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Muni Funds with Punch

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The Van Eck Global lineup of municipal bond ETFs continues to attract assets and accolades.

Three Market Vectors national muni funds — Intermediate Municipal Index ETF (ITM), Long Municipal Index ETF (MLN), and Short Municipal Index ETF (SMB) — received four-star overall ratings from Morningstar and were recently named “Best in Class” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

Collectively, Van Eck’s six-fund family of municipal income ETFs has around $810 million in assets. The family also includes a High Yield Municipal Index ETF (HYD), a 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.

“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,” said Jan van Eck, principal at Van Eck Global. “Now, four years later, we are starting to see an acceleration of assets moving into these funds.”

While municipal bond defaults have been scattered, the storm of massive bankruptcies for cities and local authorities that some analysts have been forecasting has yet to happen.

Currently, moreover, the absolute yields on many tax-exempt bonds are well above those of U.S. Treasuries with similar durations. •