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By Ashley Redmond | 11-06-2012 12:00 AM

Canadian Investment Awards- iShares ETF submission

Head of iShares Canada, Mary Anne Wiley, discusses iShares submission for the ETF Initiative Award being handed out at the 2012 Morningstar Canadian Investment Awards.

Ashley Redmond: I am here with Mary Anne Wiley from iShares. Mary Anne, thanks so much for joining me.

Mary Anne Wiley: Pleasure to be here.

Redmond: Of course, as everyone knows, the Morningstar Canadian Investment Awards are coming up November 28 at the Fairmont Royal York, right here in Toronto – and we are getting excited for the evening. Now, throughout the evening there are various awards handed out and there are also various award categories. One of them is submission-based awards. This year we have six submission-based awards, and they are: Best Use of Technology, Best Discount Brokerage, Canadian Investment Marketing Award, Career Achievement, IFIC Investor Educational Award, and of course, the one we are here to discuss today, ETF Initiative Award.

Now, for this category, companies can submit a variety of initiatives, anything from resources on their website, to conferences, to educational initiatives, which of course, iShares did. Now, the one they submitted is Bringing ETF Education to the Masses: Leveraging Digital Mediums. So, Mary Anne, tell me about this initiative and why did you submit it?

Wiley: Well, as the market leader for exchange-traded funds, we've always felt that it is important to educate investors on how exchange-traded funds can be used within the portfolio. And digital media is a terrific way to get timely information out to all investors across the country in a format that’s relevant for them. So, it includes things such as information on our website, as well as videos and other social mediums.

Redmond: Great. And you are by far the largest provider of ETFs in Canada. So, do you feel a responsibility to educate investors?

Wiley: We do. We've always felt that it was our responsibility to help investors build portfolios in the most effective and efficient manner, and of course, exchange-traded funds are a great way to help investors do exactly that.

Redmond: And I know you are part of the Canadian ETF Association Board. Is that also part of the larger mandate to educate investors?

Wiley: Well, the Canadian ETF Association started up a couple of years ago and they do a number of different things within the exchange-traded funds landscape, but educating is a big part of that. And given that investor education has been part of our heritage at iShares since the beginning, we felt this was another avenue for us to help fulfill that mandate.

Redmond: Okay. And now you have brought your iPad here, so let’s take a look at it, and we are actually going to look at model portfolios today.

Wiley: Yes. So, one of the initiatives that we came out with about a year ago was to provide model portfolios to our investors. In fact, we have on average over 100,000 investors visit our website on a monthly basis, and consistently they were asking us for examples of how iShares' ETFs could be used to build portfolios.

So, what we have done is put simple portfolios onto the website that give example weights - and iShares' ETFs that can be used to build portfolios. Actually, most recently we created model portfolios that are based on fixed income, which is an asset class that is particularly important to investors.

Redmond: Yeah, we get a lot of questions about model portfolios as well. So, let’s take a look here. We have the conservative income, moderate income...

Wiley: That’s right. So, this is what an investor will see when they go onto the iShares website and go into the model portfolios. We have sample portfolios on the site that give examples of a weighting for the various iShares' ETFs, as well as a listing of those ETFs and investors can actually click into the individual holdings to get underlying fund and product information. So, they can see the portfolio in aggregate and they can see the underlying details as well.

Redmond: Great. So, a great tool for investors…

Wiley: It is.

Redmond: Okay. Great, Mary Anne and we hope to see you at the Investment Awards on the 28th.

Wiley: Thank you. Looking forward to it.

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