's ETF business, which oversees $9.7 billion assets under management, was lauded today in the Wall Street Journal
's Fund Track
. The New York based asset manager launched its first exchange fund, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF
, in 2006, and now has over 20 specialty funds in its lineup, investing in markets such as gambling, alternative energy, and the Persian Gulf, among others.
The "niche player" has been surprisingly successful in an industry dominated by huge firms, such as Barclays
and State Street
. The Van Eck Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF
, which invests in gold equities, has managed to compete with State Street's popular SPDR Gold Shares
, and manages $5 billion. It is Van Eck's most successful product, according to the Journal.
Notably, while the large firms typically offer a spectrum of ETFs that, together, capture most of the market, Van Eck funds have remained specialized and focused. Van Eck boasts ETFs focusing on Russian and Brazilian stocks, coal, steel, and foreign currency, yet it has no ETFs that aim at Japan or Western Europe.
While its selectiveness may win investors, many funds can, and have, turn volatile. For example, the Market Vectors Coal ETF
more than doubled its value in 2009, yet it would have been hard to make money in the fund in the long run. It fell 75 percent in the second half of last year.
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