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May 23, 2022

BlackRock to close two iShares funds with Russia exposure

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict

BlackRock ’s iShares has decided to close its MSCI Russia and MSCI Eastern Europe exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in response to the Ukraine conflict, reported Reuters.

BlackRock joins a number of other funds which have shut down after Moscow started its military operations in Ukraine.

The US-based asset manager had suspended the funds in early March shortly after the crisis started.

BlackRock said in a statement: “Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, normal market trading conditions have remained materially impaired, and a significant portion of Russian securities are still not currently tradeable for non-Russian foreign investors.”

According to BlackRock data, the MSCI Russia fund had $18m under management and the MSCI Eastern Europe fund had $108m.

The firm said that it believed it was acting in the interests of shareholders by closing the funds.

The Russian securities would remain in the funds “until such time as it is possible, practicable and appropriate, in the manager’s view, to liquidate each of the positions in an orderly and managed way,” it added.

A spokesperson for BlackRock said that two other BlackRock funds with Russia exposure have not been closed and will remain suspended.

BlackRock said in a separate statement: “With respect to any other fund, BlackRock will continue to make decisions on the future of suspended funds with significant exposure to Russia by taking into account the interests of investors, market conditions and the regulatory framework that applies to the funds.”

The BlackRock iShares funds are listed in London and other European exchanges.

IShares would delist the funds from the London Stock Exchange on or around 22 June, it said in a separate regulatory statement.

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