What is iShares?

A global leader in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), iShares has more than $ 2 trillion invested in more than 800 different product offerings across a wide range of asset classes and investment strategies. iShares is a subsidiary of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company, and BlackRock is responsible for issuing and marketing iShares products.

Founded in 2000, iShares initial listings were established on major exchanges such as NYSE Euronext, Chicago Board Options Exchange, Nasdaq, and NYSE Arca.

Key takeaways

  • iShares is one of the largest and best-known ETF providers in the world, offering more than 800 products worldwide.
  • Founded in 2000, iShares now manages more than $ 2 trillion among its exchange-traded funds.
  • iShares is a subsidiary of BlackRock.

The basics of iShares

IShares ETFs are a flexible and low-cost way for investors to gain exposure to various market segments, including fixed income, emerging markets, and broad-based indices. For example, the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) tracks the S&P 500 index, while the iShares MSCI Emerging Market ETF (EEM) tracks more than 800 large and mid-cap companies in developing countries.

By combining low fees with tax efficiency on an asset seeking to match an index, ETFs can generate greater long-term savings compared to mutual funds. Beyond savings, most ETFs aim to match the performance of a benchmark index, which means turnover is less frequent and therefore fees are lower. However, this does not come at the expense of performance. In fact, iShares Core ETFs have outperformed more than 76% of their peers on average in the last five years.

Almost all major world markets include iShares funds, including the London Stock Exchange, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Toronto Stock Exchange, among others. At any given time, iShares and Vanguard represent more than 50% of the total ETF market.

IShares ETF Examples

For US investors, iShares offers 394 ETFs focused on commodities, stocks, fixed income, multiple assets, and real estate. In addition, investors can choose to focus on developing, emerging or frontier markets; specific regions and individual countries; industrial sectors; megatrends such as climate change, demographic change and technological advances; thematic investments such as environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria; and other selection methodologies. Here are some popular products from the iShares brand:

  • IShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV): This ETF that tracks the S&P 500 index had approximately $ 286 billion in assets as of June 2021. It has an expense ratio of 0.03% and has returned 7.27% annually since its inception in May 2000, compared with 7.33% of its benchmark index. .
  • IShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA): This ETF provides access to more than 900 stocks for companies in Europe, Australia, Asia and the Far East. The fund had about $ 56.8 billion in assets as of June 2021. It has an expense ratio of 0.32% and has returned 5.84% annually since its inception in August 2001.
  • iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG): This ETF provides broad exposure to investment grade bonds in the US The fund had approximately $ 88.8 billion in assets as of June 2021. It has an expense ratio of 0.04% and has returned 4.02% annual since its inception in September 2003.

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Mark Holland

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