One marketing claim from Van Eck states: "Small caps worldwide have historically underperformed large caps during bear markets but have tended to lead the way out of downturns."

Although the Latin America fund was launched well into the small-cap rally in that region, riding those returns is just one reason investors might buy it, says Glenn Smith, a Van Eck vice president. Marketing materials also highlight other features that may benefit or work against investors, such as a tilt toward companies supported by local Latin American economies.

"There are a lot risks," he says. "We make that pretty clear."


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