Equity

BSF BlackRock Systematic US Equity Absolute Return Fund

Overview

Important Information: Capital at Risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

The fund invests a large portion of assets which are denominated in other currencies; hence changes in the relevant exchange rate will affect the value of the investment. The strategies utilised by the Fund involve the use of derivatives to facilitate certain investment management techniques including the establishment of both 'long' and 'synthetic short' positions and creation of market leverage for the purposes of increasing the economic exposure of a Fund beyond the value of its net assets. The use of derivatives in this manner may have the effect of increasing the overall risk profile of the Funds. Investors in this fund should understand that the Fund is not guaranteed to produce a positive return and as an absolute return product, performance may not move in line with general stock market trends as both positive and negative share movements affect the overall value of the fund. The Manager employs a risk management process to oversee and manage derivative exposure within the Fund. The Fund may be exposed to finance sector companies, as a service provider or as counterparty for financial contracts. Liquidity in the financial markets has been severely restricted, causing a number of firms to withdrawn from the market, or in some extreme cases, becoming insolvent. This may have an adverse affect on the activities of the fund.

All currency hedged share classes of this fund use derivatives to hedge currency risk. The use of derivatives for a share class could pose a potential risk of contagion (also known as spill-over) to other share classes in the fund. The fund’s management company will ensure appropriate procedures are in place to minimise contagion risk to other share class. Using the drop down box directly below the name of the fund, you can view a list of all share classes in the fund – currency hedged share classes are indicated by the word “Hedged” in the name of the share class. In addition, a full list of all currency hedged share classes is available on request from the fund’s management company

To the extent the Fund undertakes securities lending to reduce costs, the Fund will receive 62.5% of the associated revenue generated and the remaining 37.5% will be received by BlackRock as the securities lending agent. As securities lending revenue sharing does not increase the costs of running the Fund, this has been excluded from the ongoing charges.

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Performance

Performance

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This chart shows the fund's performance as the percentage loss or gain per year over the last 4 years.

  2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total Return (%) -11.3 17.4 10.9 4.1
Comparator Benchmark 1 (%) -7.3 8.7 0.3 3.4

Performance is shown after deduction of ongoing charges. Any entry and exit charges are excluded from the calculation.

  1y 3y 5y 10y Incept.
18.93 12.66 6.16 - 5.79
Comparator Benchmark 1 (%) 3.86 3.62 1.81 - -
  YTD 1m 3m 6m 1y 3y 5y 10y Incept.
12.00 3.86 2.92 12.00 18.93 42.97 34.84 - 33.61
Comparator Benchmark 1 (%) 1.91 0.28 0.94 1.91 3.86 11.27 9.38 - -
  From
30-Jun-2019
To
30-Jun-2020
From
30-Jun-2020
To
30-Jun-2021
From
30-Jun-2021
To
30-Jun-2022
From
30-Jun-2022
To
30-Jun-2023
From
30-Jun-2023
To
30-Jun-2024
Total Return (%)

as of 30/Jun/2024

4.25 -9.54 20.64 -0.35 18.93
Comparator Benchmark 1 (%)

as of 30/Jun/2024

- -5.05 4.98 2.05 3.86

The figures shown relate to past performance. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Markets could develop very differently in the future. It can help you to assess how the fund has been managed in the past

Share Class and Benchmark performance displayed in EUR, hedged share class benchmark performance is displayed in USD.

Performance is shown on a Net Asset Value (NAV) basis, with gross income reinvested where applicable. The return of your investment may increase or decrease as a result of currency fluctuations if your investment is made in a currency other than that used in the past performance calculation. Source: Blackrock

Key Facts

Key Facts

Net Assets of Fund
as of 17/Jul/2024
USD 763,026,242
Fund Launch Date
17/Feb/2012
Fund Base Currency
USD
Comparator Benchmark 1
3 Month EURIBOR Index
Initial Charge
5.00%
ISIN
LU1991022069
Performance Fee
20.00%
Minimum Subsequent Investment
EUR 1,000.00
Domicile
Luxembourg
Management Company
BlackRock (Luxembourg) S.A.
Dealing Settlement
Trade Date + 3 days
Bloomberg Ticker
BRADA2E
Share Class launch date
08/May/2019
Share Class Currency
EUR
Asset Class
Equity
SFDR Classification
Article 8
Ongoing Charges Figures
1.97%
Annual Management Fee
1.50%
Minimum Initial Investment
EUR 5,000.00
Use of Income
Accumulating
Regulatory Structure
UCITS
Morningstar Category
Equity Market Neutral USD
Dealing Frequency
Daily, forward pricing basis
SEDOL
BGV1JW8

ESG Integration

ESG Integration

ESG integration is the practice of incorporating financially material environmental, social and governance (ESG) data or information into the investment decision process with the objective of enhancing risk-adjusted returns of our clients’ portfolios. Unless otherwise stated in Fund documentation or included within the Fund's investment objective, inclusion of this statement does not imply that the Fund has an ESG-aligned investment objective or strategy, but rather describes how ESG data or information is considered as part of the overall investment process.

The Fund manager may include ESG considerations in the research and decision phases of the investment process. Funds with ESG-related objectives may also include ESG considerations in the portfolio construction phase of the investment process. The research phase may include relevant, internal ESG research used to assess certain characteristics, including, but not limited to, economic and environmental transition, market structure, superior growth, management quality, and risk characteristics associated with environmental, social, and governance matters. ESG insights may be combined with other internal research views to inform active portfolio weighting versus a reference benchmark (or weighting implemented to achieve an absolute return outcome, if applicable). The Fund manager conducts regular portfolio reviews with the Risk and Quantitative Analysis group and with the Chief Investment Officers. These reviews include discussion, where appropriate, of the portfolio's exposure to material ESG risks, as well as exposure to sustainability-related business involvements, climate metrics, and other factors.

Sustainability-related Disclosure

Sustainability-related Disclosure

This section provides sustainability-related information about the Fund, pursuant to Article 10 SFDR.

A. Summary

This Fund promotes environmental or social characteristics, but does not have as its objective sustainable investment.The Fund does not commit to holding Sustainable Investments, however, they may form part of the portfolio. The Fund seeks to: (1) address key environmental and social issues using ESG scoring; (2) limit the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of the portfolio; and (3) apply the BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens.

The Fund will apply the BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens Policy. The Investment Adviser will create a portfolio that seeks to deliver a superior ESG score and a lower carbon emissions intensity score of the unlevered long positions against the short positions.The binding elements of the investment strategy are as follows: (1) Apply the BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens; (2) Maintain the ESG score of the Fund’s unlevered long positions are higher than that of the Fund’s unlevered short positions; and (3) Maintain the carbon emissions intensity of the Fund’s unlevered long positions are lower than that of the Fund’s unlevered short positions.The Fund considers PAIs on sustainability factors through the application of the BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens and its carbon reduction target.

A minimum of 80% of the Fund’s total assets will be invested in investments that are aligned with the environmental and/or social characteristics. The Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in other investments.The Fund does not currently commit to investing more than 0% of its assets in Sustainable Investments with an environmental objective aligned with the EU Taxonomy, however, these investments may form part of the portfolio.The Fund does not currently commit to invest in fossil gas and/or nuclear energy related activities that comply with the EU Taxonomy, however, these investments may form part of the portfolio.

BlackRock has developed a highly automated compliance process to help ensure that the Fund is managed in accordance with its stated investment guidelines and applicable regulatory requirements. This includes monitoring of the environmental or social characteristics of the Fund in accordance with the relevant methodology. BlackRock has developed a proprietary methodology for determining Sustainable Investments and the Fund uses a number of other methodologies to measure how the social or environmental characteristics promoted by the Fund are met.

BlackRock Portfolio Managers have access to research, data, tools, and analytics to integrate ESG insights into their investment process. ESG datasets are sourced from external third-party data providers, including but not limited to MSCI, Sustainalytics, Refinitiv, S&P and Clarity AI. BlackRock applies a comprehensive due diligence process to evaluate provider offerings with highly targeted methodology reviews and coverage assessments based on the sustainable investment strategy of the product. Data, including ESG data, received through our existing interfaces, and then processed through a series of quality control and completeness checks which seeks to ensure that data is high-quality data before being made available for use downstream within BlackRock systems and applications, such as Aladdin. BlackRock strives to capture as much reported data from companies via 3rd party data providers as practicable, however, industry standards around disclosure frameworks are still evolving, particularly with respect to forward looking indicators. As a result, in certain cases we rely on estimated or proxy measures from data providers to cover our broad investible universe of issuers.

BlackRock continues to monitor developments in the EU's ongoing implementation of its framework for sustainable investing and its investment methodologies seeking to ensure alignment as the regulatory environment changes. ESG data sets are constantly changing and improving as disclosure standards, regulatory frameworks and industry practice evolve. BlackRock continues to work with a broad range of market participants to improve data quality. Sustainable investing and understanding of sustainability is evolving along with the data environment. Industry participants face challenges in identifying a single metric or set of standardized metrics to provide a complete view on a company or an investment. BlackRock has therefore established a framework to identify sustainable investments.

BlackRock applies a high standard of due diligence in the selection and ongoing monitoring of investments made by the Fund for the purpose of compliance with the investment, liquidity and risk guidelines of the Fund, as well as the sustainability risk and ESG criteria and general performance.

Engagement with companies in which we invest our clients’ assets occurs at multiple levels within BlackRock. Where investment teams chooses to leverage engagement, this can take a variety of forms but, in essence, the portfolio management team would seek to have regular and continuing dialogue with executives or board directors of engaged investee companies to advance sound governance and sustainable business practices targeted at the identified ESG characteristics and principal adverse indicators, as well as to understand the effectiveness of the company’s management and oversight of activities designed to address the identified ESG issues. Engagement also allows the portfolio management team to provide feedback on company practices and disclosures.

There is no specific index designated as a reference benchmark to determine whether this Fund is aligned with the environmental and/or social characteristics that it promotes.

B. No sustainable investment objective

This Fund promotes environmental or social characteristics, but does not have as its objective sustainable investment.

The Fund does not commit to holding Sustainable Investments, however, they may form part of the portfolio. Please refer to the, 'Section D - Investment Strategy' below, which describes how the Fund considers PAIs on sustainability factors.

C. Environmental or social characteristics of the financial product

The Fund seeks to address key environmental and social issues that are deemed to be relevant to the issuers’ businesses using ESG scores as a means of assessing issuers’ exposure to and management of those risks and opportunities. The ESG scores recognise that certain environmental and social issues are more material based on the type of activity that the issuer is involved in by weighting the issues differently in the scoring methodology. The following environmental themes are captured in the environmental component of the ESG score: climate change, natural capital, pollution and waste and environmental opportunities. The following social themes are captured in the social component of the ESG score: human capital, product liability, stakeholder opposition and social opportunities. Corporate issuers that have better ESG scores are perceived to have more sustainable business practices.

Greenhouse gas emissions are categorised into three groups or ’scopes’ by the most widely-used international accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting issuer. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in an issuer’s value chain. The Fund seeks to have a lower greenhouse gas emissions intensity of its unlevered long positions relative to its unlevered short postions, which is the estimated greenhouse gas (Scope 1 and Scope 2) emissions per $1 million of sales revenue across the Fund’s holdings. For the avoidance of doubt, Scope 3 is not currently considered for this calculation.

The Fund applies the BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens. This set of screens avoids exposures that have negative environmental outcomes by excluding direct investment in issuers that have material involvement in thermal coal and tar sands extraction, as well as thermal coal-based power generation. Negative social outcomes are also avoided by excluding direct investment in issuers involved in controversial weapons and nuclear weapons, and material involvement in production and distribution of civilian firearms and tobacco. This Fund also excludes issuers deemed to have failed to comply with the 10 UN Global Compact Principles, which cover human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption. Further information on the criteria for BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens can be found by copying and pasting the following link into your web browser: https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/publication/blackrock-baseline-screensin-europe-middleeast-and-africa.pdf

The Fund does not use a reference benchmark for the purposes of attaining the ESG characteristics that it promotes.

D. Investment strategy

The Fund will apply the BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens Policy. The Investment Adviser will create a portfolio that seeks to deliver a superior ESG score and a lower carbon emissions intensity score of the unlevered long positions against the short positions.

The binding elements of the investment strategy are as follows:
1. Apply the BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens.
2. Maintain the ESG score of the Fund’s unlevered long positions are higher than that of the Fund’s unlevered short positions.
3. Maintain the carbon emissions intensity of the Fund’s unlevered long positions are lower than that of the Fund’s unlevered short positions.

Consideration of principal adverse impacts on sustainability factors

The Fund considers PAIs on sustainability factors through the application of the BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens and its carbon reduction target.

The Fund takes into account the following PAIs:
• GHG emissions
• GHG intensity of investee companies
• Exposure to companies active in the fossil fuel sector
• Violations of UN Global Compact principles and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
• Exposure to controversial weapons (anti personnel mines, cluster munitions, chemical weapons and biological weapons)

Good governance policy

BlackRock assesses good governance practices of the investee companies by combining proprietary insights and shareholder engagement by the Investment Adviser, with data from external ESG research providers. BlackRock uses data from external ESG research providers to initially identify issuers which may not have satisfactory governance practices in relation to key performance indicators (KPIs) related to sound management structure, employee relations, remuneration of staff and tax compliance.

Where issuers are identified as potentially having issues with regards to good governance, the issuers are reviewed to ensure that, where the Investment Adviser agrees with this external assessment, the Investment Adviser is satisfied that the issuer has either taken remediation actions or will take remedial actions within a reasonable time frame based on the Investment Adviser’s direct engagement with the issuer. The Investment Adviser may also decide to reduce exposure to such issuers.

E. Proportion of Investments  

A minimum of 80% of the Fund’s total assets will be invested in investments that are aligned with the environmental and/or social characteristics.

The Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in other investments.

The Fund may use derivatives for investment purposes and for the purposes of efficient portfolio management. For derivatives, any ESG rating or analyses referenced above will apply only to the underlying investment.

The Fund does not currently commit to investing more than 0% of its assets in Sustainable Investments with an environmental objective aligned with the EU Taxonomy, however, these investments may form part of the portfolio.

The Fund does not currently commit to invest in fossil gas and/or nuclear energy related activities that comply with the EU Taxonomy, however, these investments may form part of the portfolio.

The Fund does not commit to making investments in transitional and enabling activities, however, these investments may form part of the portfolio.

The Fund does not commit to holding Sustainable Investments, however, they may form part of the portfolio.

Other holdings are limited to 20% and may include derivatives, cash and near cash instruments and shares or units of CIS and fixed income transferable securities (also known as debt securities) issued by governments and agencies worldwide.

These investments may be used for investment purposes in pursuit of the Fund’s (non ESG) investment objective, for the purposes of liquidity management and/or hedging.

No other holdings are considered against minimum environmental or social safeguards

F. Monitoring of environmental or social characteristics

BlackRock has developed a highly automated compliance process to help ensure that the Fund is managed in accordance with its stated investment guidelines and applicable regulatory requirements. This includes monitoring of the environmental or social characteristics of the Fund in accordance with the relevant methodology as described in ‘Section G – Methodologies’.

Portfolio Managers have the primary responsibility for complying with the contractual terms of the prospectus and other governing documents for the Fund and are supported by Aladdin, BlackRock’s portfolio and risk management software.

The Portfolio Compliance Group (“PCG”), a group within BlackRock’s Business Operations, is responsible for the coding of the Fund’s investment restrictions, that are capable of being coded, within BlackRock’s pre and post trade compliance monitoring system in Aladdin. Where an investment restriction cannot be coded, a manual process is established for guidelines testing.

Pre-Trade & Post Trade Monitoring

When a trade or order is created, the transaction is reviewed against the Fund’s investment guidelines by the front-end compliance system on a real time basis prior to execution. If a non-compliant condition is detected, the trade or order will be unable to progress further.

Compliance tests are also run on a post trade basis overnight based on the end-of-day positions and reported on a T+1 basis. Compliance exceptions and warnings are identified and escalated for investigation to relevant investment professionals, who will engage with relevant subject matter experts as appropriate to resolve. Identification and investigation of potential items is recorded on an electronic system that contains a comprehensive workflow which provides an audit trail. Appropriate corrective action will be taken as needed to resolve exceptions.

The monitoring of certain ESG characteristics may not be able to be automated due to system functionality or data limitations. Such ESG characteristics are subject to periodic review and monitoring, to ensure that the product adheres to the related commitments.

Breaches are reported as required under our regulatory obligations to the relevant management company, auditor, depositary and regulator.

Where BlackRock delegates part of the management of a Fund to a third-party manager, the third-party manager is responsible for ensuring compliance with the investment guidelines and investment restrictions as per the agreed Investment Management Agreement in place, including those pertaining to the environmental or social characteristics for the Fund. The investment restrictions pertaining to the environmental or social characteristics are generally communicated to the third-party manager which may updated by BlackRock from time to time in line with the environmental and social characteristics of the Fund. When the third-party manager runs a passive strategy, the third-party manager may also monitor whether the environmental or social characteristics are met by tracking a benchmark index embedding these characteristics in its methodology. BlackRock receives a daily feed of the positions held by the third-party manager and runs post-trade compliance checks in accordance with the back-end compliance process previously described. BlackRock also undertakes periodic due diligence on third party manager to ensure the monitoring frameworks in place remain appropriate.

G. Methodologies

BlackRock has adopted the following methodologies in respect of this Fund:
1. The Fund uses MSCI ESG scoring as a means of assessing issuers' exposure to and management of environmental and social risks and opportunities. Further details on the MSCI ESG scoring methodology are available at: https://www.msci.com/our-solutions/esg-investing/esg-ratings
2. The Fund measures the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of the portfolio. Further details on the methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions intensity are set out in 'Section C – Environmental or social characteristics' above.
3. The Fund applies the BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens. Further details on the BlackRock EMEA Baseline Screens methodology are available at: https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/publication/blackrock-baseline-screens-in-europe-middleeast-and-africa.pdf

H. Data sources and processing

Data Sources

BlackRock Portfolio Managers have access to research, data, tools, and analytics to integrate ESG insights into their investment process. Aladdin is the operating system that connects the data, people, and technology necessary to manage portfolios in real time, as well as the engine behind BlackRock’s ESG analytics and reporting capabilities. BlackRock’s Portfolio Managers use Aladdin to make investment decisions, monitor portfolios and to access material ESG insights that can inform the investment process to attain ESG characteristics of the Fund.

ESG datasets are sourced from external third-party data providers, including but not limited to MSCI, Sustainalytics, Refinitiv, S&P and Clarity AI. These datasets may include headline ESG scores, carbon emissions data, business involvement metrics or controversies and have been incorporated into Aladdin tools that are available to Portfolio Managers and employed in BlackRock investment strategies. Such tools support the full investment process, from research, to portfolio construction and modelling, to reporting.

Measures taken to ensure Data Quality

BlackRock applies a comprehensive due diligence process to evaluate provider offerings with highly targeted methodology reviews and coverage assessments based on the sustainable investment strategy (and the environmental and social characteristics or sustainable objective) of the product. Our process entails both qualitative and quantitative analysis to assess the suitability of data products in line with regulatory standards as applicable.

We assess ESG providers and data across five core areas outlined below:
1. Data Collection: this includes but is not limited to assessing the data providers underlying data sources, technology used to capture data, process to identify misinformation and any use of machine learning or human data collection approaches. We will also consider planned improvements
2.Data Coverage: our assessment includes but is not limited to the extent to which a data package provides coverage across our investible universe of issuers and asset classes. This will include consideration of the treatment of parent companies and their subsidiaries as well as use of estimated data or reported data
3. Methodology: our assessment includes but is not limited to consideration of the third-party providers methodologies employed, including considering the collection and calculation approaches, alignment to industry or regulatory standards or frameworks, materiality thresholds and their approach to data gaps.
4. Data Verification: our assessment will includes but is not limited to the third party providers’ approaches to verification of data collected and quality assurance processes including their engagement with issuers
5. Operations: we will assess a variety of aspects of a data vendors operations, including but not limited to their policies and procedures (including consideration of any conflicts of interest) the size and experience of their data research teams, their training programs, and their use of third-party outsourcers

Additionally, BlackRock, actively participates in relevant provider consultations regarding proposed changes to methodologies as they pertain to third party data sets or index methodologies and submits considered feedback and recommendations to data provider technical teams. BlackRock often has ongoing engagement with ESG data providers including index providers to keep abreast of industry developments.

Describe how data is processed

At BlackRock, our internal processes are focused on delivering high-quality standardized and consistent data to be used by investment professionals and for transparency and reporting purposes. Data, including ESG data, received through our existing interfaces, and then processed through a series of quality control and completeness checks which seeks to ensure that data is of a high-quality before being made available for use downstream within BlackRock systems and applications, such as Aladdin. BlackRock’s integrated technology enables us to compile data about issuers and investments across a variety of environmental, social and governance metrics and a variety of data providers and make those available to investment teams and other support and control functions such as risk management.

Use of Estimated Data

BlackRock strives to capture as much reported data from companies via 3rd party data providers as practicable, however, industry standards around disclosure frameworks are still evolving, particularly with respect to forward looking indicators. As a result, in certain cases we rely on estimated or proxy measures from data providers to cover our broad investible universe of issuers. Due to current challenges in the data landscape, while BlackRock relies on material amount of estimated data across our investible universe, the levels of which may vary from data set to data set, we seek to ensure that use of estimates is in line with regulatory guidance and that we have necessary documentation and transparency from data providers on their methodologies. BlackRock recognizes the importance in improving its data quality and data coverage and continues to evolve the data sets available to its investment professionals and other teams. Where required by local country-level regulations, funds may state explicit data coverage levels.

I. Limitations to methodologies and data

Limitations to Methodology

Sustainable investing is an evolving space, both in terms of industry understanding but also the regulatory frameworks on both a regional and global basis. BlackRock continues to monitor developments in the EU's ongoing implementation of its framework for sustainable investing and is seeking to evolve its investment methodologies to ensure alignment as the regulatory environment changes. As a result, BlackRock may update these disclosures, and the methodologies and sources of data used, at any time in the future as market practice evolves or further regulatory guidance becomes available.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals and sub-targets are used by BlackRock as a list of environmental and/or social objectives. Any assessment will be undertaken strictly in accordance with the methodology set out in the Prospectus. Assumptions associated with the conventional use of the SDGs are not considered as part of the assessment including but not limited to applicable geographical limitations and those commitments that may be limited by time or scope, such as goals that may be applicable only to governments.

Limitations in relation to the data sources are noted below.

Limitations to Data

ESG data sets are constantly changing and improving as disclosure standards, regulatory frameworks and industry practice evolve. BlackRock continues to work with a broad range of market participants to improve data quality.

Whilst each ESG metric may come with its own individual limitations, data limitations may broadly be considered to include, but not be limited to:
• Lack of availability of certain ESG metrics due to differing reporting and disclosure standards impacting issuers, geographies or sectors
• Nascent statutory corporate reporting standards regarding sustainability leading to differences in the extent to which companies themselves can report against regulatory criteria and therefore some metric coverage levels may be low
• Inconsistent use and levels of reported vs estimated ESG data across different data providers, taken at varied time periods which makes comparability a challenge.
• Estimated data by its nature may vary from realized figures due to the assumptions or hypothesis employed by data providers.
• Differing views or assessments of issuers due to differing provider methodologies or use of subjective criteria
• Most corporate ESG reporting and disclosure takes place on an annual basis and takes significant time to produce meaning that this data is produced on a lag relative to financial data. There may also inconsistent data refresh frequencies across different data providers incorporating such data into their data sets.
• Coverage and applicability of data across asset classes and indicators may vary
• Forward looking data, such as climate related targets may vary significantly from historic and current point in time metrics.

For more information about how metrics that are presented with sustainability indicators are calculated, please see the Fund's annual report.

J. Due Diligence

BlackRock applies a high standard of due diligence in the selection and ongoing monitoring of investments made by the Fund for the purpose of compliance with the investment, liquidity and risk guidelines of the Fund, as well as the sustainability risk and ESG criteria and general performance. Portfolio Managers are subject to pre and post trade controls within the investment platform where the funds promote environmental or social characteristics, integrate sustainability into the investment process in a binding manner or have a sustainable investment objective. The Investment Oversight team conducts due diligence engagement with the portfolio managers and oversees internal restrictions that may expand upon requirements set out in the fund prospectus. The Portfolio Managers also comply with related EMEA policies, including Investment Due Diligence policies which have been updated to integrate sustainability risk. Legal and Compliance have implemented a framework to ensure that the relevant policies and procedures are adopted and complied with by all employees, including Portfolio Managers.

The Investment Adviser integrates sustainability risks into the investment due diligence process of the Fund. The portfolio managers of the Fund are primarily responsible for considering sustainability risks. They are subject to an oversight framework within the Investment Adviser and BlackRock's risk management function, RQA group also provides independent reviews of sustainability risks and the compliance team provides further oversight and monitors the ESG requirements relevant to each fund and the investment restrictions for each fund. RQA, serves as the second line of defence in BlackRock’s risk management framework. RQA is responsible for BlackRock’s Investment and Enterprise risk management framework which includes oversight of sustainability-related investment risks. RQA Investment Risk conducts regular reviews with portfolio managers to ensure investment teams are advised of relevant sustainability risks, complementing the first-line monitoring and oversight of sustainability considerations across our investment platform. RQA also has a dedicated Sustainability Risk Team that partners with risk managers and businesses to reinforce this constructive engagement. RQA collaborates with working groups throughout the Investments Platform and with Aladdin Sustainability Lab to advance the firm’s sustainability toolkit through consultation on firmwide data, modelling, methodologies, and analytics. In addition, BlackRock makes data relating to principal adverse impacts available to all portfolio managers and BlackRock integrates consideration of the principle adverse impacts of investment decisions on sustainability factors in the investment due diligence process. For further information, please see ‘Section D – Investment strategy’ above.

K. Engagement Policies

The Fund

The Fund does not use engagement as a means of meeting its binding commitments to environmental or social characteristics or sustainable investment objectives.

General

Engagement with companies in which we invest our clients’ assets occurs at multiple levels within BlackRock. 

Where engagement is specifically identified by a particular portfolio management team as one of the means by which they seek to demonstrate a commitment to environment, social and governance issues within the context of SFDR, the methods by which the effectiveness of such engagement policy and the ways in which such an engagement policy may be adapted in the event that they do not achieve the desired impact (usually expressed as a reduction in specified principal adverse indicators) would be described in the prospectus and website disclosures particular to that fund. 

Where investment teams chooses to leverage engagement, this  can take a variety of forms but, in essence, the portfolio management team would seek to have regular and continuing dialogue with executives or board directors of engaged investee companies to advance sound governance and sustainable business practices targeted at the identified ESG characteristics and principal adverse indicators, as well as to understand the effectiveness of the company’s management and oversight of activities designed to address the identified ESG issues. Engagement also allows the portfolio management team to provide feedback on company practices and disclosures.

Where a relevant portfolio management team has concerns about a company’s approach to the identified ESG characteristics and/or principal adverse indicators, they may choose to explain their expectations to the company’s board or management and may signal through voting at general meetings that they have outstanding concerns, generally by voting against the re-election of directors they view as having responsibility for improvements in the identified ESG characteristics or principal adverse indicators.

Separate from the activities of any particular portfolio management team, at the highest level, as part of its fiduciary approach, BlackRock has determined that it is in the best long-term interest of its clients to promote sound corporate governance as an informed, engaged shareholder. At BlackRock, this is the responsibility of BlackRock Investment Stewardship. Principally through the work of BIS team, BlackRock meets the requirements in the Shareholder Rights Directive II (‘SRD II”) relating to engagement with public companies and other parties in the investment ecosystem.  A copy of BlackRock’s SRD II engagement policy can be found at https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/publication/blk-shareholder-rights-directiveii-engagement-policy-2022.pdf.

BlackRock’s approach to investment stewardship is outlined in the BIS Global Principles and market-level voting guidelines. The BIS Global Principles set out our stewardship philosophy and our views on corporate governance and sustainable business practices that support long-term value creation by companies. We recognize that accepted standards and norms of corporate governance differ between markets; however, we believe there are certain fundamental elements of governance practice that are intrinsic globally to a company’s ability to create long-term value. Our market-specific voting guidelines provide detail on how BIS implements the Global Principles – taking into consideration local market standards and norms – and inform our voting decisions in relation to specific ballot items for shareholder meetings.  BlackRock’s overall approach to investment stewardship and engagement can be found at: https://www.blackrock.com/uk/professionals/solutions/shareholder-rights-directive and https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/about-us/investment-stewardship

In undertaking its engagement, BIS may focus on particular ESG themes, which are outlined in BlackRock’s voting priorities https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/publication/blk-stewardship-priorities-final.pdf

L. Designated reference benchmark

There is no specific index designated as a reference benchmark to determine whether this financial product is aligned with the environmental and/or social characteristics that it promotes. However, please note that the MSCI All Country World Index and Bloomberg Multiverse Index is used to compare certain ESG characteristics promoted by the Fund.

Risk Indicator

Risk Indicator

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Ratings

Ratings

Morningstar Rating

3 stars
Overall Morningstar Rating for BSF BlackRock Systematic US Equity Absolute Return Fund, Class A2, as of 31/Jan/2023 rated against 121 Equity Market Neutral USD Funds.

Holdings

Holdings

as of 28/Jun/2024
Name Weight (%)
MASTERCARD INC 3.46
LAM RESEARCH CORPORATION 2.55
MARSH & MCLENNAN COMPANIES INC 2.43
KIMBERLY-CLARK CORPORATION 2.19
TE CONNECTIVITY LTD 2.17
Name Weight (%)
CMS ENERGY CORPORATION 1.98
EOG RESOURCES INC 1.96
DEVON ENERGY CORPORATION 1.89
MURPHY OIL CORPORATION 1.83
CINTAS CORPORATION 1.75
Holdings subject to change

Pricing & Exchange

Pricing & Exchange

Investor Class Currency NAV NAV Amount Change NAV % Change NAV As Of 52wk High 52wk Low ISIN
Class A2 EUR 129.69 -0.71 -0.54 17/Jul/2024 133.80 109.60 LU1991022069
Class A2 Hedged SEK 148.41 -0.07 -0.05 17/Jul/2024 150.07 128.86 LU0765562458
Class A2 Hedged EUR 144.13 -0.07 -0.05 17/Jul/2024 145.74 125.45 LU0725892466
Class A2 GBP 205.33 -1.27 -0.61 17/Jul/2024 217.88 178.02 LU0784324112
Class I2 USD 140.43 -0.06 -0.04 17/Jul/2024 141.87 120.14 LU1653088168
Class I2 Hedged SEK 117.29 -0.06 -0.05 17/Jul/2024 118.58 101.40 LU1873114208
Class D2 Hedged CHF 118.02 -0.07 -0.06 17/Jul/2024 119.90 104.90 LU1238068594
Class D2 USD 146.62 -0.07 -0.05 17/Jul/2024 148.14 125.52 LU1238068321
Class A2 AUD 251.75 -0.80 -0.32 17/Jul/2024 265.92 217.08 LU0840974975
Class I2 Hedged EUR 124.57 -0.06 -0.05 17/Jul/2024 125.94 107.84 LU1323999489
Class D2 Hedged EUR 150.86 -0.08 -0.05 17/Jul/2024 152.53 131.06 LU0725892383
Class A2 USD 168.06 -0.08 -0.05 17/Jul/2024 169.83 144.85 LU0725887540
Class I2 Hedged JPY 11,398.78 -6.98 -0.06 17/Jul/2024 11,609.67 10,255.40 LU1791183780
Class D2 Hedged GBP 139.04 -0.06 -0.04 17/Jul/2024 140.53 119.01 LU1246651910

Portfolio Managers

Portfolio Managers

Raffaele Savi
Raffaele Savi
Travis Cooke

Travis Cooke, CFA, Managing Director, is Head of North American strategies within BlackRock’s Systematic investment team. In his current role, Mr. Cooke is responsible for US and Canadian long-only and long-short strategies for retail and institutional clients.

Literature

Literature