Meet the Manager: VanEck Australia Pty Ltd

In this edition of Meet the Manager, BDO Private Wealth is delighted to be joined by Russel Chesler from VanEck Australia.

An actuary with over 25 years of experience in financial services, Russel is responsible for managing VanEck’s Australian ETFs as Head of Investments and Capital Markets. Before joining VanEck, Russel was a partner at boutique consulting firm Sunstone Partners, specializing in asset and wealth management. He has also held positions at Perpetual Limited, Grange Securities, Alexander Forms, and Liberty Life.

The VanEck MSCI World Ex Australia Quality ETF was one of the firm's earlier funds, launched in October 2014. As the flagship fund for VanEck, it has $2.9b under management and has outperformed the MSCI World Ex Australia benchmark by over two per cent since inception.

The full name of the fund is quite a mouth full, so it is commonly referred to as the code it trades under on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), 'QUAL'. QUAL epitomizes the investment philosophy which VanEck applies across all 30 of their ETFs, which are also listed on the ASX.

What does ETF mean?

Exchange Traded Funds (or ETFs) come in a number of different formats. In this instance, it is essentially a listed fund. The ETF Russel discusses here is a passive ETF, meaning it tracks an index. As opposed to an active manager making the decisions in terms of what stocks are selected, in the case of QUAL and other ETFs, it is the index that determines where your money is invested.

Investment Philosophy and Approach

VanEck believe many Australian investors are underexposed to international markets and miss out on offshore opportunities.

Russel emphasizes the small market available in Australia, with no Apple, Microsoft or Nestle equivalents listed on the ASX. “We might think it's big at home, but it makes up only three per cent of world market capitalisation,” Russel says. It’s “very heavily concentrated in resources [and] financials and tends to be underweight [in] technology [and] healthcare.”

It is for this reason that VanEck aim to provide investors with opportunities to invest in global equities and asset classes that are underrepresented in many portfolios.

At a minimum, VanEck believes investors should demand a strong financial position from a company, and that its earnings will be maintained over the years invested. QUAL meets this quality criteria by falling less in a downturn and recovering faster than other companies, outperforming them over the long term. 

To find out more about Russel and the VanEck investment strategy, watch the full interview now.

Should you wish to discuss how your portfolio is positioned in the context of your investment objectives and market risks, please speak to your local BDO Private Wealth adviser.

VanEck Australia Pty Ltd is licenced to provide general advice. The information contained is not advice, is general in nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision to invest in this fund please consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination to determine if the product is right for you.

This publication has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The publication cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact the BDO member firms in Australia to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstances. BDO Australia Ltd and each BDO member firm in Australia, their partners and/or directors, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this publication or for any decision based on it.

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