Skip to content
Samara Cohen

Samara Cohen

Managing Director, U.S. Head of iShares Capital Markets

Samara Cohen, Managing Director, Americas Head of iShares Capital Markets. This team seeks to protect and grow trading in iShares funds by actively monitoring and improving the ETF ecosystem, which encompasses investors, broker-dealers, market-makers, trading venues and technology providers. The team also delivers trading and market structure expertise to clients, advising on the most effective way to access liquidity for a desired exposure, relative value of ETFs compared to other financial instruments such as futures, swaps and fixed income securities, and how to utilize ETFs as the reference asset in derivatives.


Ms. Cohen originally joined BlackRock in 1993 as an analyst in the Institutional Client Business group. Prior to rejoining BlackRock, Ms. Cohen was a Managing Director in the Securities Division of Goldman Sachs. She served as Chief Operating Officer of FICC (Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities) Americas Sales and led the Global Market Transition team which developed and delivered solutions to clients in the evolving market structure and regulatory environment. Previously, Ms. Cohen worked in Interest Rate Products 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.


Ms. Cohen also represented Goldman Sachs on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Global Markets Advisory Committee. Ms. Cohen 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.

  • View transcript

    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.