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Rating:Van Eck Rolls Out a Pre-Refunded Muni Bond ETF Not Rated 5.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Van Eck Rolls Out a Pre-Refunded Muni Bond ETF

by: Armie Margaret Lee

Van Eck Global on Tuesday took the wraps off what company executives have billed as the first ETF in the country that focuses on the pre-refunded segment of the municipal bond market. The Market Vectors Pre-Refunded Municipal Index ETF comes with an expense ratio of 24 bps.

The new product brings the number of muni bond ETFs in the Market Vectors lineup to four.
Company Press Release

NEW YORK, (February 3, 2009) – New York-based asset manager Van Eck Global today launched Market VectorsTM Pre-Refunded Municipal Index ETF (ticker: PRB) on NYSE Arca , the nation’s first ETF to focus on the pre-refunded segment of the municipal bond market. PRB seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the Barclays Capital Municipal Pre-Refunded—Treasury-Escrowed Index (ticker: LMPETR). The Fund’s total net expenses are 0.24%.

Pre-refunded munis are bonds that have been refinanced by their issuers and remain outstanding in the municipal market. The principal and interest of the bonds that make up LMPETR, the index underlying the Fund, are secured by Treasury obligations backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Those obligations include U.S. Treasuries as well as State and Local Government Series bonds, or SLGs, which are Treasuries issued specifically for escrow use by municipal issuers. As of December 31, 2008, the index had an average maturity of 4.11 years.

Pre-refunded munis backed by Treasuries and SLGs offer a compelling risk-reward profile in today’s difficult economic and financial climate. These bonds have provided high levels of liquidity due to their AAA-equivalent credit quality, even during times of market distress such as these, and their interest rate risk is mitigated by their relatively short maturities. They also typically provide higher yields than Treasuries on a taxable-equivalent basis, and have historically produced attractive returns, as the table below demonstrates.

"We are pleased to lead the way in providing a convenient and cost-effective means of accessing the highest-quality and most liquid segment of the municipal bond market," said Jan van Eck, Principal of Van Eck Global. “Pre-refunded bonds, given their high credit quality, liquidity and relatively low levels of price volatility can truly be called munis for the risk averse. Their attractive taxable-equivalent yields and historical returns add to their appeal. PRB is a unique product that is well-suited to meeting investors’ needs in today's difficult environment."

PRB is the fourth municipal bond ETF in the Market Vectors lineup, which also includes Market Vectors Short Municipal Index ETF, Market Vectors Intermediate Municipal Index ETF and Market Vectors Long Municipal Index ETF. The Market Vectors family of muni ETFs offers a unique set of benefits for investors seeking to access the tax advantages of the municipal market: a choice of short, intermediate and long national muni portfolios; relatively low-fee funds that are transparent, exchange-traded, unleveraged and AMT-free; and attractive tax-exempt yields.

Founded in 1955, Van Eck Global was among the first U.S. money managers helping investors achieve greater diversification through global investing. The company managed $8.2 billion in assets for individuals, insurers and institutional investors as of December 31, 2008. PRB is the 18th ETF offered under Van Eck’s Market Vectors brand, which includes hard assets, international, specialty and municipal bond ETFs. Market Vectors ETFs had a total of $4.5 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2008.

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