Interview: Van Eck’s Lars Hamich
Van Eck has teamed up with well-regarded index veteran Lars Hamich to expand the business with its Market Vectors ETFs worldwide.
BY MARTIN RAAB | ETF-RADAR | NAPLES(FL) / ZURICH
an Eck and its Market Vectors product line is well-known in the U.S. for its very “out-of-the-box” approach. What are the plans of Van Eck Global for its recently started operations in Europe?
Van Eck Global has a history of bringing innovative choices for portfolio diversification to market with a continued focus on Hard Assets and Emerging Markets investments, and we continue to seek product ideas that improve investors’ flexibility and access to global markets. Europe is a very important market for us given that we already have well-established, longstanding client relationships in Europe. We opened our international office in Frankfurt/Main in 2008 to serve, among other things, as the primary service center for our international ETF clients. We have since also established an office in Spain and are in the process of opening an office in Switzerland.
How is the European branch structured and who will be your targeted clients?
Europe is an important market for us as we have many longstanding client relationships particularly with European clients who are already invested in our products. The opening of offices in Germany, Switzerland and Spain underlines our strong commitment to our clients, the European market and its potential.
When we could expect the official launch of your first European ETF?
None of our ETFs are currently listed on a European exchange, but we continue to look for opportunities around the world. Our main focus is the continuous extension of our ETF offerings as innovative products. A key addition to our current product line, are the Market Vectors China ETF (PEK) and the Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (REMX); both are the first ETFs of their kind listed in the U.S.
Is a dual-listing of all your ETFs intended, i.e., roll-out of all NYSE Arca listed ETFs on an European exchange like Frankfurt SE / XETRA?
We believe that our broad based international clientele highly appreciates the liquidity of our U.S. ETF listings and place their investments in these U.S. listed products. A significant portion of our ETF assets is held by investors outside of the U.S. States.
How differs the US based investors vs. the investors from Europe from your perspective?
The two markets – the U.S. and European – are different in size, liquidity and homogeneity. The European market offers a broader product variety with additional product types, e.g., certificates and warrants.
How close are you involved in product development and the indexing business with your New York based colleagues?
How about your thoughts for the new steps in the ETF/ETP business in 2011 and beyond?
ETFs, as investment product category are already 17 years old in the U.S., but we believe their growth is just getting started. Many financial professionals are still learning about ETFs and how they can be effectively used to enhance client investment portfolios. We believe that the potential benefits, including ease of use, intraday tradability, relative low cost and transparency make them hard to ignore.◄
Thank you for the interview!
Lars Hamich has been Managing Director of Van Eck Associates Corporation since January 2008 and CEO of Van Eck Global (Europe) GmbH since March 2009. In this capacity he is in charge of all business development aspects for Van Eck’s Market Vectors ETF worldwide excluding Northern America. With more than 15 years of experience in index development and financial product strategies acquired both with stock exchanges (Deutsche Börse), index-providers (former CEO of Stoxx/Zurich) and ETF providers. He is a widely recognized expert in his field. Lars holds a Masters degree from IMW – Institute of Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University, Germany and Murdoch University, Perth, Australia.