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Rating:Axel Merk Starts a Gold ETF Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, May 16, 2014

Axel Merk Starts a Gold ETF

Reported by Anastasia Donde

Merk Investments, an asset management shop that specializes in currency mutual funds, has launched its first exchange traded fund: the OUNZ: Deliverable Gold ETF. And as the name suggests, what makes this one special is that investors can actually redeem their shares by getting gold coins or bars.

The fund started trading today on the NYSE Arca under the OUNZ symbol and is the firm's first publicly available ETF.

Axel Merk, chief investment officer of the Palo Alto, California-based asset manager, says the firm has been running an ETF version of its biggest hard currency mutual fund internally, but hasn't yet seen enough demand to take it out to clients.

"If someone gives us a couple of hundred million, we'll be happy to take it out to the market," he quips.

As for the gold ETF, with expense ratios being very low and costs high, Merk thinks the fund can grow to $1 billion in the next one to two years. Although he admits that investor demand has been relatively low for currency strategies lately, at least among retail investors. For that reason, Merk will soon be hiring sales people to focus on the pension market, as those investors might be more interested in running currency overlay strategies.

And where some see doom and gloom, others see hope. "If there was a good old fashioned stock market crash, there'd be a lot of demand for currency products," Merk said.

Merk manages $300 million in the hard currency mutual fund and has $400 million overall across five funds. 

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