Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The Exchange is proposing to list and trade shares of the iShares Sovereign Screened Global Bond Fund ("Fund") of the iShares Sovereign Screened Global Bond Fund, Inc. ("Company") under BATS Rule 14.11(i) ("Managed Fund Shares"). The shares of the Fund are collectively referred to herein as the "Shares." The text of the proposed rule change is available at the Exchange's Web site at
In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange included statements concerning the purpose of, and basis for, the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant parts of such statements.
The Exchange proposes to list and trade the Shares under BATS Rule 14.11(i), which governs the listing and trading of Managed Fund Shares on the Exchange.
BlackRock Fund Advisors is the investment adviser ("BFA" or "Adviser") to the Fund.
BATS Rule 14.11(i)(7) provides that, if the investment adviser to the investment company issuing Managed Fund Shares is affiliated with a broker-dealer, such investment adviser shall erect a "fire wall" between the investment adviser and the broker-dealer with respect to access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to such investment company portfolio.
According to the Registration Statement, the Fund will seek to generate current income while striving to mitigate downside risk by investing principally in global sovereign debt obligations. To achieve its objective, the Fund will invest, under normal
The Fund will hold sovereign debt obligations of at least 13 non-affiliated issuers. The Fund will not purchase the securities of issuers conducting their principal business activity in the same industry if, immediately after the purchase and as a result thereof, the value of the Fund's investments in that industry would equal or exceed 25% of the current value of the Fund's total assets, provided that this restriction does not limit the Fund's: (i) Investments in securities of other investment companies; (ii) investments in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies, or instrumentalities; or (iii) investments in repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government securities.
The Fund intends to qualify each year as a regulated investment company ("RIC") under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
The Fund intends to achieve its investment objective by investing, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of its net assets in bonds denominated in local currencies and the U.S. dollar, issued by governments in both developed and emerging market countries.
The Fund intends to maintain specific exposure to global government bonds with targeted investment characteristics. The Adviser will utilize a model-based proprietary investment process to assemble the investment portfolio from a defined group of developed and emerging market countries across all credit rating categories, including below investment grade. The investment process primarily will utilize the universe of sovereign debt issuers included in the BlackRock Sovereign Risk Index, a proprietary model that scores countries using a comprehensive list of relevant fiscal, financial, and institutional metrics to assess sovereign credit risk. These country scores, along with other model-driven factors, will be used to construct the Fund's investment portfolio by screening out lower scoring countries and weighting the remaining sovereigns based on their scores. As of July 31, 2012, there were 48 countries in the universe of eligible countries, any of which may or may not be held by the Fund.
The universe of sovereign debt currently includes securities that are rated "investment grade" as well as "below investment grade."
The Fund's investments will be consistent with the Fund's investment objective and will not be used to enhance leverage. Under normal circumstances, the effective duration of
While the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets in bonds denominated in local currencies and the U.S. dollar, issued by governments in both developed and emerging market countries, the Adviser expects that, under normal market circumstances, the Fund also intends to invest its remaining assets in money market securities (as described below) in a manner consistent with its investment objective in order to help manage cash flows in and out of the Fund, such as in connection with payment of dividends or expenses, and to satisfy margin requirements, to provide collateral, or to otherwise back investments in derivative instruments. For these purposes, money market securities include: short-term, high-quality obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or the agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government; short-term, high-quality securities issued or guaranteed by non-U.S. governments, agencies, and instrumentalities; repurchase agreements backed by U.S. government securities; money market mutual funds; and deposits and other obligations of U.S. and non-U.S. banks and financial institutions. All money market securities acquired by the Fund will be rated investment grade. The Fund does not intend to invest in any unrated money market securities. However, it may do so, to a limited extent, such as where a rated money market security becomes unrated, if such money market security is determined by the Adviser or the Sub-Adviser to be of comparable quality.
Additionally, the Fund may hold up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities (calculated at the time of investment), including Rule 144A securities.
Pursuant to the Exemptive Order, the Fund will not invest in swap agreements, futures contracts, or option contracts. The Fund may invest in currency forwards for hedging against foreign currency exchange rate risk and/or trade settlement purposes.
The Fund will issue and redeem Shares on a continuous basis at the net asset value per share ("NAV")
The consideration for purchase of Creation Units of the Fund generally will consist of the in-kind deposit of a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) ("Deposit Securities"), and the "Cash Component" computed as described below. Together, the Deposit Securities and the Cash Component constitute the "Fund Deposit," which represents the minimum initial and subsequent investment amount for a Creation Unit of the Fund.
The portfolio of securities required for purchase of a Creation Unit may not be identical to the portfolio of securities the Fund will deliver upon redemption of Fund Shares. The Deposit Securities and Fund Securities (as defined below), as the case may be, in connection with a purchase or redemption of a Creation Unit, generally will correspond pro rata, to the extent practicable, to the securities held by the Fund.
The Cash Component will be an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of the Shares (per Creation Unit) and the "Deposit Amount," which will be an amount equal to the market value of the Deposit Securities, and serve to compensate for any differences between the NAV per Creation Unit and the Deposit Amount. The Fund currently will offer Creation Units for in-kind deposits, but reserves the right to utilize a "cash" option in lieu of some or all of the applicable Deposit Securities for creation of Shares.
BFA will make available through the National Securities Clearing Corporation ("NSCC") on each business day, prior to the opening of business on the Exchange, the list of names and the required number or par value of each Deposit Security and the amount of the Cash Component to be included in the current Fund Deposit (based on information as of the end of the previous business day) for the Fund.
The identity and number or par value of the Deposit Securities may change pursuant to changes in the composition of the Fund's portfolio as rebalancing adjustments and corporate action events occur from time to time. The composition of the Deposit Securities may also change in response to adjustments to the weighting or composition of the holdings of the Fund.
The Fund reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of a "cash in lieu" amount to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security that may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery or that may not be eligible for transfer through the Depository Trust Company ("DTC") or the clearing process through the NSCC.
Except as noted below, all creation orders must be placed for one or more Creation Units and must be received by the Distributor in proper form no later than 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time, in each case on the date such order is placed in order for creation of Creation Units to be effected based on the NAV of Shares of
Fund Deposits must be delivered through the Federal Reserve System (for cash and government securities), through DTC (for corporate and municipal securities), or through a central depository account, such as with Euroclear or DTC, maintained by State Street or a sub-custodian ("Central Depository Account") by an authorized participant. Any portion of a Fund Deposit that may not be delivered through the Federal Reserve System or DTC must be delivered through a Central Depository Account. The Fund Deposit transfer must be ordered by the authorized participant in a timely fashion so as to ensure the delivery of the requisite number of Deposit Securities to the account of the Fund by no later than 3:00 p.m., Eastern Time on the Settlement Date.
A standard creation transaction fee will be imposed to offset the transfer and other transaction costs associated with the issuance of Creation Units.
Shares of the Fund may be redeemed only in Creation Units at their NAV next determined after receipt of a redemption request in proper form by the Distributor and only on a business day. BFA will make available through the NSCC, prior to the opening of business on the Exchange on each business day, the designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form on that day ("Fund Securities"). Fund Securities received on redemption may not be identical to Deposit Securities that are applicable to creations of Creation Units.
Unless cash redemptions are available or specified for the Fund, the redemption proceeds for a Creation Unit generally will consist of a specified amount of cash, Fund Securities, plus additional cash in an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of the Shares being redeemed, as next determined after the receipt of a request in proper form, and the value of the specified amount of cash and Fund Securities, less a redemption transaction fee. The Fund currently will redeem Shares for Fund Securities, but the Fund reserves the right to utilize a "cash" option for redemption of Shares.
A standard redemption transaction fee will be imposed to offset transfer and other transaction costs that may be incurred by the Fund.
Redemption requests for Creation Units of the Fund must be submitted to the Distributor by or through an authorized participant no later than 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time on any business day in order to receive that day's NAV. The authorized participant must transmit the request for redemption in the form required by the Fund to the Distributor in accordance with procedures set forth in the authorized participant agreement.
Additional information regarding the Shares and the Fund, including investment strategies, risks, creation and redemption procedures, fees and expenses, portfolio holdings disclosure policies, distributions, taxes, and reports to be distributed to beneficial owners of the Shares can be found in the Registration Statement or on the Web site for the Fund (www.iShares.com), as applicable.
The Fund's Web site, which will be publicly available prior to the public offering of Shares, will include a form of the prospectus for the Fund that may be downloaded. The Web site will include additional quantitative information updated on a daily basis, including, for the Fund: (1) the prior business day's reported NAV, mid-point of the bid/ask spread at the time of calculation of such NAV ("Bid/Ask Price"),
In addition, for the Fund, an estimated value, defined in BATS Rule 14.11(i)(3)(C) as the "Intraday Indicative Value," that reflects an estimated intraday value of the Fund's portfolio, will be disseminated. Moreover, the Intraday Indicative Value will be based upon the current value for the components of the Disclosed Portfolio and will be updated and widely disseminated by one or more major market data vendors at least every 15 seconds during the Exchange's Regular Trading Hours.
The dissemination of the Intraday Indicative Value, together with the Disclosed Portfolio, will allow investors to determine the value of the underlying portfolio of the Fund on a daily basis and provide a close estimate of that value throughout the trading day.
Intraday, executable price quotations on sovereign bonds and other assets are available from major broker-dealer firms. Such intraday price information
Information regarding market price and trading volume of the Shares will be continually available on a real-time basis throughout the day on brokers' computer screens and other electronic services. The previous day's closing price and trading volume information for the Shares will be published daily in the financial section of newspapers. Quotation and last-sale information for the Shares will be available on the facilities of the CTA.
The Shares will be subject to BATS Rule 14.11(i), which sets forth the initial and continued listing criteria applicable to Managed Fund Shares. The Exchange represents that, for initial and/or continued listing, the Fund must be in compliance with Rule 10A-3 under the Act.
With respect to trading halts, the Exchange may consider all relevant factors in exercising its discretion to halt or suspend trading in the Shares of the Fund. The Exchange will halt trading in the Shares under the conditions specified in BATS Rule 11.18. Trading may be halted because of market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in the Shares inadvisable. These may include: (1) The extent to which trading is not occurring in the securities and/or the financial instruments comprising the Disclosed Portfolio of the Fund; or (2) whether other unusual conditions or circumstances detrimental to the maintenance of a fair and orderly market are present. Trading in the Shares also will be subject to Rule 14.11(i)(4)(B)(iv), which sets forth circumstances under which Shares of the Fund may be halted.
The Exchange deems the Shares to be equity securities, thus rendering trading in the Shares subject to the Exchange's existing rules governing the trading of equity securities. BATS will allow trading in the Shares from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. The Exchange has appropriate rules to facilitate transactions in the Shares during all trading sessions. As provided in BATS Rule 11.11(a), the minimum price variation for quoting and entry of orders in Managed Fund Shares traded on the Exchange is $0.01, with the exception of securities that are priced less than $1.00, for which the minimum price variation for order entry is $0.0001.
The Exchange believes that its surveillance procedures are adequate to properly monitor the trading of the Shares on the Exchange during all trading sessions and to deter and detect violations of Exchange rules and the applicable federal securities laws. Trading of the Shares through the Exchange will be subject to the Exchange's surveillance procedures for derivative products, including Managed Fund Shares. The Exchange may obtain information via the Intermarket Surveillance Group ("ISG") from other exchanges who are members or affiliates of the ISG or with which the Exchange has entered into a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement.
Prior to the commencement of trading, the Exchange will inform its members in an Information Circular of the special characteristics and risks associated with trading the Shares. Specifically, the Information Circular will discuss the following: (1) The procedures for purchases and redemptions of Shares in Creation Units (and that Shares are not individually redeemable); (2) BATS Rule 3.7, which imposes suitability obligations on Exchange members with respect to recommending transactions in the Shares to customers; (3) how information regarding the Intraday Indicative Value is disseminated; (4) the risks involved in trading the Shares during the Pre-Opening
In addition, the Information Circular will advise members, prior to the commencement of trading, of the prospectus delivery requirements applicable to the Fund. Members purchasing Shares from the Fund for resale to investors will deliver a prospectus to such investors. The Information Circular will also discuss any exemptive, no-action, and interpretive relief granted by the Commission from any rules under the Act.
In addition, the Information Circular will reference that the Fund is subject to various fees and expenses described in the Registration Statement. The Information Circular will also disclose the trading hours of the Shares of the Fund and the applicable NAV Calculation Time for the Shares. The Information Circular will disclose that information about the Shares of the Fund will be publicly available on the Fund's Web site. In addition, the Information Circular will reference that the Company is subject to various fees and expenses described in the Fund's Registration Statement.
The Exchange believes that the proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act
The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices in that the Shares will be listed and traded on the Exchange pursuant to the initial and continued listing criteria in BATS Rule 14.11(i). The Exchange believes that its surveillance procedures are adequate to
According to the Registration Statement, the Fund expects that it will have at least 80% of its assets invested in sovereign bonds. The Fund's exposure to any single industry will generally be limited to 25% of the Fund's assets. Countries must have at least $5 billion of outstanding debt principal amounts at the beginning of the calendar year in order to be included in the eligible universe. The Fund expects that, under normal circumstances, the securities included in the Fund will be primarily investment grade. As of July 31, 2012, 97% of the securities in the BlackRock Sovereign Risk Index were rated investment grade. The Fund's investments will be consistent with the Fund's investment objective and will not be used to enhance leverage. The Fund also may invest its net assets in money market instruments at the discretion of the Adviser or Sub-Adviser.
Additionally, the Fund may hold up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities (calculated at the time of investment), including Rule 144A securities. The Fund will monitor its portfolio liquidity on an ongoing basis to determine whether, in light of current circumstances, an adequate level of liquidity is being maintained, and will consider taking appropriate steps in order to maintain adequate liquidity if, through a change in values, net assets, or other circumstances, more than 15% of the Fund's net assets are held in illiquid securities. Illiquid securities include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets as determined in accordance with Commission staff guidance.
Pursuant to the Exemptive Order, the Fund will not invest in swap agreements, futures contracts, or option contracts. The Fund may invest in currency forwards for hedging against foreign currency exchange rate risk and/or trade settlement purposes.
The proposed rule change is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade and to protect investors and the public interest in that the Exchange will obtain a representation from the issuer of the Shares that the NAV per Share will be calculated daily and that the NAV and the Disclosed Portfolio will be made available to all market participants at the same time. In addition, a large amount of information is publicly available regarding the Fund and the Shares, thereby promoting market transparency. Moreover, the Intraday Indicative Value will be disseminated by one or more major market data vendors at least every 15 seconds during Regular Trading Hours. On each business day, before commencement of trading in Shares during Regular Trading Hours, the Fund will disclose on its Web site the Disclosed Portfolio that will form the basis for the Fund's calculation of NAV at the end of the business day. Pricing information will be available on the Fund's Web site including: (1) The prior business day's reported NAV, the Bid/Ask Price of the Fund, daily trading volume, and a calculation of the premium and discount of the Bid/Ask Price against the NAV; and (2) data in chart format displaying the frequency distribution of discounts and premiums of the daily Bid/Ask Price against the NAV, within appropriate ranges, for each of the four previous calendar quarters. Additionally, information regarding market price and trading volume of the Shares will be continually available on a real-time basis throughout the day on brokers' computer screens and other electronic services, and quotation and last-sale information for the Shares will be available on the facilities of the CTA, which contain information for widely followed indexes and securities traded on the Exchange. The Web site for the Fund will include a form of the prospectus for the Fund and additional data relating to NAV and other applicable quantitative information. Trading in Shares of the Fund will be halted under the conditions specified in BATS Rule 11.18. Trading may also be halted because of market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in the Shares inadvisable. Finally, trading in the Shares will be subject to BATS Rule 14.11(i)(4)(B)(iv), which sets forth circumstances under which Shares of the Fund may be halted. In addition, as noted above, investors will have ready access to information regarding the Fund's holding, the Intraday Indicative Value, the Disclosed Portfolio, and quotation and last-sale information for the Shares.
Intraday, executable price quotations on global sovereign debt obligations and other assets are available from major broker-dealer firms. Such intraday price information is available through subscription services, such as Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and International Data Corporation, which can be accessed by authorized participants and other investors.
The proposed rule change is designed to perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest in that it will facilitate the listing and trading of an additional type of actively managed exchange-traded product that will enhance competition among market participants, to the benefit of investors and the marketplace. As noted above, the Exchange has in place surveillance procedures relating to trading in the Shares and may obtain information via ISG from other exchanges that are members of ISG or with which the Exchange has entered into a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement. In addition, as noted above, investors will have ready access to information regarding the Fund's holdings, the Intraday Indicative Value, the Disclosed Portfolio, and quotation and last-sale information for the Shares.
For the above reasons, the Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act.
The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change imposes any burden on competition.
The Exchange has neither solicited nor received written comments on the proposed rule change.
Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the
(A) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or
(B) Institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.
Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
* Use the Commission's Internet comment form(
* Send an email to
* Send paper comments in triplicate to Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.