SOURCE: Barclays Global Investors

October 02, 2009 09:45 ET

iShares Announces Launch of iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Eastern Europe Index Fund (ESR)

New Fund Expands Access to Emerging Markets and Complements Current Family of ETFs

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - October 2, 2009) - iShares, the world's largest provider of exchange traded funds (ETFs)(1), today announced the start of trading of the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Eastern Europe Index Fund (NYSE Arca: ESR). The launch comes at a time when there is a renewed emphasis on the emerging markets. iShares currently offers the most extensive line of international ETFs with more than 70 global, international and emerging market ETFs out of over 180 iShares funds listed in the U.S.

"The emerging markets have been an ongoing investment theme throughout 2009," said Michael Latham, iShares co-CEO at Barclays Global Investors. "Eastern Europe is a region poised for potential growth, and presents significant opportunity for investors. This new fund will help provide investors with the ability to tactically take advantage of market opportunities within difficult-to-access markets, and allow others to strategically increase their current emerging markets allocation."

The fund will track the MSCI Emerging Markets Eastern Europe Index, which is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index designed to measure equity market performance of four emerging market countries: The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia. The fund's annual expense ratio is 0.72%.

Latham added, "The strong inflows into iShares emerging markets ETFs since the beginning of the year suggests that investors are favoring these vehicles over similar emerging market mutual funds. While the ability to access these markets remains important, investors seem most interested in the liquid nature of iShares ETFs in addition to transparency in cost, holdings and the product structure."

About Barclays Global Investors/iShares

Barclays Global Investors is one of the world's largest asset managers and a leading global provider of investment management products and services. BGI has more than 2,900 institutional clients and US$1.7 trillion of assets under management as of June 30, 2009. It transformed the investment industry by creating the first index strategy in 1971 and the first quantitative active strategy in 1979. BGI is the global product leader in exchange traded funds (iShares) with over 380 funds globally across equities, fixed income and commodities, which trade on 16 exchanges worldwide. 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.

Call 1-800-iShares to request a prospectus, which includes investment objectives, risks, fees, expenses and other information that you should read and consider carefully before investing.

Investing involves risks, including possible loss of principal. In addition to the normal risks associated with investing, international investments may involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles or from economic or political instability in other nations. Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors as well as increased volatility and lower trading volume. Narrowly focused investments typically exhibit higher volatility. Transactions in shares of the iShares Funds will result in brokerage commissions.

Shares of the iShares Funds may be sold throughout the day on the exchange through any brokerage account. However, shares may only be redeemed directly from a Fund by Authorized Participants, in very large creation/redemption units.

The iShares Funds ("Funds") are distributed by SEI Investments Distribution Co. (SEI). Barclays Global Fund Advisors (BGFA) serves as the investment advisor to the Funds. Barclays Global Investors Services (BGIS) and Barclays Global Investors Fund Distribution Company (BGIFDC) assist in the marketing of the Funds. BGFA, BGIS, and BGIFDC are subsidiaries of Barclays Global Investors, N.A., a majority-owned subsidiary of Barclays Bank PLC, none of which is affiliated with SEI.

©2009 Barclays Global Investors, N.A. All rights reserved. IShares® is a registered trademark of Barclays Global Investors, N.A. All other trademarks, servicemarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

(1) Source: Morgan Stanley Investment Strategies and Bloomberg as of 6/30/2009. Based on number of ETFs, AUM, and market share.