Form 497K VanEck ETF Trust
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VANECK® DIGITAL ASSETS MINING ETF
Principal U.S. Listing Exchange: The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
FEBRUARY 1, 2023
Before you invest, you may want to review the Fund’s prospectus, which contains more information about the Fund and its risks. You can find the Fund’s prospectus and other information about the Fund online at https://www.vaneck.com/resources/documents/equity-etfs-literature/. You can also get this information at no cost by calling 800.826.2333, or by sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Fund’s prospectus and statement of additional information, both dated February 1, 2023, as may be supplemented from time to time, are incorporated by reference into this summary prospectus.
VanEck® Digital Assets Mining ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to track as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the MVIS® Global Digital Assets Mining Index (the “Index”).
FUND FEES AND EXPENSES
The following tables describe the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund (“Shares”). You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below.
Shareholder Fees (fees paid directly from your investment)
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses(b)
(a)“Other Expenses” are based on estimated amounts for the current fiscal year.
(b) Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) will pay all expenses of the Fund, except for the fee payment under the investment management agreement, acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, offering costs, trading expenses, taxes and extraordinary expenses. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Adviser has agreed to pay the offering costs until at least February 1, 2024.
This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not take into account brokerage commissions that you pay when purchasing or selling Shares of the Fund.
The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell or hold all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% annual return and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
The Fund will pay transaction costs, such as commissions, when it purchases and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover will cause the Fund to incur additional transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, may
affect the Fund’s performance. During the period from March 8, 2022 (the Fund's commencement of operations) through September 30, 2022, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 39% of the average value of its portfolio.
PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
The Fund normally invests at least 80% of its total assets in securities of Digital Assets Mining Companies, as defined below. The Index is a global index that tracks the performance of Digital Assets Mining Companies. “Digital Assets Mining Companies” are companies that engage in and/or assist digital asset mining activities, including mining-technology companies that provide hardware, software services or other technologies to companies engaged in digital asset mining activities, and companies engaged in digital asset-related projects that facilitate the adoption of digital assets.
The Fund will not invest in digital assets (including cryptocurrencies) (i) directly or (ii) indirectly through the use of digital asset derivatives. The Fund also will not invest in initial coin offerings. Therefore the Fund is not expected to track the price movement of any digital asset. The Fund may, however, have indirect exposure to digital assets by virtue of its investments in Digital Assets Mining Companies that use one or more digital assets as part of their business activities or that hold digital assets as proprietary investments.
To be initially eligible for inclusion in the Index, a Digital Assets Mining Company must (i) generate at least 50% of its revenues from digital assets mining activities or mining-related technology or (ii) have projects that, when developed, have the potential to generate at least 50% of their revenues from digital asset mining activities or mining-related technologies. In addition, Digital Assets Mining Companies that generate at least 50% of their revenues from other digital asset-related projects, including those that operate digital asset exchanges, payment gateways, software services, services to the digital assets industry, digital asset infrastructure businesses, companies facilitating commerce with the use of digital assets, or companies that otherwise generate revenues related to digital asset operations, are initially eligible for inclusion in the Index because such companies facilitate the adoption of digital assets generally, which supports the global digital asset mining segment.
“Digital assets” are assets issued and transferred using distributed ledger or blockchain technology. As used herein, “digital assets” refers to all digital assets, including both digital asset securities (i.e., digital assets that are securities under U.S. securities laws) and cryptocurrencies. Many digital assets and, consequently, many Digital Asset Mining Companies, rely on “blockchain” technologies. A “blockchain” is a peer-to-peer shared, distributed ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. A blockchain stores transaction data in “blocks” that are linked together to form a “chain.” As the number of transactions grow, so does the blockchain. Blocks record and confirm the time and sequence of transactions, which are then logged into the blockchain, within a discrete network governed by rules agreed on by the network participants. Although initially associated with digital commodities, it can be used to track tangible, intangible and digital assets and companies in all business sectors.
Digital Assets Mining Companies process, validate, and securely transfer digital assets. The digital asset mining industry is a necessary and core component of the digital asset ecosystem. Any party that chooses to participate in digital asset mining will run various computers and machines to solve a variety of math problems. As a result of solving these problems, the digital asset network is secured, and transactions are recorded and stored on the blockchain. For example, if someone (a sender) wanted to send two units of a digital asset to another person (the recipient), digital asset miners would play the role of processing, validating, and securely transferring the transaction. Due to Digital Asset Mining Companies providing value to the ecosystem, they are rewarded with newly issued units of the digital asset and/or transaction fees when they successfully validate and secure transactions.
Digital Asset Mining Companies may include small- and medium-capitalization companies and foreign and emerging market issuers, and the Fund may invest in depositary receipts and securities denominated in foreign currencies. As of December 31, 2022, the Index included 20 securities of companies with a market capitalization range of between approximately $49.47 million and $33.77 billion and a weighted average market capitalization of $2.33 billion. These amounts are subject to change. The Fund’s 80% investment policy is non-fundamental and may be changed without shareholder approval upon 60 days’ prior written notice to shareholders.
The Fund, using a “passive” or indexing investment approach, attempts to approximate the investment performance of the Index by investing in a portfolio of securities that generally replicates the Index. Unlike many investment companies that try to “beat” the performance of a benchmark index, the Fund does not try to “beat” the Index and does not seek temporary defensive positions that are inconsistent with its investment objective of seeking to track the Index.
The Fund is classified as a non-diversified fund under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act of 1940”) and, therefore, may invest a greater percentage of its assets in a particular issuer. The Fund may concentrate its investments in a particular industry or group of industries to the extent that the Index concentrates in an industry or group of industries. As of September 30, 2022, each of the information technology and financials sectors represented a significant portion of the Fund.
PRINCIPAL RISKS OF INVESTING IN THE FUND
Investors in the Fund should be willing to accept a high degree of volatility in the price of the Fund’s Shares and the possibility of significant losses. An investment in the Fund involves a substantial degree of risk. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit with a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Therefore, you should consider carefully the following
risks before investing in the Fund, each of which could significantly and adversely affect the value of an investment in the Fund.
Risk of Investing in Digital Asset Miners. Digital asset miners and other hardware necessary for digital asset mining are subject to the risk of malfunction, technological obsolescence, the global supply chain issues and difficulty and cost in obtaining new hardware. Malfunctions and normal wear and tear will, at any point in time, cause a certain number of digital asset miners to be taken off-line for maintenance or repair. Any major digital asset miner malfunction could cause significant economic damage. The physical degradation of miners will require replacement of miners. Additionally, as technology evolves, there may be a need to acquire newer models of miners to remain competitive, which can be costly and may be in short supply. Given the long production period to manufacture and assemble digital asset miners and the current global semiconductor chip shortage, there can be no assurance that miners can acquire or maintain enough digital asset mining computers or replace parts on a cost-effective basis for efficient and profitable digital asset mining operations. Many engaged in mining rely on third parties to supply digital asset miners and shortages of digital asset miners or their component parts, material increases in digital asset miner costs, or delays in delivery of orders, including due to trade restrictions and COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions, could significantly interrupt plans for expanding digital asset mining capacity in the near term and future.
Mining operations are energy-intensive. Digital asset mining operations consume significant amounts of electricity, which may have a negative environmental impact and give rise to public opinion against allowing, or government regulations restricting, the use of electricity for mining operations. Many digital asset mining operations rely on fossil fuels to power their operations. Public perception of the impact of digital asset mining on climate change may reduce the demand for digital assets and increase the likelihood of government regulation. Given the energy-intensiveness and electricity costs of mining, miners may be restricted in where they can locate mining operations. Any shortage of electricity supply or increase in related costs will negatively impact the viability and expected economic return from digital asset mining.
Miners generate revenue from both newly created digital assets, known as the “block reward” and from fees taken upon verification of transactions. If the aggregate revenue from transaction fees and the block reward is below a miner’s cost, the miner may cease operations. The fixed reward for solving a new block on certain networks, like the Bitcoin network, is being progressively reduced. This reduction in incentives for certain digital asset mining activity, including bitcoin mining, may cause miners to reduce or cease operations, which may reduce the collective processing power on the applicable network. This would make such network more vulnerable to a malicious attack and hinder transactions. While miners have previously accepted relatively low transaction confirmation fees, there is a risk that miners could collude to demand higher fees, which would increase costs to digital asset users.
Special Risk Considerations of Investing in Asian Issuers. Investments in securities of Asian issuers involve risks and special considerations not typically associated with investments in the U.S. securities markets. Certain Asian economies have experienced over-extension of credit, currency devaluations and restrictions, high unemployment, high inflation, decreased exports and economic recessions. Economic events in any one Asian country can have a significant effect on the entire Asian region as well as on major trading partners outside Asia, and any adverse effect on some or all of the Asian countries and regions in which the Fund invests. The securities markets in some Asian economies are relatively underdeveloped and may subject the Fund to higher action costs or greater uncertainty than investments in more developed securities markets. Such risks may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments.
Special Risk Considerations of Investing in Chinese Issuers. Investments in securities of Chinese issuers, including issuers outside of China, involve certain risks and considerations not typically associated with investments in U.S securities. These risks include among others (i) more frequent (and potentially widespread) trading suspensions and government interventions with respect to Chinese issuers resulting in a lack of liquidity and in price volatility, (ii) currency revaluations and other currency exchange rate fluctuations or blockage, (iii) the nature and extent of intervention by the Chinese government in the Chinese securities markets, whether such intervention will continue and the impact of such intervention or its discontinuation, (iv) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets, (v) the risk that the Chinese government may decide not to continue to support economic reform programs, (vi) limitations on the use of brokers, (vii) higher rates of inflation, (viii) greater political, economic and social uncertainty, (ix) market volatility caused by any potential regional or territorial conflicts or natural or other disasters, and (x) the risk of increased trade tariffs, embargoes, sanctions investment restrictions and other trade limitations. Certain securities are, or may in the future become restricted, and the Fund may be forced to sell such securities and incur a loss as a result. In addition, the economy of China differs, often unfavorably, from the U.S. economy in such respects as structure, general development, government involvement, wealth distribution, rate of inflation, growth rate, interest rates, allocation of resources and capital reinvestment, among others. The Chinese central government has historically exercised substantial control over virtually every sector of the Chinese economy through administrative regulation and/or state ownership and actions of the Chinese central and local government authorities continue to have a substantial effect on economic conditions in China. In addition, the Chinese government has from time to time taken actions that influence the prices at which certain goods may be sold, encourage companies to invest or concentrate in particular industries, induce mergers between companies in certain industries and induce private companies to publicly offer their securities to increase or continue the rate of economic growth, control the rate of inflation or otherwise regulate economic expansion. The Chinese government may do so in the future as well, potentially having a significant adverse effect on economic conditions in China.
Equity Securities Risk. The value of the equity securities held by the Fund may fall due to general market and economic conditions, perceptions regarding the markets in which the issuers of securities held by the Fund participate, or factors relating to specific issuers in which the Fund invests. Equity securities are subordinated to preferred securities and debt in a company’s
capital structure with respect to priority to a share of corporate income, and therefore will be subject to greater dividend risk than preferred securities or debt instruments. In addition, while broad market measures of equity securities have historically generated higher average returns than fixed income securities, equity securities have generally also experienced significantly more volatility in those returns.
Micro-Capitalization Companies Risk. Micro-capitalization companies are subject to substantially greater risks of loss and price fluctuations because their earnings and revenues tend to be less predictable (and some companies may be experiencing significant losses), and their share prices tend to be more volatile and their markets less liquid than companies with larger market capitalizations. The shares of micro-capitalization companies tend to trade less frequently than those of larger, more established companies, which can adversely affect the pricing of these securities and the future ability to sell those securities.
Small- and Medium-Capitalization Companies Risk. The Fund may invest in small- and medium-capitalization companies and, therefore will be subject to certain risks associated with small- and medium- capitalization companies. These companies are often subject to less analyst coverage and may be in early and less predictable periods of their corporate existences, with little or no record of profitability. In addition, these companies often have greater price volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity than larger more established companies. These companies tend to have smaller revenues, narrower product lines, less management depth and experience, smaller shares of their product or service markets, fewer financial resources and less competitive strength than large-capitalization companies. Returns on investments in securities of small- and medium-capitalization companies could trail the returns on investments in securities of larger companies.
Information Technology Sector Risk. Information technology companies face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Information technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of information technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. Companies in the information technology sector are heavily dependent on patent protection and the expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies.
Financials Sector Risk. Companies in the financials sector may be subject to extensive government regulation that affects the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and the amount of capital they must maintain. The profitability of companies in the financials sector may be adversely affected by increases in interest rates, by loan losses, which usually increase in economic downturns, and by credit rating downgrades. In addition, the financials sector is undergoing numerous changes, including continuing consolidations, development of new products and structures and changes to its regulatory framework. Furthermore, some companies in the financials sector perceived as benefiting from government intervention in the past may be subject to future government-imposed restrictions on their businesses or face increased government involvement in their operations. Increased government involvement in the financials sector, including measures such as taking ownership positions in financial institutions, could result in a dilution of the Fund’s investments in financial institutions.
Foreign Securities Risk. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers involve risks beyond those associated with investments in U.S. securities. These additional risks include greater market volatility, the availability of less reliable financial information, higher transactional and custody costs, taxation by foreign governments, decreased market liquidity and political instability. Because certain foreign securities markets may be limited in size, the activity of large traders may have an undue influence on the prices of securities that trade in such markets. The Fund invests in securities of issuers located in countries whose economies are heavily dependent upon trading with key partners. Any reduction in this trading may have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investments.
Emerging Market Issuers Risk. Investments in securities of emerging market issuers involve risks not typically associated with investments in securities of issuers in more developed countries that may negatively affect the value of your investment in the Fund. Such heightened risks may include, among others, expropriation and/or nationalization of assets, restrictions on and government intervention in international trade, confiscatory taxation, political instability, including authoritarian and/or military involvement in governmental decision making, armed conflict, the impact on the economy as a result of civil war, crime (including drug violence) and social instability as a result of religious, ethnic and/or socioeconomic unrest. Issuers in certain emerging market countries are subject to less stringent requirements regarding accounting, auditing, financial reporting and record keeping than are issuers in more developed markets, and therefore, all material information may not be available or reliable. Emerging markets are also more likely than developed markets to experience problems with the clearing and settling of trades, as well as the holding of securities by local banks, agents and depositories. Low trading volumes and volatile prices in less developed markets may make trades harder to complete and settle, and governments or trade groups may compel local agents to hold securities in designated depositories that may not be subject to independent evaluation. Local agents are held only to the standards of care of their local markets. In general, the less developed a country’s securities markets are, the greater the likelihood of custody problems. The Adviser may be limited in its ability to assess the Index provider’s due diligence process over Index data prior to its use in Index computation, construction and/or rebalancing. Additionally, each of the factors described below could have a negative impact on the Fund’s performance and increase the volatility of the Fund.
Securities Markets. Securities markets in emerging market countries are underdeveloped and are often considered to be less correlated to global economic cycles than those markets located in more developed countries. Securities markets in emerging market countries are subject to greater risks associated with market volatility, lower market capitalization, lower trading volume, illiquidity, inflation, greater price fluctuations, uncertainty regarding the existence of trading markets, governmental control and heavy regulation of labor and industry. These factors, coupled with restrictions on foreign investment and other factors, limit the supply of securities available for investment by the Fund. This will affect the rate at
which the Fund is able to invest in emerging market countries, the purchase and sale prices for such securities and the timing of purchases and sales. Emerging markets can experience high rates of inflation, deflation and currency devaluation. The prices of certain securities listed on securities markets in emerging market countries have been subject to sharp fluctuations and sudden declines, and no assurance can be given as to the future performance of listed securities in general. Volatility of prices may be greater than in more developed securities markets. Moreover, securities markets in emerging market countries may be closed for extended periods of time or trading on securities markets may be suspended altogether due to political or civil unrest. Market volatility may also be heightened by the actions of a small number of investors. Brokerage firms in emerging market countries may be fewer in number and less established than brokerage firms in more developed markets. Since the Fund may need to effect securities transactions through these brokerage firms, the Fund is subject to the risk that these brokerage firms will not be able to fulfill their obligations to the Fund. This risk is magnified to the extent the Fund effects securities transactions through a single brokerage firm or a small number of brokerage firms. In addition, the infrastructure for the safe custody of securities and for purchasing and selling securities, settling trades, collecting dividends, initiating corporate actions, and following corporate activity is not as well developed in emerging market countries as is the case in certain more developed markets.
Political and Economic Risk. Certain emerging market countries have historically been subject to political instability and their prospects are tied to the continuation of economic and political liberalization in the region. Instability may result from factors such as government or military intervention in decision making, terrorism, civil unrest, extremism or hostilities between neighboring countries. Any of these factors, including an outbreak of hostilities could negatively impact the Fund’s returns. Limited political and democratic freedoms in emerging market countries might cause significant social unrest. These factors may have a significant adverse effect on an emerging market country’s economy.
Many emerging market countries may be heavily dependent upon international trade and, consequently, may continue to be negatively affected by trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which it trades. They also have been, and may continue to be, adversely affected by economic conditions in the countries with which they trade.
In addition, commodities (such as oil, gas and minerals) represent a significant percentage of certain emerging market countries’ exports and these economies are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Adverse economic events in one country may have a significant adverse effect on other countries of this region. In addition, most emerging market countries have experienced, at one time or another, severe and persistent levels of inflation, including, in some cases, hyperinflation. This has, in turn, led to high interest rates, extreme measures by governments to keep inflation in check, and a generally debilitating effect on economic growth.
Although inflation in many countries has lessened, there is no guarantee it will remain at lower levels. The political history of certain emerging market countries has been characterized by political uncertainty, intervention by the military in civilian and economic spheres, and political corruption. Such events could reverse favorable trends toward market and economic reform, privatization, and removal of trade barriers, and result in significant disruption in securities markets in the region.
Also, from time to time, certain issuers located in emerging market countries in which the Fund invests may operate in, or have dealings with, countries subject to sanctions and/or embargoes imposed by the U.S. Government and the United Nations and/or countries identified by the U.S. Government as state sponsors of terrorism. As a result, an issuer may sustain damage to its reputation if it is identified as an issuer which operates in, or has dealings with, such countries. The Fund, as an investor in such issuers, will be indirectly subject to those risks.
The economies of one or more countries in which the Fund may invest may be in various states of transition from a planned economy to a more market oriented economy. The economies of such countries differ from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including levels of government involvement, states of development, growth rates, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Economic growth in these economies may be uneven both geographically and among various sectors of their economies and may also be accompanied by periods of high inflation. Political changes, social instability and adverse diplomatic developments in these countries could result in the imposition of additional government restrictions, including expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxes or nationalization of some or all of the property held by the underlying issuers of securities included in the Fund’s Index. There is no guarantee that the governments of these countries will not revert back to some form of planned or non-market oriented economy, and such governments continue to be active participants in many economic sectors through ownership positions and regulation. The allocation of resources in such countries is subject to a high level of government control. Such countries’ governments may strictly regulate the payment of foreign currency denominated obligations and set monetary policy. Through their policies, these governments may provide preferential treatment to particular industries or companies. The policies set by the government of one of these countries could have a substantial effect on that country’s economy.
Investment and Repatriation Restrictions. The government in an emerging market country may restrict or control to varying degrees the ability of foreign investors to invest in securities of issuers located or operating in such emerging market countries. These restrictions and/or controls may at times limit or prevent foreign investment in securities of issuers located or operating in emerging market countries and may inhibit the Fund’s ability to track its Index. In addition, the Fund may not be able to buy or sell securities or receive full value for such securities. Moreover, certain emerging market countries may require governmental approval or special licenses prior to investments by foreign investors and may limit the amount of investments by foreign investors in a particular industry and/or issuer; may limit such foreign investment to a certain class of securities of
an issuer that may have less advantageous rights than the classes available for purchase by domiciliaries of such emerging market countries; and/or may impose additional taxes on foreign investors. A delay in obtaining a required government approval or a license would delay investments in those emerging market countries, and, as a result, the Fund may not be able to invest in certain securities while approval is pending. The government of certain emerging market countries may also withdraw or decline to renew a license that enables the Fund to invest in such country. These factors make investing in issuers located or operating in emerging market countries significantly riskier than investing in issuers located or operating in more developed countries, and any one of them could cause a decline in the value of the Fund’s Shares.
Additionally, investments in issuers located in certain emerging market countries may be subject to a greater degree of risk associated with governmental approval in connection with the repatriation of investment income, capital or the proceeds of sales of securities by foreign investors. Moreover, there is the risk that if the balance of payments in an emerging market country declines, the government of such country may impose temporary restrictions on foreign capital remittances. Consequently, the Fund could be adversely affected by delays in, or a refusal to grant, required governmental approval for repatriation of capital, as well as by the application to the Fund of any restrictions on investments. Furthermore, investments in emerging market countries may require the Fund to adopt special procedures, seek local government approvals or take other actions, each of which may involve additional costs to the Fund.
Available Disclosure About Emerging Market Issuers. Issuers located or operating in emerging market countries are not subject to the same rules and regulations as issuers located or operating in more developed countries. Therefore, there may be less financial and other information publicly available with regard to issuers located or operating in emerging market countries and such issuers are not subject to the uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards applicable to issuers located or operating in more developed countries.
Foreign Currency Considerations. The Fund’s assets that are invested in securities of issuers in emerging market countries will generally be denominated in foreign currencies, and the proceeds received by the Fund from these investments will be principally in foreign currencies. The value of an emerging market country’s currency may be subject to a high degree of fluctuation. This fluctuation may be due to changes in interest rates, the effects of monetary policies issued by the United States, foreign governments, central banks or supranational entities, the imposition of currency controls or other national or global political or economic developments. The economies of certain emerging market countries can be significantly affected by currency devaluations. Certain emerging market countries may also have managed currencies which are maintained at artificial levels relative to the U.S. dollar rather than at levels determined by the market. This type of system can lead to sudden and large adjustments in the currency which, in turn, can have a disruptive and negative effect on foreign investors.
The Fund’s exposure to an emerging market country’s currency and changes in value of such foreign currencies versus the U.S. dollar may reduce the Fund’s investment performance and the value of your investment in the Fund. Meanwhile, the Fund will compute and expects to distribute its income in U.S. dollars, and the computation of income will be made on the date that the income is earned by the Fund at the foreign exchange rate in effect on that date. Therefore, if the value of the respective emerging market country’s currency falls relative to the U.S. dollar between the earning of the income and the time at which the Fund converts the relevant emerging market country’s currency to U.S. dollars, the Fund may be required to liquidate certain positions in order to make distributions if the Fund has insufficient cash in U.S. dollars to meet distribution requirements under the Internal Revenue Code. The liquidation of investments, if required, could be at disadvantageous prices or otherwise have an adverse impact on the Fund’s performance.
Certain emerging market countries also restrict the free conversion of their currency into foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar. There is no significant foreign exchange market for many such currencies and it would, as a result, be difficult for the Fund to engage in foreign currency transactions designed to protect the value of the Fund’s interests in securities denominated in such currencies. Furthermore, if permitted, the Fund may incur costs in connection with conversions between U.S. dollars and an emerging market country’s currency. Foreign exchange dealers realize a profit based on the difference between the prices at which they are buying and selling various currencies. Thus, a dealer normally will offer to sell a foreign currency to the Fund at one rate, while offering a lesser rate of exchange should the Fund desire immediately to resell that currency to the dealer. The Fund will conduct its foreign currency exchange transactions either on a spot (i.e., cash) basis at the spot rate prevailing in the foreign currency exchange market, or through entering into forward, futures or options contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies.
Operational and Settlement Risk. In addition to having less developed securities markets, emerging market countries have less developed custody and settlement practices than certain developed countries. Rules adopted under the Investment Company Act of 1940 permit the Fund to maintain its foreign securities and cash in the custody of certain eligible non-U.S. banks and securities depositories. Banks in emerging market countries that are eligible foreign sub-custodians may be recently organized or otherwise lack extensive operating experience. In addition, in certain emerging market countries there may be legal restrictions or limitations on the ability of the Fund to recover assets held in custody by a foreign sub-custodian in the event of the bankruptcy of the sub-custodian. Because settlement systems in emerging market countries may be less organized than in other developed markets, there may be a risk that settlement may be delayed and that cash or securities of the Fund may be in jeopardy because of failures of or defects in the systems. Under the laws in many emerging market countries, the Fund may be required to release local shares before receiving cash payment or may be required to make cash payment prior to receiving local shares, creating a risk that the Fund may surrender cash or securities without ever receiving securities or cash from the other party. Settlement systems in emerging market countries also have a higher risk of failed trades and back to back settlements may not be possible.
The Fund may not be able to convert a foreign currency to U.S. dollars in time for the settlement of redemption requests. In the event of a redemption request from an Authorized Participant, the Fund will be required to deliver U.S. dollars to the Authorized Participant on the settlement date. In the event that the Fund is not able to convert the foreign currency to U.S. dollars in time for settlement, which may occur as a result of the delays described above, the Fund may be required to liquidate certain investments and/or borrow money in order to fund such redemption. The liquidation of investments, if required, could be at disadvantageous prices or otherwise have an adverse impact on the Fund’s performance (e.g., by causing the Fund to overweight foreign currency denominated holdings and underweight other holdings which were sold to fund redemptions). In addition, the Fund will incur interest expense on any borrowings and the borrowings will cause the Fund to be leveraged, which may magnify gains and losses on its investments.
In certain emerging market countries, the marketability of investments may be limited due to the restricted opening hours of trading exchanges, and a relatively high proportion of market value may be concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of investors. In addition, because certain emerging market countries’ trading exchanges on which the Fund’s portfolio securities may trade are open when the relevant Exchanges are closed, the Fund may be subject to heightened risk associated with market movements. Trading volume may be lower on certain emerging market countries’ trading exchanges than on more developed securities markets and securities may be generally less liquid. The infrastructure for clearing, settlement and registration on the primary and secondary markets of certain emerging market countries are less developed than in certain other markets and under certain circumstances this may result in the Fund experiencing delays in settling and/or registering transactions in the markets in which it invests, particularly if the growth of foreign and domestic investment in certain emerging market countries places an undue burden on such investment infrastructure. Such delays could affect the speed with which the Fund can transmit redemption proceeds and may inhibit the initiation and realization of investment opportunities at optimum times.
Certain issuers in emerging market countries may utilize share blocking schemes. Share blocking refers to a practice, in certain foreign markets, where voting rights related to an issuer’s securities are predicated on these securities being blocked from trading at the custodian or sub-custodian level for a period of time around a shareholder meeting. These restrictions have the effect of barring the purchase and sale of certain voting securities within a specified number of days before and, in certain instances, after a shareholder meeting where a vote of shareholders will be taken. Share blocking may prevent the Fund from buying or selling securities for a period of time. During the time that shares are blocked, trades in such securities will not settle. The blocking period can last up to several weeks. The process for having a blocking restriction lifted can be quite onerous with the particular requirements varying widely by country. In addition, in certain countries, the block cannot be removed. As a result of the ramifications of voting ballots in markets that allow share blocking, the Adviser, on behalf of the Fund, reserves the right to abstain from voting proxies in those markets.
Corporate and Securities Laws. Securities laws in emerging market countries are relatively new and unsettled and, consequently, there is a risk of rapid and unpredictable change in laws regarding foreign investment, securities regulation, title to securities and securityholders rights. Accordingly, foreign investors may be adversely affected by new or amended laws and regulations. In addition, the systems of corporate governance to which emerging market issuers are subject may be less advanced than those systems to which issuers located in more developed countries are subject, and therefore, securityholders of issuers located in emerging market countries may not receive many of the protections available to securityholders of issuers located in more developed countries. In circumstances where adequate laws and securityholders rights exist, it may not be possible to obtain swift and equitable enforcement of the law. In addition, the enforcement of systems of taxation at federal, regional and local levels in emerging market countries may be inconsistent and subject to sudden change. The Fund has limited rights and few practical remedies in emerging markets and the ability of U.S. authorities to bring enforcement actions in emerging markets may be limited.
Depositary Receipts Risk. The Fund may invest in depositary receipts (including American Depositary Receipts), which involve similar risks to those associated with investments in foreign securities. Depositary receipts are receipts listed on U.S. or foreign exchanges issued by banks or trust companies that entitle the holder to all dividends and capital gains that are paid out on the underlying foreign shares. The issuers of certain depositary receipts are under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications to the holders of such receipts, or to pass through to them any voting rights with respect to the deposited securities. Investments in depositary receipts may be less liquid than the underlying shares in their primary trading market. The issuers of depositary receipts may discontinue issuing new depositary receipts and withdraw existing depositary receipts at any time, which may result in costs and delays in the distribution of the underlying assets to the Fund and may negatively impact the Fund’s performance.
Market Risk. The prices of securities are subject to the risks associated with investing in the securities market, including general economic conditions, sudden and unpredictable drops in value, exchange trading suspensions and closures and public health risks. These risks may be magnified if certain social, political, economic and other conditions and events (such as natural disasters, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism, conflicts and social unrest) adversely interrupt the global economy; in these and other circumstances, such events or developments might affect companies world-wide. Overall securities values could decline generally or underperform other investments. An investment may lose money.
Operational Risk. The Fund is exposed to operational risk arising from a number of factors, including human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or system failures.
Index Tracking Risk. The Fund’s return may not match the return of the Index for a number of reasons. For example, the Fund incurs operating expenses, including taxes, not applicable to the Index and incurs costs associated with buying and selling securities and entering into derivatives transactions (if applicable), especially when rebalancing the Fund’s securities holdings to reflect changes in the composition of the Index or (to the extent the Fund effects creations and redemptions in cash) raising cash to meet redemptions or deploying cash in connection with newly created Creation Units. Transaction costs, including brokerage costs, will decrease the Fund’s net asset value to the extent not offset by the transaction fee payable by an Authorized Participant.
Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Index. Errors in the Index data, the Index computations and/or the construction of the Index in accordance with its methodology may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index provider, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders. Shareholders should understand that any gains from the Index provider’s or others’ errors will be kept by the Fund and its shareholders and any losses or costs resulting from the Index provider’s or others’ errors will be borne by the Fund and its shareholders. Additionally, when the Index is rebalanced and the Fund in turn rebalances its portfolio to attempt to increase the correlation between the Fund’s portfolio and the Index, any transaction costs and market exposure arising from such portfolio rebalancing will be borne directly by the Fund and its shareholders. Apart from scheduled rebalances, the Index provider or its agents may carry out additional ad hoc rebalances to the Index. Therefore, errors and additional ad hoc rebalances carried out by the Index provider or its agents to the Index may increase the costs to and the tracking error risk of the Fund.
The Fund may not be fully invested at times either as a result of cash flows into the Fund or reserves of cash held by the Fund to pay expenses or to meet redemptions. In addition, the Fund may not invest in certain securities included in the Index, or invest in them in the exact proportions in which they are represented in the Index. The Fund’s performance may also deviate from the return of the Index for various reasons, including legal restrictions or limitations imposed by the governments of certain countries, certain exchange listing standards, a lack of liquidity in markets in which such securities trade, potential adverse tax consequences or other regulatory reasons (such as diversification requirements). To the extent the Fund utilizes depositary receipts, the purchase of depositary receipts may negatively affect the Fund’s ability to track the performance of the Index and increase tracking error, which may be exacerbated if the issuer of the depositary receipt discontinues issuing new depositary receipts or withdraws existing depositary receipts.
The Fund may value certain of its investments, underlying currencies and/or other assets based on fair value prices. To the extent the Fund calculates its net asset value based on fair value prices and the value of the Index is based on securities’ closing prices on local foreign markets (i.e., the value of the Index is not based on fair value prices), the Fund’s ability to track the Index may be adversely affected. In addition, any issues the Fund encounters with regard to currency convertibility (including the cost of borrowing funds, if any), repatriation or economic sanctions may also increase the index tracking risk. The Fund’s performance may also deviate from the performance of the Index due to the impact of withholding taxes, late announcements relating to changes to the Index and high turnover of the Index. When markets are volatile, the ability to sell securities at fair value prices may be adversely impacted and may result in additional trading costs and/or increase the index tracking risk. The Fund may also need to rely on borrowings to meet redemptions, which may lead to increased expenses. For tax efficiency purposes, the Fund may sell certain securities, and such sale may cause the Fund to realize a loss and deviate from the performance of the Index. In light of the factors discussed above, the Fund’s return may deviate significantly from the return of the Index. Changes to the composition of the Index in connection with a rebalancing or reconstitution of the Index may cause the Fund to experience increased volatility, during which time the Fund’s index tracking risk may be heightened.
Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. The Fund may have a limited number of Authorized Participants, none of which are obligated to engage in creation and/or redemption transactions. To the extent that those Authorized Participants exit the business, or do not process creation and/or redemption orders, there may be a significantly diminished trading market for Shares or Shares may trade like closed-end funds at a discount (or premium) to net asset value and possibly face trading halts and/or de-listing. This can be reflected as a spread between the bid-ask prices for the Fund. The Authorized Participant concentration risk may be heightened in cases where Authorized Participants have limited or diminished access to the capital required to post collateral.
No Guarantee of Active Trading Market Risk. There can be no assurance that an active trading market for the Shares will develop or be maintained, as applicable. Further, secondary markets may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods in times of market stress because market makers and Authorized Participants may step away from making a market in the Shares and in executing creation and redemption orders, which could cause a material deviation in the Fund’s market price from its net asset value.
Trading Issues Risk. Trading in shares on the exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in shares on the exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the relevant exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. If a trading halt or unanticipated early close of the exchange occurs, a shareholder may be unable to purchase or sell Shares of the Fund. There can be no assurance that requirements of the exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged.
Passive Management Risk. Unlike many investment companies, the Fund is not “actively” managed. Therefore, unless a specific security is removed from its Index, the Fund generally would not sell a security because the security’s issuer is in financial trouble. If a specific security is removed from the Fund’s Index, the Fund may be forced to sell such security at an inopportune
time or for prices other than at current market values. An investment in the Fund involves risks similar to those of investing in any fund that invests in bonds or equity securities, such as market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic and political developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in security prices. The Fund’s Index may not contain the appropriate or a diversified mix of securities for any particular economic cycle. The timing of changes in the securities of the Fund’s portfolio in seeking to replicate its Index could have a negative effect on the Fund. Unlike with an actively managed fund, the Adviser does not use techniques or defensive strategies designed to lessen the effects of market volatility or to reduce the impact of periods of market decline. Additionally, unusual market conditions may cause the Fund’s Index provider to postpone a scheduled rebalance or reconstitution, which could cause the Fund’s Index to vary from its normal or expected composition. This means that, based on market and economic conditions, the Fund’s performance could be lower than funds that may actively shift their portfolio assets to take advantage of market opportunities or to lessen the impact of a market decline or a decline in the value of one or more issuers.
Fund Shares Trading, Premium/Discount Risk and Liquidity of Fund Shares. The market price of the Shares may fluctuate in response to the Fund’s net asset value, the intraday value of the Fund’s holdings and supply and demand for Shares. Shares may trade above, below, or at their most recent net asset value. Factors including disruptions to creations and redemptions, the existence of market volatility or potential lack of an active trading market for Shares (including through a trading halt), may result in Shares trading at a significant premium or discount to net asset value or to the intraday value of the Fund’s holdings. If a shareholder purchases Shares at a time when the market price is at a premium to the net asset value or sells Shares at a time when the market price is at a discount to the net asset value, the shareholder may pay significantly more or receive significantly less than the underlying value of the Shares. The securities held by the Fund may be traded in markets that close at a different time than the exchange on which the Shares are traded. Liquidity in those securities may be reduced after the applicable closing times. Accordingly, during the time when the exchange is open but after the applicable market closing, fixing or settlement times, bid/ask spreads on the exchange and the resulting premium or discount to the Shares’ net asset value may widen. Additionally, in stressed market conditions, the market for the Fund’s Shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the markets for the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings and a shareholder may be unable to sell his or her Shares.
Non-Diversified Risk. The Fund is classified as a “non-diversified” fund under the Investment Company Act of 1940. The Fund is subject to the risk that it will be more volatile than a diversified fund because the Fund may invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in a smaller number of issuers or may invest a larger proportion of its assets in a single issuer. Moreover, the gains and losses on a single investment may have a greater impact on the Fund’s net asset value and may make the Fund more volatile than more diversified funds. The Fund may be particularly vulnerable to this risk if its Index is comprised of securities of a limited number of companies.
Index-Related Concentration Risk. The Fund’s assets may be concentrated in a particular sector or sectors or industry or group of industries to reflect the Index’s allocation to those types of securities. The securities of many or all of the companies in the same sector or industry may decline in value due to developments adversely affecting such sector or industry. By concentrating its assets in a particular sector or sectors or industry or group of industries, the Fund is subject to the risk that economic, political or other conditions that have a negative effect on those sectors and/or industries may negatively impact the Fund to a greater extent than if the Fund’s assets were invested in a wider variety of securities.
The Fund commenced operations on March 8, 2022 and therefore does not have a performance history for the calendar year ended December 31, 2022. Once available, the Fund’s performance information will be accessible on the Fund’s website at www.vaneck.com.
Investment Adviser. Van Eck Associates Corporation.
Portfolio Manager. The following individual is primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio:
|Name||Title with Adviser||Date Began Managing the Fund|
|Peter H. Liao||Portfolio Manager||March 2022|
PURCHASE AND SALE OF FUND SHARES
Individual Shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold in secondary market transactions through a broker or dealer at a market price. Shares of the Fund are listed on the Exchange, and because Shares trade at market prices rather than NAV, Shares of the Fund may trade at a price greater than NAV (i.e., a “premium”) or less than NAV (i.e., a “discount”).
An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase Shares of the Fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for Shares (ask) when buying or selling Shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”).
Recent information, including information about the Fund’s NAV, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads, is included on the Fund’s website at www.vaneck.com.
The Fund’s distributions are taxable and will generally be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains.
PAYMENTS TO BROKER-DEALERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES
The Adviser and its related companies may pay broker-dealers or other financial intermediaries (such as a bank) for the sale of the Fund Shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing your broker-dealer or other intermediary or its employees or associated persons to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your financial adviser or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
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