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Rating:Be Careful What You Blog, and When Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Be Careful What You Blog, and When

News summary by MFWire's editors

Blogging can sometimes lead to mutual fund firms sending mixed messages to their FA allies and to investors. Case in point: Van Eck [profile] and bitcoin.

Many fundsters, especially PMs looking to boost their brand as thought leaders, take to their keyboards or microphones to share ideas regularly with investors, in the form of blog posts, podcasts, and more. Yet, in Van Eck, one PM's public commentary last week did not quite line up with a planned product in development by the New York City-based mutual fund firm. Evelyn Cheng of CNBC pointed out the situation.

Last Thursday Van Eck's Joe Foster blogged, in "Gold Sets a High Bar for Bitcoin," that "bitcoin and other digital currencies are a fad," worrying that, "at worst, they become a failed experiment that ends in tears." The next day, Van Eck filed with the SEC to create the VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF, an actively managed ETF that would mainly invest in "U.S. exchange-traded bitcoin-linked derivative instruments ... and pooled investment vehicles and exchange-traded products that provide exposure to bitcoin."

Of course, Foster is a PM and strategist for Van Eck's gold and precious metals strategy and oversees Van Eck's gold team, and his piece questioning bitcoin does so in the context of comparing bitcoin to gold, the very thing he specializes in investing in.

"Joe Foster makes a great case for gold relative to bitcoin as a currency and store of value," Van Eck tells CNBC in an emailed statement. "Van Eck believes that the technology underlying digital assets, known as distributed ledger technology [i.e. blockchain], has tremendous potential to revolutionize finance and trade. Digital assets are an investable asset class in their own right and continue to be integrated into the broader economy."

So Van Eck both defended Foster's arguments and made the company's case for bitcoin, too. The whole situation suggests that Van Eck gives its PMs intellectual freedom to stand by their own perspectives, instead of forcing them all into a single house perspective, a kind of PM freedom that FAs and investors might find comfort in. So perhaps the real problem here for Van Eck is the timing; if only the blog post and the filing had had a bit of space between them, the contradiction might never have been noticed. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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