BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK) today announced two new initiatives to meet the growing demand for gold investing and make the gold market accessible to the broadest group of financial advisors, institutional and individual investors. These initiatives, which leverage the Firm’s capabilities across the globe and build on BlackRock’s leadership in gold products outside of the U.S. market, involve two distinct investment offerings for clients looking to invest in gold:

A New U.S. Mutual Fund Focused on Gold-Related Equities : The new BlackRock World Gold Fund in the U.S. invests in equity securities of gold-related companies from around the world and seeks to maximize total return. The recently-launched Fund is managed by an experienced team of industry specialists — led by Evy Hambro and Catherine Raw — who are part of BlackRock’s London based Natural Resources Team which manages more than $35 billion in assets, as of March 31, 2010. Mr. Hambro and Mrs. Raw have extensive experience managing gold-related products which have historically been marketed and sold outside the U.S., including one of the most successful gold funds in the world, and U.S.-based investors can now access their expertise and insights through the World Gold Fund.

An Enhanced Physical Gold Exchange Traded Offering: The Firm is refining the iShares COMEX Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU), which holds physical gold. The enhancements to this product will provide investors with broader access to the gold market and more flexibility in adjusting the gold allocation of their portfolio through the potential for increased liquidity and lower total costs.

“Given the increasing interest for gold among all investor types, our strong leadership in the sector, and the significant opportunities for growth we see in the U.S., we are taking steps to continue building out the investment opportunities available to our clients,” said Robert Fairbairn, Vice Chairman of BlackRock and Head of the Global Client Group. “BlackRock has long been a leader in gold investing — with a wide range of investment solutions around the globe and a leadership position outside the U.S. And, these two product offerings are an ideal example of how we can leverage the breadth and depth of BlackRock around the world to deliver the best possible solutions for our clients.”