This week, I sit down with Jan van Eck, CEO of Van Eck Associates, an ETF & Mutual Fund Manager which runs about $50 billion in funds and client assets.
It was not inevitable van Eck would join the family business, first going to Stanford Law School and becoming a Silicon Valley entrepreneur before eventually joining the firm in 1992. Very early on, when the firm had only $1 billion in assets, he pivoted the firm towards Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
The firm has a variety of thematic ETFs, including Industries (Semis, Biotech, eSports), Hard Assets (Agriculture, Gold Miners, Low Carbon, Coal), Countries (Israel, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Africa), as well as other strategies.
John C. van Eck founded the firm in 1955 to provide a convenient investment vehicle for Americans to invest in foreign growth stocks. In the early 1970s, he made a giant bet in Gold just before the USA went off the gold standard, leading to an explosion in gold prices. The firm became well known for this Gold trade, with van Eck going on popular culture shows like Merv Griffin. Today, the firm’s Gold Miner ETF ($13B) and Junior Gold Miners ETF ($5B) have attracted lots of attention as an alternative to the mack daddy in the space, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) with $51B in assets.
You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras, on Apple iTunes, Spotify, Overcast, Google, Bloomberg, and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.
Jan Van Eck Favorite Books
The Overstory by Richard Powers
Grant by Jean Edward Smith
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
The Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini
Books Barry Mentioned
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
Grant by Ron Chernow
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow