered by the Fund to mean higher than 100% annually) may result in increased transaction costs to the Fund, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs
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on the sale of the securities and on reinvestment in other securities. These effects of higher than normal portfolio turnover may adversely affect Fund performance.
Income Risk. The Fund’s income may decline if interest rates fall. This decline in income can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding bonds as bonds in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, bonds in the Underlying Index are substituted, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional bonds. The Index Provider’s substitution of bonds in the Underlying Index may occur, for example, when the time to maturity for the bond no longer matches the Underlying Index’s stated maturity guidelines.
Index-Related Risk. The Fund seeks to achieve a return that corresponds generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Underlying Index as published by the Index Provider. There is no assurance that the Index Provider or any agents that may act on its behalf will compile the Underlying Index accurately, or that the Underlying Index will be determined, composed or calculated accurately. While the Index Provider provides descriptions of what the Underlying Index is designed to achieve, neither the Index Provider nor its agents provide any warranty or accept any liability in relation to the quality, accuracy or completeness of the Underlying Index or its related data, and they do not guarantee that the Underlying Index will be in line with the Index Provider’s methodology. BFA’s mandate as described in this Prospectus is to manage the Fund consistently with the Underlying Index provided by the Index Provider to BFA. BFA does not provide any warranty or guarantee against the Index Provider’s or any agent’s errors. Errors in respect of the quality, accuracy and completeness of the data used to compile the Underlying Index may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, particularly where the indices are less commonly used as benchmarks by funds or managers. Such errors may negatively or positively impact the Fund and its shareholders. For example, during a period where the Underlying Index contains incorrect constituents, the Fund would have market exposure to such constituents and would be underexposed to the Underlying Index’s other constituents. Shareholders should understand that any gains from Index Provider errors will be kept by the Fund and its shareholders and any losses or costs resulting from Index Provider errors will be borne by the Fund and its shareholders.
Unusual market conditions may cause the Index Provider to postpone a scheduled rebalance to the Underlying Index, which could cause the Underlying Index to vary from its normal or expected composition. The postponement of a scheduled rebalance in a time of market volatility could mean that constituents of the Underlying Index that would otherwise be removed at rebalance due to changes in market value, issuer credit ratings, or other reasons may remain, causing the performance and constituents of the Underlying Index to vary from those expected under normal conditions. Apart from scheduled rebalances, the Index Provider or its agents may carry out additional ad hoc rebalances to the Underlying Index due to reaching certain weighting constraints, unusual market conditions or corporate events or, for example, to correct an error in the selection of index constituents. When the Underlying Index is rebalanced and the Fund in turn rebalances its portfolio to attempt to increase the correlation between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index, any transaction
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costs and market exposure arising from such portfolio rebalancing will be borne directly by the Fund and its shareholders. Therefore, errors and additional ad hoc rebalances carried out by the Index Provider or its agents to the Underlying Index may increase the costs to and the tracking error risk of the Fund.
Infectious Illness Risk. An outbreak of an infectious respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in December 2019 has spread globally. The impact of this outbreak has adversely affected the economies of many nations and the global economy, and may impact individual issuers and capital markets in ways that cannot be foreseen. The duration of the outbreak and its effects cannot be predicted with certainty. Any market or economic disruption can be expected to result in elevated tracking error and increased premiums or discounts to the Fund's NAV.
General Impact. This outbreak has resulted in travel restrictions, closed international borders, enhanced health screenings at ports of entry and elsewhere, disruption of, and delays in, healthcare service preparation and delivery, prolonged quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, temporary and permanent closures of stores, restaurants and other commercial establishments, layoffs, defaults and other significant economic impacts, as well as general concern and uncertainty.
Market Volatility. The outbreak has also resulted in extreme volatility, severe losses, and disruptions in markets which can adversely impact the Fund and its investments, including impairing hedging activity to the extent a Fund engages in such activity, as expected correlations between related markets or instruments may no longer apply. In addition, to the extent the Fund invests in short-term instruments that have negative yields, the Fund’s value may be impaired as a result. Certain issuers of equity securities have cancelled or announced the suspension of dividends. The outbreak has, and may continue to, negatively affect the credit ratings of some fixed-income securities and their issuers.
Market Closures. Certain local markets have been or may be subject to closures, and there can be no assurance that trading will continue in any local markets in which the Fund may invest, when any resumption of trading will occur or, once such markets resume trading, whether they will face further closures. Any suspension of trading in markets in which the Fund invests will have an impact on the Fund and its investments and will impact the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities in such markets.
Operational Risk. The outbreak could also impair the information technology and other operational systems upon which the Fund’s service providers, including BFA, rely, and could otherwise disrupt the ability of employees of the Fund’s service providers to perform critical tasks relating to the Fund, for example, due to the service providers’ employees performing tasks in alternate locations than under normal operating conditions or the illness of certain employees of the Fund’s service providers.
Governmental Interventions. Governmental and quasi-governmental authorities and regulators throughout the world have responded to the outbreak and the resulting economic disruptions with a variety of fiscal and monetary policy changes, including direct capital infusions into companies and other issuers, new monetary policy tools,
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  and lower interest rates. An unexpected or sudden reversal of these policies, or the ineffectiveness of such policies, is likely to increase market volatility, which could adversely affect the Fund’s investments.
Pre-Existing Conditions. Public health crises caused by the outbreak may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally, which could adversely affect the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund's NAV.
Other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future could have similar or other unforeseen effects.
Interest Rate Risk. If interest rates rise, the value of fixed-income securities or other instruments held by the Fund would likely decrease. A measure investors commonly use to determine this price sensitivity is called duration. Fixed-income securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes, usually making their prices more volatile than those of securities with shorter durations. To the extent the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in fixed-income securities with longer duration, rising interest rates may cause the value of the Fund's investments to decline significantly, which would adversely affect the value of the Fund. An increase in interest rates may lead to heightened volatility in the fixed-income markets and adversely affect certain fixed-income investments, including those held by the Fund. In addition, decreases in fixed income dealer market-making capacity may lead to lower trading volume, heightened volatility, wider bid-ask spreads and less transparent pricing in certain fixed-income markets.
The historically low interest rate environment was created in part by the world’s major central banks keeping their overnight policy interest rates at, near or below zero percent and implementing monetary policy facilities, such as asset purchase programs, to anchor longer-term interest rates below historical levels. During periods of very low or negative interest rates, the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns or pay dividends to Fund shareholders. Certain countries have recently experienced negative interest rates on certain fixed-income instruments. Very low or negative interest rates may magnify interest rate risk. Changing interest rates, including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on markets, result in heightened market volatility and detract from the Fund’s performance to the extent the Fund is exposed to such interest rates. Additionally, under certain market conditions in which interest rates are set at low levels and the market prices of portfolio securities have increased, the Fund may have a very low, or even negative yield. A low or negative yield would cause the Fund to lose money in certain conditions and over certain time periods. Central banks may increase their short-term policy rates or begin phasing out, or “tapering,” accommodative monetary policy facilities in the future. The timing, coordination, magnitude and effect of such policy changes on various markets are uncertain, and such changes in monetary policy may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments.
Issuer Risk. The performance of the Fund depends on the performance of individual securities to which the Fund has exposure. The Fund may be adversely affected if an issuer of underlying securities held by the Fund is unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due.
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Management Risk. Because BFA uses a representative sampling indexing strategy, the Fund will not fully replicate the Underlying Index and may hold securities not included in the Underlying Index. As a result, the Fund is subject to the risk that BFA’s investment strategy, the implementation of which is subject to a number of constraints, may not produce the intended results.
Market Risk. The Fund could lose money over short periods due to short-term market movements and over longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. Market risk arises mainly from uncertainty about future values of financial instruments and may be influenced by price, currency and interest rate movements. It represents the potential loss the Fund may suffer through holding financial instruments in the face of market movements or uncertainty. The value of a security or other asset may decline due to changes in general market conditions, economic trends or events that are not specifically related to the issuer of the security or other asset, or factors that affect a particular issuer or issuers, country, group of countries, region, market, industry, group of industries, sector or asset class. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Fund and its investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Fund’s NAV. During a general market downturn, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected. Fixed-income securities with short-term maturities are generally less sensitive to such changes than are fixed-income securities with longer-term maturities. Changes in market conditions and interest rates generally do not have the same impact on all types of securities and instruments.
Market Trading Risk.
Absence of Active Market. Although shares of the Fund are listed for trading on one or more stock exchanges, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained by market makers or Authorized Participants.
Risk of Secondary Listings. The Fund's shares may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the U.S. stock exchange where the Fund's primary listing is maintained, and may otherwise be made available to non-U.S. investors through funds or structured investment vehicles similar to depositary receipts. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s shares will continue to trade on any such stock exchange or in any market or that the Fund’s shares will continue to meet the requirements for listing or trading on any exchange or in any market. The Fund's shares may be less actively traded in certain markets than in others, and investors are subject to the execution and settlement risks and market standards of the market where they or their broker direct their trades for execution. Certain information available to investors who trade Fund shares on a U.S. stock exchange during regular U.S. market hours may not be available to investors who trade in other markets, which may result in secondary market prices in such markets being less efficient.
Secondary Market Trading Risk. Shares of the Fund may trade in the secondary market at times when the Fund does not accept orders to purchase or redeem shares. At such times, shares may trade in the secondary market with more significant premiums or
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discounts than might be experienced at times when the Fund accepts purchase and redemption orders.
Secondary market trading in Fund shares may be halted by a stock exchange because of market conditions or for other reasons. In addition, trading in Fund shares on a stock exchange or in any market may be subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to “circuit breaker” rules on the stock exchange or market.
Shares of the Fund, similar to shares of other issuers listed on a stock exchange, may be sold short and are therefore subject to the risk of increased volatility and price decreases associated with being sold short. In addition, trading activity in derivative products based on the Fund may lead to increased trading volume and volatility in the secondary market for the shares of the Fund.
Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. Shares of the Fund trade on stock exchanges at prices at, above or below the Fund’s most recent NAV. The NAV of the Fund is calculated at the end of each business day and fluctuates with changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings. The trading price of the Fund's shares fluctuates continuously throughout trading hours based on both market supply of and demand for Fund shares and the underlying value of the Fund's portfolio holdings or NAV. As a result, the trading prices of the Fund’s shares may deviate significantly from NAV during periods of market volatility, including during periods of significant redemption requests or other unusual market conditions. ANY OF THESE FACTORS, AMONG OTHERS, MAY LEAD TO THE FUND'S SHARES TRADING AT A PREMIUM OR DISCOUNT TO NAV. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at NAV, BFA believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of the Fund are not likely to be sustained over the long term (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their NAVs). While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it more likely that the Fund’s shares normally will trade on stock exchanges at prices close to the Fund’s next calculated NAV, exchange prices are not expected to correlate exactly with the Fund's NAV due to timing reasons, supply and demand imbalances and other factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions, including disruptions at market makers, Authorized Participants, or other market participants, and during periods of significant market volatility, may result in trading prices for shares of the Fund that differ significantly from its NAV. Authorized Participants may be less willing to create or redeem Fund shares if there is a lack of an active market for such shares or its underlying investments, which may contribute to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to NAV.
Costs of Buying or Selling Fund Shares. Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange involves two types of costs that apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you will likely incur a brokerage commission and other charges. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread”; that is, the difference between what investors are willing to pay for Fund shares (the “bid” price) and the price at which they are willing to sell Fund shares (the “ask” price). The spread, which varies over time for shares of the Fund based on trading volume and market liquidity, is generally narrower if the Fund has more trading volume
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and market liquidity and wider if the Fund has less trading volume and market liquidity. In addition, increased market volatility may cause wider spreads. There may also be regulatory and other charges that are incurred as a result of trading activity. Because of the costs inherent in buying or selling Fund shares, frequent trading may detract significantly from investment results and an investment in Fund shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments through a brokerage account.
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risks arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund's service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. The Fund and BFA seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures. However, these measures do not address every possible risk and may be inadequate to address significant operational risks.
Passive Investment Risk. The Fund is not actively managed and may be affected by a general decline in market segments related to the Underlying Index. The Fund invests in securities included in, or representative of, the Underlying Index, regardless of their investment merits. BFA generally does not attempt to invest the Fund's assets in defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets.
Risk of Investing in the U.S. A decrease in imports or exports, changes in trade regulations and/or an economic recession in the U.S. may have a material adverse effect on the U.S. economy and the securities listed on U.S. exchanges. Proposed and adopted policy and legislative changes in the U.S. are changing many aspects of financial, commercial, public health, environmental, and other regulation and may have a significant effect on U.S. markets generally, as well as on the value of certain securities. Governmental agencies project that the U.S. will continue to maintain elevated public debt levels for the foreseeable future. Although elevated debt levels do not necessarily indicate or cause economic problems, elevated public debt service costs may constrain future economic growth.
The U.S. has developed increasingly strained relations with a number of foreign countries. If relations with certain countries deteriorate, it could adversely affect U.S. issuers as well as non-U.S. issuers that rely on the U.S. for trade. The U.S. has also experienced increased internal unrest and discord, as well as significant challenges in managing and containing the outbreak of COVID-19. If these trends were to continue, it may have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy and the issuers in which the Fund invests.
Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the risk that the Fund may lose money because the borrower of the loaned securities fails to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. The Fund could also lose money in the event of a decline in the value of collateral provided for loaned securities or a decline in the value of any investments made with cash collateral. These events could also trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. (“BTC”), the Fund's securities lending agent, will take into account the tax impact to shareholders of substitute payments for dividends when managing the Fund's securities lending program.
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Tracking Error Risk. The Fund may be subject to tracking error, which is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Underlying Index. Tracking error may occur because of differences between the securities held in the Fund’s portfolio and those included in the Underlying Index, pricing differences, transaction costs incurred by the Fund, the Fund’s holding of uninvested cash, differences in timing of the accrual of or the valuation of distributions, 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 Underlying Index or the costs to the Fund of complying with various new or existing regulatory requirements. This risk may be heightened during times of increased market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Tracking error also may result because the Fund incurs fees and expenses, while the Underlying Index does not.
U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk. U.S. Treasury obligations may differ from other securities in their interest rates, maturities, times of issuance and other characteristics. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit rating of the U.S. government may cause the value of the Fund's U.S. Treasury obligations to decline. On August 5, 2011, S&P Global Ratings downgraded U.S. Treasury securities from AAA rating to AA+ rating. A further downgrade of the ratings of U.S. government debt obligations, which are often used as a benchmark for other borrowing arrangements, could result in higher interest rates for individual and corporate borrowers, cause disruptions in the international bond markets and have a substantial negative effect on the U.S. economy. A downgrade of U.S. Treasury securities from another ratings agency or a further downgrade below AA+ rating by S&P Global Ratings may cause the value of the Fund’s U.S. Treasury obligations to decline.
A Further Discussion of Other Risks
The Fund may also be subject to certain other risks associated with its investments and investment strategies. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Borrowing Risk. Borrowing may exaggerate changes in the NAV of Fund shares and in the return on the Fund’s portfolio. Borrowing will cost the Fund interest expense and other fees. The costs of borrowing may reduce the Fund’s return. Borrowing may also cause the Fund to liquidate positions when it may not be advantageous to do so to satisfy its obligations.
Cash Management Risk. To the extent the Fund holds cash, the Fund will earn reduced income (if any) on the cash and will be subject to the credit risk of the depository institution holding the cash and any fees imposed on large cash balances. If a significant amount of the Fund’s assets are invested in cash and cash equivalents, the Fund may underperform other funds that do not similarly invest in cash and cash equivalents for investment purposes and/or to collateralize derivative instruments.
Close-Out Risk for Qualified Financial Contracts. Regulations adopted by global prudential regulators require counterparties that are part of U.S. or foreign global systemically important banking organizations to include contractual restrictions on close-out and cross-default in agreements relating to qualified financial contracts.
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Qualified financial contracts include agreements relating to swaps, currency forwards and other derivatives as well as repurchase agreements and securities lending agreements. The restrictions prevent the Fund from closing out a qualified financial contract during a specified time period if the counterparty is subject to resolution proceedings and also prohibit the Fund from exercising default rights due to a receivership or similar proceeding of an affiliate of the counterparty. These requirements may increase credit risk and other risks to the Fund.
Illiquid Investments Risk. The Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. To the extent the Fund holds illiquid investments, the illiquid investments may reduce the returns of the Fund because the Fund may be unable to transact at advantageous times or prices. An investment may be illiquid due to, among other things, the reduced number and capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in securities or instruments or the lack of an active market for such securities or instruments. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities or instruments with substantial market and/or credit risk, the Fund will tend to have increased exposure to the risks associated with illiquid investments. Liquid investments may become illiquid after purchase by the Fund, particularly during periods of market turmoil. There can be no assurance that a security or instrument that is deemed to be liquid when purchased will continue to be liquid for as long as it is held by the Fund, and any security or instrument held by the Fund may be deemed an illiquid investment pursuant to the Fund’s liquidity risk management program. Illiquid investments may be harder to value, especially in changing markets. Although the Fund primarily seeks to redeem shares of the Fund on an in-kind basis, if the Fund is forced to sell underlying investments at reduced prices or under unfavorable conditions to meet redemption requests or for other cash needs, the Fund may suffer a loss. This may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment or other circumstances where redemptions from the Fund may be greater than normal. Other market participants may be attempting to liquidate holdings at the same time as the Fund, causing increased supply of the Fund’s underlying investments in the market and contributing to illiquid investments risk and downward pricing pressure. During periods of market volatility, liquidity in the market for the Fund’s shares may be impacted by the liquidity in the market for the underlying securities or instruments held by the Fund, which could lead to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to the Fund’s NAV.
Money Market Instruments Risk. The value of money market instruments may be affected by changing interest rates and by changes in the credit ratings of the investments. If a significant amount of the Fund's assets are invested in money market instruments, it will be more difficult for the Fund to achieve its investment objective. An investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. It is possible to lose money by investing in a money market fund. Money market funds other than government money market funds or retail money market funds “float” their NAV instead of using a stable $1.00 per share price.
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Threshold/Underinvestment Risk. If certain aggregate and/or fund-level ownership thresholds are reached through transactions undertaken by BFA, its affiliates or the Fund, or as a result of third-party transactions or actions by an issuer or regulator, the ability of BFA and its affiliates on behalf of clients (including the Fund) to purchase or dispose of investments, or exercise rights or undertake business transactions, may be restricted by regulation or otherwise impaired. The capacity of the Fund to make investments in certain securities may be affected by the relevant threshold limits, and such limitations may have adverse effects on the liquidity and performance of the Fund’s portfolio holdings compared to the performance of the Underlying Index. This may increase the risk of the Fund being underinvested to the Underlying Index and increase the risk of tracking error.
For example, in certain circumstances where the Fund invests in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries or in certain emerging or international markets, is subject to corporate or regulatory ownership restrictions, or invests in certain futures or other derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate and/or fund-level amount invested or voted by BFA and its affiliates for their proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including the Fund) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent or, if exceeded, may cause BFA and its affiliates, the Fund or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions.
Portfolio Holdings Information
A description of the Trust's policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is available in the Fund's Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”). The Fund discloses its portfolio holdings daily at www.iShares.com. Fund fact sheets provide information regarding the Fund's top holdings and may be requested by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737).
Management
Investment Adviser. As investment adviser, BFA has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Fund. BFA provides an investment program for the Fund and manages the investment of the Fund’s assets. In managing the Fund, BFA may draw upon the research and expertise of its asset management affiliates with respect to certain portfolio securities. In seeking to achieve the Fund's investment objective, BFA uses teams of portfolio managers, investment strategists and other investment specialists. This team approach brings together many disciplines and leverages BFA’s extensive resources.
Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement between BFA and the Trust (entered into on behalf of the Fund), BFA is responsible for substantially all expenses of the Fund, except the management fees, interest expenses, taxes, expenses incurred with respect to the acquisition and disposition of portfolio securities and the execution of portfolio transactions, including brokerage commissions, distribution fees or expenses, litigation expenses and any extraordinary expenses (as determined by a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust).
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For its investment advisory services to the Fund, BFA is paid a management fee from the Fund based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, at the annual rate of 0.15%. Effective October 20, 2021, BFA has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fees in an amount equal to the Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, if any, attributable to investments by the Fund in other funds advised by BFA, or its affiliates, through June 30, 2026. The contractual waiver may be terminated prior to June 30, 2026 only upon written agreement of the Trust and BFA. In addition, BFA may from time to time voluntarily waive and/or reimburse fees or expenses in order to limit total annual fund operating expenses (excluding Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, if any). Any such voluntary waiver or reimbursement may be eliminated by BFA at any time.
BFA is located at 400 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. It is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”). As of March 31, 2021, BFA and its affiliates provided investment advisory services for assets in excess of $9.01 trillion. BFA and its affiliates trade and invest for their own accounts in the actual securities and types of securities in which the Fund may also invest, which may affect the price of such securities.
A discussion regarding the basis for the approval by the Trust's Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of the Investment Advisory Agreement with BFA is available in the Fund's Semi-Annual Report for the period ended August 31.
Portfolio Managers. James Mauro and Karen Uyehara are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each Portfolio Manager is responsible for various functions related to portfolio management, including, but not limited to, investing cash inflows, coordinating with members of his portfolio management team to focus on certain asset classes, implementing investment strategy, researching and reviewing investment strategy and overseeing members of his portfolio management team that have more limited responsibilities.
James Mauro has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a portfolio manager since 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Mauro was a Vice President at State Street Global Advisors. Mr. Mauro has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2011.
Karen Uyehara has been employed by BFA or its affiliates as a senior portfolio manager since 2010. Prior to that, Ms. Uyehara was a portfolio manager at Western Asset Management Company (WAMCO). Ms. Uyehara has been a Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2021.
The Fund's SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Managers' compensation, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Managers' ownership (if any) of shares in the Fund.
Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent. State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) is the administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund.
Conflicts of Interest. The investment activities of BFA and its affiliates (including BlackRock and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Affiliates”)), and their respective directors, officers or employees, in the management of, or their interest in, their own accounts and other accounts they manage, may present conflicts of interest that could
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disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA and its Affiliates provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow investment programs similar to that of the Fund. BFA and its Affiliates are involved worldwide with a broad spectrum of financial services and asset management activities and may engage in the ordinary course of business in activities in which their interests or the interests of their clients may conflict with those of the Fund. BFA or one or more Affiliates act, or may act, as an investor, research provider, investment manager, commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, financier, underwriter, adviser, trader, lender, index provider, agent and/or principal, and have other direct and indirect interests in securities, currencies, commodities, derivatives and other instruments in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. The Fund may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies with which an Affiliate has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Fund may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which an Affiliate provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. The Fund also may invest in securities of, or engage in other transactions with, companies for which an Affiliate provides or may in the future provide research coverage. An Affiliate may have business relationships with, and purchase or distribute or sell services or products from or to, distributors, consultants or others who recommend the Fund or who engage in transactions with or for the Fund, and may receive compensation for such services. BFA or one or more Affiliates may engage in proprietary trading and advise accounts and funds that have investment objectives similar to those of the Fund and/or that engage in and compete for transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and other instruments as the Fund. This may include transactions in securities issued by other open-end and closed-end investment companies (which may include investment companies that are affiliated with the Fund and BFA, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”)). The trading activities of BFA and these Affiliates are carried out without reference to positions held directly or indirectly by the Fund and may result in BFA or an Affiliate having positions in certain securities that are senior or junior to, or have interests different from or adverse to, the securities that are owned by the Fund.
Neither BlackRock nor any Affiliate is under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Fund. As a result, an Affiliate may compete with the Fund for appropriate investment opportunities. The results of the Fund's investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of an Affiliate and of other accounts managed by BlackRock or an Affiliate, and it is possible that the Fund could sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. The opposite result is also possible.
In addition, the Fund may, from time to time, enter into transactions in which BFA or an Affiliate or its or their directors, officers, employees or clients have an adverse interest. Furthermore, transactions undertaken by clients advised or managed by BFA or its Affiliates may adversely impact the Fund. Transactions by one or more clients or by
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BFA or its Affiliates or their directors, officers or employees may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Fund.
The Fund's activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to BFA or one or more Affiliates and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions.
Under a securities lending program approved by the Board, the Fund has retained BTC, an Affiliate of BFA, to serve as the securities lending agent for the Fund to the extent that the Fund participates in the securities lending program. For these services, the securities lending agent will receive a fee from the Fund, including a fee based on the returns earned on the Fund’s investment of the cash received as collateral for the loaned securities. In addition, one or more Affiliates may be among the entities to which the Fund may lend its portfolio securities under the securities lending program.
It is also possible that, from time to time, BlackRock and/or its advisory clients (including other funds and separately managed accounts) may, subject to compliance with applicable law, purchase and hold shares of the Fund. The price, availability, liquidity, and (in some cases) expense ratio of the Fund may be impacted by purchases and sales of the Fund by BlackRock and/or its advisory clients.
The activities of BFA and its Affiliates and their respective directors, officers or employees may give rise to other conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Fund and its shareholders. BFA has adopted policies and procedures designed to address these potential conflicts of interest. See the SAI for further information.
Shareholder Information
Additional shareholder information, including how to buy and sell shares of the Fund, is available free of charge by calling toll-free: 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or visiting our website at www.iShares.com.
Buying and Selling Shares. Shares of the Fund may be acquired or redeemed directly from the Fund only in Creation Units or multiples thereof, as discussed in the Creations and Redemptions section of this Prospectus. Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. Once created, shares of the Fund generally trade in the secondary market in amounts less than a Creation Unit.
Shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange for trading during the trading day. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like shares of other publicly-traded companies. The Trust does not impose any minimum investment for shares of the Fund purchased on an exchange or otherwise in the secondary market. The Fund's shares trade under the ticker symbol “SHV.”
Buying or selling Fund shares on an exchange or other secondary market involves two types of costs that may apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the Fund through a broker, you may incur a brokerage commission and other charges. The commission is frequently a fixed amount and may be a significant proportional cost for investors seeking to buy or sell small amounts of shares. In addition, you may incur the cost of the “spread,” that is, any difference between the
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bid price and the ask price. The spread varies over time for shares of the Fund based on the Fund’s trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund has high trading volume and market liquidity, and higher if the Fund has little trading volume and market liquidity (which is often the case for funds that are newly launched or small in size). The Fund's spread may also be impacted by the liquidity or illiquidity of the underlying securities held by the Fund, particularly for newly launched or smaller funds or in instances of significant volatility of the underlying securities.
The Board has adopted a policy of not monitoring for frequent purchases and redemptions of Fund shares (“frequent trading”) that appear to attempt to take advantage of a potential arbitrage opportunity presented by a lag between a change in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities after the close of the primary markets for the Fund’s portfolio securities and the reflection of that change in the Fund’s NAV (“market timing”), because the Fund sells and redeems its shares directly through transactions that are in-kind and/or for cash, subject to the conditions described below under Creations and Redemptions. The Board has not adopted a policy of monitoring for other frequent trading activity because shares of the Fund are listed for trading on a national securities exchange.
The national securities exchange on which the Fund's shares are listed is open for trading Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and the following holidays (or the days on which they are observed): New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The Fund’s primary listing exchange is NASDAQ.
Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act generally restricts investments by investment companies, including foreign and unregistered investment companies, in the securities of other investment companies. For example, a registered investment company (the “Acquired Fund”), such as the Fund, may not knowingly sell or otherwise dispose of any security issued by the Acquired Fund to any investment company (the “Acquiring Fund”) or any company or companies controlled by the Acquiring Fund if, immediately after such sale or disposition: (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the Acquired Fund is owned by the Acquiring Fund and any company or companies controlled by the Acquiring Fund, or (ii) more than 10% of the total outstanding voting stock of the Acquired Fund is owned by the Acquiring Fund and other investment companies and companies controlled by them. However, registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in SEC rules or in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust (when available). In order for a registered investment company to invest in shares of the Fund beyond the limitations of Section 12(d)(1) pursuant to the exemptive relief obtained by the Trust (when available), the registered investment company must enter into an agreement with the Trust. Foreign investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund only up to the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to any applicable SEC no-action relief.
Book Entry. Shares of the Fund are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of, and holds legal title to, all outstanding shares of the Fund.
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Investors owning shares of the Fund are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for shares of the Fund. DTC participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of stock certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other securities that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Prices. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares in the secondary market generally differ from the Fund’s daily NAV and are affected by market forces such as the supply of and demand for ETF shares and underlying securities held by the Fund, economic conditions and other factors.
Determination of Net Asset Value. The NAV of the Fund normally is determined twice daily Monday through Friday, generally as of 12:00 p.m., Eastern time and as of the close of regular trading hours of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day that the NYSE is open for trading, based on prices at the time of closing, provided that any Fund assets or liabilities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar are translated into U.S. dollars at the prevailing market rates on the date of valuation as quoted by one or more data service providers. The NAV of the Fund is calculated by dividing the value of the net assets of the Fund (i.e., the value of its total assets less total liabilities) by the total number of outstanding shares of the Fund, generally rounded to the nearest cent.
The value of the securities and other assets and liabilities held by the Fund are determined pursuant to valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board.
The Fund values fixed-income portfolio securities using last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by the Fund's approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with valuation policies and procedures approved by the Board. Pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but the Fund may hold or transact in such securities in smaller odd lot sizes. Odd lots often trade at lower prices than institutional round lots. An amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless BlackRock determines in good faith that such method does not represent fair value.
Generally, trading in non-U.S. securities and money market instruments is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the close of business on the NYSE. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of the Fund are determined as of such times.
When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BlackRock to be unreliable, the Fund’s investments are valued at fair value. Fair value determinations
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are made by BlackRock in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Board. BlackRock may conclude that a market quotation is not readily available or is unreliable if a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source due to its lack of trading or other reasons, if a market quotation differs significantly from recent price quotations or otherwise no longer appears to reflect fair value, where the security or other asset or liability is thinly traded, when there is a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation, or if the trading market on which a security is listed is suspended or closed and no appropriate alternative trading market is available. A “significant event” is deemed to occur if BlackRock determines, in its reasonable business judgment prior to or at the time of pricing the Fund’s assets or liabilities, that the event is likely to cause a material change to the closing market price of one or more assets held by, or liabilities of, the Fund.
Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of an asset or liability held by the Fund is the amount the Fund might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or the cost to extinguish that liability in an arm’s-length transaction. Valuing the Fund’s investments using fair value pricing will result in prices that may differ from current market valuations and that may not be the prices at which those investments could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used. Use of fair value prices and certain current market valuations could result in a difference between the prices used to calculate the Fund’s NAV and the prices used by the Underlying Index, which, in turn, could result in a difference between the Fund’s performance and the performance of the Underlying Index.
Dividends and Distributions
General Policies. Dividends from net investment income, if any, generally are declared and paid at least once a year by the Fund. Distributions of net realized securities gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but the Trust may make distributions on a more frequent basis for the Fund. The Trust reserves the right to declare special distributions if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve its status as a regulated investment company or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income or realized gains.
Dividends and other distributions on shares of the Fund are distributed on a pro rata basis to beneficial owners of such shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC participants and indirect participants to beneficial owners then of record with proceeds received from the Fund.
Dividend Reinvestment Service. No dividend reinvestment service is provided by the Trust. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by beneficial owners of the Fund for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Beneficial owners should contact their broker to determine the availability and costs of the service and the details of participation therein. Brokers may require beneficial owners to adhere to specific procedures and timetables. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole shares of the Fund purchased in the secondary market.
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Taxes. As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in shares of the Fund will be taxed. The tax information in this Prospectus is provided as general information, based on current law. There is no guarantee that shares of the Fund will receive certain regulatory or accounting treatment. You should consult your own tax professional about the tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund.
Unless your investment in Fund shares is made through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement account, such as an IRA, in which case your distributions generally will be taxable when withdrawn, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions or you sell Fund shares.
Taxes on Distributions. Distributions from the Fund’s net investment income, including distributions of income from securities lending and distributions out of the Fund's net short-term capital gains, if any, are taxable to you as ordinary income. The Fund's distributions of net long-term capital gains, if any, in excess of net short-term capital losses are taxable as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you have held the shares. Long-term capital gains are eligible for taxation at a maximum rate of 15% or 20% for non-corporate shareholders, depending on whether their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. Distributions from the Fund are subject to a 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax on “net investment income,” for individuals with incomes exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly) and of estates and trusts. In general, your distributions are subject to U.S. federal income tax for the year when they are paid. Certain distributions paid in January, however, may be treated as paid on December 31 of the prior year. Certain states and localities may exempt from tax distributions attributable to interest from U.S. federal government obligations. Consult your personal tax advisor.
If the Fund's distributions exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, all or a portion of the distributions made in the taxable year may be recharacterized as a return of capital to shareholders. Distributions in excess of the Fund’s minimum distribution requirements, but not in excess of the Fund’s earnings and profits, will be taxable to shareholders and will not constitute nontaxable returns of capital. A return of capital distribution generally will not be taxable but will reduce the shareholder's cost basis and will result in a higher capital gain or lower capital loss when those shares on which the distribution was received are sold. Once a shareholder's cost basis is reduced to zero, further distributions will be treated as capital gain, if the shareholder holds shares of the Fund as capital assets.
If you are neither a resident nor a citizen of the U.S. or if you are a non-U.S. entity (other than a pass-through entity to the extent owned by U.S. persons), the Fund’s ordinary income dividends (which include distributions of net short-term capital gains) will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. federal withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies provided that withholding tax will generally not apply to any gain or income realized by a non-U.S. shareholder in respect of any distributions of long-term capital gains or upon the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund.
Separately, a 30% withholding tax is currently imposed on U.S.-source dividends, interest and other income items paid to (i) foreign financial institutions, including non-U.S. investment funds, unless they agree to collect and disclose to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. account
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holders and (ii) certain other foreign entities, unless they certify certain information regarding their direct and indirect U.S. owners. To avoid withholding, foreign financial institutions will need to (i) enter into agreements with the IRS that state that they will provide the IRS information, including the names, addresses and taxpayer identification numbers of direct and indirect U.S. account holders; comply with due diligence procedures with respect to the identification of U.S. accounts; report to the IRS certain information with respect to U.S. accounts maintained, agree to withhold tax on certain payments made to non-compliant foreign financial institutions or to account holders who fail to provide the required information; and determine certain other information concerning their account holders, or (ii) in the event that an applicable intergovernmental agreement and implementing legislation are adopted, provide local revenue authorities with similar account holder information. Other foreign entities may need to report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner or provide certifications of no substantial U.S. ownership, unless certain exceptions apply.
If you are a resident or a citizen of the U.S., by law, backup withholding at a 24% rate will apply to your distributions and proceeds if you have not provided a taxpayer identification number or social security number and made other required certifications.
Taxes When Shares are Sold. Currently, any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares is generally treated as a long-term gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than one year. Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares held for one year or less is generally treated as short-term gain or loss, except that any capital loss on the sale of shares held for six months or less is treated as long-term capital loss to the extent that capital gain dividends were paid with respect to such shares. Any such capital gains, including from sales of Fund shares or from capital gain dividends, are included in “net investment income” for purposes of the 3.8% U.S. federal Medicare contribution tax mentioned above.
The foregoing discussion summarizes some of the consequences under current U.S. federal tax law of an investment in the Fund. It is not a substitute for personal tax advice. You may also be subject to state and local taxation on Fund distributions and sales of shares. Certain states and localities may exempt from tax distributions attributable to interest from U.S. federal government obligations. Consult your personal tax advisor about the potential tax consequences of an investment in shares of the Fund under all applicable tax laws.
Creations and Redemptions. Prior to trading in the secondary market, shares of the Fund are “created” at NAV by market makers, large investors and institutions only in block-size Creation Units or multiples thereof. Each “creator” or authorized participant (an “Authorized Participant”) has entered into an agreement with the Fund's distributor, BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of BFA. An Authorized Participant is a member or participant of a clearing agency registered with the SEC, which has a written agreement with the Fund or one of its service providers that allows such member or participant to place orders for the purchase and redemption of Creation Units.
A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the Distributor and the Fund, generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits into the Fund a
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designated portfolio of securities, assets or other positions (a “creation basket”), and an amount of cash (including any cash representing the value of substituted securities, assets or other positions), if any, which together approximate the holdings of the Fund in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units. Similarly, shares can be redeemed only in Creation Units, generally for a designated portfolio of securities, assets or other positions (a “redemption basket”) held by the Fund and an amount of cash (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted). The Fund may, in certain circumstances, offer Creation Units partially or solely for cash. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares are not redeemable by the Fund. Creation and redemption baskets may differ and the Fund will accept “custom baskets.” More information regarding custom baskets is contained in the Fund's SAI.
The prices at which creations and redemptions occur are based on the next calculation of NAV after a creation or redemption order is received in an acceptable form under the authorized participant agreement.
Only an Authorized Participant may create or redeem Creation Units with the Fund. Authorized Participants may create or redeem Creation Units for their own accounts or for customers, including, without limitation, affiliates of the Fund.
In the event of a system failure or other interruption, including disruptions at market makers or Authorized Participants, orders to purchase or redeem Creation Units either may not be executed according to the Fund's instructions or may not be executed at all, or the Fund may not be able to place or change orders.
To the extent the Fund engages in in-kind transactions, the Fund intends to comply with the U.S. federal securities laws in accepting securities for deposit and satisfying redemptions with redemption securities by, among other means, assuring that any securities accepted for deposit and any securities used to satisfy redemption requests will be sold in transactions that would be exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined in Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, will not be able to receive restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A.
Creations and redemptions must be made through a firm that is either a member of the Continuous Net Settlement System of the National Securities Clearing Corporation or a DTC participant that has executed an agreement with the Distributor with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Unit aggregations. Information about the procedures regarding creation and redemption of Creation Units (including the cut-off times for receipt of creation and redemption orders) is included in the Fund's SAI.
Because new shares may be created and issued on an ongoing basis, at any point during the life of the Fund a “distribution,” as such term is used in the 1933 Act, may be occurring. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner that could render them statutory underwriters subject to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. Any determination of whether one is an underwriter must take into account all the relevant facts and circumstances of each particular case.
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Broker-dealers should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to ordinary secondary transactions), and thus dealing with shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the 1933 Act. For delivery of prospectuses to exchange members, the prospectus delivery mechanism of Rule 153 under the 1933 Act is available only with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange.
Householding. Householding is an option available to certain Fund investors. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Please contact your broker-dealer if you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, or if you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status.
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Distribution
The Distributor or its agent distributes Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in shares of the Fund. The Distributor has no role in determining the policies of the Fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by the Fund. The Distributor’s principal address is 1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540.
BFA or its affiliates make payments to broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks or other intermediaries (together, “intermediaries”) related to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, data provision services, or their making shares of the Fund and certain other iShares funds available to their customers generally and in certain investment programs. Such payments, which may be significant to the intermediary, are not made by the Fund. Rather, such payments are made by BFA or its affiliates from their own resources, which come directly or indirectly in part from fees paid by the iShares funds complex. Payments of this type are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments. A financial intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it recommends or makes available, or the level of services provided, to its customers based on the payments or other financial incentives it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments or other financial incentives offered or made to an intermediary create conflicts of interest between the intermediary and its customers and may cause the intermediary to recommend the Fund or other iShares funds over another investment. More information regarding these payments is contained in the Fund's SAI. Please contact your salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any such payments his or her firm may receive from BFA or its affiliates.
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Financial Highlights
The financial highlights table is intended to help investors understand the Fund’s financial performance for the past five years. Certain information reflects financial results for a single share of the Fund. The total returns in the table represent the rate that an investor would have earned (or lost) on an investment in the Fund, assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions. This information has been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, whose report is included, along with the Fund's financial statements, in the Fund's Annual Report (available upon request).
Financial Highlights
(For a share outstanding throughout each period)
  iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF
  Year Ended
02/28/21
  Year Ended
02/29/20
  Year Ended
02/28/19
  Year Ended
02/28/18
  Year Ended
02/28/17
Net asset value, beginning of year $110.68   $110.52   $110.29   $110.36   $110.29
Net investment income(a) 0.40   2.28   2.16   1.01   0.42
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)(b) 0.10   0.25   0.01   (0.22)   0.05
Net increase from investment operations 0.50   2.53   2.17   0.79   0.47
Distributions(c)                  
From net investment income (0.50)   (2.37)   (1.94)   (0.86)   (0.40)
From net realized gain (0.16)        
Total distributions (0.66)   (2.37)   (1.94)   (0.86)   (0.40)
Net asset value, end of year $110.52   $110.68   $110.52   $110.29   $110.36
Total Return                  
Based on net asset value 0.45%   2.31%   1.98%   0.71%   0.44%
Ratios to Average Net Assets                  
Total expenses 0.15%   0.15%   0.15%   0.15%   0.15%
Net investment income 0.36%   2.06%   1.95%   0.91%   0.38%
Supplemental Data                  
Net assets, end of year (000) $16,193,171   $20,276,511   $19,131,299   $9,506,603   $4,447,672
Portfolio turnover rate(d) 115%   42%   73%   47%   78%

(a) Based on average shares outstanding.
(b) The amounts reported for a share outstanding may not accord with the change in aggregate gains and losses in securities for the fiscal period due to the timing of capital share transactions in relation to the fluctuating market values of the Fund’s underlying securities.
(c) Distributions for annual periods determined in accordance with U.S. federal income tax regulations.
(d) Portfolio turnover rate excludes in-kind transactions.
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Index Provider
The Underlying Index is owned, maintained and administered by IDI. IDI is not affiliated with the Trust, BFA, State Street, the Distributor or any of their respective affiliates.
BFA or its affiliates have entered into a license agreement with the Index Provider to use the Underlying Index. BFA, or its affiliates, sublicenses rights in the Underlying Index to the Trust at no charge.
Disclaimers
IDI is used with permission. ICE® is a trademark of IDI or its affiliates and has been licensed, along with the Underlying Index for use by BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates (“BlackRock”) in connection with the Fund. Neither BlackRock, Inc., the Trust nor the Fund, as applicable, is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by IDI, its affiliates or its third party suppliers (“IDI and its Suppliers”). IDI and its Suppliers make no representations or warranties regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally, in the Fund particularly, the Trust or the ability of the Underlying Index to track general stock market performance. IDI’s only relationship to BlackRock is the licensing of certain trademarks and trade names and the Underlying Index or components thereof. The Underlying Index is determined, composed and calculated by IDI without regard to BlackRock or the Fund or its holders. IDI has no obligation to take the needs of BlackRock or the holders of the Fund into consideration in determining, composing or calculating the Underlying Index. IDI is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of the Fund to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Fund is to be priced, sold, purchased, or redeemed. Except for certain custom index calculation services, all information provided by IDI is general in nature and not tailored to the needs of BlackRock or any other person, entity or group of persons. IDI has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing, or trading of the Fund. IDI is not an investment adviser. Inclusion of a security within an index is not a recommendation by IDI to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.
IDI AND ITS SUPPLIERS DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES AND REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS AND/OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE, INCLUDING THE UNDERLYING INDEX, INDEX DATA AND ANY INFORMATION INCLUDED IN, RELATED TO, OR DERIVED THEREFROM (“INDEX DATA”). IDI AND ITS SUPPLIERS SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY DAMAGES OR LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO THE ADEQUACY, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS OR COMPLETENESS OF THE UNDERLYING INDEX AND THE INDEX DATA, WHICH ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” BASIS AND YOUR USE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Shares of the Fund are not sponsored, endorsed or promoted by NASDAQ. NASDAQ makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the
25

 

owners of shares of the Fund or any member of the public regarding the ability of the Fund to track the total return performance of the Underlying Index or the ability of the Underlying Index to track stock market performance. NASDAQ is not responsible for, nor has it participated in, the determination of the compilation or the calculation of the Underlying Index, nor in the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of shares of the Fund to be issued, nor in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the shares are redeemable. NASDAQ has no obligation or liability to owners of shares of the Fund in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the shares of the Fund.
NASDAQ does not guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. NASDAQ makes no warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by the Trust on behalf of the Fund as licensee, licensee’s customers and counterparties, owners of shares of the Fund, or any other person or entity from the use of the Underlying Index or any data included therein in connection with the rights licensed as described herein or for any other use.
NASDAQ makes no express or implied warranties and hereby expressly disclaims all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to the Underlying Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall NASDAQ have any liability for any direct, indirect, special, punitive, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits) even if notified of the possibility of such damages.
The past performance of the Underlying Index is not a guide to future performance. BFA and its affiliates do not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of the Underlying Index or any data included therein and BFA and its affiliates shall have no liability for any errors, omissions or interruptions therein. BFA and its affiliates make no warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of the Fund or to any other person or entity, as to results to be obtained by the Fund from the use of the Underlying Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall BFA or its affiliates have any liability for any special, punitive, direct, indirect, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits), even if notified of the possibility of such damages.
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Want to know more?
iShares.com     |    1-800-474-2737
Information on the Fund’s net asset value, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads can be found at www.iShares.com. Copies of the Prospectus, SAI and recent shareholder reports can be found on our website at www.iShares.com. For more information about the Fund, you may request a copy of the SAI. The SAI provides detailed information about the Fund and is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. This means that the SAI, for legal purposes, is a part of this Prospectus.
Additional information about the Fund's investments is available in the Fund's Annual and Semi-Annual Reports to shareholders. In the Fund's Annual Report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund's performance during the last fiscal year.
If you have any questions about the Trust or shares of the Fund or you wish to obtain the SAI, Semi-Annual or Annual Report free of charge, please:
Call: 1-800-iShares or 1-800-474-2737 (toll free)
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Eastern time)
Email: [email protected]
Write: c/o BlackRock Investments, LLC
1 University Square Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540
Reports and other information about the Fund are available on the EDGAR database on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov, and copies of this information may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: [email protected]
No person is authorized to give any information or to make any representations about the Fund and its shares not contained in this Prospectus and you should not rely on any other information. Read and keep this Prospectus for future reference.
©2021 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved. iSHARES® and BLACKROCK® are registered trademarks of BFA and its affiliates. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
Investment Company Act File No.: 811-09729
IS-P-SHV-1121


iShares® Trust
Statement of Additional Information
Dated June 29, 2021
(as revised November 10, 2021)
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 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF   SGOV   NYSE Arca
iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF   SHY   Nasdaq
iShares 1-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF   IGSB   Nasdaq
iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF   IEI   Nasdaq
iShares 5-10 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF   IGIB   Nasdaq
iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF   IEF   Nasdaq
iShares 10+ Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF   IGLB   NYSE Arca
iShares 10-20 Year Treasury Bond ETF   TLH   NYSE Arca
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF   TLT   Nasdaq
iShares 25+ Year Treasury STRIPS Bond ETF   GOVZ   Cboe BZX
iShares Agency Bond ETF   AGZ   NYSE Arca
iShares Broad USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF   USIG   Nasdaq
iShares California Muni Bond ETF   CMF   NYSE Arca
iShares Core 5-10 Year USD Bond ETF   IMTB   NYSE Arca
iShares Core 10+ Year USD Bond ETF   ILTB   NYSE Arca
iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF   AGG   NYSE Arca
iShares ESG Advanced Total USD Bond Market ETF   EUSB   NYSE Arca
iShares ESG Aware 1-5 Year USD Corporate Bond ETF   SUSB   Nasdaq
iShares ESG Aware U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF   EAGG   NYSE Arca
iShares ESG Aware USD Corporate Bond ETF   SUSC   Nasdaq
iShares Government/Credit Bond ETF   GBF   NYSE Arca
iShares High Yield Bond Factor ETF   HYDB   Cboe BZX
iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   HYG   NYSE Arca
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF   LQD   NYSE Arca
iShares Intermediate Government/Credit Bond ETF   GVI   Cboe BZX
iShares Investment Grade Bond Factor ETF   IGEB   Cboe BZX
iShares MBS ETF   MBB   Nasdaq
iShares National Muni Bond ETF   MUB   NYSE Arca
iShares New York Muni Bond ETF   NYF   NYSE Arca
iShares Short-Term National Muni Bond ETF   SUB   NYSE Arca
iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF   SHV   Nasdaq
The Prospectuses for the above-listed funds (each, a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”) are dated June 29, 2021, 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. 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.

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS
  Page
General Description of the Trust and its Funds 1
Exchange Listing and Trading 3
Investment Strategies and Risks 3
Asset-Backed Securities Risk 5
Bonds 6
Borrowing 6
Brady Bonds 7
Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk 7
Corporate Bonds 7
Diversification Status 8
Futures, Options on Futures and Securities Options 9
High Yield Securities 10
Lending Portfolio Securities 11
Liquidity Risk Management 12
Municipal Insurance 12
Municipal Securities 13
Non-U.S. Securities 16
Privately Issued Securities 16
Ratings 16
Regulation Regarding Derivatives 17
Repurchase Agreements 18
Reverse Repurchase Agreements 18
Securities of Investment Companies 18
Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments 19
Sovereign and Quasi-Sovereign Obligations 19
Swap Agreements 19
U.S. Agency Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk 20
U.S. Government Obligations 22
U.S.-Registered and Restricted Securities of Non-U.S. Issuers 22
Future Developments 22
General Considerations and Risks 23
Borrowing Risk 23
Call Risk 23
Custody Risk 23
Extension Risk 23
Illiquid Investments Risk 23
i

 


  Page
Issuer Insolvency Risk 23
LIBOR Risk 24
LIBOR Replacement Risk 24
Municipal Market Disruption Risk 25
Operational Risk 25
Prepayment Risk 25
Repurchase Agreement Risk 26
Risk of Derivatives 26
Risk of Futures and Options on Futures Transactions 26
Risk of Investing in Non-U.S. Agency Debt Securities 27
Risk of Investing in Non-U.S. Debt Securities 27
Risk of Swap Agreements 27
Securities Lending Risk 27
Special Considerations Regarding Investments in California Municipal Securities 27
Special Considerations Regarding Investments in New York Municipal Securities 48
Supranational Entities Risk 91
Tax Risks Associated with Municipal Securities 91
U.S. Economic Trading Partners Risk 92
U.S. Treasury Obligations Risk 92
Valuation Risk 92
Risk of Investing in Africa 93
Risk of Investing in Asia 94
Risk of Investing in Australasia 95
Risk of Investing in Central and South America 95
Risk of Investing in Developed Countries 95
Risk of Investing in Emerging Markets 96
Risk of Investing in Europe 97
Risk of Investing in the Middle East 98
Risk of Investing in North America 99
Risk of Investing in Russia 100
Risk of Investing in Saudi Arabia 101
Risk of Investing in the Automotive Sub-Industry 102
Risk of Investing in the Basic Materials Industry 102
Risk of Investing in the Capital Goods Industry 103
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Cyclical Industry 103
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Discretionary Sector 103
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Goods Industry 103
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Risk of Investing in the Consumer Services Industry 103
Risk of Investing in the Consumer Staples Sector 104
Risk of Investing in the Energy Sector 104
Risk of Investing in the Financials Sector 104
Risk of Investing in the Healthcare Sector 105
Risk of Investing in the Industrials Sector 106
Risk of Investing in the Infrastructure Industry 106
Risk of Investing in the Insurance Industry 107
Risk of Investing in the Media Sub-Industry 107
Risk of Investing in Municipal Securities in the Utilities Sector 107
Risk of Investing in the Oil and Gas Industry 107
Risk of Investing in the Real Estate Industry 108
Risk of Investing in the Retail Industry 109
Risk of Investing in the Technology Sector 109
Risk of Investing in the Telecommunications Sector 110
Risk of Investing in the Transportation Infrastructure Industry 110
Risk of Investing in the Utilities Sector 110
Proxy Voting Policy 111
Portfolio Holdings Information 111
Construction and Maintenance of the Underlying Indexes 112
The BlackRock Indexes 112
BlackRock High Yield Defensive Bond Index 112
BlackRock Investment Grade Enhanced Bond Index 113
The Bloomberg Indexes 114
Bloomberg MSCI US Aggregate ESG Focus Index 114
Bloomberg MSCI US Corporate 1-5 Year ESG Focus Index 115
Bloomberg MSCI US Corporate ESG Focus Index 116
Bloomberg U.S. Agency Bond Index 116
Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index 117
Bloomberg U.S. Government/Credit Bond Index 118
Bloomberg U.S. Intermediate Government/Credit Bond Index 118
Bloomberg U.S. MBS Index 118
Bloomberg U.S. Universal 5-10 Year Index 118
Bloomberg U.S. Universal 10+ Year Index 119
Bloomberg MSCI US Universal Choice ESG Screened Index 119
The ICE® Securities Indexes 121
ICE 0-3 Month US Treasury Securities Index 121
iii

 


  Page
ICE Short US Treasury Securities Index 121
The ICE® BofA® Bond Indexes 122
ICE BofA 1-5 Year US Corporate Index 122
ICE BofA 5-10 Year US Corporate Index 122
ICE BofA 10+ Year US Corporate Index 122
ICE BofA Long US Treasury Principal STRIPS Index 123
ICE BofA US Corporate Index 123
The ICE® U.S. Treasury Bond Index Series 123
ICE U.S. Treasury 1-3 Year Bond Index 123
ICE U.S. Treasury 3-7 Year Bond Index 124
ICE U.S. Treasury 7-10 Year Bond Index 124
ICE U.S. Treasury 10-20 Year Bond Index 124
ICE U.S. Treasury 20+ Year Bond Index 124
The ICE® AMT-Free US Municipal Index Series 125
ICE AMT-Free US National Municipal Index 126
ICE Short Maturity AMT-Free US National Municipal Index 126
ICE AMT-Free California Municipal Index 126
ICE AMT-Free New York Municipal Index 126
The Markit iBoxx Indexes 127
Markit iBoxx® USD Liquid High Yield Index 127
Markit iBoxx® USD Liquid Investment Grade Index 127
Investment Policies 128
Fundamental Investment Policies 128
Non-Fundamental Investment Policies 131
Continuous Offering 132
Management 132
Trustees and Officers 132
Committees of the Board of Trustees 140
Remuneration of Trustees and Advisory Board Members 144
Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities 148
Potential Conflicts of Interest 159
Investment Advisory, Administrative and Distribution Services 167
Investment Adviser 167
Portfolio Managers 171
Codes of Ethics 176
Anti-Money Laundering Requirements 176
Administrator, Custodian and Transfer Agent 176
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  Page
Distributor 177
Securities Lending 178
Payments by BFA and its Affiliates 186
Determination of Net Asset Value 187
Brokerage Transactions 190
Additional Information Concerning the Trust 197
Shares 197
DTC as Securities Depository for Shares of the Funds 198
Distribution of Shares 199
Creation and Redemption of Creation Units 199
General 199
Fund Deposit 200
Cash Purchase Method 201
Procedures for Creation of Creation Units 201
Role of the Authorized Participant 201
Placement of Creation Orders 202
Purchase Orders 202
Timing of Submission of Purchase Orders 203
Acceptance of Orders for Creation Units 203
Issuance of a Creation Unit 203
Costs Associated with Creation Transactions 204
Redemption of Creation Units 205
Cash Redemption Method 206
Costs Associated with Redemption Transactions 206
Placement of Redemption Orders 207
Custom Baskets 209
Taxation on Creations and Redemptions of Creation Units 209
Taxes 209
Regulated Investment Company Qualifications 209
Taxation of RICs 210
Net Capital Loss Carryforwards 210
Excise Tax 211
Taxation of U.S. Shareholders 211
Sales of Shares 212
Backup Withholding 213
Sections 351 and 362 213
Tax-Exempt Interest Income 213
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General Description of the Trust and its Funds
The Trust currently consists of more than 305 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 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF
iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF
iShares 1-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF1
iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF
iShares 5-10 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF2
iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF
iShares 10+ Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF3
iShares 10-20 Year Treasury Bond ETF
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF
iShares 25+ Year Treasury STRIPS Bond ETF
iShares Agency Bond ETF4
iShares Broad USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF
iShares California Muni Bond ETF5
iShares Core 5-10 Year USD Bond ETF6
iShares Core 10+ Year USD Bond ETF7
iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF8
iShares ESG Advanced Total USD Bond Market ETF9
iShares ESG Aware 1-5 Year USD Corporate Bond ETF10
iShares ESG Aware U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF11
iShares ESG Aware USD Corporate Bond ETF12
iShares Government/Credit Bond ETF13
iShares High Yield Bond Factor ETF14
iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF
iShares Intermediate Government/Credit Bond ETF15
iShares Investment Grade Bond Factor ETF16
iShares MBS ETF17
iShares National Muni Bond ETF18
iShares New York Muni Bond ETF19
iShares Short-Term National Muni Bond ETF20
iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF

1 On September 30, 2020, the name of the Fund changed from the iShares Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF to the iShares 1-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF.
2 On September 30, 2020, the name of the Fund changed from the iShares Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF to the iShares 5-10 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF.
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3 On September 30, 2020, the name of the Fund changed from the iShares Long-Term Corporate Bond ETF to the iShares 10+ Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF.
4 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Agency Bond Index to the Bloomberg U.S. Agency Bond Index.
5 Effective September 15, 2021, the Fund’s Underlying Index changed from the S&P California AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index to the ICE AMT-Free California Municipal Index.
6 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Universal 5-10 Year Index to the Bloomberg U.S. Universal 5-10 Year Index.
7 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Universal 10+ Year Index to the Bloomberg U.S. Universal 10+ Year Index.
8 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index to the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index.
9 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI US Universal Choice ESG Screened Index to the Bloomberg MSCI US Universal Choice ESG Screened Index.
10 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI US Corporate 1-5 Year ESG Focus Index to the Bloomberg MSCI US Corporate 1-5 Year ESG Focus Index.
11 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI US Aggregate ESG Focus Index to the Bloomberg MSCI US Aggregate ESG Focus Index.
12 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI US Corporate ESG Focus Index to the Bloomberg MSCI US Corporate ESG Focus Index.
13 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Government/Credit Bond Index to the Bloomberg U.S. Government/Credit Bond Index.
14 On August 17, 2020, the name of the Fund changed from the iShares Edge High Yield Defensive Bond ETF to the iShares High Yield Bond Factor ETF.
15 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Intermediate Government/Credit Bond Index to the Bloomberg U.S. Intermediate Government/Credit Bond Index.
16 On August 17, 2020, the name of the Fund changed from the iShares Edge Investment Grade Enhanced Bond ETF to the iShares Investment Grade Bond Factor ETF.
17 On August 24, 2021, the name of the Fund’s underlying index changed from the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. MBS Index to the Bloomberg U.S. MBS Index.
18 Effective September 15, 2021, the Fund’s Underlying Index changed from the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index to the ICE AMT-Free US National Municipal Index.
19 Effective September 15, 2021, the Fund’s Underlying Index changed from the S&P New York AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index to the ICE AMT-Free New York Municipal Index.
20 Effective September 15, 2021, the Fund’s Underlying Index changed from the S&P Short Term National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index to the ICE Short Maturity AMT-Free US National Municipal Index.
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”).
Each Fund offers and issues shares at their 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 ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 shares 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
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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) following the initial 12-month period beginning upon the commencement of trading of Fund shares, there are fewer than 50 record and/or beneficial owners of shares of the Fund for 30 or more consecutive trading days; (ii) a Fund is no longer eligible to operate in reliance on Rule 6c-11 under the Investment Company Act; (iii) any of the other listing requirements are not continuously maintained; or (iv) 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 such 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 prices 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 both fixed-income securities that comprise its relevant Underlying Index and in investments that provide substantially similar exposure to securities in the Underlying Index. The Underlying Indexes for the iShares High Yield Bond Factor ETF and iShares Investment Grade Bond Factor ETF are based on a proprietary methodology created and sponsored by BlackRock Index Services, LLC (the “Index Provider”). The Index Provider is an affiliated person of the iShares High Yield Bond Factor ETF and iShares Investment Grade Bond Factor ETF and of BFA. 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 value and industry weightings), fundamental characteristics (such as yield, credit rating, maturity and duration) 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.
Each of the iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF, iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF, iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF, iShares 10-20 Year Treasury Bond ETF and iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (the “Treasury Bond Funds”) generally invests at least 90% of its assets in the bonds of its Underlying Index and at least 95% of its assets in U.S. government bonds. Each Treasury Bond Fund may invest up to 10% of its assets in U.S. government bonds not included in its Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Treasury Bond Fund track its Underlying Index. For example, a Treasury Bond Fund may invest in bonds not included in its Underlying Index in order to reflect changes in the relevant Underlying Index (such as reconstitutions, additions and deletions). Each Treasury Bond Fund also may invest up to 5% of its assets in repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government obligations and in cash and cash equivalents, including shares of money market funds advised by BFA or its affiliates (“BlackRock Cash Funds”).
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Each of the iShares 1-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares 5-10 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Broad USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Government/Credit Bond ETF and iShares Intermediate Government/Credit Bond ETF generally invests at least 90% of its assets in the securities of its Underlying Index. For example, a Fund may invest in bonds not included in its Underlying Index in order to reflect changes in its Underlying Index (such as reconstitutions, additions and deletions). Each of the iShares 1-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares 5-10 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Broad USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Government/Credit Bond ETF and iShares Intermediate Government/Credit Bond ETF may invest the remainder of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in its Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track its Underlying Index.
Each of the iShares 10+ Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Core 5-10 Year USD Bond ETF, iShares Core 10+ Year USD Bond ETF, iShares ESG Advanced Total USD Bond Market ETF, iShares ESG Aware 1-5 Year USD Corporate Bond ETF, iShares ESG Aware USD Corporate Bond ETF and iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF generally will invest at least 90% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 10% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. From time to time when conditions warrant, however, the Fund may invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. The iShares ESG Advanced Total USD Bond Market ETF seeks to track the investment results of its Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Fund.
Each of the iShares 25+ Year Treasury STRIPS Bond ETF and iShares Agency Bond ETF generally will invest at least 90% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 10% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. From time to time when conditions warrant, however, the Fund may invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. For example, the iShares Agency Bond ETF may invest in securities not included in the Underlying Index in order to reflect various corporate actions (such as mergers) and other changes in the Underlying Index (such as reconstitutions, additions and deletions). Each of the iShares 25+ Year Treasury STRIPS Bond ETF and iShares Agency Bond ETF seek to track the investment results of the Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Funds.
The iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF generally seeks to track the performance of its Underlying Index by investing at least 90% of its net assets in component securities of its Underlying Index and in investments that have economic characteristics that are substantially identical to the economic characteristics of the component securities of its Underlying Index (i.e., to-be-announced (“TBA”) transactions). The Fund may invest up to 10% of its portfolio in bonds not included in its Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track its Underlying Index, as well as in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and high-quality, liquid short-term instruments, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds. For example, the Fund may invest in securities not included in the Underlying Index in order to reflect various corporate actions (such as mergers) and other changes in the Underlying Index (such as reconstitutions, additions and deletions).
The iShares ESG Aware U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF generally will invest at least 90% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and in investments that have economic characteristics that are substantially identical to the component securities of the Underlying Index (i.e., TBAs) and may invest up to 10% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. From time to time when conditions warrant, the Fund may invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and in investments that have economic characteristics that are substantially identical to the component securities of the Underlying Index (i.e., TBAs) and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. The Fund seeks to track the investment results of the Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Fund.
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Each of the iShares High Yield Bond Factor ETF and iShares Investment Grade Bond Factor ETF will invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of its Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain index futures, options, options on index futures, swap contracts or other derivatives, as related to its Underlying Index, cash and cash equivalents, other investment companies, as well as in securities and other instruments not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help each Fund track its Underlying Index. Each Fund seeks to track the investment results of its Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Fund.
The iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF generally invests at least 90% of its assets in component securities of its Underlying Index and at least 95% of its assets in investment-grade corporate bonds. However, the Fund may at times invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents as well as bonds not included in its relevant Underlying Index but which BFA believes will help the Fund track its Underlying Index and which are either: (i) included in the broader index upon which the Underlying Index is based (i.e., the Markit iBoxx USD Index); or (ii) new issues which BFA believes are entering or about to enter the Underlying Index or the Markit iBoxx USD Index. The Fund may invest up to 5% of its assets in repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government obligations and in cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds.
The iShares MBS ETF seeks to track the performance of its Underlying Index by investing at least 90% of its assets in the securities of its Underlying Index and in investments that provide substantially similar exposure to securities in the Underlying Index. The Fund may invest the remainder of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index.
Each of the iShares California Muni Bond ETF and iShares New York Muni Bond ETF generally will invest at least 90% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 10% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. From time to time when conditions warrant, however, each Fund may invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including shares of BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. The iShares National Muni Bond ETF and iShares Short-Term National Muni Bond ETF generally will invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents, including BlackRock Cash Funds, as well as in securities not included in the Underlying Index, but which BFA believes will help the Fund track the Underlying Index. For example, each of the iShares California Muni Bond ETF, iShares National Muni Bond ETF, iShares New York Muni Bond ETF and iShares Short-Term National Muni Bond ETF (the “Municipal Bond Funds”) may invest in municipal bonds not included in its Underlying Index in order to reflect prospective changes in its Underlying Index (such as index reconstitutions, additions and deletions). Each of the iShares California Muni Bond ETF and iShares New York Muni Bond ETF generally holds municipal bond securities issued by its respective state and local municipalities whose interest payments are exempt from U.S. federal and state income tax and the federal alternative minimum tax (“AMT”). Each of the iShares National Muni Bond ETF and iShares Short-Term National Muni Bond ETF will generally hold municipal bond securities issued by state and local municipalities whose interest payments are exempt from U.S. federal income tax and the federal AMT. As of the date of this SAI, interest that is exempt from U.S. federal income tax is also exempt from the federal Medicare contribution tax of 3.8% on “net investment income.” In addition, each Municipal Bond Fund intends to invest any cash assets in one or more affiliated municipal money market funds, which may be advised by BFA or its affiliates.
Each of the iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF and iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF will invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of the Underlying Index, and each Fund will invest at least 90% of its assets in U.S. Treasury securities that BFA believes will help the Funds track the Underlying Index. Each of the Funds will invest no more than 10% of its assets in futures, options and swaps contracts that BFA believes will help the Funds track the Underlying Index. Cash and cash equivalent investments associated with a derivative position will be treated as part of that position for the purposes of calculating investments not included in the Underlying Index. Each of the Funds seeks to track the investment results of the Underlying Index before fees and expenses of the Funds.
Asset-Backed Securities Risk.  Asset-backed securities (“ABS”) represent interests in “pools” of assets, including consumer loans or receivables held in trust. ABS are “pass-through” securities, meaning that principal and interest payments, net of expenses, made by the borrower on the underlying assets are passed through to the Fund. ABS, like traditional fixed-income
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securities, are subject to credit, interest rate, call, prepayment, extension, valuation and illiquidity risk. Because of call, prepayment, and extension risk, however, ABS react differently to changes in interest rates than other bonds. Small movements in interest rates (both increases and decreases) may quickly and significantly reduce the value of certain ABS. The price paid by the Fund for its ABS, the yield the Fund expects to receive from such securities and the average life of such securities are based on a number of factors, including the anticipated rate of prepayment of the underlying assets. During periods of difficulty in the credit markets, ABS may decline in value and become less liquid, more volatile, and more difficult to value.
The nature of the assets and the servicing of those assets may subject ABS to additional risks in comparison to mortgage-backed securities. For instance, certain ABS generally do not have the benefit of a security interest in collateral that is comparable in quality to mortgage-backed assets. The value of the collateral may also be insufficient to cover the principal amount of the obligation. Other ABS, such as those backed by credit card receivables, do not have the benefit of a security interest in collateral at all. Moreover, the values of ABS may be substantially dependent on the servicing of the underlying asset pools, and are therefore subject to risks associated with the negligence or malfeasance by their servicers and to the credit risk of their servicers.
ABS are often not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government and are subject to risk of default on the underlying asset, particularly during periods of economic downturn.
Bonds.   Each Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in U.S. dollar-denominated bonds. A bond is an interest-bearing security issued by a U.S. or non-U.S. company, or U.S. or non-U.S. governmental unit. The issuer of a bond has a contractual obligation to pay interest at a stated rate on specific dates and to repay principal (the bond’s face value) periodically or on a specified maturity date. Bonds generally are used by issuers to borrow money from investors.
An issuer may have the right to redeem or “call” a bond before maturity, in which case the Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds at lower market rates. Similarly, a fund may have to reinvest interest income or payments received when bonds mature, sometimes at lower market rates. Most bonds bear interest income at a “coupon” rate that is fixed for the life of the bond. The value of a fixed-rate bond usually rises when market interest rates fall, and falls when market interest rates rise. Accordingly, a fixed-rate bond’s yield (income as a percent of the bond’s current value) may differ from its coupon rate as its value rises or falls. When an investor purchases a fixed-rate bond at a price that is greater than its face value, the investor is purchasing the bond at a premium. Conversely, when an investor purchases a fixed-rate bond at a price that is less than its face value, the investor is purchasing the bond at a discount. Fixed-rate bonds that are purchased at a discount pay less current income than securities with comparable yields that are purchased at face value, with the result that prices for such fixed-rate securities can be more volatile than prices for such securities that are purchased at face value. Other types of bonds bear interest at an interest rate that is adjusted periodically. Interest rates on “floating rate” or “variable rate” bonds may be higher or lower than current market rates for fixed-rate bonds of comparable quality with similar final maturities. Because of their adjustable interest rates, the value of “floating rate” or “variable rate” bonds fluctuates much less in response to market interest rate movements than the value of fixed-rate bonds, but their value may decline if their interest rates do not rise as much, or as quickly, as interest rates in general. Each Fund may treat some of these bonds as having a shorter maturity for purposes of calculating the weighted average maturity of its investment portfolio. Generally, prices of higher quality issues tend to fluctuate less with changes in market interest rates than prices of lower quality issues and prices of longer maturity issues tend to fluctuate more than prices of shorter maturity issues. Bonds may be senior or subordinated obligations. Senior obligations generally have the first claim on an issuer’s earnings and assets and, in the event of liquidation, are paid before subordinated obligations. Bonds may be unsecured (backed only by the issuer’s general creditworthiness) or secured (backed by specified collateral).
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 iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF and iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF, along with certain other iShares funds, have entered into a syndicated line of credit with the Bank of New York Mellon (“BNY”), which serves as administrative agent for itself and the other banks. The syndicated line of credit may be used for temporary or emergency purposes, including redemption, settlement of trades and rebalancing of portfolio holdings.
Interest rates related to the syndicated line of credit may be based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) plus a spread. In 2017, the head of the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021. On March 5, 2021, the administrator of LIBOR, ICE Benchmark Administration Limited, announced
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its intention to cease publishing two USD LIBOR settings immediately after publication on December 31, 2021,with the majority of the USD LIBOR settings to end immediately after publication on June 30, 2023. Pursuant to the terms of the credit agreement, if LIBOR ceases to be published or representative before the termination of the credit agreement, LIBOR would be replaced under the terms of the credit agreement by a variable rate based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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.
Brady Bonds.  Certain of the Funds may invest in Brady bonds. Brady bonds are securities created through the exchange of existing commercial bank loans to public and private entities in certain emerging markets for new bonds in connection with debt restructurings. Brady bonds have been issued since 1989. In light of the history of defaults of countries issuing Brady bonds on their commercial bank loans, investments in Brady bonds may be viewed as speculative and subject to the same risks as emerging market securities. Brady bonds may be fully or partially collateralized or uncollateralized, are issued in U.S. dollars and are actively traded in over-the-counter (“OTC”) secondary markets. Incomplete collateralization of interest or principal payment obligations results in increased credit risk. U.S. dollar-denominated collateralized Brady bonds, which may be either fixed-rate or floating rate bonds, are generally collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities.
Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk.  The commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”) in which the Fund invests may be issued by entities, such as banks, mortgage lenders or other institutions. These entities are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, and there can be no assurance that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies or instrumentalities where it is not obligated to do so.
CMBS depend on cash flows generated by underlying commercial real-estate loans, receivables or other assets, and can be significantly affected by changes in interest rates, the availability of information concerning the underlying assets and their structure, and the creditworthiness of the originators of the underlying assets.
Due to the nature of the loans they represent, CMBS are subject to a greater degree of prepayment and extension risk than many other forms of fixed-income securities. Small movements in interest rates (both increases and decreases) may quickly and significantly reduce the value of certain CMBS. Certain CMBS are issued in several classes with different levels of yield and credit protection. The Fund’s investments in CMBS with several classes may be in the lower classes that have greater risks than the higher classes, including greater interest rate, credit, prepayment and extension risks.
In addition, the value of CMBS may be adversely affected by regulatory or tax changes. CMBS issued by non-government entities may offer higher yields than those issued by government entities, but also may be subject to greater volatility than government issues. In the recent past, the market for CMBS has experienced volatility and reduced liquidity.
Corporate Bonds.  Each Fund (other than the iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF, iShares 25+ Year Treasury STRIPS Bond ETF, iShares ESG Advanced Total USD Bond Market ETF, Treasury Bond Funds and the Municipal Bond Funds) may invest in investment-grade and/or high yield corporate bonds. High yield corporate bonds may be deemed speculative and more volatile than higher rated securities of similar maturity. The investment return of corporate bonds reflects interest earned on the security and changes in the market value of the security. The market value of a corporate bond may be affected by changes in the market rate of interest, the credit rating of the issuer, the issuer’s performance and perceptions of the issuer in the marketplace. There is a risk that the issuers of the securities may not be able to meet their obligations on interest or principal payments at the time called for by an instrument.
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Diversification Status.   The following table sets forth the diversification status of each Fund:
Diversified Funds   Non-Diversified Funds
iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF   iShares California Muni Bond ETF
iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond ETF   iShares ESG Advanced Total USD Bond Market ETF
iShares 1-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF   iShares New York Muni Bond ETF
iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF    
iShares 5-10 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF    
iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF    
iShares 10+ Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF    
iShares 10-20 Year Treasury Bond ETF    
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF    
iShares 25+ Year Treasury STRIPS Bond ETF    
iShares Agency Bond ETF    
iShares Broad USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF    
iShares Core 5-10 Year USD Bond ETF    
iShares Core 10+ Year USD Bond ETF    
iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF    
iShares ESG Aware 1-5 Year USD Corporate Bond ETF    
iShares ESG Aware USD Corporate Bond ETF    
iShares ESG Aware U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF    
iShares Government/Credit Bond ETF    
iShares High Yield Bond Factor ETF    
iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF    
iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF    
iShares Intermediate Government/Credit Bond ETF    
iShares Investment Grade Bond Factor ETF    
iShares MBS ETF    
iShares National Muni Bond ETF    
iShares Short-Term National Muni Bond ETF    
iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF    
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.
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 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 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. To the extent required by law, each Fund will segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to its delivery obligations under the futures contracts. 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
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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”).
Investments in futures contracts and other investments that contain leverage may require each Fund to maintain liquid assets in an amount equal to its delivery obligations under these contracts and other investments. Generally, each Fund maintains an amount of liquid assets equal to its obligations relative to the position involved, adjusted daily on a marked-to-market basis. With respect to futures contracts that are contractually required to “cash-settle,” each Fund maintains liquid assets in an amount at least equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market obligation (i.e., each Fund’s daily net liability, if any), rather than the contracts’ notional value (i.e., the value of the underlying asset). By maintaining assets equal to its net obligation under cash-settled futures contracts, each Fund may employ leverage to a greater extent than if the Fund were required to set aside assets equal to the futures contracts’ full notional value. Each Fund bases its asset maintenance policies on methods permitted by the SEC and its staff and may modify these policies in the future to comply with any changes in the guidance articulated from time to time by the SEC or its staff. Changes in SEC guidance regarding the use of derivatives by registered investment companies may adversely impact a Fund’s ability to invest in futures, options or other derivatives or make investments in such instruments more expensive.
High Yield Securities.  Certain Funds may invest in non-investment grade securities. Non-investment grade or “high yield” fixed-income or convertible securities, commonly known to investors as “junk bonds” or “high yield bonds,” are generally debt securities that are rated below investment grade by one or more of the major rating agencies or are unrated securities that BFA believes are of comparable quality. While generally providing greater income and opportunity for gain, non-investment grade debt securities may be subject to greater risks than securities that have higher credit ratings, including a high risk of default, and their yields will fluctuate over time. High yield securities will generally be in the lower rating categories of recognized rating agencies (rated below Baa3 by Moody's Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody's”) or below BBB- by Standard & Poor's® Global Ratings, a subsidiary of S&P Global (“S&P Global Ratings”) or Fitch Ratings, Inc. (“Fitch”)) or be unrated. The credit rating of a high yield security does not necessarily address its market value risk, and ratings may from time to time change, positively or negatively, to reflect developments regarding the issuer’s financial condition. High yield securities are considered to be speculative with respect to the capacity of the issuer to timely repay principal and pay interest in accordance with the terms of the obligation and may have more credit risk than higher rated securities.
The major risks of high yield bond investments include the following:
High yield bonds may be issued by less creditworthy issuers. These securities are vulnerable to adverse changes in the issuer’s industry or to general economic conditions. Issuers of high yield bonds may be unable to meet their interest or principal payment obligations because of an economic downturn, specific issuer developments or the unavailability of additional financing.
The issuers of high yield bonds may have a larger amount of outstanding debt relative to their assets than issuers of investment grade bonds. If the issuer experiences financial stress, it may be unable to meet its debt obligations. The issuer’s ability to pay its debt obligations also may be lessened by specific issuer developments, or the unavailability of additional financing. Issuers of high yield securities are often in the growth stage of their development and/or involved in a reorganization or takeover.
High yield bonds are frequently ranked junior to claims by other creditors. If the issuer cannot meet its obligations, the senior obligations are generally paid off before the junior obligations, which will potentially limit a Fund’s ability to fully recover principal, to receive interest payments when senior securities are in default or to receive restructuring benefits paid to holders of more senior classes of debt. Thus, investors in high yield securities
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  frequently have a lower degree of protection with respect to principal and interest payments than do investors in higher rated securities.
High yield bonds frequently have redemption features that permit an issuer to repurchase the security from a Fund before it matures. If an issuer redeems the high yield bonds, a Fund may have to invest the proceeds in bonds with lower yields and may lose income.
Prices of high yield bonds are subject to extreme fluctuations. Negative economic developments may have a greater impact on the prices of high yield bonds than on those of other higher rated fixed-income securities.
Under certain economic and/or market conditions, a Fund may have difficulty disposing of certain high yield securities due to the limited number of investors in that sector of the market. There are fewer dealers in the high yield bond market, and there may be significant differences in the prices quoted for high yield bonds by dealers, and such quotations may not be the actual prices available for a purchase or sale. Judgment may play a greater role in the prices and values generated for such securities than in the case of securities trading in a more liquid market.
The secondary markets for high yield securities are not as liquid as the secondary markets for higher rated securities. The secondary markets for high yield securities are concentrated in relatively few market makers and, participants in the markets are mostly institutional investors, including insurance companies, banks, other financial institutions and mutual funds. In addition, the trading volume for high yield securities is generally lower than that for higher rated securities and the secondary markets could contract under adverse market or economic conditions independent of any specific adverse changes in the condition of a particular issuer. Under certain economic and/or market conditions, a Fund may have difficulty disposing of certain high yield securities due to the limited number of investors in that sector of the market. An illiquid secondary market may adversely affect the market price of the high yield security, which may result in increased difficulty selling the particular issue and obtaining accurate market quotations on the issue when valuing a Fund's assets. Market quotations on high yield securities are available only from a limited number of dealers, and such quotations may not be the actual prices available for a purchase or sale. When the secondary market for high yield securities becomes more illiquid, or in the absence of readily available market quotations for such securities, the relative lack of reliable objective data makes it more difficult to value such securities, and judgment plays a more important role in determining such valuations.
A Fund may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting issuer.
The high yield bond markets may react strongly to adverse news about an issuer or the economy, or to the perception or expectation of adverse news, whether or not it is based on fundamental analysis. Additionally, prices for high yield securities may be affected by legislative and regulatory developments. These developments could adversely affect a Fund’s NAV and investment practices, the secondary market for high yield securities, the financial condition of issuers of these securities and the value and liquidity of outstanding high yield securities, especially in a thinly traded market. For example, federal legislation requiring the divestiture by federally insured savings and loan associations of their investments in high yield bonds and limiting the deductibility of interest by certain corporate issuers of high yield bonds adversely affected the market in the past.
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 loaned by the particular Fund exceeds one-third of the value of such Fund's total assets (including the value of the collateral received). A Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. Each Fund receives, 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 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 typically compensated by the difference between the amount earned on the reinvestment of cash collateral and the fee paid to the borrower. In the case of collateral other than cash, a Fund is typically compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. Any cash collateral 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
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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”).
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), and credit, legal, counterparty and market risk. If a securities lending counterparty were to default, a Fund would be subject to the risk of a possible delay in receiving collateral or in recovering the loaned securities, or to a possible loss of rights in the collateral. In the event a borrower does not return a Fund’s securities as agreed, the Fund may experience losses if the proceeds received from liquidating the collateral do not at least equal the value of the loaned security at the time the collateral is liquidated, plus the transaction costs incurred in purchasing replacement securities. This event could trigger adverse tax consequences for a Fund. A Fund could lose money if its short-term investment of the collateral declines in value over the period of the loan. Substitute payments 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.
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 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.
Municipal Insurance.  A municipal security may be covered by insurance that guarantees the bond’s scheduled payment of interest and repayment of principal. This type of insurance may be obtained by either (i) the issuer at the time the bond is issued (primary market insurance), or (ii) another party after the bond has been issued (secondary market insurance).
Both primary and secondary market insurance guarantee timely and scheduled repayment of all principal and payment of all interest on a municipal security in the event of default by the issuer, and cover a municipal security to its maturity, enhancing its credit quality and value.
Municipal security insurance does not insure against market fluctuations or fluctuations in each of the Municipal Bond Funds' share price. In addition, a municipal security insurance policy will not cover: (i) repayment of a municipal security before maturity (redemption), (ii) nonpayment of principal or interest caused by negligence or bankruptcy of the paying agent, or (iii) prepayment or payment of an acceleration premium (except for a mandatory sinking fund redemption) or any other provision of a bond indenture that advances the maturity of the bond. A mandatory sinking fund redemption may be a provision of a municipal security issue whereby part of the municipal security issue may be retired before maturity.
Because a significant portion of the municipal securities issued and outstanding are insured by a small number of insurance companies, an event involving one or more of these insurance companies could have a significant adverse effect on the value of the securities insured by that insurance company and on the municipal markets as a whole.
Certain significant providers of insurance for municipal securities have recently incurred significant losses as a result of exposure to sub-prime mortgages and other lower credit quality investments that have experienced recent defaults or otherwise suffered extreme credit deterioration. As a result, such losses have reduced the insurers’ capital and called into question their continued ability to perform their obligations under such insurance if they are called upon to do so in the future. While an insured municipal security will typically be deemed to have the rating of its insurer, if the insurer of a municipal security suffers a downgrade in its credit rating or if the market discounts the value of the insurance provided by
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the insurer, the value of the municipal security would be more, if not entirely, dependent on the rating of the municipal security independent of insurance.
Municipal Securities.  Certain of the Funds invest in securities issued in the U.S. market by U.S. states and territories, municipalities and other political subdivisions, agencies, authorities and instrumentalities of states and multi-state agencies or authorities (“municipal securities”), the interest payments of which are not subject to U.S. federal income tax. The municipal securities which such Funds may purchase include general obligation bonds and limited obligation bonds (or “Revenue Bonds”), including industrial development bonds issued pursuant to former U.S. federal tax law.
General obligation bonds are obligations involving the credit of an issuer possessing taxing power and are payable from such issuer’s general revenues and not from any particular source. Revenue Bonds are payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or, in some cases, from the proceeds of a special excise or other specific revenue source. Revenue Bonds that are issued to finance a particular project often depend on revenues from that project to make principal and interest payments. Adverse conditions and developments affecting a particular project can result in lower revenues to the issuer of the municipal securities. Additionally, the market values of Revenue Bonds may decline in times of higher inflation to the extent that revenues are fixed income streams. In other instances, the prices that certain Revenue Bond issuers are able to charge users of their assets may be linked to inflation, whether by government regulation, contractual arrangement or other factors. In this case, changes in the rate of inflation may affect the issuer’s revenues. Additionally, rising interest rates could result in higher costs of capital for issuers of both general obligation bonds and Revenue Bonds, which could negatively impact their ability to meet payment obligations.
The market for municipal bonds may be less liquid than for taxable bonds. This means that it may be harder to buy and sell municipal securities, especially on short notice, than non-municipal securities. In addition, the municipal securities market is generally characterized as a buy and hold investment strategy. As a result, the accessibility of municipal securities in the market is generally greater closer to the original date of issue of the securities and lessens as the securities move further away from such issuance date.
Some longer-term municipal securities give the investor the right to “put” or sell the security at par (face value) within a specified number of days following the investor’s request - usually one to seven days. This demand feature enhances a security’s liquidity by shortening its effective maturity and enables it to trade at a price equal to or very close to par. If a demand feature terminates prior to being exercised, a Fund would hold the longer-term security, which could experience substantially more volatility.
Municipal securities are subject to credit and market risk. Generally, prices of higher quality issues tend to fluctuate more with changes in market interest rates than prices of lower quality issues and prices of longer maturity issues tend to fluctuate more than prices of shorter maturity issues.
Prices and yields on municipal securities are dependent on a variety of factors, including general money-market conditions, the financial condition of the issuer, general conditions of the municipal security market, the size of a particular offering, the maturity of the obligation and the rating of the issue. A number of these factors, including the ratings of particular issues, are subject to change from time to time. Information about the financial condition of an issuer of municipal securities may not be as extensive as that which is made available by corporations whose securities are publicly-traded. As a result, municipal securities may be more difficult to value than securities of public corporations.
Obligations of issuers of municipal securities are subject to insolvency concerns and, unlike obligations of corporate issuers, may not be subject to resolution in the event of insolvency or default through a bankruptcy proceeding. The U.S. Congress or state legislatures may seek to extend the time for payment of principal or interest, or both, or to impose other constraints upon enforcement of such obligations. In addition, municipal securities are subject to the risk that their tax treatment could be changed, thereby affecting the value of outstanding municipal securities. There is also the possibility that as a result of litigation or other conditions, such as passing of a referendum, the power or ability of issuers to meet their obligations for the payment of interest and principal on their municipal securities may be materially affected or their obligations may be found to be invalid or unenforceable. Such litigation or conditions may from time to time have the effect of introducing uncertainties in the market for municipal securities or certain segments thereof, or of materially affecting the credit risk with respect to particular bonds. Adverse economic, business, legal or political developments might affect all or a substantial portion of a Fund’s municipal securities in the same manner.
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Additionally, certain municipal securities are issued by entities dependent on revenue from a particular sector and thus are subject to the specific risks associated with that sector. These sectors are described in more detail below.
Risk of Investing in Health Care-Related Municipal Securities. Changes to state or federal policy tied to health care services could adversely affect the value of municipal securities backed by revenue from public hospitals and other health care facilities. Regulatory changes that govern cost reimbursements to health care providers under government-funded programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, including policies that award exclusive contracts to certain hospitals, may adversely affect the revenue streams backing certain municipal securities. Additionally, the expansion of healthcare facilities by some issuers may be subject to “determinations of need” by various regulators or other authorities. This process not only generally increases the time and expenses such expansions entail, but also makes expansion plans uncertain, thus potentially limiting the revenue and growth of healthcare facility operators. Moreover, local, state and federal governmental bodies are under increasing pressure to reduce medical spending and control healthcare costs, which could both adversely affect regulatory processes and public funding available for healthcare services and facilities. The value of healthcare-related municipal securities could also be affected by a variety of other factors that impact the underlying healthcare facilities including demand for services, the ability of the health care facility to provide the services required, competition with other facilities, and expenses (such as malpractice insurance premiums).
Risk of Investing in Infrastructure-Related Municipal Securities. Entities that issue municipal securities related to infrastructure (“infrastructure issuers”) may be subject to a variety of factors that could adversely affect their capacity to make principal and interest payments, such as high interest costs in connection with capital construction programs, high degrees of leverage, costs associated with governmental, environmental and other regulations, the effects of economic slowdowns, increased competition from other providers of services, uncertainties concerning costs, the level of government spending on infrastructure projects, and other factors. Such issuers may be adversely affected by commodity price volatility, changes in exchange rates, import controls, depletion of resources, technological developments, and labor relations. Infrastructure issuers can be significantly affected by government spending policies.
Leverage Risk. Infrastructure issuers can be highly indebted, which increases investment risk and other risks normally associated with debt financing, which could adversely affect such an issuer’s operations and the market value of related municipal securities in periods of rising interest rates.
Operations Risk. The failure of an infrastructure issuer to carry adequate insurance or to operate its assets appropriately could lead to significant losses. Infrastructure may be adversely affected by environmental clean-up costs and catastrophic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist acts.
Regulatory Risk. Infrastructure projects may be subject to significant regulation by various governmental authorities and also may be affected by regulation of rates charged to customers, service interruption due to environmental, operational or other events, the imposition of special tariffs and changes in tax laws, regulatory policies and accounting standards.
Strategic Asset Risk. Infrastructure issuers may control significant strategic assets (e.g., major pipelines or highways), which are assets that have a national or regional profile, and may have monopolistic characteristics. Given their national or regional profile or irreplaceable nature, strategic assets could generate additional risk not common in other industry sectors and they may be targeted for terrorist acts or adverse political actions.
User Risk. Infrastructure issuers can be dependent upon a narrow user base. If these users do not patronize infrastructure projects as expected, significant revenues could be lost and may not be replaceable, in which case infrastructure issuers may fail to pay their obligations.
Risk of Investing in Municipal Securities Issued By School Districts. School districts rely, in part, on funding appropriations from, among others, the federal government and state governments. As a result, municipal securities issued by school districts may be adversely affected by political and economic changes at the state or federal levels, such as decreased tax or other revenues, spending reductions or changes in appropriations. Investors in these securities, similar to investors in municipal securities generally, face heightened risk of loss upon insolvency of the school district issuers because there is often no ready source of funding to pay the bonds other than the local tax base, which a bankruptcy court or administrator does not control.
Risk of Investing in Transportation Infrastructure-Related Municipal Securities. The transportation infrastructure industry may be adversely affected by economic changes, increases in fuel and other operating costs, labor relations, insurance costs, and,
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in many jurisdictions, the effects of regulatory changes or other government decisions. Municipal securities that are issued to finance a particular transportation project (e.g., toll roads) often depend on revenues from that project to make principal and interest payments.
Risk of Investing in Utility-Related Municipal Securities. Certain municipal securities are issued by public bodies, including state and municipal utility authorities, to, among other things, finance the operation or expansion of utility entities. Various future economic and other conditions may adversely affect utility entities, including inflation, increases in financing requirements, increases in raw material costs and other operating costs, changes in demand for services and the effects of environmental and other governmental regulations. Certain utilities are subject to specific risks. For example, gas utilities are subject to risks of supply conditions and increased competition from other providers of utility services. In addition, gas utilities are affected by gas prices, which may be magnified to the extent that a gas utility enters into long-term contracts for the purchase or sale of gas at a fixed price, since such prices may change significantly and to the disadvantage of the gas utility.
The types of municipal securities in which the Funds may invest include, but are not limited, to the following:
Industrial Development Bonds
Industrial development bonds generally are also Revenue Bonds and thus are not payable from the issuer’s general revenues. The credit and quality of industrial development bonds are usually related to the credit of the corporate user of the facilities. Payment of interest on and repayment of principal of such bonds is the responsibility of the corporate user (and/or any guarantor).
Private Activity Bonds
Certain of the Funds may invest in private activity bonds, which are bonds issued by or on behalf of public authorities to obtain funds to provide privately operated housing facilities, airport, mass transit or port facilities, sewage disposal, solid waste disposal or hazardous waste treatment or disposal facilities and certain local facilities for water supply, gas or electricity. Other types of private activity bonds, the proceeds of which are used for the construction, equipment, repair or improvement of privately operated industrial or commercial facilities, may constitute municipal securities, although the current U.S. federal tax laws place substantial limitations on the size of such issues.
Municipal Lease Obligations
The Funds may invest in municipal lease obligations, including certificates of participation (“COPs”) issued by government authorities or entities to finance the acquisition or construction of equipment, land and/or facilities. The COPs represent participations in a lease, an installment purchase contract, or a conditional sales contract relating to equipment, land or facilities. As a result of their structure, COPs are generally not subject to constitutional debt limitations or other statutory requirements that may apply to other municipal securities. Municipal governments may not be obligated to make lease or installment purchase payments in connection with COPs, and, in such circumstances, the COP will be secured only by the leased property. If the issuer of a COP does not fulfill its payment obligation, it may be difficult to sell the property and the proceeds of a sale may not cover the Fund’s loss. Municipal lease obligations may be less liquid than conventional municipal bonds, but otherwise have the same general risk characteristics as other municipal securities.
Tender Option Bonds
Tender option bonds are synthetic floating rate or variable rate securities issued when long-term bonds are purchased in the primary or secondary market and then deposited into a trust. Custodial receipts are then issued to investors in these securities evidencing ownership interests in the trust. The remarketing agent for the trust sets a floating or variable rate on typically a weekly basis. The sponsor of a highly leveraged tender option bond trust generally will retain a liquidity provider to purchase the short-term floating rate interests at their original purchase price upon the occurrence of certain specified events. However, the liquidity provider may not be required to purchase the floating rate interests upon the occurrence of certain other events, for example, the downgrading of the municipal bonds owned by the tender option bond trust below investment-grade or certain events that indicate the issuer of the bonds may be entering bankruptcy. The general effect of these provisions is to pass to the holders of the floating rate interests the most severe credit risks associated with the municipal bonds owned by the tender option bond trust and to leave with the liquidity provider the interest rate risk (subject to a cap) and certain other risks associated with the municipal bonds. Tender option bonds may be considered derivatives,
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and may expose the Funds to the same risks as investments in derivatives, as well as risks associated with leverage, especially the risk of increased volatility. To the extent the Funds invest in tender option bonds, they also are exposed to credit risk associated with the liquidity provider retained by the sponsor of a tender bond option trust.
Variable Rate Demand Obligations
Variable rate demand obligations (“VRDOs”) are tax-exempt obligations that contain a floating or variable interest rate adjustment formula and a right of demand on the part of the holder thereof to receive payment of the unpaid principal balance plus accrued interest upon a short notice period not to exceed seven days. There is the possibility that because of default or insolvency the demand feature of VRDOs may not be honored. The interest rates are adjustable at intervals (ranging from daily to up to one year) to some prevailing market rate for similar investments, such adjustment formula being calculated to maintain the market rate of the VRDOs at approximately the par value of the VRDOs on the adjustment date. The adjustments typically are based upon the Public Securities Association Index or some other appropriate interest rate adjustment index.
Because of the interest rate adjustment formula, VRDOs are not comparable to fixed-rate securities. During periods of declining interest rates, a Fund’s yield on a VRDO will decrease and its shareholders will forego the opportunity for capital appreciation. During periods of rising interest rates, however, a Fund’s yield on a VRDO will increase and its shareholders will have a reduced risk of capital depreciation.
Municipal Notes
Municipal notes (also known as municipal commercial paper) are shorter-term municipal debt obligations. They may provide interim financing in anticipation of tax collection, receipt of grants, bond sales or revenue receipts. If there is a shortfall in the anticipated proceeds, repayment on a municipal note may be delayed or the note may not be fully repaid, and the Funds may lose money.
Municipal commercial paper is generally unsecured and issued to meet short-term financing needs. The lack of security presents some risk of loss to the Funds since, in the event of an issuer’s bankruptcy, unsecured creditors are repaid only out of the assets, if any, that remain after secured creditors are repaid.
Non-U.S. Securities.  Certain obligations or securities of non-U.S. issuers may be deemed to be located in a particular country if: (i) the principal trading market for the security is in such country, (ii) the issuer is organized under the laws of such country, (iii) the issuer derives at least 50% of its revenues or profits from such country or has at least 50% of its assets situated in such country or, (iv) the issuer is the government of the particular country.
Privately Issued Securities.   The iShares Core 5-10 Year USD Bond ETF and iShares Core 10+ Year USD Bond ETF may not invest in private placements, but may invest in certain bonds registered with the SEC or exempt from registration at the time of issuance, or offered pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act with or without registration rights (“Rule 144A Bonds”).The iShares 1-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares 5-10 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares 10+ Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Broad USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Core 5-10 Year USD Bond ETF, iShares Core 10+ Year USD Bond ETF, iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF, iShares Government/Credit Bond ETF, iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF, iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF and iShares Intermediate Government/Credit Bond ETF may invest in privately issued securities, including those that may be resold only in accordance with Rule 144A or Regulation S under the 1933 Act (“Restricted Securities”). Rule 144A Bonds and Restricted Securities are not publicly-traded and are subject to a variety of restrictions, which limit a purchaser's ability to acquire or resell such securities. Accordingly, the liquidity of the market for specific Rule 144A Bonds and Restricted Securities may vary. Delay or difficulty in selling such securities may result in a loss to a Fund.
Ratings.  An investment-grade rating generally means the security or issuer is rated investment-grade by one or more of Moody’s, S&P Global Ratings, Fitch, or another credit rating agency designated as a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”) by the SEC, or is unrated but considered to be of equivalent quality by BFA. Generally, bonds rated Baa3 or above by Moody’s or BBB- or above by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch are considered “investment-grade” securities, bonds rated Baa are considered medium grade obligations subject to moderate credit risk and may possess certain speculative characteristics, while bonds rated BBB are regarded as having adequate capacity to meet financial commitments.
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Subsequent to purchase by a Fund, a rated security may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below an investment-grade rating. Bonds rated below Baa3 by Moody’s or below BBB- by S&P Global Ratings or Fitch are considered below investment-grade quality and are obligations of issuers that are generally considered predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal according to the terms of the obligation and, therefore, carry greater investment risk, including the possibility of issuer default and bankruptcy and increased market price volatility. Such lower-rated securities are commonly referred to as “junk bonds” and are subject to a substantial degree of credit risk. Please see Appendix B of this SAI for a description of each rating category of Moody's, S&P Global Ratings and Fitch and BFA's treatment of investments that are not rated by any of the rating agencies.
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.
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 requirements, and initial margining requirements will be phased in through September 1, 2022. 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.
As a result of regulatory requirements under the 1940 Act, each Fund is currently required to maintain an amount of liquid assets, accrued on a daily basis, having an aggregate value at least equal to the value of a Fund’s obligations under the applicable derivatives contract. To the extent that derivatives contracts are settled on a physical basis, a Fund will generally be required to maintain an amount of liquid assets equal to the notional value of the contract. On the other hand, in connection with derivatives contracts that are performed on a net basis, a Fund will generally be required to maintain liquid assets, accrued daily, equal only to the accrued excess, if any, of a Fund’s obligations over those of its counterparty under the contract. Accordingly, reliance by a Fund on physically-settled derivatives contracts may adversely impact investors by requiring a Fund to set aside a greater amount of liquid assets than would generally be required if a Fund were relying on cash-settled derivatives contracts.
On October 28, 2020, the SEC adopted new regulations governing the use of derivatives by registered investment companies (“Rule 18f-4”). The Funds will be required to implement and comply with Rule 18f-4 by August 19, 2022. Once implemented, Rule 18f-4 will impose limits on the amount of derivatives a fund can enter into, eliminate the asset segregation framework currently used by funds to comply with Section 18 of the 1940 Act, treat derivatives as senior securities and require funds whose use of derivatives is more than a limited specified exposure amount to establish and maintain a comprehensive derivatives risk management program and appoint a derivatives risk manager.
The iShares 1-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares 5-10 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Core 5-10 Year USD Bond ETF, iShares Core 10+ Year USD Bond ETF, iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF, iShares ESG Advanced Total USD Bond Market ETF, iShares ESG Aware U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF, iShares ESG Aware USD Corporate Bond ETF, iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF and iShares MBS 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 (“REITs”), 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 CFTC staff issued a no-action letter on
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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.
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.
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. A Fund's exposure to reverse repurchase agreements will be covered by liquid assets having a value equal to or greater than the Fund's obligations under such commitments. 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.
Securities of Investment Companies.  Each Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies (including money market funds) to the extent permitted by law, regulation, exemptive order or SEC staff guidance. Under the 1940 Act, a fund’s investment in investment companies is limited to, subject to certain exceptions, (i) 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of any one investment company, (ii) 5% of the fund’s total assets with respect to any one investment company, and (iii) 10% of the fund’s total assets with respect to investment companies in the aggregate. To the extent allowed by law or regulation, the Funds intend from time to time to invest their assets in securities of investment companies, including, but not limited to, money market funds, including those advised by BFA or otherwise affiliated with BFA, in excess of the limits discussed above. Other investment companies in which a Fund invests 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 a Fund. Pursuant to guidance issued by the SEC staff, fees and expenses of money market funds used for cash collateral received in
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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).  The iShares National Muni Bond ETF may invest in shares of other iShares funds that provide substantially similar exposure to the securities in its Underlying Index. BFA will not charge advisory fees on that portion of the iShares National Muni Bond ETF’s assets invested in shares of other iShares funds. The iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF may invest in shares of other registered investment companies advised by BFA, or its affiliates that provide substantially similar exposure to the securities in its Underlying Index. BFA will not charge advisory fees on that portion of the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF's assets invested in shares of other registered investment companies advised by BFA, or its affiliates.
Short-Term Instruments and Temporary Investments.   Each Fund may invest in short-term instruments, including variable rate demand notes, short-term municipal securities, short-term municipal money market funds and 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, 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, “F-1” by Fitch or “A-1” by 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.
Sovereign and Quasi-Sovereign Obligations.  Certain of the Funds may invest in sovereign and quasi-sovereign obligations. An investment in sovereign debt obligations involves special risks not present in corporate debt obligations. Sovereign debt includes securities issued or guaranteed by a foreign sovereign government. Quasi-sovereign debt includes securities issued or guaranteed by an entity affiliated with or backed by a sovereign government. Quasi-sovereign debt obligations are typically less liquid and less standardized than sovereign debt obligations. The issuer of the sovereign debt that controls the repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due, and a Fund may have limited recourse in the event of a default. Similar to other issuers, changes to the financial condition or credit rating of a non-U.S. government may cause the value of a sovereign debt to decline. During periods of economic uncertainty, the market prices of sovereign debt obligations may be more volatile than prices of U.S. debt obligations, which may affect a Fund's NAV. In the past, certain emerging market countries have encountered difficulties in servicing their debt obligations, withheld payments of principal and interest and declared moratoria on the payment of principal and interest on their sovereign debts. Several sovereign issuers have experienced volatility and adverse trends due to concerns about rising government debt levels, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. In the past, sovereign issuers have also defaulted on their debt obligations, including Russia, Argentina, Indonesia and Uruguay.
A sovereign debtor's willingness or ability to repay principal and pay interest in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its non-U.S. currency reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign exchange, the relative size of the debt service burden, the sovereign debtor's policy toward principal international lenders and local political constraints. Sovereign debtors may also be dependent on expected disbursements from foreign governments, multilateral agencies and other entities to reduce principal and interest arrears on their debt. The failure of a sovereign debtor to implement economic reforms, achieve specified levels of economic performance or repay principal or interest when due may result in the cancellation of third-party commitments to lend funds to the sovereign debtor, which may further impair such debtor's ability or willingness to service its debts. Quasi-sovereign debt obligations are typically less liquid and less standardized than government debt.
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
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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, and an amount of liquid assets having an aggregate value at least equal to the accrued excess will be maintained by the Fund.
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.
U.S. Agency Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk.  Certain of the Funds invest in securities backed by pools of mortgages issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or one of its agencies or sponsored entities, including Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”), and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”). The market for mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) has been adversely affected by the value of those MBS held and/or issued by these agencies and sponsored entities. If a U.S. government agency or sponsored entity issues securities in which certain of the Funds invest and such issuer is unable to meet its obligations or ceases to exist, and no plan is made for the repayment of securities, the performance of certain of the Funds will be adversely impacted.
Ginnie Mae. Established in 1968, Ginnie Mae is a wholly owned U.S. government corporation within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ginnie Mae is authorized to guarantee, with the backing of the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, the timely payment of principal and interest on securities issued by the institutions approved by Ginnie Mae (such as savings and loan institutions, commercial banks and mortgage banks), and backed by pools of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration or guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Ginnie Mae securities also are supported by the authority of Ginnie Mae to borrow funds from the U.S. Treasury Department to make payments under its guarantee. Any actual or potential disruption to Ginnie Mae, or the financial condition or credit of the U.S. government, could cause the value of Ginnie Mae securities to decline. In 2011, S&P Global Ratings downgraded U.S. Treasury securities from AAA rating to AA+ rating. A further downgrade of the ratings of U.S. government debt obligations, which are often used as a benchmark for other borrowing arrangements, could result in higher interest rates for individual and corporate borrowers, cause disruptions in the international bond markets and have a substantial negative effect on the U.S. economy. A downgrade of U.S. Treasury securities from another ratings agency or a further downgrade below AA+ rating by S&P Global Ratings may cause the value of Ginnie Mae securities to decline.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae was established as a federal agency in 1938 and in 1968 was chartered by Congress as a private shareholder-owned company. Securities issued by Fannie Mae are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest by Fannie Mae. The securities are not backed by or entitled to the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, but are supported by the right of Fannie Mae to borrow from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation chartered by Congress in 1970. Securities issued by Freddie Mac entitle the holder to timely payment of interests, which is guaranteed by Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac also guarantees either ultimate collection or timely payment of all principal payments. Freddie Mac may remit the amount due on account of its guarantee of ultimate payment of principal at any time after default on an underlying mortgage, but in no event later than one year after it becomes payable. The securities are not backed by or entitled to the full faith and credit of the U.S. government or by any Federal Home Loan Banks, but are supported by the right of Freddie Mac to borrow from the U.S. Treasury Department.
In 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency placed each of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into government conservatorship in an effort to provide stability in the financial markets and put the government-sponsored entities in sound and solvent condition. In addition, the U.S. Treasury Department agreed to provide Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac up to $100 billion of capital each on an as needed basis to ensure that they continue to provide liquidity to the housing and mortgage markets.
Mortgage-Backed Securities. MBS issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or one of its agencies or sponsored entities, such as Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, represent interests in pools of mortgages in which payments of both principal and interest on the securities are generally made monthly, in effect “passing through” the payments made by borrowers on the mortgage loans that underlie the securities (net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of the securities). MBS differ from other forms of debt securities, which normally provide for periodic payment of interest in fixed amounts with principal payments at maturity or specified call dates, while a MBS payments provide a combination of interest and principal throughout the a bond’s term. As further described below, MBS may be structured as pass-through securities or collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”).
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MBS are subject to the general risks associated with investing in real estate securities; that is, they may lose value if the value of the underlying real estate to which a pool of mortgages relates declines. In addition, investments in MBS involve certain specific risks. These risks include the failure of a party to meet its commitments under the related operative documents, adverse interest rate changes and the effects of prepayments on mortgage cash flows. The value of MBS, like that of traditional fixed-income securities, typically increases when interest rates fall and decreases when interest rates rise. However, MBS differ from traditional fixed-income securities because of their potential for prepayment without penalty. The price paid by a Fund for its MBS, the yield a Fund expects to receive from such securities and the weighted average life of the securities are based on a number of factors, including the anticipated rate of prepayment of the underlying mortgages. In a period of declining interest rates, borrowers may prepay the underlying mortgages more quickly than anticipated, thereby reducing the yield to maturity and the average life of the MBS. Moreover, when a Fund reinvests the proceeds of a prepayment in these circumstances, it will likely receive a rate of interest that is lower than the rate on the security that was prepaid.
To the extent that a Fund purchases MBS at a premium, mortgage foreclosures and principal prepayments may result in a loss to the extent of the premium paid. If a Fund buys such securities at a discount, both scheduled payments of principal and unscheduled prepayments will increase current and total returns and will accelerate the recognition of income, which, when distributed to shareholders, will be taxable as ordinary income. In a period of rising interest rates, prepayments of the underlying mortgages may occur at a slower than expected rate, creating maturity extension risk. This particular risk may effectively change a security that was considered short- or intermediate-term at the time of purchase into a long-term security. Since the value of long-term securities generally fluctuates more widely in response to changes in interest rates than that of shorter-term securities, maturity extension risk could increase the inherent volatility of a Fund. Under certain interest rate and prepayment scenarios, a Fund may fail to recoup fully its investment in MBS notwithstanding any direct or indirect U.S. governmental or agency guarantee.
Mortgage Pass-Through Securities. Some MBS, such as U.S. agency mortgage pass-through securities, represent a right to receive principal and interest payments collected on a pool of mortgages, which are passed through to security holders. In the basic mortgage pass-through structure, mortgages with similar issuer, term and coupon characteristics are collected and aggregated into a “pool” consisting of multiple mortgage loans. The pool is assigned a CUSIP number and undivided interests in the pool are traded and sold as pass-through securities. The holder of the security is entitled to a pro rata share of principal and interest payments (including unscheduled prepayments) from the pool of mortgage loans.
An investment in a specific pool of mortgage pass-through securities requires an analysis of the specific prepayment risk of mortgages within the covered pool (since mortgagors typically have the option to prepay their loans). The level of prepayments on a pool of MBS is difficult to predict and can impact the subsequent cash flows, value and yield of the mortgage pool. In addition, when trading specific mortgage pools, precise execution, delivery and settlement arrangements must be negotiated for each transaction.
To-Be-Announced Securities. A Fund may seek to gain exposure to U.S. agency mortgage pass-through securities by investing in TBA securities. “TBAs” refer to a commonly used mechanism for the forward settlement of U.S. agency MBS, and not to a separate type of MBS. Most transactions in fixed-rate MBS occur through the use of TBA transactions. TBA transactions generally are conducted in accordance with widely-accepted guidelines which establish commonly observed terms and conditions for execution, settlement, and delivery. In a TBA transaction, the buyer and seller decide on general trade parameters, such as the issuing agency, settlement date, par amount, and price. The actual mortgage pools delivered generally are determined two days prior to settlement date. Certain of the Funds may regularly enter into TBA agreements and “roll over” such agreements prior to the settlement date stipulated in such agreements. This type of TBA transaction is sometimes known as a “TBA roll.” In a TBA roll, such Funds generally will sell the obligation to purchase the pools stipulated in the TBA agreement prior to the stipulated settlement date and will enter into a new TBA agreement for future delivery of pools of MBS. In addition, certain of the Funds may enter into TBA agreements and settle such transactions on the stipulated settlement date by accepting actual receipt or delivery of the pools of MBS stipulated in the TBA agreement.
Certain of the Funds may invest cash pending settlement of TBA transactions in money market instruments, repurchase agreements, or other high quality, liquid short-term instruments, including money market funds advised by BFA. Each such Fund will pay its pro rata share of fees and expenses of any money market fund that it may invest in, in addition to such Fund’s own fees and expenses.
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Collateralized Mortgage Obligations. U.S. agency MBS may also be structured in the form of CMOs. CMOs are created by dividing the principal and interest payments collected on a pool of mortgages into several revenue streams (“tranches”) with different priority rights to portions of the underlying mortgage payments. Certain CMO tranches may represent a right to receive interest only, principal only, or an amount that remains after floating-rate tranches are paid (an “inverse floater”). These securities are frequently referred to as “mortgage derivatives” and may be extremely sensitive to changes in interest rates. Interest rates on inverse floaters, for example, vary inversely with a short-term floating rate (which may be reset periodically). Interest rates on inverse floaters will decrease when short-term rates increase and will increase when short-term rates decrease. These securities have the effect of providing a degree of investment leverage. In response to changes in market interest rates or other market conditions, the value of an inverse floater may increase or decrease at a multiple of the increase or decrease in the value of the underlying securities. If a Fund invests in CMO tranches issued by U.S. government agencies or sponsored entities and interest rates move in a manner not anticipated by Fund management, it is possible that such a Fund could lose all or substantially all of its investment. Certain CMOs in which certain of the Funds may invest may also provide a degree of investment leverage, which could cause such a Fund to lose all or substantially all of its investment.
U.S. Government Obligations.  Certain of the Funds may invest in various types of U.S. government obligations. U.S. government obligations are a type of bond and include securities issued or guaranteed as to principal and interest by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities. Payment of principal and interest on U.S. government obligations (i) may be backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. or (ii) may be backed solely by the issuing or guaranteeing agency or instrumentality itself (as with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Home Loan Bank notes). In the latter case, each Fund must look principally to the agency or instrumentality issuing or guaranteeing the obligation for ultimate repayment, which agency or instrumentality may be privately owned. There can be no assurance that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies or instrumentalities where it is not obligated to do so. As a general matter, the value of debt instruments, including U.S. government obligations, declines when market interest rates increase and rises when market interest rates decrease. Certain types of U.S. government obligations are subject to fluctuations in yield or value due to their structure or contract terms.
Some government agencies, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, purchase and guarantee residential mortgages and form MBS that they issue to the market. These agencies also hold their own MBS as well as those of other institutions with funding from the agency debentures they issue.
U.S.-Registered and Restricted Securities of Non-U.S. Issuers.  The Funds (other than the iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF, iShares 25+ Year Treasury STRIPS Bond ETF, iShares Agency Bond ETF, iShares MBS ETF, Municipal Bond Funds and Treasury Bond Funds) may invest in U.S.-registered, U.S. dollar-denominated bonds of non-U.S. governments, agencies, supranational entities and corporate issuers. The iShares 1-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares 5-10 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares 10+ Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Broad USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Core 5-10 Year USD Bond ETF, iShares Core 10+ Year USD Bond ETF, iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF, iShares ESG Advanced Total USD Bond Market ETF, iShares ESG Aware 1-5 Year Corporate Bond ETF, iShares ESG Aware U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF, iShares ESG Aware USD Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Government/Credit Bond ETF, iShares High Yield Bond Factor ETF, iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF, iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, iShares Intermediate Government/Credit Bond ETF and iShares Investment Grade Bond Factor ETF may invest in Restricted Securities issued by non-U.S. issuers. Investing in U.S.-registered, U.S. dollar-denominated bonds or Restricted Securities issued by non-U.S. issuers involves some 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 foreign countries; and potential restrictions of the flow of international capital. Non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less governmental regulation than U.S. issuers. In addition, the risk that the issuer may fail to meet its obligations on these securities may be affected by fluctuations in non-U.S. currency exchange rates between the issuer's local currency and the U.S. dollar. 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.
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 Prospectus, provided they are consistent with each Fund's investment objective and do not violate any investment restrictions or policies.
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General Considerations and Risks
A discussion of some of the principal risks associated with an investment in a Fund is contained in each Fund's Prospectus. An investment in a Fund should be made with an understanding that the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of the issuers of the portfolio securities, the value of bonds 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.
Call Risk.  During periods of falling interest rates, an issuer of a callable bond held by certain Funds may “call” or repay the security before its stated maturity, and a Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds in securities with lower yields, which would result in a decline in the Fund's income, or in securities with greater risks or with other less favorable features.
Custody Risk.  Custody risk refers to the risks inherent in the process of clearing and settling trades and to the holding of securities, cash and other assets by local banks, agents and depositories. Low trading volumes and volatile prices in less developed markets make trades harder to complete and settle, and governments or trade groups may compel local agents to hold securities in designated depositories that may not be subject to independent evaluation. Local agents are held only to the standards of care of their local markets, and thus may be subject to limited or no government oversight. Communications between the U.S. and emerging market countries may be unreliable, increasing the risk of delayed settlements or losses of security certificates. In general, the less developed a country’s securities market is, the greater the likelihood of custody problems. Practices in relation to the settlement of securities transactions in emerging markets involve higher risks than those in developed markets, in part because of the use of brokers and counterparties that are often less well capitalized, and custody and registration of assets in some countries may be unreliable. The possibility of fraud, negligence or undue influence being exerted by the issuer or refusal to recognize ownership exists in some emerging markets, and, along with other factors, could result in ownership registration being lost. In addition, the laws of certain countries may put limits on a Fund’s ability to recover its assets if a foreign bank or depository or issuer of a security or an agent of any of the foregoing goes bankrupt. A Fund would absorb any loss resulting from such custody problems and may have no successful claim for compensation.
Extension Risk.  During periods of rising interest rates, certain debt obligations may be paid off substantially more slowly than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply, resulting in a decline in a Fund’s income and potentially in the value of a Fund’s investments.
Illiquid Investments Risk.  Each Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 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.
Issuer Insolvency Risk.  Each Fund's potential exposure to financially or operationally troubled issuers involves a high degree of credit and market risk, which may be heightened during an economic downturn or recession. Should an issuer of securities held by a Fund become involved in a bankruptcy proceeding, reorganization or financial restructuring, a wide variety of considerations make an evaluation of the outcome of a Fund’s exposure to the issuer uncertain.
During the period of a bankruptcy proceeding, reorganization or financial restructuring, it is unlikely that each Fund will receive any interest payments on the securities of the issuer. Each Fund will be subject to significant uncertainty as to whether the reorganization or restructuring will be completed, and each Fund may bear certain extraordinary expenses to protect and recover its investment. Each Fund will also be subject to significant uncertainty as to when and in what manner and for what value the obligations evidenced by the securities of the issuer held by a Fund will eventually be satisfied. Even if a plan of reorganization or restructuring is adopted with respect to the securities of the issuer held by each Fund, there can
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be no assurance that the securities or other assets received by a Fund in connection with such plan of reorganization or restructuring will not have a lower value or income potential than may have been anticipated or no value. A Fund may be unable to enforce its claims or rights in any collateral or may have its claims or security interest in any collateral challenged, disallowed or subordinated to the claims or security interests of other creditors. In addition, amendments to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code or other relevant laws could alter the expected outcome or introduce greater uncertainty regarding the outcome of each Fund's securities holdings in the issuer. In a bankruptcy proceeding, a reorganization or restructuring, the securities of the issuer held by a Fund could be re-characterized or each Fund may receive different securities or other assets, including equity securities. These types of equity securities include, but are not limited to: common stock; preferred stock (including convertible preferred stock); bonds, notes and debentures convertible into common or preferred stock; stock purchase warrants and rights; equity interests in trusts; and depositary receipts. Equity securities are subject to changes in value, and their value may be more volatile than those of other asset classes. Holders of equity securities are subject to more risk than holders of debt securities because the status of equity holders is subordinate to debtholders in an issuer's capital structure. The value of equity securities received by each Fund could decline if the financial condition of the issuer deteriorates or if overall market and economic conditions, or conditions within the issuer’s region or industry, deteriorate. Equity securities received by a Fund through a bankruptcy proceeding, reorganization or restructuring of an issuer would not be component securities of a Fund’s Underlying Index, which could subject a Fund to additional tracking error risk.
To the extent that a Fund receives other assets in connection with a bankruptcy proceeding, reorganization or financial restructuring, a Fund may also be subject to additional risks associated with the assets received. One example of assets that a Fund could receive is an interest in one or more loans made to the issuer as part of a workout agreed to by a consortium of lienholders and creditors of the issuer. A Fund may receive such interests in loans to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act.
Securities or other assets received in a reorganization or restructuring typically entail a higher degree of risk than investments in securities of issuers that have not undergone a reorganization or restructuring and may be subject to heavy selling or downward pricing pressure after completion of the reorganization or restructuring. The post-reorganization/restructuring assets and securities may also be illiquid and difficult to sell or value. If a Fund participates in negotiations with respect to a plan of reorganization or restructuring with respect to securities of the issuer held by a Fund, each Fund also may be restricted from disposing such securities for a period of time. If a Fund becomes involved in such proceedings, each Fund may have more active participation in the affairs of the issuer than that assumed generally by an investor.
LIBOR Risk.  A Fund may be exposed to financial instruments that are tied to the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) to determine payment obligations, financing terms, hedging strategies or investment value. A Fund’s investments may pay interest at floating rates based on LIBOR or may be subject to interest caps or floors based on LIBOR. A Fund may also obtain financing at floating rates based on LIBOR. Derivative instruments utilized by a Fund may also reference LIBOR.
LIBOR Replacement Risk.  In 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021. On March 5, 2021, the administrator of LIBOR, ICE Benchmark Administration Limited, announced its intention to cease publishing two USD LIBOR settings immediately after publication on December 31, 2021, with the majority of the USD LIBOR settings to end immediately after publication on June 30, 2023. A Fund may have investments linked to other interbank offered rates, such as the Euro Overnight Index Average (“EONIA”), which may also cease to be published. Various financial industry groups have begun planning for the transition away from LIBOR, but there are challenges to converting certain securities and transactions to a new reference rate, such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), which is intended to replace USD LIBOR.
In June 2017, the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, which includes various private-market participants working with the Federal Reserve, announced its selection of the new SOFR, which is intended to be a broad measure of secured overnight U.S. Treasury repo rates, as its recommendation for an appropriate replacement for USD LIBOR. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York began publishing SOFR in 2018, and it has been used increasingly on a voluntary basis in new instruments and transactions. At times, SOFR has proven to be more volatile than the 3-month USD LIBOR. Working groups and regulators in other countries have suggested other alternatives for their markets, including the Sterling Overnight Interbank Average Rate (“SONIA”) in England.
Neither the effect of the LIBOR transition process nor its ultimate success can yet be known. The transition process might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets for, and reduce the effectiveness of, new hedges placed against, instruments whose terms currently include LIBOR. 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
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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. In addition, a liquid market for newly-issued instruments that use a reference rate other than LIBOR still may be developing. Instruments with fallback provisions (i.e., contractual provisions specifying the trigger events for a transition to a replacement rate) to facilitate the transition from LIBOR to an alternative reference rate may also include adjustments that do not adequately compensate the holder for the different characteristics of the alternative reference rate. As a result, the fallback provision causes a value transfer from one party to the instrument to the counterparty. Because the usefulness of LIBOR as a benchmark could decline during the transition period, these and related adverse effects could occur prior to the end of 2021 with respect to certain LIBOR settings or mid-2023 for the remaining LIBOR settings. There may also be challenges for a Fund to enter into hedging transactions against such newly-issued instruments until a market for such hedging transactions develops. The effect of any changes to, or discontinuation of, LIBOR on a Fund will vary based on, among other things, (1) existing fallback or termination provisions in individual contracts and the potential renegotiation of existing con