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IShares Adds Low-Cost Access to Short Duration, High Quality Bonds to the Core Series for Canadian Investors with XSQ

The iShares Core Series for Canadian Investors Leads in Market Flows Since Launch


iShares, the industry-leading exchange-traded fund (ETF) business at BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited (BlackRock Canada), an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (BlackRock), announced the addition of the iShares Core Short Term High Quality Canadian Bond Index ETF (XSQ) to its Core Series. On the heels of the successful launch of the iShares Core Series for Canadian investors earlier this year, this new fund will deepen the fixed income opportunities within the Core Series by offering investors low-cost exposure to high quality, liquid, short duration Canadian bonds (1-5 years), with a credit rating of A or higher. XSQ has an annual management fee of 0.12%. XSQ has now closed the initial offering of its units which will be available for trading on the TSX when the market opens today.

"In an environment where rising rates are on the horizon, investors are reconsidering how best to access bonds," said Noel Archard, Managing Director, Head of BlackRock Canada. "With the addition of XSQ to our iShares Core Series, Canadian investors will have low-cost access to high quality short duration bonds that are well-suited for the long term as well as for managing against this potential risk."

High Quality Bond Exposure for the Core of the Portfolio

Similar to the iShares Core High Quality Canadian Bond Index ETF (XQB),(1) which is also part of the iShares Core Series, XSQ will provide diversified bond exposure with a weighting of 60 per cent government bonds and 40 per cent corporate bonds. While XQB covers the universe, XSQ will capture the short end of the Canadian bond universe by seeking to replicate, to the extent possible, the performance of the FTSE TMX Canada Liquid Short Term Capped Bond Index. Both XSQ and XQB provide investors with exposure to higher credit quality bonds without a large sacrifice in yield relative to comparable market cap weighted portfolios that include lower rated securities across their respective duration profiles.

iShares Core Series Leads Industry Flows

As the ETF market leader, with a 15-year history in ETFs in Canada and over $44.4 billion in assets under management, BlackRock Canada is launching XSQ on the heels of its successful iShares Core Series initiative that was launched in March. The iShares Core Series, a suite of nine, now 10, low-cost funds that cover the key assets classes used by Canadian investors in their portfolios today, has effectively captured 46% flows across the respective asset classes since launch(2).

"At BlackRock we continue to look for ways to build upon the success of our iShares Core Series designed with Canadian investors in mind and deliver products that speak to the evolving needs of investors," said Archard. "The addition of diversified, short duration bond exposure to the iShares Core Series with XSQ is one step further in that direction."

Designed to Make Investing Simpler, Easier and More Efficient

BlackRock Canada is committed to making it easier for investors to reach their goals. As the ETF universe continues to evolve and become more complex, the iShares Core Series for Canadian investors was designed to make it easier for the long-term investor to identify the investments suitable for the core of their portfolio. To further strengthen this effort, effective July 16, 2014, the funds in the Core Series have been renamed to include "Core" directly in the fund name, as set out below.

Ticker                     Former Fund Name                    New Fund Name
           iShares S&P/TSX Capped Composite      iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped
XIC                               Index ETF              Composite Index ETF
              iShares S&P/TSX Equity Income   iShares Core S&P/TSX Composite
XEI                               Index ETF          High Dividend Index ETF
              iShares High Quality Canadian        iShares Core High Quality
XQB                          Bond Index ETF          Canadian Bond Index ETF
                iShares Canadian Short Term iShares Core Canadian Short Term
XSH        Corporate + Maple Bond Index ETF Corporate + Maple Bond Index ETF
            iShares Canadian Long Term Bond  iShares Core Canadian Long Term
XLB                               Index ETF                   Bond Index ETF
XUS               iShares S&P 500 Index ETF   iShares Core S&P 500 Index ETF
            iShares S&P 500 Index ETF (CAD-   iShares Core S&P 500 Index ETF
XSP                                 Hedged)                    (CAD- Hedged)
                                            iShares Core MSCI EAFE IMI Index
XEF         iShares MSCI EAFE IMI Index ETF                              ETF
          iShares MSCI Emerging Markets IMI       iShares Core MSCI Emerging
XEC                               Index ETF            Markets IMI Index ETF

Effective July 21, 2014, the TSX ticker symbols for the Common Units and the Advisor Class Units of the iShares Core High Quality Canadian Bond Index ETF have also changed as set forth below.

Class of Units        Former TSX Ticker Symbol         New TSX Ticker Symbol
Common Units                               CAB                           XQB
Advisor Class                                                               
 Units                                   CAB.A                         XQB.A

Further information on the iShares funds can be found at iShares.ca.

About BlackRock

BlackRock is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At June 30, 2014, BlackRock's AUM was US$4.594 trillion. BlackRock helps clients meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® (exchange-traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2014, the firm had approximately 11,600 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa. For additional information, please visit the Company's website at www.blackrock.com.

About iShares ETFs

The iShares business is a global product leader in exchange traded funds with over 600 funds globally across equities, fixed income and commodities, which trade on 20 exchanges worldwide. The iShares funds are bought and sold like common stocks on securities exchanges. The iShares funds are attractive to many individual and institutional investors and financial intermediaries because of their relative low cost, tax efficiency and trading flexibility. Investors can purchase and sell securities through any brokerage firm, financial advisor, or online broker, and hold the funds in any type of brokerage account. The iShares customer base consists of the institutional segment of pension plans and fund managers, as well as the retail segment of financial advisors and individual investors.

iShares Funds are managed by BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with investing in iShares Funds. Please read the relevant prospectus before investing. The funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional.

© 2014 BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited. All rights reserved. iSHARES® and BLACKROCK® are registered trademarks of BlackRock, Inc., or its subsidiaries in the United States and elsewhere. Used with permission.

(1) Formerly iShares High Quality Canadian Bond Index ETF (CAB). See below for further details.

(2) Source: Internal research, BlackRock Canada, as of June 30, 2014.

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