Samara Cohen

Samara Cohen

Managing Director, Co-Head of iShares Markets and Investments

Samara Cohen, Managing Director, is Co-Head of iShares Markets and Investments. In this capacity, she oversees global teams that deliver investment integrity and market quality in ETFs and index portfolios.


iShares Markets and Investments encompasses Index Equity Portfolio Engineering, ETF Markets, Research & Analytics, ETF & Index Investment Process and Platform, Markets Advocacy & Public Policy. Under Samara’s leadership, these teams work together to build and operate the world’s most scalable indexing and ETF engine, and aspire to lead boldly in the modernization of the indexing industry and the ETF ecosystem.


Samara is a member of the ETF and Index Investments Management Committee, the firm’s Global Operating Committee, and Global Executive Committee Investment Subcommittee. She is a Senior Advocate for the Black Professionals Network.


Samara first joined BlackRock in 1993 as an analyst in the Institutional Client Business group. Prior to rejoining BlackRock in 2015, she was a Managing Director in the Securities Division of Goldman Sachs. She served as Chief Operating Officer of Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities (FICC) Americas Sales and led the Global Market Transition team, which developed and delivered solutions to clients in an evolving market structure and changing regulatory environment. Previously, Samara worked in Interest Rate Products at Goldman Sachs where she was responsible for developing strategies in interest rate and derivative markets for a broad range of institutional clients, including banks, insurance companies, asset managers and hedge funds.

Samara earned a BS Econ in Finance from the Wharton School and a BA in Theatre Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania. She earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jul 14, 2016

Samara Cohen, U.S. Head of iShares Capital Markets for BlackRock, explains why the financial services industry is headed for an exchange traded fund (ETF) revolution.

  • My name is Samara Cohen, I am the US Head of Capital Markets for iShares by BlackRock. We work with broker dealers, market makers, exchanges and, of course, our clients to give them trade ideas, talk about the market and optimize their experience using iShares ETFs.

    I came to BlackRock right out of college. It was a much smaller firm, it was about 130 people when I started here. And BlackRock was really a fixed income specialist at the time and I was very interested in the fixed income markets and interest rates and the balance sheets of countries, and I worked at BlackRock for four years and then went back to business school and then decided I was really interested in going and seeing what life was like on a big fixed income trading floor. So, I went to do that and I was on a big fixed income trading floor for about 16 years and I experienced a lot of change in the fixed income markets. All of it was very exciting, but at the end of it, or I guess towards the end of that 16 years what I really wanted to do for the next leg of my career was be part of building a better financial system. A more robust, safer, more efficient financial system.

    What really makes me want to come to work every day is figuring out new ways to help clients execute on their strategies and access markets and achieve the exposures they want in their portfolios whether those clients are big institutions or individual investors.

    I really spent my first year here immersing myself in ETF mechanics, product knowledge, industry knowledge, getting to know equity market structure 'cause my background was really entirely on the fixed income side and I realized, at the end of the year that we are in very early stages of, what I think of as the ETF revolution and how ETFs will really transform financial markets to make them more robust, more efficient, and, most of all, more accessible to all investors.