How Jan van Eck Redefines Success and Honors His Father’s Legacy

05 October 2023

Read Time 2 MIN

From launching the first gold fund in 1968 to pioneering ETFs, delve into the journey of Jan van Eck and the legacy of a family that has helped shape the investment landscape for decades.

Diving into the intricate tapestry of VanEck's storied history, from its inception during the Nixon era to its modern-day focus on ETFs, the van Eck family has remained at the forefront of financial innovation. In an extensive profile of CEO Jan van Eck, Real Assets Adviser explores his personal journey, the firm's evolution, and VanEck’s forward-thinking investment philosophy. As the investment world ebbs and flows with the changing tides of global events, Jan's perspective serves as a beacon for those looking to navigate the future.

Here are highlights from the article:

The Nixon Era and Gold

In 1971, President Nixon unhooked the dollar from the gold standard. Jan’s father and the firm’s founder, John van Eck, saw this move coming and had already jumped into the gold market. His gold fund (known today as the VanEck International Investors Gold Fund), the first of its kind, skyrocketed as gold prices soared from $35 to $800 per ounce, making it the industry's top performer.

VanEck's Evolution: From Gold to ETFs

While John was passionate about gold, his son, Jan van Eck, realized the firm's over-reliance on gold was a vulnerability. Jan shifted the firm's focus, pioneering in ETFs. Today, ETFs account for 90% of VanEck's business, and the firm expects this sector to drive its growth for the foreseeable future.

Taking a Global Perspective

Founded in 1955, VanEck was originally focused on leveraging post-WWII investment opportunities in Asia and Europe. Today, Jan keeps an eye on emerging markets, technological innovations like blockchain, and the evolution of private finance in countries like Brazil and India.

Investment Philosophies and Forward Thinking

Jan believes in contrarian investing, seeing potential in assets like office real estate and cryptocurrencies. He's bullish on Bitcoin as a competitor to gold and has been pushing for Bitcoin ETFs since 2017. Jan's investments reflect his beliefs, with allocations in fintech startups and a digital assets fund.

A Changing Financial Landscape

For Jan, finance is intertwined with current events, making every day in the industry intellectually stimulating. He delves into alternative media for insights and research, emphasizing the importance of staying updated. He's particularly intrigued by global demographic changes, such as China's shrinking population.

Jan van Eck: Redefining Success

With a rich legacy behind him and a dynamic world ahead, Jan continues to reshape the definition of success in the investment world.


This material may only be used outside of the United States.

This is not an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation of any offer to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned herein. Fund holdings will vary. For a complete list of holdings in VanEck Mutual Funds and VanEck ETFs, please visit our website at

The information presented does not involve the rendering of personalized investment, financial, legal, or tax advice. Certain statements contained herein may constitute projections, forecasts and other forward looking statements, which do not reflect actual results. Information provided by third-party sources are believed to be reliable and have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness and cannot be guaranteed. Any opinions, projections, forecasts, and forward-looking statements presented herein are valid as of the date of this communication and are subject to change without notice. The information herein represents the opinion of the author(s), but not necessarily those of VanEck.

The views contained herein are not to be taken as advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any investment in any jurisdiction, nor is it a commitment from Van Eck Associates Corporation or its subsidiaries to participate in any transactions in any companies mentioned herein. This content is published in the United States. Investors are subject to securities and tax regulations within their applicable jurisdictions that are not addressed herein.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. As with any investment strategy, there is no guarantee that investment objectives will be met and investors may lose money. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.