TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 06/22/12 -- BlackRock Investments Canada Inc. (BlackRock Canada), an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK), today announced that it has called a special meeting of unitholders of each of the iShares Funds to be held on August 28, 2012, to approve a change of auditor of the iShares Funds and certain related matters. At the special meeting of unitholders of SVR, unitholders will also be asked to consider the conversion of SVR from a closed-end fund to an exchange-traded fund (ETF) and certain related matters.
Summary of Auditor Change
BlackRock Canada is proposing to change the auditor of the iShares Funds, and the other ETFs for which it acts as trustee and manager, from Ernst & Young LLP to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is currently the auditor of the ETFs and other funds managed by the Canadian affiliate of BlackRock Canada.
BlackRock Canada expects that having one auditor service the entire Canadian iShares platform will lead to audit efficiencies and will allow BlackRock Canada to leverage PwC's expertise, given its leadership position among audit firms in respect of Canadian exchange-traded funds.
If the proposed change is approved by unitholders of the iShares Funds, BlackRock Canada expects that the transition of the iShares Funds to the new auditor will be fully implemented by September 30, 2012.
Subject to unitholders approving the change, the prospectus disclosure of the iShares Funds will be updated to reflect the change of auditor.
Summary of SVR Conversion
BlackRock Canada is proposing to convert SVR from a closed-end fund to an ETF. The conversion of SVR to an ETF is expected to provide SVR unitholders with potential benefits including: (i) greater market liquidity while maintaining its stock exchange listing; (ii) more efficient trading as the market price of SVR's units should be closer to their intrinsic net asset value; and (iii) the ability to significantly increase the asset base of SVR as a result of the continuous offering of its units as an ETF.
In connection with the conversion to an ETF, BlackRock Canada expects to file a preliminary prospectus qualifying the continuous distribution of SVR's hedged common units and non-hedged common units in September 2012. SVR will also change its name to "iShares Silver Bullion Fund" to reflect its conversion to an ETF. The conversion will not change the investment objective or strategies of SVR.
If the proposed change is approved by unitholders of SVR, the conversion of SVR to an ETF will be effective upon the issuance of a receipt for a final prospectus in relation to the continuous offering of the hedged common units and non-hedged common units of SVR, which is expected to occur in the Fall of 2012.
More information available
Information circulars providing more details on the special meetings of unitholders, the proposed changes and how unitholders can vote will be sent in early August to the unitholders of the iShares Funds and will be available on the iShares website at www.ishares.ca and on SEDAR. Only unitholders of record on July 23, 2012 will be entitled to vote in respect of these matters.
Further information on the iShares funds can be found at iShares.ca.
BlackRock, Inc. is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At March 31, 2012, BlackRock's AUM was US $3.684 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, 2012, the firm has approximately 9,900 employees in 27 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 exchange traded funds with over 500 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 shares 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 high net worth individuals.
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