SOURCE: Barclays Global Investors

Barclays Global Investors

April 30, 2009 09:00 ET

New iShares 401(k) Program Identifies ETF 401(k) Solutions for Financial Advisors

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - April 30, 2009) - iShares, one of the leading providers of exchange traded funds (ETFs), launched the "iShares in 401(k) Program" today designed to help financial advisors utilize ETFs as standard investment options within 401(k) plans. The new iShares program identifies administrative providers and networks that offer competitively priced and straightforward access to ETFs in 401(k) accounts, making it easier for financial advisors to provide ETFs in clients' retirement programs alongside traditional mutual funds. iShares has already identified PAi and Ascensus as the first Preferred Providers and Mid Atlantic Financial Platforms as the first Preferred Network, and plans to selectively add more providers and networks in the future.

"Financial advisors and their clients are increasingly requesting access to ETFs in 401(k) plans, but many financial advisors struggle to find an administrator that can effectively deliver ETFs," said Darek Wojnar, Head of iShares Product Research and Strategy. "iShares is making it easier for financial advisors to learn about effective ETF 401(k) solutions while remaining focused on their main priority of staying closely connected with their clients and portfolios."

iShares has identified two types of service offerings advisors can choose from: Preferred Providers and Preferred Networks. Preferred Providers are administrators who offer fully bundled ETF 401(k) solutions to financial advisors. Preferred Networks are custodians or technology providers who enable all the administrators on their network to offer ETF 401(k) plans.

"Through this program, iShares has identified a portfolio of administrative options for advisors to select the offering that best fits their client's needs," said Mr. Wojnar. "Advisors can choose the fully bundled options from Preferred Providers or customize their offering through the wide range of administrators available on the Preferred Networks."

The programs identified as Preferred Providers and Preferred Networks are not offered by iShares or its affiliates, and Mr. Wojnar noted, "iShares recommends that each advisor make their own assessment of whether a program offering suits their needs."

Preferred Providers:

PAi, based in De Pere Wisconsin, has over 20 years experience, services over 13,000 401(k) plans, and currently administers over 2,000 ETF 401(k) plans. Their AdvisorETF401k program is tailored to advisors serving micro and small businesses.

Ascensus, based in Dresher Pennsylvania, is the largest independent record keeper in the U.S., servicing over 26,000 defined contribution plans with more than $20 Billion in assets. Their open-architecture PrudentAdvisor™ and PrudentLink™ programs serve advisors in all segments of the market.

Preferred Network:

Mid Atlantic Financial Platforms, based in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, provides custody and trust services to over 11,000 401(k) plans through more than 100 administrators nationwide. Their ETFxChange program allows any administrator connected to their platform to offer ETFs and mutual funds in the same plan.

Each of these firms has demonstrated the ability to effectively offer ETFs in 401(k) plans and each has a reputation for high quality service. Furthermore, each firm's program is dedicated to fee transparency that is consistent with iShares' philosophy and is sorely needed in the 401(k) market.

iShares' Mr. Wojnar concluded, "The demand for low costs and fee transparency in 401(k) plans is driving interest in ETFs as an investment option. High quality index funds have continued to be underrepresented in the small to mid 401(k) market. The addition of ETFs provides advisors with the tools to customize their clients' investment lineups, while addressing the growing needs for lower fees and increased transparency."

The iShares Funds are index funds that 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.

For more information on the benefits of iShares ETFs in 401(k) plans and the iShares in 401(k) program, please visit www.iShares401k.com.

Carefully consider the funds' investment objectives, risk factors and charges and expenses before investing. This and other information can be found in the funds' prospectuses, which may be obtained by calling 1-800-iShares or by visiting www.ishares.com. Read the prospectus carefully before investing.

About Barclays Global Investors

Barclays Global Investors is one of the world's largest asset managers and a leading global provider of investment management products and services with more than 3,000 institutional clients and US$1.5 trillion of assets under management as of December 31, 2008. BGI transformed the investment industry by creating the first index strategy in 1971 and the first quantitative active strategy in 1979. BGI is one of the global product leaders in exchange traded funds (iShares® exchange traded funds) with over 360 funds globally across equities, fixed income and commodities which trade on 18 exchanges worldwide. 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. Transactions in shares of the iShares Funds will result in brokerage commissions.

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. BGFA is a subsidiary of Barclays Global Investors, N.A., a majority-owned subsidiary of Barclays Bank PLC, none of which is affiliated with SEI.

Neither BGI nor SEI is affiliated with PAi, Ascensus or Mid Atlantic Financial.

©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.