Press Release: Merk Investments Launches Merk Hard Currency Fund
-- Mutual fund seeks to protect against a declining US dollar relative to other currencies--
PALO ALTO, Calif. - May 17, 2005 - Merk Investments today announced the launch of the Merk Hard Currency Fund™, a mutual fund that invests in a basket of hard currencies assembled to protect against the fall of the dollar. The Merk Hard Currency Fund provides investors with the opportunity to easily invest in high-quality, short-term money market instruments of countries pursuing sound monetary policy, as well as in gold.
"Because global imbalances are the greatest in history - as evidenced by the US current account deficit - and administration monetary policies have been and are likely to remain consistent, the dollar is positioned to continue its decline relative to the euro and other hard currencies," said Axel Merk, president of Fund manager Merk Investments. "Consequentially, investors should consider whether it might be prudent to diversify their portfolios with a fund that invests in a basket of hard currencies that includes gold. With the ease of investing in a mutual fund, the Merk Hard Currency Fund provides investors with access to a basket of hard currencies seeking to preserve the purchasing power of their capital. Further, investors can potentially profit from the current secular bear market."
The Fund, a pure play on hard currencies, provides investors with a new fundamental investment option to gain exposure to hard currencies such as the euro, Swiss franc, Australian dollar and gold. To gain access to a basket of hard currencies without the Fund, investors must either determine which currencies they wish to invest in and gain exposure through buying those currencies directly; invest in funds that may include more speculative currencies in their portfolios, taking on more currency risk; invest in international stock or bond funds that introduce stock market, credit and interest risks; or engage in complex and speculative derivative trading.
The Merk Hard Currency Fund will determine currency allocations based on an analysis of monetary policies pursued by central banks and economic environments, identifying countries that pursue sound monetary policies - defined as providing an environment fostering long-term price stability. Once this determination has been made, debt instruments will be selected to create a liquid portfolio of short duration and high credit quality. The currency allocations may be adapted as monetary policies and economic environments evolve.
"A fund that invests in a diversified basket of hard currencies is looking smarter and smarter," concluded Merk. "Key economic factors, such as recent unemployment statistics and new signs of inflation have increased economic uncertainties. In addition, the US trade deficit recently reached an annualized $727 billion, or over 6% of gross domestic product (GDP). All of this weighs heavily on the dollar, stock and bond markets. All of this weighs heavily on the dollar, stock and bond markets. While slowly-rising interest rates give some short-term relief to the dollar, the decline that began in late 2001 appears to be firmly established. For the long-term investor, the most prudent approach to seeking preservation of capital against the decline of the dollar may be to consider a portfolio consisting of a basket of hard currencies."
The Fund is offered in Investor Class Shares. Standard accounts require an initial investment of $2,500. Traditional and Roth IRA accounts; accounts with systematic investment plans; and qualified retirement, pension or profit sharing plans require an initial investment of $1,000. For more information about the Merk Hard Currency Fund, please visit www.merkfund.com.
About Merk Investments and the Merk Hard Currency Fund
The Merk Hard Currency Fund is managed by Merk Investments, a money management firm that invests with discipline and long-term focus while adapting to changing environments.
Axel Merk, president of Merk Investments, makes all investment decisions for the Merk Hard Currency Fund. Mr. Merk founded Merk Investments AG in Switzerland in 1994; in 2001, he relocated to the US and transferred all investment advisory activities to Merk Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser.
Mr. Merk holds a BA in Economics (magna cum laude) and MSc in Computer Science from Brown University, Rhode Island. The institution awarded him the Class of 1873 Prize for Excellence in Economics in 1991. He has extensive experience and expertise in how global financial imbalances, as evidenced by an enormous trade deficit, affect the markets. He has published many articles describing complex economic phenomena in understandable terms and speaks on the topics of investment and global financial markets at conferences.
As with any mutual fund product, there is no guarantee that the fund will achieve its goals. Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks and charges and expenses of the Merk Hard Currency Fund carefully before investing. This and other information is in the prospectus, a copy of which may be obtained by visiting the Fund's website at www.merkfund.com or calling 866-MERK FUND. Please read the prospectus carefully before you invest.
The Fund's principal investment risks include, but are not limited to, currency exchange rate risk, foreign instrument risk, gold related and derivative securities risk, interest rate risk, and non-diversification risk. For a more complete discussion of these risks please refer to the Fund's prospectus. Foreside Fund Services, LLC, distributor.