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To mark the 10th anniversary of VanEck in Australia, we revisit some of the most beloved editions of Vector Insights. Many remain as relevant today as they were when first written.

In October 2013, Tony Abbott had just been sworn in as Australia’s 28th Prime Minister. President Xi became President of China earlier in the year. In the US, it had been nearly a year since Barack Obama won his second Presidential term. In 2013 Katy Perry’s Roar was the biggest song, and Frozen, was the biggest movie. Sony released its PlayStation 4 while Microsoft released its Xbox One.

Video gaming was not the only industry about to experience increased competition.

In 2013, VanEck launched its first ETFs on ASX on 16 October 2013. VanEck’s ETFs were unlike others that were available at the time, and this spirit of innovation has continued through the past 10 years. Our Australian leadership has a passion for bringing the best quality investment solutions to clients utilising diverse, deep investment management experience and insight.

Back in October 2013, the exchange traded products (ETP) market on ASX was $13.5 billion and our first few ETFs brought the total number of ETPs on ASX to 98. Today the ASX ETP market has grown to be more than $150 billion across more than 300 products offering exposures ranging from Australian and international equities, emerging markets, fixed income, credit and commodities.

A lot has changed.

At heart, VanEck has an ‘active’ philosophy. We believe that market inefficiencies, where they exist, can present investors with opportunities. We seek to identify approaches investors can utilise to take advantage of these, seeking to deliver the best outcomes. Importantly, our passion lies in anticipating how the investing paradigm is changing and enabling the democratisation of the new frontier for investors.

Not long after the launch of our first ETFs, we started to send clients our bi-weekly Vector Insights. Vector Insights was intended to be for investors. It communicates how we are thinking about markets and the opportunities we think exist within those markets. Vector Insights aims to educate, inform and sometimes entertain. Ultimately each is written with the intention of helping investors navigate the unpredictability of markets.

We thought, to celebrate 10 years of Vector Insights, we would revisit the most popular editions. We think many of the lessons in these remain as true today as they were when we wrote them. If you are new to VanEck, something might catch your eye you haven’t seen before. If you’ve been with us through the last ten years, some of these might be useful refreshers. Either way, to all our clients and Vector Insights readers, thank you. We enjoy producing these and sincerely hope you have found them useful.

2014 – How would a scientist build an investment portfolio?

Coinciding with the launch of our Australian Equal Weight ETF (MVW) and highlighting research from Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, which found equal weighting outperforms market capitalisation, this Vector Insights was the most popular in 2014. Later Vector Insights posited, How would a mathematician invest? and How would Benjamin Graham Invest internationally?

2015 – When you play the game of thrones …

The fifth season of Game of Thrones was ending. Jon Snow appeared to have been killed. Cercei had a walk of shame, while Daenerys was surrounded by a Dothraki hoard. If those last two sentences made no sense to you, the Vector Insights may have. It introduced Warren Buffet’s wide moat metaphor and how Morningstar has adapted the concept in its equity research.  

2016 – What have the Romans ever done for us?

Linking our investment ideas to popular culture extended beyond TV. Coinciding with the launch of our infrastructure ETF, we introduce the asset class to readers with a little help from Monty Python.  As an aside, we have also leant on, among others, Star Wars, Mary Poppins, Pretty Woman and The Simpsons.

2017 – The most important thing to assess when selecting an ETF

Surprisingly, the answer is not fees. Consideration of fees (and holdings, liquidity and the expertise of the investment manager) were covered two weeks later – here.

2018 – Skew returns in your favour

A refresher on statistics was popular in 2018.

2019 – The sky is not falling

Lessons from Chicken Licken. We think this is a Vector Insight for any occasion. Uncertainty remains a feature of markets.

2020 – Three mistakes in uncertain times

As COVID hit, we highlighted three behavioural biases that investors should understand because humans, even experts in their field, have poor track records of making proper assessments in times of uncertainty. And there was no time more uncertain than early 2020.

2021 – The recent example of investors’ aversion to losses

Interest in behavioural economics continued into 2021. While revisiting availability and adjustment and anchoring, this 2021 Vector Insights introduced investors to Prospect theory and the feeling of regret. In a more recent Vector Insights, we said that there are now 180 known cognitive biases so I think we have about 170 more to analyse in future Vector Insights!

2022 – Bonds are not forever

Bad news sells. 2022 was the worst year for Australian bonds on record, yet this Vector Insights and the following one, Licence to Yield were among the most popular in 2022.

2023 – A haven from developed markets financial follies

A surprise this year, but the most clicked Vector Insights so far in 2023 continued the fixed income theme. In this one we analysed those central banks that raised rates as soon as inflation reared its head rather than overlooking it as ‘transitory’ – the hiking champions: emerging markets.

The other popular Vector Insights in 2023 was Tax Time ETF gifts, a refresher on the tax benefits of ETFs.

It is probably worth mentioning our tax-related Vector Insights have been among the top three each year they are sent, including 2021’s, Avoiding tax time dinosaurs, about how nasty 30 June surprises (big lumpy dividends) should be a thing of the past, and 2019’s Most managers don't understand 'income' about changes in tax laws that not all fund managers are implementing (we are).

That brings us up to date. We look forward to continuing to share our thoughts on markets and where we see potential opportunities, focusing on the assets classes our funds invest.

Wishing you the very best over the next 10 years of Vector Insights.

Published: 22 October 2023

Any views expressed are opinions of the author at the time of writing and is not a recommendation to act.

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