The firm’s founding family and namesake still have control, and its product lineup still reflects its legacy as a specialist in niche market segments. VanEck earns an Average Parent Pillar rating.
Founded by John van Eck in 1955, the firm staked its claim in the industry by capitalizing on burgeoning markets. Starting with the opening of Western Europe to U.S.-based investors in the wake of the Marshall Plan, VanEck’s largest and most successful products provide exposure to areas of the market that are off the beaten path, such as hard assets, emerging-markets debt, and below-investment-grade-rated corporate debt.
Through its history, VanEck has taken an opportunistic approach to product development. For instance, since 2018, VanEck has launched strategies that provide exposures ranging from international REITs to companies involved in video game development. Regardless of where their reach takes them, however, VanEck builds a case that the strategy will be relevant over the long term and that its risks must be easy to understand. However, not all its products catch on, and the firm has shuttered several offerings in the last decade.
VanEck remains a privately held firm, wholly owned by CEO Jan van Eck and his family. Although this enables the firm to focus on the long term and the firm offers some employees participation in profits, the firm hasn’t used equity as a recruiting and retention tool and introduces some key-person risk in the executive suite.