DEFINITION of 'iShares'

A large provider of exchange-traded funds, managed by the investment management company BlackRock. iShares, Inc. funds began trading in the United States and the United Kingdom in 2000, and are listed on major exchanges such as the NYSE Euronext, Chicago Board Options Exchange, Nasdaq and NYSE Arca. In 2010, iShares, Inc. represented 46% of the U.S. ETF market, with over 440 funds and excess of $480 billion in assets under management.


One example of ETFs are shares of a portfolio intended to track a market index. Owning shares of an ETF differs from owning shares of an index mutual fund in that ETFs are traded like stocks and can be more tax efficient and cost efficient. For example, iShares' S&P 500 fund, IVV, is designed to track the performance of the S&P 500.

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  1. How can I buy an S&P 500 fund?

    In 1976, Vanguard introduced individual investors to the first mutual fund designed to mimic the S&P 500 Index. Today ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between iShares, VIPERs and Spiders?

    iShares, VIPERs and spiders each represent different exchange-traded fund (ETF) families. In other words, an individual company ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Should mutual funds be subject to more regulation?

    Mutual funds, when compared to other types of pooled investments such as hedge funds, have very strict regulations. In fact, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Do ETFs pay capital gains?

    Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can generate capital gains that are transferred to shareholders, typically once a year, triggering ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do real estate hedge funds work?

    A hedge fund is a type of investment vehicle and business structure that aggregates capital from multiple investors and invests ... Read Full Answer >>
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    While some Vanguard exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are available commission-free from third-party brokers, a large portion ... Read Full Answer >>

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