iShares are units of families of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) managed by Barclays Global Investors. The first iShares were known as WEBS but were since rebranded.

Each iShares fund tracks a bond or stock market index. The following stock exchanges list iShares funds: American Stock Exchange, New York Stock Exchange, Toronto Stock Exchange, Australian Securities Exchange and several European and Asian stock exchanges. According to Morgan Stanley, sponsor of several iShare funds, iShares is the largest issuer of ETFs in the US and globally [Morgan Stanley research, May 2006] .


In 1993, the American Stock Exchange launched the SPDR fund, whose shares were traded in real time and tracked the S&P 500 stock market index. This was the first ETF still trading in the United States. In response, Morgan Stanley launched a series of ETFs called "WEBS" that tracked its MSCI foreign stock market indices. WEBS, an acronym for "World Equity Benchmark Shares", was developed in cooperation with Barclays Global Investors, the fund manager. Unlike the SPDR fund that was a unit investment trust, the underlying vehicle of the WEBS were mutual funds.cite book
last = Gastineau
first = Gary
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Exchange-Traded Funds Manual
publisher = John Wiley and Sons
date = 2002
location =
pages = 35
url =
accessdate= 2008-04-24
doi =
id =
isbn = 0471220922

Barclays later launched other ETFs, branding them "iShares". WEBS were soon renamed "iShares MSCI Series".

On November 7, 2006, iShares announced the purchase of the INDEXCHANGE ETF unit of HypoVereinsbank for €240 million.

Barclays added currency hedging features to the Canadian iShares, to distinguish them from US products in response to the elimination of limits on foreign holdings by Canadians in an RRSP. Barclays hedges currency changes in the Canadian - US exchange rate for the S&P 500 and the MSCI EAFE.

iShares sponsorships

iShares in Europe currently sponsors the iShares Cup sailing series, racing Extreme 40 catamarans across Europe.

On June 16, 2006, the professional road bicycle racing team Phonak Hearing Systems announced that iShares, at that time a co-sponsor, had signed a three-year contract to become the team's title sponsor beginning in the 2007 UCI ProTour season. However, on August 15, 2006, Andy Rihs, the owner of the team, stated that the deal had been officially called off and that the team would be disbanded at the end of the 2006 season. Rihs pointed to the Floyd Landis doping scandal (which broke out after the completion of the 2006 Tour de France) as being the reason for cancellation of the deal. [cite news |url=
title=Owner set to disband Landis' team|publisher=BBC Sport|date=2006-08-15

iShares is currently the official North American sponsor of the Cirque du Soleil Big Top travelling shows.

ee also

*List of exchange-traded funds


External links

* [ Official US iShares site]
* [ Official Australian iShares site]
* [ Official European iShares site]
* [ Official Canadian iShares site]
* [ Official Barclays Global Investors site]
* Changes to the [ XSP, XIN Canadian iShares] , and the [ XSB and XRB Canadian iShares]

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