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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

iShares Bigwigs Become Bloggers

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

BlackRock's iShares unit has joined the blogosphere. The San Francisco-based ETF giant's blog (http://isharesblog.com) features commentaries from chief investment officer Russ Koesterich, head of product for the Americas Noel Archard and US iShares managing director Kevin Feldman.

"We want to be available to our customers beyond 'business hours' and social media allows us to connect with clients when they are ready to consume information," Feldman said in a press release on Monday.

In early 2010, iShares put together a digital group to handle its social media efforts. In addition to running a blog, iShares also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Company Press Release

iShares Announces Social Media Launch

New iShares Blog Makes ETF Experts Available to an Expanded Audience

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(December 13, 2010) - BlackRock, Inc. today announced that its iShares® Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) business, the world's largest manager of ETFs, has launched a social media program to provide a deeper level of education for investment professionals. The latest addition is the iShares blog (http://isharesblog.com) featuring input and opinions from some of its most experienced leaders including Russ Koesterich, iShares Chief Investment Officer; Noel Archard, Head of iShares Product for the Americas and Kevin Feldman, Managing Director, US iShares.

As with many other industries, social media has transformed the way that financial services companies interact in the investment world. iShares has always placed a significant value on the investment professional, and to further these partnerships recently announced a major commitment to its social media platform. Kevin Feldman, Managing Director, iShares at BlackRock, explained: "The majority of our clients are using these platforms and we want to be in that space with them. It's becoming an important way we can connect with our clients."

One of the major draws to social media for fund managers such as iShares is the speed with which information and valuable content can be transmitted and socialized with clients. iShares is now about to split their content into either bite-sized tweets or entire blog posts and distribute to those that sign up to follow them via Twitter or Facebook. As Kevin Feldman explains, "Clients can customize what information we publish and how they consume it. We want to be available to our customers beyond 'business hours' and social media allows us to connect with clients when they are ready to consume information."

iShares formed a digital group internally to help manage its social media initiative and creation of social content in early 2010. The group is a mix of people who have managed social marketing outside of financial services and also seasoned experts from the ETF business. This blend of expertise helps achieve a two-pronged goal of creating valuable content and engaging customers.

A key element of the program from the beginning has been listening to clients. Mr. Feldman said: "It was important to start listening first before launching the program and our agenda will continue to be developed based upon client feedback. The message from clients at this stage: "Very informative. Much appreciated."

About BlackRock
BlackRock is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At September 30, 2010, BlackRock's AUM was $3.446 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 September 30, 2010, the firm has approximately 8,900 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
iShares is the global product leader in exchange traded funds with over 460 funds globally across equities, fixed income and commodities, which trade on 19 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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