N-CEN Intelligence : Bank of America, JP Morgan are the top brokers at iShares

Part I: Building market intelligence with N-CEN

With the introduction of Form N-CEN, the SEC has released a plethora of business information into the market domain. Form N-CEN is a data repository with information on every firm’s largest brokers, custodians, administrators, accountants and security lending counterparties and the compensation paid to each of them.

RADiENT aggregates data across the entire universe of N-CENs and can help you build a thorough competitor landscape – a market intelligence tool far more effective than unverified and unstructured hearsay.

In this blog, we explore the N-CEN filed by iShares’ Trusts on 13th Dec 2019. iShares Trust is the parent trust of 39 iShares ETFs, which together account for monthly net assets of ~ $ 17.80 Billion.

Which ETFs are included in this form?

The ETFs included in this N-CEN are mostly focused on markets outside the United States. The top 5 ETFs by value of their monthly net assets are iShares MSCI India ETF (INDA), iShares MSCI China ETF (MCHI), iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF (EWU), iShares ESG MSCI USA Leaders ETF (SUSL) and iShares Currency Hedged MSCI Eurozone ETF (HEZU)

The total brokerage paid by these funds, as disclosed in the N-CEN, is $ 3.76 Million!

Who are their brokers?

Across the entire trust, there were 44 different brokers who serviced these funds including some local brokers in the country of investment. The 5 largest brokers, total commission charged by them, and commission as a percentage of the total commission paid by iShares are Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith ($1.37M, 36%), JP Morgan Chase (731K, 19%), Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC (396K, 11%), Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC (334K, 9%) and CLSA Americas, LLC (169K, 4%)

From the information above, we can conclude that the top 4 brokers together account for almost 75% of the total commission paid by iShares. However, the bottom of the pie is very diversified. A fund-wise bifurcation of brokers can also be extracted from RADiENT.

The brokers can also be grouped based on the countries in which where they are located. Since a lot of the ETFs in this filing are focused on domiciles outside the United States, they employ brokers in the local countries as well.

97.14% of the total commission paid goes to brokers located in the United States (all top 10 brokers are from the U.S). Of the remaining 3%, the bulk is paid to brokers in Great Britain, Egypt and Chile.


The data here is extracted from a single filing alone. RADiENT can be used to aggregate regulatory filings data across 1000s of firms to get a bird’s eye view of the competitive landscape. Visit RADiENT and access this data for FREE or contact us at support@radientanalytics.com to find out more!