(Canada) BlackRock Announces a Special Meeting to Approve Changes to iShares® S&P/TSX Income Trust Index Fund (XTR)
BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited (BlackRock Canada), an indirect subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK), announced today that it has called a special meeting of unitholders of the iShares® S&P®/TSX® Income Trust Index Fund (TSX:XTR) to be held on August 23, 2010, to approve changes to the exchange traded fund’s (ETF) investment objective and certain related matters.
“At iShares, we are constantly seeking solutions to better meet the needs of investors,” said Oliver McMahon, director of product management for iShares ETFs at BlackRock Canada.
“As income trusts assess their conversion strategies in time for the January 2011 deadline, we believe that making this change will ensure investors receive a reliable income stream while still enjoying the benefits they’ve come to associate with iShares ETFs including diversification, transparency, lower costs, tax efficiency and the ability to use value-adding trading strategies such as limit and stop orders.”
Summary of changes to investment objective
BlackRock Canada is proposing to change the investment objective of XTR from its current investment objective of seeking to provide long-term capital growth by replicating, to the extent possible, the performance of the S&P/TSX Income Trust Index (Index) to an investment objective of seeking to provide unitholders with a consistent monthly cash distribution, with the potential for some modest capital growth, through investment in a diversified portfolio of income-bearing investments. XTR’s investment strategy would change from investing primarily in issuers which make up the Index to a fund strategy, whereby XTR would seek to achieve its investment objective by holding a portfolio of income-bearing ETFs.
XTR was established to provide long-term capital growth by replicating the performance of the Index. To carry out its investment objective, XTR has acquired and held securities issued by income trusts included in the Index. However, new tax rules will come into effect in 2011 that are expected to result in most of these issuers reorganizing their affairs so that they will no longer be income trusts and will no longer be eligible for inclusion in the Index. Although XTR could continue to invest in any issuer that remains in the Index, BlackRock Canada believes that the resulting portfolio would serve investor needs less effectively than the portfolio that will result from the proposed changes to XTR’s investment objective. BlackRock Canada has determined that it is in the best interests of unitholders to change XTR’s investment objective as set out above and the related investment strategy in an effort to continue to provide unitholders with a diversified source of regular income without relying on investments in income trusts.
Summary of changes to fees
In connection with the change to the investment objective and investment strategy of XTR, the method used to calculate the management fee in XTR will also change. The management fee will remain equal to 0.55% of the XTR’s net asset value per year. However, the calculation of the fee will change to reflect the fact that XTR will hold investments in other ETFs. XTR’s management fee of 0.55% per year will include both the management fee paid directly by XTR, and any management fees paid indirectly through XTR’s holdings in other ETFs. As well, if the new investment objective is approved, BlackRock anticipates that the name of XTR will be changed to the “iShares Diversified Monthly Income Fund”.
Although BlackRock Canada is seeking unitholder approval to change the investment objective of XTR, most other features of XTR will not change. XTR will continue to trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) throughout the trading day.
More information available
An information circular providing more details on the special meeting of unitholders, the proposed changes and how unitholders can vote will be sent in late July to the unitholders of XTR and will be available on the iShares website at www.iShares.ca. Only unitholders of record on July 22, 2010 will be entitled to vote in respect of these matters.
If the changes to the investment objective and related matters are approved by unitholders of XTR, BlackRock Canada expects that the transition of XTR to the proposed new investment objective will be fully implemented by approximately September 1, 2010 but in any event, no later than October 1, 2010.
For more information about XTR and the special meeting of unitholders, please visit www.iShares.ca. All other inquiries: 1-866-iShares (1-866-474-2737) or email iSharesCanada@blackrock.com.
BlackRock is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At March 31, 20 10, BlackRock’s AUM was US$3.364 trillion. BlackRock offers products that span the risk spectrum to meet clients’ needs, including active, enhanced and index strategies across markets and asset classes. Products are offered in a variety of structures including 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 March 31, 2010, the firm has approximately 8,500 employees in 24 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
iShares is the global product leader in ETFs with over 410 funds globally across equities, fixed income and commodities, which trade on 16 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.