10.16.2013
By Terry Flanagan

BlackRock Canada Launches ETF-based Mutual Funds

BlackRock Asset Management Canada has launched a suite of balanced mutual funds – BlackRock Strategic Portfolio Series, built with iShares ETFs. Leveraging the success of its iShares ETF platform and its asset management and risk analytics capabilities, the new fund series is designed to provide both advisors and investors with much needed alternative investment strategies during a time of ever changing market conditions.

“Our number one goal is to make a better mutual fund,” said Noel Archard, managing director, and had of BlackRock Canada. “As advisors and investors continue to face increasing pressures from ongoing market uncertainty and an ever-evolving investment landscape, including regulatory change, our Strategic Portfolios will provide the answer they need: greater value.”

This is not new territory for BlackRock – internationally, BlackRock currently manages mutual fund platforms in over 35 countries with more than US $420 billion in AUM – but this is breaking new ground in the Canadian investment industry. This initiative will not only expand BlackRock’s roster of financial products, but will also respond to growing investor needs in Canada.

“We are doing what many of our institutional clients are already doing – combining our asset management strength with that of our iShares ETF platform,” said Mary Anne Wiley, managing director and head of iShares, BlackRock Canada. “This new suite of mutual funds will change the way people think about investing and put the emphasis on the asset allocation mix versus that of single stock or manager selection.”

According to the Greenwich survey of Institutional Usage of ETFs released earlier this year, 62% of asset managers are using ETFs to gain exposures in the “core” portion of their portfolios and 55% are using them for either tactical adjustments or portfolio completion.

The increasing use of ETFs reflects a broader theme evident in Canada and other markets: asset managers, and institutional investors more broadly, are turning to ETFs more regularly to achieve their investment goals and discovering new functions for them within their investment portfolios.

The role of advisors is changing too, in line with these institutional trends, to focusing on providing sound advice and solutions that effectively deliver performance in market conditions where returns are lower, client expectations are higher and the impact of costs is more relevant.

“Our ability to package our asset allocation expertise with our industry-leading iShares ETFs enables us to become the “go-to” solutions provider for Canadian investors,” said Wiley.

The BlackRock Strategic Portfolio Series is competitively priced, with Management Expense Ratios (MERs) anywhere from 0.09 – 0.75% lower than the respective fund’s corresponding category asset-weighted average, and consists of seven allocation funds across either income or risk/return-oriented outcomes.

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