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Van Eck’s Market Vectors suite of municipal bond ETFs continues to attract assets


The Van Eck Global lineup of municipal bond exchange-traded funds (ETFs), continues to attract assets. The three Market Vectors national muni funds — Intermediate Municipal Index ETF (ITM), which seeks to track an index comprised of intermediate term tax-exempt bonds, Long Municipal Index ETF (MLN), which seeks to track an index comprised of long term tax-exempt bonds and Short Municipal Index ETF (SMB), which seeks to track an index comprised of short term tax-exempt bonds — have all received four-star overall ratings from Morningstar as of 31 October 31, 2011.

Collectively, the six-fund family of municipal income ETFs, which also include High Yield Municipal Index ETF (HYD), which seeks to track an index composed of higher-yield, lower-rated municipal bonds, Pre-Refunded Municipal Index ETF (PRB), which seeks to track an index composed of municipal bonds that have been refinanced by their issuer and escrowed and secured by U.S. treasuries and CEF Municipal Income ETF (XMPT), which seeks to track an index composed of municipal bond closed-end funds had approximately USD810 million in assets, with ITM recently crossing the USD300 million mark (both as of 11 November, 2011).

“At the time we introduced these municipal ETFs to the market, there was some question as to how investors would react to investing in tax-exempt bonds through an exchange-traded fund,” says Jan van Eck (pictured), Principal at Van Eck Global. “Now, four years later, we are starting to see an acceleration of assets moving into these funds.”

As with other ETFs, municipal bond ETFs generally offer investors higher levels of liquidity and transparency, as well as lower costs, when compared to traditional open-end mutual fund products. The suite of Market Vectors municipal bond ETFs allow investors to access a range of risk/reward opportunities based on the duration and credit quality of the underlying bonds included in each ETF.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen everything from unfulfilled predictions of massive defaults in the municipal market, to a shift in bond pricing that pushed the absolute yields on many tax-exempt bonds well above those of comparable treasuries,” said James Colby, municipal bond strategist at Van Eck. “However, at the end of it all, many investors have generally benefited by having exposure to the asset class, both on an income-generating and a total return basis.”

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