iShares “Ask the Right Questions”


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months): March 2008 – March 2009
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: March 17, 2008
Base Period for Comparison: December 2007

a) Synopsis of the Case

In September 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed in government conservatorship. Markets plunged. The global financial crisis was in full swing. Investors reacted by cashing out. Mutual fund redemptions reached record highs. And Barclay's Global Investors (BGI) Canada quietly increased net new sales of their iShares Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) by over 480%.

An ETF is an investment vehicle that holds a selection of assets, such as stocks or bonds, like a mutual fund does. Most ETFs track an index, like the S+P 500 or specific sector, such as energy or financials. Though similar to mutual funds, ETFs offer several advantages, such as lower fees, greater transparency (knowing exactly which assets are held) and tradability like a stock. BGI has offered ETFs in Canada since 1999 and is the market leader.