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To our iShares investors

March 12, 2018 / By Martin Small, Head of U.S. and Canada iShares at BlackRock


How did we ever live without them?

It’s a question I ask myself when I think about the phenomenal growth of ETFs. As millions of people seek greater control over their financial futures, exchange traded funds have powerfully advanced the proposition of what it means to invest. ETFs aren’t just having a moment. They’re creating a movement.

Movements aren’t simply about big numbers. They’re about the men and women who drive an idea or a product forward, who embrace something so passionately that it essentially takes on a life of its own. It’s the network effect in action. The more a thing is used, the greater the impetus to add new and better features — and the higher the potential to benefit everyone.

We’ve seen this type of virtuous circle throughout modern times with the railways in the 1880s, the telephone in the 1910s and the internet today. Remember weekend errand runs to big box stores? Now we can find anything from our favorite breakfast cereal to vacuum cleaner widgets in a centralized online location, pay for it in a single transaction and have it in our hands the next day. The process is so intuitive and so useful that it’s hard to remember a time when we couldn’t shop that way.

We believe the rise of ETFs is having a similar effect on investing. Another transformative technology is catalyzing change. More and more people are choosing ETFs to actively pursue the goals that matter most to them, by tapping into markets and strategies that were once available to only the most deep-pocketed professionals. Along the way, they are reshaping what’s possible by demanding fresh ideas to reflect fresh realities.

iShares is listening. Championing your progress has been at the heart of our mission from the beginning. You are why we’re constantly challenging the status quo, dislodging entrenched orthodoxies and anticipating change in a world where yesterday’s investment answers no longer meet tomorrow’s needs. Twenty years ago, we broke new ground with the first ETFs designed to give you access to individual countries, so you could match your international investments with your priorities. We created the first fixed income ETFs, to make owning bonds as easy and efficient as owning stocks. Our newest funds aim to unlock many of the secrets of active management, but at an ETF price. We want nothing less than to index anything that will make you a better investor. And because your work is never done, neither is ours.

The best part is that we’re driving this movement together. Thanks to you, we’re evolving mindsets and making lasting change — we're adding liquidity to help markets operating smoothly, engaging with our communities and striving to create better financial futures for everyone.

Today, one in three U.S. investors owns an ETF, according to BlackRock’s latest ETF Pulse Survey. That’s up from one in four last year, but we are just getting started. By 2020, we expect half of such investors to be following your lead and making ETFs an integral part of how they build portfolios.

So let’s spread the word. Let’s continue blazing the ETF trail until no one believes there was a time we lived without them.

Sincerely,

Martin Small

Martin Small
Managing Director
Martin Small, Managing Director, is Head of U.S. iShares at BlackRock. He is responsible for directing strategy and leading U.S. regional activities across ...