ck0000768847-20211231


ck0000768847-20211231_g1.jpg
PROSPECTUS
May 1, 2022
VanEck Funds
Emerging Markets Fund
Class A: GBFAX / Class C: EMRCX / Class I: EMRIX / Class Y: EMRYX / Class Z: EMRZX
Emerging Markets Leaders Fund
Class A: ELMAX / Class I: ELMIX / Class Y: ELMYX / Class Z: ELMZX
Environmental Sustainability Fund
Class A: ENVAX / Class I: ENVIX / Class Y: ENVYX
Global Resources Fund
Class A: GHAAX / Class C: GHACX / Class I: GHAIX / Class Y: GHAYX
International Investors Gold Fund
Class A: INIVX / Class C: IIGCX / Class I: INIIX / Class Y: INIYX
These securities have not been approved or disapproved either by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or by any State Securities Commission. Neither the SEC nor any State Commission has passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus.
Any claim to the contrary is a criminal offense.
800.826.2333    vaneck.com


TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Summary Information
Emerging Markets Fund (Class A, C, I, Y, Z)
Emerging Markets Leaders Fund (Class A, I, Y, Z)
Environmental Sustainability Fund (Class A, I, Y)
Global Resources Fund (Class A, C, I, Y)
International Investors Gold Fund (Class A, C, I, Y)
II. Investment Objectives, Strategies, Policies, Risks and Other Information
1. Investment Objectives
2. Additional Information About Principal Investment Strategies and Risks
3. Additional Investment Strategies
4. Other Information and Policies
III. Shareholder Information
1. How to Buy, Sell, Exchange or Transfer Shares
2. How to Choose a Class of Shares
3. Sales Charges
4. Householding of Reports and Prospectuses
5. Retirement Plans
6. Federal Income Taxes
7. Dividends and Capital Gains Distributions
8. Management of the Funds and Service Providers
IV. Financial Highlights
Appendix A: Intermediary Sales Charge Discounts and Waivers

EMERGING MARKETS FUND (CLASS A, C, I, Y, Z)
SUMMARY INFORMATION
INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE
The Emerging Markets Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in equity securities in emerging markets around the world.
FUND FEES AND EXPENSES
This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below. You may qualify for Class A sales charge discounts if you and your family (includes spouse and children under age 21) invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $25,000, in the aggregate, in Classes A and C of the VanEck Funds. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial professional and in the “Shareholder Information-Sales Charges” section of this prospectus, in the “Availability of Discounts” section of the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) and, with respect to purchases of shares through specific intermediaries, in Appendix A to this prospectus, entitled “Intermediary Sales Charge Discounts and Waivers”. Investors may pay commissions and/or other forms of compensation to an intermediary, such as a broker, for transactions in Class Z shares, which are not reflected in the table or the example below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Class A Class C Class I Class Y Class Z
Maximum Sales Charge (load) imposed on purchases (as a percentage of offering price)
5.75% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Maximum Deferred Sales Charge (load) (as a percentage of the lesser of the net asset value or purchase price)
0.00 1.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Class A Class C Class I Class Y Class Z
Management Fees 0.75% 0.75% 0.75% 0.75% 0.75%
Distribution and/or Service (12b-1) Fees 0.25% 1.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Other Expenses 0.45% 0.50% 0.39% 0.38% 0.33%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 1.45% 2.25% 1.14% 1.13% 1.08%
Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements2
0.00% 0.00% -0.14% -0.03% -0.18%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursements
1.45% 2.25% 1.00% 1.10% 0.90%
1 A contingent deferred sales charge for Class A shares of 1.00% for one year applies to redemptions of qualified commissionable shares purchased at or above the $1 million breakpoint level.
2 Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) has agreed to waive fees and/or pay Fund expenses to the extent necessary to prevent the operating expenses of the Fund (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, trading expenses, dividends and interest payments on securities sold short, taxes and extraordinary expenses) from exceeding 1.60% for Class A, 2.50% for Class C, 1.00% for Class I, 1.10% for Class Y, and 0.90% for Class Z of the Fund’s average daily net assets per year until May 1, 2023. During such time, the expense limitation is expected to continue until the Board of Trustees acts to discontinue all or a portion of such expense limitation.
EXPENSE EXAMPLE
The following example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then either redeem all of your shares at the end of these periods or continue to hold them. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same, and applies fee waivers and/or expense reimbursements, if any, for the periods indicated above under “Annual Fund Operating Expenses.” Although your actual expenses may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
1


Share Status 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
Class A Sold or Held $714  $1,007  $1,322  $2,210 
Class C Sold $328  $703  $1,205  $2,585 
Held $228  $703  $1,205  $2,585 
Class I Sold or Held $102  $348  $614  $1,374 
Class Y Sold or Held $112  $356  $619  $1,372 
Class Z Sold or Held $92  $326  $578  $1,301 
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate that the Fund pays higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 38% of the average value of its portfolio.
PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
Under normal conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets in securities of companies that are organized in, maintain at least 50% of their assets in, or derive at least 50% of their revenues from, emerging market countries. The Adviser has broad discretion to identify countries that it considers to qualify as emerging markets. The Adviser selects emerging market countries that the Fund will invest in based on the Adviser’s evaluation of economic fundamentals, legal structure, political developments and other specific factors the Adviser believes to be relevant.
Utilizing qualitative and quantitative measures, the Adviser seeks to invest in reasonably-priced companies that have strong structural growth potential. The Adviser seeks attractive investment opportunities in all areas of emerging markets, and utilizes a flexible investment approach across all market capitalizations. The Adviser seeks to (i) integrate financially-material environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors into the Fund’s investment process and (ii) reduce material exposure to issuers that the Adviser deems controversial in the ESG universe.
The Fund’s holdings may include issues denominated in currencies of emerging market countries, investment companies (like country funds) that invest in emerging market countries, and depositary receipts, and similar types of investments, representing emerging market securities.
The Fund may invest up to 20% of its net assets in securities issued by other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”). The Fund may also invest in money market funds, but these investments are not subject to this limitation. The Fund may invest in ETFs to participate in, or gain exposure to, certain market sectors, or when direct investments in certain countries are not permitted or available. The Fund may also invest in restricted securities, including Rule 144A securities.
PRINCIPAL RISKS
There is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. The Fund’s share price and return will fluctuate with changes in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio securities. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund involves the risk of losing money.
Chinese Issuers. Investing in securities of Chinese issuers (including companies located or operating in Hong Kong and the Taiwan region) involves certain risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. issuers. These may include, among others, (i) more frequent (and potentially widespread) trading suspensions and government interventions with respect to Chinese issuers, resulting in lack of liquidity and in price volatility; (ii) currency revaluations and other currency exchange rate fluctuations or blockage; (iii) the nature and extent of intervention by the Chinese government in the Chinese securities markets (including both direct and indirect market stabilization efforts, which may affect valuations of Chinese issuers), whether such intervention will continue and the impact of such intervention or its discontinuation; difficulty in obtaining information necessary for investigations into and/or litigation against Chinese companies, as well as in obtaining and/or enforcing judgments; limited legal remedies for shareholders; (iv) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets; (v) the risk that the Chinese government may decide not to continue to support economic reform programs; (vi) limitations on the use of brokers (or action by the Chinese government that discourages brokers from serving international clients); (vii) higher rates of inflation; (viii) greater political, economic and social uncertainty; (ix) market volatility caused by any potential regional or territorial conflicts or natural or other disasters; (x) the risk of increased trade tariffs, embargoes, sanctions, investment restrictions and other trade limitations; (xi) China custody risks associated with investing via the Stock Connect Program; (xii) both interim and permanent market regulations which may affect the ability of certain stockholders to sell Chinese securities when it would otherwise be advisable, (xiii) foreign ownership limits of any listed Chinese company and (xiv) the general risks applicable to the Stock Connect. Export growth
2

continues to be a major driver of China’s rapid economic growth. As a result, a reduction in spending on Chinese products and services, the institution of tariffs or other trade barriers, or a downturn in any of the economies of China's key trading partners may have an adverse impact on the Chinese economy. Additionally, the inability of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) to inspect audit work papers and practices of PCAOB-registered accounting firms in China with respect to their audit work of U.S. reporting companies may impose significant additional risks associated with investments in China.
Direct Investments. Direct investments may involve a high degree of business and financial risk that can result in substantial losses. Because of the absence of any public trading market for these investments, the Fund may take longer to liquidate these positions than would be the case for publicly traded securities. Direct investments are generally considered illiquid and will be aggregated with other illiquid investments for purposes of the limitation on illiquid investments.
Emerging Market Securities. Emerging market securities typically present even greater exposure to the risks described under “Foreign Securities” and may be particularly sensitive to certain economic changes. Emerging market securities are exposed to a number of risks that may make these investments volatile in price or difficult to evaluate and trade. Companies in emerging market countries generally may be subject to less stringent financial reporting, regulatory, disclosure, accounting, auditing and recordkeepeing standards than companies in more developed countries. In addition, securities law and the enforcement of systems of taxation in many emerging market countries may change quickly and unpredictably, and the ability to bring and enforce actions, or to obtain information needed to pursue or enforce such actions, may be limited.
ESG Investing Risk. The Adviser’s consideration of ESG risks and opportunities in the Fund’s investment process could result in the Fund performing differently compared to funds that do not take into account ESG considerations. The Adviser’s consideration of ESG risks and opportunities may result in the Fund investing in securities, industries, or sectors that underperform other securities, industries, or sectors, or underperform the market as a whole. The Fund is also subject to the risk that the companies identified by the Adviser do not operate as expected when addressing ESG issues. Regulatory changes or interpretations regarding the definitions and/or use of ESG criteria could have a material adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to invest in accordance with its ESG considerations.
Foreign Currency Transactions. An investment transacted in a foreign currency may lose value due to fluctuations in the rate of exchange. These fluctuations can make the return on an investment go up or down, entirely apart from the quality or performance of the investment itself.
Foreign Securities. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers involve risks beyond those associated with investments in U.S. securities. These additional risks include greater market volatility, the availability of less reliable financial information, higher transactional and custody costs, taxation by foreign governments, decreased market liquidity and political instability. Because certain foreign securities markets may be limited in size, the activity of large traders may have an undue influence on the prices of securities that trade in such markets. The Fund invests in securities of issuers located in countries whose economies are heavily dependent upon trading with key partners. Any reduction in this trading may have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investments.
Indian Issuers Risk. Investing in securities of Indian issuers involves risks not typically associated with investments in securities of issuers in more developed countries that may negatively affect the value of your investment in the Fund. Such heightened risks include, among others, greater government control over the economy, political and legal uncertainty, currency fluctuations or blockage of foreign currency exchanges and the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets. Issuers in India are subject to less stringent requirements regarding accounting, auditing and financial reporting than are issuers in more developed markets, and therefore, all material information may not be available or reliable. In addition, religious and border disputes persist in India. India has experienced civil unrest and hostilities with neighboring countries, including Pakistan, and the Indian government has confronted separatist movements in several Indian states. India has also experienced acts of terrorism that have targeted foreigners, which have had a negative impact on tourism, an important sector of the Indian economy. The Indian securities markets are smaller than securities markets in more developed economies and are subject to greater price volatility. Indian stock exchanges have also experienced problems such as temporary exchange closures, broker defaults, settlement delays and strikes by brokers that have affected the market price and liquidity of the securities of Indian companies. In addition, the governing bodies of the Indian stock exchanges have from time to time restricted securities from trading, limited price movements and restricted margin requirements. Further, from time to time, disputes have occurred between listed companies and the Indian stock exchanges and other regulatory bodies that, in some cases, have had a negative effect on market sentiment. Certain restrictions on foreign investment may decrease the liquidity of the Fund's portfolio. In addition, the Reserve Bank of India, the Indian counterpart of the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States, imposes certain limits on the foreign ownership of Indian securities. These restrictions and/or controls may at times limit or prevent foreign investment in securities of issuers located or operating in India.
Investing in the Communication Services Sector. The Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the communication services sector. Companies in the communication services sector may be affected by industry competition, substantial capital requirements, government regulations and obsolescence of communications products and services due to technological advancement.
Investing in the Consumer Discretionary Sector. The Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the consumer discretionary sector. The consumer discretionary sector comprises companies whose businesses are sensitive to economic cycles, such as manufacturers of high-end apparel and automobile and
3


leisure companies. Companies engaged in the consumer discretionary sector are subject to fluctuations in supply and demand. These companies may also be adversely affected by changes in consumer spending as a result of world events, political and economic conditions, commodity price volatility, changes in exchange rates, imposition of import controls, increased competition, depletion of resources and labor relations.
Investing in the Financial Services Sector. The Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the financial services sector. Companies in the financial services sector may be subject to extensive government regulation that affects the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and the amount of capital they must maintain. The profitability of companies in the financial services sector may be adversely affected by increases in interest rates, by loan losses, which usually increase in economic downturns, and by credit rating downgrades. In addition, the financial services sector is undergoing numerous changes, including continuing consolidations, development of new products and structures and changes to its regulatory framework. Furthermore, some companies in the financial services sector perceived as benefitting from government intervention in the past may be subject to future government-imposed restrictions on their businesses or face increased government involvement in their operations. Increased government involvement in the financial services sector, including measures such as taking ownership positions in financial institutions, could result in a dilution of the Fund’s investments in financial institutions. Recent developments in the credit markets may cause companies operating in the financial services sector to incur large losses, experience declines in the value of their assets and even cease operations.
Investing in the Information Technology Sector. The Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the information technology sector. Information technology companies face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Information technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of information technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. Companies in the information technology sector are heavily dependent on patent protection and the expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies.
Investments in Other Investment Companies. The Fund’s investment in another investment company may subject the Fund indirectly to the underlying risks of the investment company. The Fund also may bear its share of the underlying investment company’s fees and expenses, which are in addition to the Fund’s own fees and expenses.
Investments through Stock Connect. The Fund’s investments in Chinese A-shares through Stock Connect may be subject to a number of restrictions that may affect the Fund’s investments and returns. For example, purchases of A-shares through Stock Connect are subject to a daily quota which does not belong to the Fund and can only be utilized on a first-come-first-serve basis. Once the daily quota is exceeded, buy orders will be rejected. The Fund's ability to invest in A-Shares may therefore be limited. In addition, investments made through Stock Connect are subject to trading, clearance and settlement procedures that are relatively untested in the PRC, which could pose risks to the Fund. Furthermore, securities purchased via Stock Connect will be held via a book entry omnibus account in the name of HKSCC, Hong Kong’s clearing entity, at the CSDCC. The Fund’s ownership interest in Stock Connect securities will not be reflected directly in book entry with CSDCC and will instead only be reflected on the books of its Hong Kong sub-custodian. The Fund may therefore depend on HKSCC’s ability or willingness as record-holder of Stock Connect securities to enforce the Fund’s shareholder rights. PRC law did not historically recognize the concept of beneficial ownership; while PRC regulations and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange have issued clarifications and guidance supporting the concept of beneficial ownership via Stock Connect, the interpretation of beneficial ownership in the PRC by regulators and courts may continue to evolve. Moreover, Stock Connect A-shares generally may not be sold, purchased or otherwise transferred other than through Stock Connect in accordance with applicable rules.
A primary feature of Stock Connect is the application of the home market’s laws and rules applicable to investors in A-shares. Therefore, the Fund’s investments in Stock Connect A-shares are generally subject to PRC securities regulations and listing rules, among other restrictions. Stock Connect is only available on days when markets in both the PRC and Hong Kong are open, which may limit the Fund’s ability to trade when it would be otherwise attractive to do so. Uncertainties in permanent PRC tax rules governing the taxation of income and gains from investments in Stock Connect A-shares could result in unexpected tax liabilities for the Fund. The Stock Connect program is a relatively new program and may be subject to further interpretation and guidance. There can be no assurance as to the program’s continued existence or whether future developments regarding the program may restrict or adversely affect the Fund’s investments or returns.
In addition, the application and interpretation of the laws and regulations of Hong Kong and the PRC, and the rules, policies or guidelines published or applied by relevant regulators and exchanges in respect of the Stock Connect program are uncertain, and they may have a detrimental effect on the Fund’s investments and returns.
Latin American Issuers. Investments in securities of Latin American issuers involve special considerations not typically associated with investments in securities of issuers located in the United States. The economies of certain Latin American countries have, at times, experienced high interest rates, economic volatility, inflation, currency devaluations and high unemployment rates. In addition, commodities (such as oil, gas and minerals) represent a significant percentage of the region’s exports and many economies in this region are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Adverse economic events
4

in one country may have a significant adverse effect on other countries of this region. Most Latin American countries have experienced, at one time or another, severe and persistent levels of inflation, including, in some cases, hyperinflation. This has, in turn, led to high interest rates, extreme measures by governments to keep inflation in check, and a generally debilitating effect on economic growth.
Management. Investment decisions made by the Adviser in seeking to achieve the Fund’s investment objective may not produce the returns expected by the Adviser, may cause a decline in the value of the securities held by the Fund and, in turn, cause the Fund’s shares to lose value or underperform other funds with similar investment objectives.
Market Risk. The prices of the securities in the Fund are subject to the risks associated with investing in the securities market, including general economic conditions, sudden and unpredictable drops in value, exchange trading suspensions and closures and public health risks. These risks may be magnified if certain social, political, economic and other conditions and events (such as natural disasters, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism, conflicts and social unrest) adversely interrupt the global economy; in these and other circumstances, such events or developments might affect companies world-wide.  An investment in the Fund may lose money.
Operational. The Fund is exposed to operational risk arising from a number of factors, including but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or system failures.
Restricted Securities Risk. The Fund may hold securities that are restricted as to resale under the U.S. Federal securities laws, such as securities in certain privately held companies. Such securities may be highly illiquid and their values may experience significant volatility. Restricted securities may be difficult to value.
Sectors. The Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of sectors. The Fund may be susceptible to financial, economic, political or market events, as well as government regulation, impacting the financial services, information technology, communication and consumer discretionary sectors.
Small- and Medium-Capitalization Companies. Securities of small- and medium-sized companies often have greater price volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity than larger, more established companies. The stocks of small- and medium-sized companies may have returns that vary, sometimes significantly, from the overall stock market.
Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. Equity securities include stock, rights, warrants, and other interests in Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (“SPACs”) or similar special purpose entities. A SPAC is typically a publicly traded company that raises investment capital via an initial public offering for the purpose of acquiring one or more existing companies (or interests therein) via merger, combination, acquisition or other similar transactions. Since SPACs have no operating history or ongoing business other than seeking a transaction, the value of their securities may be particularly dependent on the quality of its management and on the ability of the SPAC’s management to identify and complete a profitable transaction. Additionally, the securities issued by a SPAC may become illiquid and/or may be subject to restrictions on resale, among other risks.
PERFORMANCE
The following chart and table provide some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year to year and by showing how the Fund’s average annual total returns compare with those of a broad measure of market performance. For instance, the MSCI Emerging Markets Investable Markets Index is an all market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance of emerging markets countries. The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future. The annual returns in the bar chart are for the Fund’s Class A shares and do not reflect sales loads. If sales loads were reflected, returns would be lower than those shown.
Additionally, large purchases and/or redemptions of shares of a class, relative to the amount of assets represented by the class, may cause the annual returns for each class to differ. Updated performance information for the Fund is available on the VanEck website at vaneck.com.
5


CLASS A: Annual Total Returns (%) as of 12/31
ck0000768847-20211231_g2.jpg
Best Quarter: +25.07% 2Q 2020
Worst Quarter: -25.90% 1Q 2020
Average Annual Total Returns as of 12/31/2021 1 Year 5 Years 10 Years Life of
Class
Class A Shares (12/20/93)
Before Taxes -17.20% 7.47% 6.01%
After Taxes on Distributions1
-18.69% 7.06% 5.79%
 After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares
-9.14% 5.94% 4.87%
Class C Shares (10/3/03)
Before Taxes -13.67% 7.90% 5.77%
Class I Shares (12/31/07)
Before Taxes -11.76% 9.27% 7.15%
Class Y Shares (4/30/10)
Before Taxes -11.84% 9.17% 7.00%
Class Z Shares (9/16/19)
Before Taxes -11.66% 4.65%
MSCI Emerging Markets Investable Markets Index
(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes except withholding taxes)
-0.28% 10.06% 5.71%
1    After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. These returns are shown for one class of shares only; after-tax returns for the other classes may vary. Actual after-tax returns depend on your individual tax situation and may differ from those shown in the preceding table. The after-tax return information shown above does not apply to Fund shares held through a tax-advantaged account, such as a 401(k) plan or Investment Retirement Account.
PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
Investment Adviser. Van Eck Associates Corporation
Portfolio Managers.
David Semple has been Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2002. Angus Shillington has been Deputy Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2014. Mr. Shillington has worked at the Adviser as a Senior Analyst since 2009.
PURCHASE AND SALE OF FUND SHARES
In general, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed on any business day, primarily through financial representatives such as brokers or advisers, or directly by eligible investors through the Fund’s transfer agent. Purchase minimums for Classes A,
6

C and Y shares are $1,000 for an initial purchase and $100 for a subsequent purchase, with no purchase minimums for any purchase through a retirement or pension plan account, for any “wrap fee” account and similar programs offered without a sales charge by certain financial institutions and third-party recordkeepers and/or administrators, and for any account using the Automatic Investment Plan, or for any other periodic purchase program. Class Z shares have no initial or subsequent purchase minimums, although financial intermediaries may have their own minimums. Purchase minimums for Class I shares are $1 million for an initial purchase and no minimum for a subsequent purchase; the initial minimum may be reduced or waived at the Adviser’s discretion.
TAX INFORMATION
The Fund normally distributes net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders annually. These distributions are generally taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax advantaged retirement account, such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (IRA), in which case your distributions may be taxed as ordinary income when withdrawn from such account.
PAYMENTS TO BROKER-DEALERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES
If you purchase the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its affiliates may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your financial professional to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your financial professional or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
7

EMERGING MARKETS LEADERS FUND (CLASS A, I, Y, Z)
SUMMARY INFORMATION
INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE
The Emerging Markets Leaders Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in equity securities in emerging markets around the world.
FUND FEES AND EXPENSES
This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below. You may qualify for Class A sales charge discounts if you and your family (includes spouse and children under age 21) invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $25,000, in the aggregate, in Classes A and C of the VanEck Funds. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial professional and in the “Shareholder Information-Sales Charges” section of this prospectus, in the “Availability of Discounts” section of the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) and, with respect to purchases of shares through specific intermediaries, in Appendix A to this prospectus, entitled “Intermediary Sales Charge Discounts and Waivers”. Investors may pay commissions and/or other forms of compensation to an intermediary, such as a broker, for transactions in Class Z shares, which are not reflected in the table or the example below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Class A Class I Class Y Class Z
Maximum Sales Charge (load) imposed on purchases (as a percentage of offering price)
5.75% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Maximum Deferred Sales Charge (load) (as a percentage of the lesser of the net asset value or purchase price)
0.00 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Class A Class I Class Y Class Z
Management Fees 0.75% 0.75% 0.75% 0.75%
Distribution and/or Service (12b-1) Fees 0.25% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Other Expenses2
0.41% 0.32% 0.34% 0.38%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 1.41% 1.07% 1.09% 1.13%
Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements3
0.00% -0.22% -0.14% -0.38%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursements
1.41% 0.85% 0.95% 0.75%
1 A contingent deferred sales charge for Class A shares of 1.00% for one year applies to redemptions of qualified commissionable shares purchased at or above the $1 million breakpoint level.
2 “Other Expenses” are based on estimated amounts for the current fiscal year.
3 Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) has agreed to waive fees and/or pay Fund expenses to the extent necessary to prevent the operating expenses of the Fund (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, trading expenses, dividends and interest payments on securities sold short, taxes and extraordinary expenses) from exceeding 1.45% for Class A, 0.85% for Class I, 0.95% for Class Y, and 0.75% for Class Z of the Fund’s average daily net assets per year until May 1, 2023. During such time, the expense limitation is expected to continue until the Board of Trustees acts to discontinue all or a portion of such expense limitation.
EXPENSE EXAMPLE
The following example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then either redeem all of your shares at the end of these periods or continue to hold them. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same, and applies fee waivers and/or expense reimbursements, if any, for the periods indicated above under “Annual Fund Operating Expenses.” Although your actual expenses may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
8

Share Status 1 Year 3 Years
Class A
Sold or Held
$710  $996 
Class I Sold or Held $87  $318 
Class Y Sold or Held $97  $333 
Class Z Sold or Held $77  $321 
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate that the Fund pays higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. Because the Fund is newly organized, no portfolio turnover figures are available.
PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
Under normal conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets in equity securities of companies that are organized in, maintain at least 50% of their assets in, or derive at least 50% of their revenues from, emerging market countries. The Adviser has broad discretion to identify countries that it considers to qualify as emerging markets. The Adviser selects emerging market countries that the Fund will invest in based on the Adviser’s evaluation of economic fundamentals, legal structure, political developments and other specific factors the Adviser believes to be relevant. The Fund is considered to be “non-diversified” which means that it may invest a larger portion of its assets in a single issuer.
Utilizing qualitative and quantitative measures, the Adviser seeks to invest in reasonably-priced companies that have strong structural growth potential. The Adviser seeks attractive investment opportunities in all areas of emerging markets, and utilizes a flexible investment approach across medium and large market capitalizations. The Adviser seeks to (i) integrate financially-material environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors into the Fund’s investment process and (ii) reduce material exposure to issuers that the Adviser deems controversial in the ESG universe.
The Fund’s holdings may include issues denominated in currencies of emerging market countries, investment companies (like country funds) that invest in emerging market countries, and depositary receipts, and similar types of investments, representing emerging market securities. The Fund may enter into foreign currency transactions to attempt to moderate the effect of currency fluctuations. The Fund may also invest in special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).
The Fund may invest up to 20% of its net assets in securities issued by other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”). The Fund may also invest in money market funds, but these investments are not subject to this limitation. The Fund may invest in ETFs to participate in, or gain exposure to, certain market sectors, or when direct investments in certain countries are not permitted or available. The Fund may also invest in restricted securities, including Rule 144A securities.
PRINCIPAL RISKS
There is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. The Fund’s share price and return will fluctuate with changes in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio securities. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund involves the risk of losing money.
Depositary Receipts Risk. Depositary receipts are certificates that evidence ownership of shares of a foreign issuer and are alternatives to purchasing the underlying foreign securities directly in their national markets and currencies. Depositary receipts may be subject to certain of the risks associated with direct investments in the securities of foreign companies, such as currency, political, economic and market risks, because their values depend on the performance of the non-dollar denominated underlying foreign securities. Moreover, depositary receipts may not track the price of the underlying foreign securities on which they are based, and their value may change materially at times when U.S. markets are not open for trading. The issuers of certain depositary receipts are under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications to the holders of such receipts, or to pass through to them any voting rights with respect to the deposited securities. Investments in depositary receipts may be less liquid than the underlying shares in their primary trading market. The issuers of depositary receipts may discontinue issuing new depositary receipts and withdraw existing depositary receipts at any time, which may result in costs and delays in the distribution of the underlying assets to the Fund and may negatively impact the Fund’s performance.
Chinese Issuers. Investing in securities of Chinese issuers (including companies located or operating in Hong Kong and the Taiwan region) involves certain risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. issuers. These may include, among others, (i) more frequent (and potentially widespread) trading suspensions and government interventions with respect to Chinese issuers, resulting in lack of liquidity and in price volatility; (ii) currency revaluations and other currency exchange rate fluctuations or blockage; (iii) the nature and extent of intervention by the Chinese government in the Chinese securities markets (including both direct and indirect market stabilization efforts, which may affect valuations of Chinese issuers), whether such intervention will continue and the impact of such intervention or its discontinuation; difficulty in obtaining information
9

necessary for investigations into and/or litigation against Chinese companies, as well as in obtaining and/or enforcing judgments; limited legal remedies for shareholders; (iv) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets; (v) the risk that the Chinese government may decide not to continue to support economic reform programs; (vi) limitations on the use of brokers (or action by the Chinese government that discourages brokers from serving international clients); (vii) higher rates of inflation; (viii) greater political, economic and social uncertainty; (ix) market volatility caused by any potential regional or territorial conflicts or natural or other disasters; (x) the risk of increased trade tariffs, embargoes, sanctions, investment restrictions and other trade limitations; (xi) China custody risks associated with investing via the Stock Connect Program; (xii) both interim and permanent market regulations which may affect the ability of certain stockholders to sell Chinese securities when it would otherwise be advisable, (xiii) foreign ownership limits of any listed Chinese company and (xiv) the general risks applicable to the Stock Connect. Export growth continues to be a major driver of China’s rapid economic growth. As a result, a reduction in spending on Chinese products and services, the institution of tariffs or other trade barriers, or a downturn in any of the economies of China's key trading partners may have an adverse impact on the Chinese economy. Additionally, the inability of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) to inspect audit work papers and practices of PCAOB-registered accounting firms in China with respect to their audit work of U.S. reporting companies may impose significant additional risks associated with investments in China.
Direct Investments. Direct investments may involve a high degree of business and financial risk that can result in substantial losses. Because of the absence of any public trading market for these investments, the Fund may take longer to liquidate these positions than would be the case for publicly traded securities. Direct investments are generally considered illiquid and will be aggregated with other illiquid investments for purposes of the limitation on illiquid investments.
Emerging Market Securities. Emerging market securities typically present even greater exposure to the risks described under “Foreign Securities” and may be particularly sensitive to certain economic changes. Emerging market securities are exposed to a number of risks that may make these investments volatile in price or difficult to evaluate and trade. Companies in emerging market countries generally may be subject to less stringent financial reporting, regulator, disclosure, accounting, auditing and recordkeeping standards than companies in more developed countries. In addition, securities law and the enforcement of systems of taxation in many emerging market countries may change quickly and unpredictably, and the ability to bring and enforce actions, or to obtain information needed to pursue or enforce such actions, may be limited.
ESG Investing Risk. The Adviser’s consideration of ESG risks and opportunities in the Fund’s investment process could result in the Fund performing differently compared to funds that do not take into account ESG considerations. The Adviser’s consideration of ESG risks and opportunities may result in the Fund investing in securities, industries, or sectors that underperform other securities, industries, or sectors, or underperform the market as a whole. The Fund is also subject to the risk that the companies identified by the Adviser do not operate as expected when addressing ESG issues. Regulatory changes or interpretations regarding the definitions and/or use of ESG criteria could have a material adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to invest in accordance with its ESG considerations.
Equity Securities. The value of the equity securities held by the Fund may fall due to general market and economic conditions, perceptions regarding the markets in which the issuers of securities held by the Fund participate, or factors relating to specific issuers in which the Fund invests. Equity securities are subordinated to preferred securities and debt in a company’s capital structure with respect to priority in right to a share of corporate income, and therefore will be subject to greater dividend risk than preferred securities or debt instruments. In addition, while broad market measures of equity securities have historically generated higher average returns than fixed income securities, equity securities have generally also experienced significantly more volatility in those returns, although under certain market conditions fixed income securities may have comparable or greater price volatility.
Foreign Currency Transactions. An investment transacted in a foreign currency may lose value due to fluctuations in the rate of exchange. These fluctuations can make the return on an investment go up or down, entirely apart from the quality or performance of the investment itself.
Foreign Securities. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers involve risks beyond those associated with investments in U.S. securities. These additional risks include greater market volatility, the availability of less reliable financial information, higher transactional and custody costs, taxation by foreign governments, decreased market liquidity and political instability. Because certain foreign securities markets may be limited in size, the activity of large traders may have an undue influence on the prices of securities that trade in such markets. The Fund invests in securities of issuers located in countries whose economies are heavily dependent upon trading with key partners. Any reduction in this trading may have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investments.
Indian Issuers Risk. Investing in securities of Indian issuers involves risks not typically associated with investments in securities of issuers in more developed countries that may negatively affect the value of your investment in the Fund. Such heightened risks include, among others, greater government control over the economy, political and legal uncertainty, currency fluctuations or blockage of foreign currency exchanges and the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets. Issuers in India are subject to less stringent requirements regarding accounting, auditing and financial reporting than are issuers in more developed markets, and therefore, all material information may not be available or reliable. In addition, religious and border disputes persist in India. India has experienced civil unrest and hostilities with neighboring countries, including Pakistan, and the Indian government has confronted separatist movements in several Indian states. India has also experienced acts of terrorism that have targeted foreigners, which have had a negative impact on tourism, an important sector of the Indian economy. The Indian securities
10

markets are smaller than securities markets in more developed economies and are subject to greater price volatility. Indian stock exchanges have also experienced problems such as temporary exchange closures, broker defaults, settlement delays and strikes by brokers that have affected the market price and liquidity of the securities of Indian companies. In addition, the governing bodies of the Indian stock exchanges have from time to time restricted securities from trading, limited price movements and restricted margin requirements. Further, from time to time, disputes have occurred between listed companies and the Indian stock exchanges and other regulatory bodies that, in some cases, have had a negative effect on market sentiment. Certain restrictions on foreign investment may decrease the liquidity of the Fund's portfolio. In addition, the Reserve Bank of India, the Indian counterpart of the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States, imposes certain limits on the foreign ownership of Indian securities. These restrictions and/or controls may at times limit or prevent foreign investment in securities of issuers located or operating in India.
Investing in the Communication Services Sector. The Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in companies in the communication services sector. The Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the communication services sector. Companies in the communication services sector may be affected by industry competition, substantial capital requirements, government regulations and obsolescence of communications products and services due to technological advancement.
Investing in the Consumer Discretionary Sector. The Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in companies in the consumer discretionary sector. The Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the consumer discretionary sector. The consumer discretionary sector comprises companies whose businesses are sensitive to economic cycles, such as manufacturers of high-end apparel and automobile and leisure companies. Companies engaged in the consumer discretionary sector are subject to fluctuations in supply and demand. These companies may also be adversely affected by changes in consumer spending as a result of world events, political and economic conditions, commodity price volatility, changes in exchange rates, imposition of import controls, increased competition, depletion of resources and labor relations.
Investing in the Financial Services Sector. The Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in companies in the financial services sectors. The Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the financial services sector. Companies in the financial services sector may be subject to extensive government regulation that affects the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and the amount of capital they must maintain. The profitability of companies in the financial services sector may be adversely affected by increases in interest rates, by loan losses, which usually increase in economic downturns, and by credit rating downgrades. In addition, the financial services sector is undergoing numerous changes, including continuing consolidations, development of new products and structures and changes to its regulatory framework. Furthermore, some companies in the financial services sector perceived as benefiting from government intervention in the past may be subject to future government-imposed restrictions on their businesses or face increased government involvement in their operations. Increased government involvement in the financial services sector, including measures such as taking ownership positions in financial institutions, could result in a dilution of the Fund’s investments in financial institutions. Recent developments in the credit markets may cause companies operating in the financial services sector to incur large losses, experience declines in the value of their assets and even cease operations.
Investing in the Health Care Sector. The Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in companies in the health care sector. The Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the health care sector. Companies in the health care sector may be affected by extensive government regulation, restrictions on government reimbursement for medical expenses, rising costs of medical products and services, pricing pressure, an increased emphasis on outpatient services, limited number of products, industry innovation, changes in technologies and other market developments. Many health care companies are heavily dependent on patent protection. The expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies. Many health care companies are subject to extensive litigation based on product liability and similar claims. Health care companies are subject to competitive forces that may make it difficult to raise prices and, in fact, may result in price discounting. Many new products in the health care sector may be subject to regulatory approvals. The process of obtaining such approvals may be long and costly. Companies in the health care sector may be thinly capitalized and may be susceptible to product obsolescence.
Investing in the Information Technology Sector. The Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in companies in the information technology sector. The Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the information technology sector. Information technology companies face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Information technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of information technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. Companies in the information technology sector are heavily dependent on patent protection and the expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies.
Investments in Other Investment Companies. The Fund’s investment in another investment company may subject the Fund indirectly to the underlying risks of the investment company. The Fund also may bear its share of the underlying investment company’s fees and expenses, which are in addition to the Fund’s own fees and expenses.
11

Investments through Stock Connect. The Fund’s investments in Chinese A-shares through Stock Connect may be subject to a number of restrictions that may affect the Fund’s investments and returns. For example, purchases of A-shares through Stock Connect are subject to a daily quota which does not belong to the Fund and can only be utilized on a first-come-first-serve basis. Once the daily quota is exceeded, buy orders will be rejected. The Fund's ability to invest in A-Shares may therefore be limited. In addition, investments made through Stock Connect are subject to trading, clearance and settlement procedures that are relatively untested in the PRC, which could pose risks to the Fund. Furthermore, securities purchased via Stock Connect will be held via a book entry omnibus account in the name of HKSCC, Hong Kong’s clearing entity, at the CSDCC. The Fund’s ownership interest in Stock Connect securities will not be reflected directly in book entry with CSDCC and will instead only be reflected on the books of its Hong Kong sub-custodian. The Fund may therefore depend on HKSCC’s ability or willingness as record-holder of Stock Connect securities to enforce the Fund’s shareholder rights. PRC law did not historically recognize the concept of beneficial ownership; while PRC regulations and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange have issued clarifications and guidance supporting the concept of beneficial ownership via Stock Connect, the interpretation of beneficial ownership in the PRC by regulators and courts may continue to evolve. Moreover, Stock Connect A-shares generally may not be sold, purchased or otherwise transferred other than through Stock Connect in accordance with applicable rules.
A primary feature of Stock Connect is the application of the home market’s laws and rules applicable to investors in A-shares. Therefore, the Fund’s investments in Stock Connect A-shares are generally subject to PRC securities regulations and listing rules, among other restrictions. Stock Connect is only available on days when markets in both the PRC and Hong Kong are open, which may limit the Fund’s ability to trade when it would be otherwise attractive to do so. Uncertainties in permanent PRC tax rules governing the taxation of income and gains from investments in Stock Connect A-shares could result in unexpected tax liabilities for the Fund. The Stock Connect program is a relatively new program and may be subject to further interpretation and guidance. There can be no assurance as to the program’s continued existence or whether future developments regarding the program may restrict or adversely affect the Fund’s investments or returns.
In addition, the application and interpretation of the laws and regulations of Hong Kong and the PRC, and the rules, policies or guidelines published or applied by relevant regulators and exchanges in respect of the Stock Connect program are uncertain, and they may have a detrimental effect on the Fund’s investments and returns.
Large-Capitalization Companies. Securities of large-capitalization companies (generally companies with market capitalization greater than $10 billion) than could fall out of favor with the market and underperform securities of small- or medium-capitalization companies. Larger, more established companies may be slow to respond to challenges and may grow more slowly than smaller companies.
Management. Investment decisions made by the Adviser in seeking to achieve the Fund’s investment objective may not produce the returns expected by the Adviser, may cause a decline in the value of the securities held by the Fund and, in turn, cause the Fund’s shares to lose value or underperform other funds with similar investment objectives.
Market Risk. The prices of the securities in the Fund are subject to the risks associated with investing in the securities market, including general economic conditions, sudden and unpredictable drops in value, exchange trading suspensions and closures and public health risks. These risks may be magnified if certain social, political, economic and other conditions and events (such as natural disasters, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism, conflicts and social unrest) adversely interrupt the global economy; in these and other circumstances, such events or developments might affect companies world-wide.  An investment in the Fund may lose money.
Medium-Capitalization Companies. Medium-capitalization companies (generally companies with market capitalization greater than $2 billion and up to $10 billion) may be more volatile and more likely than large- capitalization companies to have narrower product lines, fewer financial resources, less management depth and experience and less competitive strength. In addition, these companies often have greater price volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity than larger more established companies. Returns on investments in securities of medium-capitalization companies could trail the returns on investments in securities of large-capitalization companies.
Non-Diversification. A non-diversified fund’s greater investment in a single issuer makes the fund more susceptible to financial, economic or market events impacting such issuer. A decline in the value of or default by a single security in the non-diversified fund’s portfolio may have a greater negative effect than a similar decline or default by a single security in a diversified portfolio.
Operational. The Fund is exposed to operational risk arising from a number of factors, including but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or system failures.
Restricted Securities Risk. The Fund may hold securities that are restricted as to resale under the U.S. Federal securities laws, such as securities in certain privately held companies. Such securities may be highly illiquid and their values may experience significant volatility. Restricted securities may be difficult to value.
12

Sectors. The Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of sectors. The Fund may be susceptible to financial, economic, political or market events, as well as government regulation, impacting the financial services, health care, information technology, communication and consumer discretionary sectors.
Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. Equity securities include stock, rights, warrants, and other interests in Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (“SPACs”) or similar special purpose entities. A SPAC is typically a publicly traded company that raises investment capital via an initial public offering for the purpose of acquiring one or more existing companies (or interests therein) via merger, combination, acquisition or other similar transactions. Since SPACs have no operating history or ongoing business other than seeking a transaction, the value of their securities may be particularly dependent on the quality of its management and on the ability of the SPAC’s management to identify and complete a profitable transaction. Additionally, the securities issued by a SPAC may become illiquid and/or may be subject to restrictions on resale, among other risks.
PERFORMANCE
The Fund commenced operations on March 1, 2022. Accordingly, the Fund does not have a full calendar year of performance.
PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
Investment Adviser. Van Eck Associates Corporation
Portfolio Managers.
David Semple has been Portfolio Manager of the Fund since inception. Angus Shillington has been Deputy Portfolio Manager of the Fund since inception. Mr. Semple has worked at the Adviser since 1998. Mr. Shillington has worked at the Adviser since 2009.
PURCHASE AND SALE OF FUND SHARES
In general, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed on any business day, primarily through financial representatives such as brokers or advisers, or directly by eligible investors through the Fund’s transfer agent. Purchase minimums for Classes A and Y shares are $1,000 for an initial purchase and $100 for a subsequent purchase, with no purchase minimums for any purchase through a retirement or pension plan account, for any “wrap fee” account and similar programs offered without a sales charge by certain financial institutions and third-party recordkeepers and/or administrators, and for any account using the Automatic Investment Plan, or for any other periodic purchase program. Class Z shares have no initial or subsequent purchase minimums, although financial intermediaries may have their own minimums. Purchase minimums for Class I shares are $1 million for an initial purchase and no minimum for a subsequent purchase; the initial minimum may be reduced or waived at the Adviser’s discretion.
TAX INFORMATION
The Fund normally distributes net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders annually. These distributions are generally taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax advantaged retirement account, such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (IRA), in which case your distributions may be taxed as ordinary income when withdrawn from such account.
PAYMENTS TO BROKER-DEALERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES
If you purchase the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its affiliates may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your financial professional to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your financial professional or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
13

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY FUND (CLASS A, I, Y)
SUMMARY INFORMATION
INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE
The Environmental Sustainability Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in equity securities of companies operating in environmental sustainability markets.
FUND FEES AND EXPENSES
This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below. You may qualify for Class A sales charge discounts if you and your family (includes spouse and children under age 21) invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $25,000, in the aggregate, in Classes A and C of the VanEck Funds. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial professional and in the “Shareholder Information-Sales Charges” section of this prospectus, in the “Availability of Discounts” section of the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) and, with respect to purchases of shares through specific intermediaries, in Appendix A to this prospectus, entitled “Intermediary Sales Charge Discounts and Waivers”.
Shareholder Fees (fees paid directly from your investment)
Class A Class I Class Y
Maximum Sales Charge (load) imposed on purchases (as a percentage of offering price)
5.75% 0.00% 0.00%
Maximum Deferred Sales Charge (load) (as a percentage of the lesser of the net asset value or purchase price)
0.00 0.00% 0.00%
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Class A Class I Class Y
Management Fees 0.75% 0.75% 0.75%
Distribution and/or Service (12b-1) Fees 0.25% 0.00% 0.00%
Other Expenses2
0.28% 0.24% 0.30%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 1.28% 0.99% 1.05%
Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements3
-0.03% -0.04% 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursements 1.25% 0.95% 1.05%
1 A contingent deferred sales charge for Class A shares of 1.00% for one year applies to redemptions of qualified commissionable shares purchased at or above the $1 million breakpoint level.
2 “Other Expenses are based on estimated amounts for the current fiscal year.
3 Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) has agreed to waive fees and/or pay Fund expenses to the extent necessary to prevent the operating expenses of the Fund (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, trading expenses, dividends and interest payments on securities sold short, taxes and extraordinary expenses) from exceeding 1.25% for Class A, 0.95% for Class I, and 1.05% for Class Y of the Fund’s average daily net assets per year until May 1, 2023. During such time, the expense limitation is expected to continue until the Board of Trustees acts to discontinue all or a portion of such expense limitation.
EXPENSE EXAMPLE
The following example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then either redeem all of your shares at the end of these periods or continue to hold them. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same, and applies fee waivers and/or expense reimbursements, if any, for the periods indicated above under “Annual Fund Operating Expense.” Although your actual expenses may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
14

Share Status 1 Year 3 Years
Class A Sold or Held $695 $955
Class I Sold or Held $97 $311
Class Y Sold or Held $107 $334
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate that the Fund pays higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the period from July 14, 2021 (the Fund’s commencement of operations) through December 31, 2021, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 0% of the average value of its portfolio.
PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
Under normal conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets in securities of companies operating in environmental sustainability markets. Environmental sustainability markets encompass industries and companies aligned with environmentally-focused aspirations, as outlined, at this time, by the objectives set forth by a subset of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These may include industries such as renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric), smart resource management (energy efficiency, manufacturing), agriculture technology, recycling, water and advanced materials (electrification of transport, battery technologies). The Adviser may identify other industries that it considers to qualify as relating to environmental sustainability markets.
The Fund may invest without limitation in any environmental sustainability related industries and may have no exposure to one or more particular environmental sustainability related industries at any given time. Within the eligible universe of companies, the Fund’s investment management team considers a variety of impact metrics intended to gauge and measure the sustainability contribution of such companies. Utilizing qualitative and quantitative measures, the Fund’s investment management team selects equity securities of companies that it believes represent value opportunities and/or that have growth potential. Candidates for the Fund’s portfolio are evaluated based on their relative desirability using a wide range of criteria, including a company’s commitment to environmental issues such as climate, land, air, and water.
The Fund’s investment management team selects securities using a fundamental stock analysis in which they assess, among other factors, an issuer’s financial statements and growth projections relative to the market value as well as the quality of company operations and management leadership. A sustainability assessment is concurrently conducted by the investment management team with the understanding that the quality of a company’s environmental footprint and impact is intrinsically tied to how such company runs its operations.
The Fund may invest in securities of companies located anywhere in the world, including the U.S. and may invest in depositary receipts. Under ordinary circumstances, the Fund will invest in securities of issuers from a number of different countries, and may invest any amount of its assets in emerging markets. The Fund may invest in securities of companies of any capitalization range. The Fund may also invest in special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). The Fund is considered to be “non-diversified,” which means that it may invest a larger portion of its assets in a single issuer.
The Fund may use derivative instruments, such as structured notes, warrants, currency forwards, futures contracts, options and swap agreements, to gain or hedge exposure to environmental sustainability sectors or companies. The Fund’s screening methodology for securities of companies operating in environmental sustainability markets is applied to underlying investments rather than to the derivatives instruments themselves. The Fund may enter into foreign currency transactions to attempt to moderate the effect of currency fluctuations. The Fund may write covered call options on portfolio securities to the extent that the value of all securities with respect to which covered calls are written does not exceed 10% of the Fund’s net asset value.
The Fund may also invest up to 20% of its net assets in securities issued by other investment companies, including exchange- traded funds (“ETFs”). The Fund may also invest in money market funds, but these investments are not subject to this limitation. The Fund may invest in ETFs to participate in, or gain exposure to, certain market sectors, or when direct investments in certain countries are not permitted or available.
PRINCIPAL RISKS
There is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. The Fund’s share price and return will fluctuate with changes in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio securities. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund involves the risk of losing money.
Derivatives. The use of derivatives, such as swap agreements, options, warrants, futures contracts, currency forwards and structured notes, presents risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in traditional
15

securities. The use of derivatives can lead to losses because of adverse movements in the price or value of the underlying currency, security, asset, index or reference rate. Derivative strategies often involve leverage, which may exaggerate a loss, potentially causing the Fund to lose more money than it would have lost had it invested in the underlying security. Also, a liquid secondary market may not always exist for the Fund’s derivative positions at times when the Fund might wish to terminate or sell such positions. Over-the-counter instruments may be illiquid, and transactions in derivatives traded in the over-the-counter market are subject to counterparty risk.
Equity Securities. The value of the equity securities held by the Fund may fall due to general market and economic conditions, perceptions regarding the markets in which the issuers of securities held by the Fund participate, or factors relating to specific issuers in which the Fund invests. Equity securities are subordinated to preferred securities and debt in a company’s capital structure with respect to priority in right to a share of corporate income, and therefore will be subject to greater dividend risk than preferred securities or debt instruments. In addition, while broad market measures of equity securities have historically generated higher average returns than fixed income securities, equity securities have generally also experienced significantly more volatility in those returns, although under certain market conditions fixed income securities may have comparable or greater price volatility.
Emerging Market Securities. Emerging market securities typically present even greater exposure to the risks described under “Foreign Securities” and may be particularly sensitive to certain economic changes. Emerging market securities are exposed to a number of risks that may make these investments volatile in price or difficult to evaluate and trade. Companies in emerging market countries generally may be subject to less stringent financial reporting, regulatory, disclosure, accounting, auditing and recordkeeping standards than companies in more developed countries. In addition, securities law and the enforcement of systems of taxation in many emerging market countries may change quickly and unpredictably, and the ability to bring and enforce actions, or to obtain information needed to pursue or enforce such actions, may be limited.
Environmental-Related Securities Risk. Companies that promote positive environmental policies may not perform as well as companies that do not pursue such goals. Issuers engaged in environmentally beneficial business lines may be difficult to identify and investments in them maybe volatile. They may be highly dependent upon government subsidies, contracts with government entities, and the successful development of new and proprietary technologies. Such technologies risk rapid product obsolescence, short product cycles, and competition from new market entrants. Current valuation methods used to value companies involved in alternative, clean water, and clean power technology sectors, for example, may not have been in widespread use for a significant period of time, and it may be difficult to value share prices of such issuers. In addition, seasonal weather conditions, fluctuations in supply of and demand for clean energy products (including, in relation to traditional energy products, such as oil and gas), changes in energy prices, and international political events may cause fluctuations in the performance of these issuers and the prices of their securities. Environmentally-focused investing is qualitative and subjective by nature, and there is no guarantee that the factors utilized by the Adviser or any judgment exercised by the Adviser will reflect the opinions of any particular investor. Information regarding responsible practices is obtained through voluntary or third-party reporting, which may not be accurate or complete, and the Adviser is dependent on such information to evaluate a company’s commitment to, or implementation of, responsible practices.
Foreign Currency Transactions. An investment transacted in a foreign currency may lose value due to fluctuations in the rate of exchange. These fluctuations can make the return on an investment go up or down, entirely apart from the quality or performance of the investment itself.
Foreign Securities. Foreign investments are subject to greater risks than U.S. domestic investments. These additional risks may include exchange rate fluctuations and exchange controls; less publicly available information; more volatile or less liquid securities markets; and the possibility of arbitrary action by foreign governments, or political, economic or social instability. Foreign companies also may be subject to significantly higher levels of taxation than U.S companies, including potentially confiscatory levels of taxation, thereby reducing the earnings potential of such foreign companies.
Investments in Other Investment Companies. The Fund’s investment in another investment company may subject the Fund indirectly to the underlying risks of the investment company. The Fund also may bear its share of the underlying investment company’s fees and expenses, which are in addition to the Fund’s own fees and expenses.
Management. Investment decisions made by the Adviser in seeking to achieve the Fund’s investment objective may not produce the returns expected by the Adviser, may cause a decline in the value of the securities held by the Fund and, in turn, cause the Fund’s shares to lose value or underperform other funds with similar investment objectives.
Market. Market risk refers to the risk that the market prices of securities that the Fund holds will rise or fall, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. In general, equity securities tend to have greater price volatility than debt securities.
Non-Diversification. A non-diversified fund’s greater investment in a single issuer makes the fund more susceptible to financial, economic or market events impacting such issuer. A decline in the value of or default by a single security in the non-diversified fund’s portfolio may have a greater negative effect than a similar decline or default by a single security in a diversified portfolio.
Operational. The Fund is exposed to operational risk arising from a number of factors, including but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or
16

inadequate processes and technology or system failures.
Sectors. The Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of sectors. The Fund may be susceptible to financial, economic, political or market events, as well as government regulation, impacting the sectors to which the Fund is exposed as a result of its concentration in environmental sustainability related industries.
Small- and Medium-Capitalization Companies. Securities of small- and medium-sized companies often have greater price volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity than larger, more established companies. The stocks of small- and medium-sized companies may have returns that vary, sometimes significantly, from the overall stock market.
Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. Since Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) have no operating history or ongoing business other than seeking a transaction, the value of their securities may be particularly dependent on the quality of its management and on the ability of the SPAC’s management to identify and complete a profitable transaction. Additionally, the securities issued by a SPAC may become illiquid and/or may be subject to restrictions on resale, among other risks.
Sustainability Investing Strategy Risk. The Fund’s sustainability strategy could cause it to perform differently compared to funds that do not have a sustainability focus. The Fund’s sustainability strategy may result in the Fund investing in securities or industry sectors that underperform other securities or underperform the market as a whole, and may result in the Fund being unable to take advantage of certain investment opportunities, which may adversely affect investment performance. The Fund is also subject to the risk that the companies identified by the Adviser do not operate as expected when addressing sustainability issues. Regulatory changes or interpretations regarding the definitions and/or use of sustainability criteria could have a material adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to invest in accordance with its sustainability strategy.
PERFORMANCE
The Fund commenced operations on July 14, 2021. Accordingly, the Fund does not have a full calendar year of performance.
PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
Investment Adviser. Van Eck Associates Corporation
Portfolio Managers.
Shawn Reynolds has been Portfolio Manager of the Fund since inception. Veronica Zhang has been Deputy Portfolio Manager of the Fund since inception. Mr. Reynolds has been a Portfolio Manager with the Adviser since 2010. Ms. Zhang joined the Adviser in 2013 as an alternative energy analyst.
PURCHASE AND SALE OF FUND SHARES
In general, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed on any business day, primarily through financial representatives such as brokers or advisers, or directly by eligible investors through the Fund’s transfer agent. Purchase minimums for Classes A and Y shares are $1,000 for an initial purchase and $100 for a subsequent purchase, with no purchase minimums for any purchase through a retirement or pension plan account, for any “wrap fee” account and similar programs offered without a sales charge by certain financial institutions and third-party recordkeepers and/or administrators, and for any account using the Automatic Investment Plan, or for any other periodic purchase program.
Purchase minimums for Class I shares are $1 million for an initial purchase and no minimum for a subsequent purchase; the initial minimum may be reduced or waived at the Adviser’s discretion.
TAX INFORMATION
The Fund normally distributes net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders annually. These distributions are generally taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax advantaged retirement account, such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (IRA), in which case your distributions may be taxed as ordinary income when withdrawn from such account.
PAYMENTS TO BROKER-DEALERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES
If you purchase the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its affiliates may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your financial professional to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your financial professional or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
17

GLOBAL RESOURCES FUND (CLASS A, C, I, Y)
SUMMARY INFORMATION
INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE
The Global Resources Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in global resource securities. Income is a secondary consideration.
FUND FEES AND EXPENSES
This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below. You may qualify for Class A sales charge discounts if you and your family (includes spouse and children under age 21) invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $25,000, in the aggregate, in Classes A and C of the VanEck Funds. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial professional and in the “Shareholder Information-Sales Charges” section of this prospectus, in the “Availability of Discounts” section of the Fund’s SAI and, with respect to purchases of shares through specific intermediaries, in Appendix A to this prospectus, entitled “Intermediary Sales Charge Discounts and Waivers”.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Class A Class C Class I Class Y
Maximum Sales Charge (load) imposed on purchases (as a percentage of offering price)
5.75% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Maximum Deferred Sales Charge (load) (as a percentage of the lesser of the net asset value or purchase price)
0.00 1.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Class A Class C Class I Class Y
Management Fees 1.00% 1.00% 1.00% 1.00%
Distribution and/or Service (12b-1) Fees 0.25% 1.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Other Expenses 0.23% 0.52% 0.11% 0.18%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 1.48% 2.52% 1.11% 1.18%
Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements2
-0.10% -0.32% -0.16% -0.05%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursements
1.38% 2.20% 0.95% 1.13%
1     A contingent deferred sales charge for Class A shares of 1.00% for one year applies to redemptions of qualified commissionable shares purchased at or above the $1 million breakpoint level.
2     Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) has agreed to waive fees and/or pay Fund expenses to the extent necessary to prevent the operating expenses of the Fund (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, trading expenses, dividends and interest payments on securities sold short, taxes and extraordinary expenses) from exceeding 1.38% for Class A, 2.20% for Class C, 0.95% for Class I, and 1.13% for Class Y of the Fund’s average daily net assets per year until May 1, 2023. During such time, the expense limitation is expected to continue until the Board of Trustees acts to discontinue all or a portion of such expense limitation.
EXPENSE EXAMPLE
The following example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then either redeem all of your shares at the end of these periods or continue to hold them. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same, and applies fee waivers and/or expense reimbursements, if any, for the periods indicated above under “Annual Fund Operating Expenses.” Although your actual expenses may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
18

Share Status 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
Class A Sold or Held $707  $1,007  $1,328  $2,234 
Class C Sold $323  $754  $1,312  $2,832 
Held $223  $754  $1,312  $2,832 
Class I Sold or Held $97  $337  $596  $1,337 
Class Y Sold or Held $115  $370  $644  $1,427 
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate that the Fund pays higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 28% of the average value of its portfolio.
PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
Under normal conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets in securities of “global resource” companies and instruments that derive their value from “global resources”. Global resources include precious metals (including gold), base and industrial metals, energy, natural resources and other commodities. A global resource company is a company that derives, directly or indirectly, at least 50% of its revenues from exploration, development, production, distribution or facilitation of processes relating to global resources. The Fund concentrates its investments in the securities of global resource companies and instruments that derive their value from global resources.
The Fund may invest without limitation in any one global resources sector and is not required to invest any portion of its assets in any one global resources sector. The Fund may invest in securities of companies located anywhere in the world, including the U.S. Under ordinary circumstances, the Fund will invest in securities of issuers from a number of different countries, and may invest any amount of its assets in emerging markets. The Fund may invest in securities of companies of any capitalization range. Utilizing qualitative and quantitative measures, the Fund’s investment management team selects equity securities of companies that it believes represent value opportunities and/or that have growth potential. Candidates for the Fund’s portfolio are evaluated based on their relative desirability using a wide range of criteria and are regularly reviewed to ensure that they continue to offer absolute and relative desirability. The analysis of financially material risks and opportunities related to ESG (i.e. Environmental, Social and Governance) factors is a component of the overall investment process. ESG considerations can affect the Adviser’s fundamental assessment of a company or country.
The Fund may use derivative instruments, such as structured notes, warrants, currency forwards, futures contracts, options and swap agreements, to gain or hedge exposure to global resources, global resource companies and other assets. The Fund may enter into foreign currency transactions to attempt to moderate the effect of currency fluctuations. The Fund may write covered call options on portfolio securities to the extent that the value of all securities with respect to which covered calls are written does not exceed 10% of the Fund’s net asset value. The Fund may also invest up to 20% of its net assets in securities issued by other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”). The Fund may also invest in money market funds, but these investments are not subject to this limitation. The Fund may invest in ETFs to participate in, or gain exposure to, certain market sectors, or when direct investments in certain countries are not permitted or available.
PRINCIPAL RISKS
There is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. The Fund’s share price and return will fluctuate with changes in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio securities. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund involves the risk of losing money.
Canadian Issuers. Investments in securities of Canadian issuers, including issuers located outside of Canada that generate significant revenue from Canada, involve risks and special considerations not typically associated with investments in the U.S. securities markets. The Canadian economy is very dependent on the demand for, and supply and price of, natural resources. The Canadian market is relatively concentrated in issuers involved in the production and distribution of natural resources. There is a risk that any changes in natural resources sectors could have an adverse impact on the Canadian economy. Additionally, the Canadian economy is heavily dependent on relationships with certain key trading partners, including the United States, countries in the EU and China. Because the United States is Canada’s largest trading partner and foreign investor, the Canadian economy is dependent on and may be significantly affected by the U.S. economy. Reduction in spending on Canadian products and services or changes in the U.S. economy may adversely impact the Canadian economy. Trade agreements may further increase Canada’s dependency on the U.S. economy, and uncertainty as to the future of such trade agreements may cause a decline in the value of the Fund’s Shares. Past periodic demands by the Province of Quebec for sovereignty have significantly affected equity valuations
19


and foreign currency movements in the Canadian market and such demands may have this effect in the future. In addition, certain sectors of Canada’s economy may be subject to foreign ownership limitations. This may negatively impact the Fund’s ability to invest in Canadian issuers.
Commodities and Commodity-Linked Derivatives. Exposure to the commodities markets, such as precious metals, industrial metals, gas and other energy products and natural resources, may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. The commodities markets may fluctuate widely based on a variety of factors including changes in overall market movements, political and economic events and policies, war, disease, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and changes in interest rates or inflation rates. Because the value of a commodity-linked derivative instrument and structured note typically are based upon the price movements of physical commodities, the value of these securities will rise or fall in response to changes in the underlying commodities or related index of investment.
Commodities and Commodity-Linked Derivatives Tax Risk. The tax treatment of commodity-linked derivative instruments may be adversely affected by changes in legislation, regulations or other legally binding authority. If, as a result of any such adverse action, the income of the Fund from certain commodity-linked derivatives were treated as non-qualifying income, the Fund may fail to qualify as a regulated investment company and/or be subject to federal income tax at the Fund level. The uncertainty surrounding the treatment of certain derivative instruments under the qualification tests for a regulated investment company may limit the Fund’s use of such derivative instruments.
Derivatives. The use of derivatives, such as swap agreements, options, warrants, futures contracts, currency forwards and structured notes, presents risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in traditional securities. The use of derivatives can lead to losses because of adverse movements in the price or value of the underlying currency, security, asset, index or reference rate. Derivative strategies often involve leverage, which may exaggerate a loss, potentially causing the Fund to lose more money than it would have lost had it invested in the underlying security. Also, a liquid secondary market may not always exist for the Fund’s derivative positions at times when the Fund might wish to terminate or sell such positions. Over-the-counter instruments may be illiquid, and transactions in derivatives traded in the over-the-counter market are subject to counterparty risk.
Direct Investments. Direct investments may involve a high degree of business and financial risk that can result in substantial losses. Because of the absence of any public trading market for these investments, the Fund may take longer to liquidate these positions than would be the case for publicly traded securities. Direct investments are generally considered illiquid and will be aggregated with other illiquid investments for purposes of the limitation on illiquid investments.
Emerging Market Securities. Emerging market securities typically present even greater exposure to the risks described under “Foreign Securities” and may be particularly sensitive to certain economic changes. Emerging market securities are exposed to a number of risks that may make these investments volatile in price or difficult to evaluate and trade. Companies in emerging market countries generally may be subject to less stringent financial reporting, regulatory, disclosure, accounting, auditing and recordkeeping standards than companies in more developed countries. In addition, securities law and the enforcement of systems of taxation in many emerging market countries may change quickly and unpredictably, and the ability to bring and enforce actions, or to obtain information needed to pursue or enforce such actions, may be limited.
ESG Investing Risk. The Adviser’s consideration of ESG risks and opportunities in the Fund’s investment process could result in the Fund performing differently compared to funds that do not take into account ESG considerations. The Adviser’s consideration of ESG risks and opportunities may result in the Fund investing in securities, industries, or sectors that underperform other securities, industries, or sectors, or underperform the market as a whole. The Fund is also subject to the risk that the companies identified by the Adviser do not operate as expected when addressing ESG issues. Regulatory changes or interpretations regarding the definitions and/or use of ESG criteria could have a material adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to invest in accordance with its ESG considerations.
Foreign Currency Transactions. An investment transacted in a foreign currency may lose value due to fluctuations in the rate of exchange. These fluctuations can make the return on an investment go up or down, entirely apart from the quality or performance of the investment itself.
Foreign Securities. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers involve risks beyond those associated with investments in U.S. securities. These additional risks include greater market volatility, the availability of less reliable financial information, higher transactional and custody costs, taxation by foreign governments, decreased market liquidity and political instability. Because certain foreign securities markets may be limited in size, the activity of large traders may have an undue influence on the prices of securities that trade in such markets. The Fund invests in securities of issuers located in countries whose economies are heavily dependent upon trading with key partners. Any reduction in this trading may have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investments.
Global Resources Sector Risk. The Fund concentrates its investments (i.e., invests 25% or more of its total assets) in the securities of global resource companies and instruments that derive their value from global resources.The Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of sectors. The Fund may be susceptible to financial, economic, political or market events, as well as government regulation, impacting the global resources
20

sectors (such as the energy and metals sectors). Precious metals and natural resources securities are at times volatile and there may be sharp fluctuations in prices, even during periods of rising prices.
Investments in Other Investment Companies. The Fund’s investment in another investment company may subject the Fund indirectly to the underlying risks of the investment company. The Fund also may bear its share of the underlying investment company’s fees and expenses, which are in addition to the Fund’s own fees and expenses.
Management. Investment decisions made by the Adviser in seeking to achieve the Fund’s investment objective may not produce the returns expected by the Adviser, may cause a decline in the value of the securities held by the Fund and, in turn, cause the Fund’s shares to lose value or underperform other funds with similar investment objectives.
Market Risk. The prices of the securities in the Fund are subject to the risks associated with investing in the securities market, including general economic conditions, sudden and unpredictable drops in value, exchange trading suspensions and closures and public health risks. These risks may be magnified if certain social, political, economic and other conditions and events (such as natural disasters, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism, conflicts and social unrest) adversely interrupt the global economy; in these and other circumstances, such events or developments might affect companies world-wide.  An investment in the Fund may lose money.
Operational. The Fund is exposed to operational risk arising from a number of factors, including but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or system failures.
Small- and Medium-Capitalization Companies. Securities of small- and medium-sized companies often have greater price volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity than larger, more established companies. The stocks of small- and medium-sized companies may have returns that vary, sometimes significantly, from the overall stock market.
Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. Equity securities include stock, rights, warrants, and other interests in Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (“SPACs”) or similar special purpose entities. A SPAC is typically a publicly traded company that raises investment capital via an initial public offering for the purpose of acquiring one or more existing companies (or interests therein) via merger, combination, acquisition or other similar transactions. Since SPACs have no operating history or ongoing business other than seeking a transaction, the value of their securities may be particularly dependent on the quality of its management and on the ability of the SPAC’s management to identify and complete a profitable transaction. Additionally, the securities issued by a SPAC may become illiquid and/or may be subject to restrictions on resale, among other risks.
PERFORMANCE
The following chart and table provide some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year to year and by showing how the Fund’s average annual total returns compare with those of a broad measure of market performance and one or more other performance measures. For instance, the S&P® North American Natural Resources Sector Index represents U.S. traded securities that are classified under the GICS® energy and materials sector excluding the chemicals industry and steel sub-industry. MSCI AC World Daily TR Gross USD Index represents large- and mid-cap companies across developed and emerging market countries. The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future. The annual returns in the bar chart are for the Fund’s Class A shares and do not reflect sales loads. If sales loads were reflected, returns would be lower than those shown.
Additionally, large purchases and/or redemptions of shares of a class, relative to the amount of assets represented by the class, may cause the annual returns for each class to differ. Updated performance information for the Fund is available on the VanEck website at vaneck.com.
21


CLASS A: Annual Total Returns (%) as of 12/31
ck0000768847-20211231_g3.jpg
Best Quarter: +33.29% 2Q 2020
Worst Quarter: -40.01% 1Q 2020
Average Annual Total Returns as of 12/31/2021 1 Year 5 Years 10 Years
Class A Shares (11/2/94)
Before Taxes 11.79% 0.61% -1.06%
After Taxes on Distributions1
11.43% 0.47% -1.17%
After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares
7.23% 0.45% -0.79%
Class C Shares (11/2/94)
Before Taxes 16.67% 0.99% -1.27%
Class I Shares (5/1/06)
Before Taxes 19.12% 2.25% -0.07%
Class Y Shares (4/30/10)
Before Taxes 18.92% 2.06% -0.23%
S&P® North American Natural Resources Sector Index
(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)
39.95% 1.27% 1.27%
MSCI AC World Daily TR Gross USD Index (reflects no deduction for
fees, expenses or taxes)
19.04% 14.97% 12.44%
1     After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. These returns are shown for one class of shares only; after-tax returns for the other classes may vary. Actual after-tax returns depend on your individual tax situation and may differ from those shown in the preceding table. The after-tax return information shown above does not apply to Fund shares held through a tax-advantaged account, such as a 401(k) plan or Investment Retirement Account.
PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
Investment Adviser. Van Eck Associates Corporation
Portfolio Managers.
Shawn Reynolds has been Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2010. Charles T. Cameron has been Deputy Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2016 and a member of the investment team since 1995. Mr. Cameron has also been an investment team member on various funds managed by the Adviser since 1995.
22

PURCHASE AND SALE OF FUND SHARES
In general, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed on any business day, primarily through financial representatives such as brokers or advisers, or directly by eligible investors through the Fund’s transfer agent. Purchase minimums for Classes A, C and Y shares are $1,000 for an initial purchase and $100 for a subsequent purchase, with no purchase minimums for any purchase through a retirement or pension plan account, for any “wrap fee” account and similar programs offered without a sales charge by certain financial institutions and third-party recordkeepers and/or administrators, and for any account using the Automatic Investment Plan, or for any other periodic purchase program.
Purchase minimums for Class I shares are $1 million for an initial purchase and no minimum for a subsequent purchase; the initial minimum may be reduced or waived at the Adviser’s discretion.
TAX INFORMATION
The Fund normally distributes net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders annually. These distributions are generally taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax advantaged retirement account, such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (IRA), in which case your distributions may be taxed as ordinary income when withdrawn from such account.
PAYMENTS TO BROKER-DEALERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES
If you purchase the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its affiliates may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your financial professional to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your financial professional or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
23

INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS GOLD FUND (CLASS A, C, I, Y)
SUMMARY INFORMATION
INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE
The International Investors Gold Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in common stocks of gold-mining companies. The Fund may take current income into consideration when choosing investments.
FUND FEES AND EXPENSES
This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below. You may qualify for Class A sales charge discounts if you and your family (includes spouse and children under age 21) invest, or agree to invest in the future, at least $25,000, in the aggregate, in Classes A and C of the VanEck Funds. More information about these and other discounts is available from your financial professional and in the “Shareholder Information-Sales Charges” section of this prospectus, in the “Availability of Discounts” section of the Fund’s SAI and, with respect to purchases of shares through specific intermediaries, in Appendix A to this prospectus, entitled “Intermediary Sales Charge Discounts and Waivers.”
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Class A Class C Class I Class Y
Maximum Sales Charge (load) imposed on purchases (as a percentage of offering price)
5.75% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Maximum Deferred Sales Charge (load) (as a percentage of the lesser of the net asset value or purchase price)
0.00 1.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Class A Class C Class I Class Y
Management Fees 0.67% 0.67% 0.67% 0.67%
Distribution and/or Service (12b-1) Fees 0.25% 1.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Other Expenses 0.42% 0.46% 0.36% 0.39%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 1.34% 2.13% 1.03% 1.06%
Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements2
0.00% 0.00% -0.03% 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursements
1.34% 2.13% 1.00% 1.06%
1     A contingent deferred sales charge for Class A shares of 1.00% for one year applies to redemptions of qualified commissionable shares purchased at or above the $1 million breakpoint level.
2     Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) has agreed to waive fees and/or pay Fund expenses to the extent necessary to prevent the operating expenses of the Fund (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, trading expenses, dividends and interest payments on securities sold short, taxes and extraordinary expenses) from exceeding 1.45% for Class A, 2.20% for Class C, 1.00% for Class I, and 1.10% for Class Y of the Fund’s average daily net assets per year until May 1, 2023. During such time, the expense limitation is expected to continue until the Board of Trustees acts to discontinue all or a portion of such expense limitation.
EXPENSE EXAMPLE
The following example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then either redeem all of your shares at the end of these periods or continue to hold them. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same, and applies fee waivers and/or expense reimbursements, if any, for the periods indicated above under “Annual Fund Operating Expenses.” Although your actual expenses may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
24

Share Status 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
Class A Sold or Held $704  $975  $1,267  $2,095 
Class C Sold $316  $667  $1,144  $2,462 
Held $216  $667  $1,144  $2,462 
Class I Sold or Held $102  $325  $566  $1,257 
Class Y Sold or Held $108  $337  $585  $1,294 
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate that the Fund pays higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 23% of the average value of its portfolio.
PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
Under normal conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets in securities of companies principally engaged in gold-related activities, instruments that derive their value from gold, gold coins and bullion. A company principally engaged in gold-related activities is one that derives at least 50% of its revenues from gold-related activities, including the exploration, mining or processing of or dealing in gold. The Fund concentrates its investments in the gold-mining industry and therefore invests 25% or more of its total assets in such industry. The Fund is considered to be “non-diversified” which means that it may invest a larger portion of its assets in a single issuer.
The Fund invests in securities of companies with economic ties to countries throughout the world, including the U.S. Under ordinary circumstances, the Fund will invest in securities of issuers from a number of different countries, which may include emerging market countries. The Fund may invest in non-U.S. dollar denominated securities, which are subject to fluctuations in currency exchange rates, and securities of companies of any capitalization range. The Fund primarily invests in companies that the portfolio manager believes represent value opportunities and/or that have growth potential within their market niche, through their ability to increase production capacity at reasonable cost or make gold discoveries around the world. The portfolio manager utilizes both a macro-economic examination of gold market themes and a fundamental analysis of prospective companies in the search for value and growth opportunities. The analysis of financially material risks and opportunities related to ESG (i.e. Environmental, Social and Governance) factors is a component of the overall investment process. ESG considerations can affect the Adviser’s fundamental assessment of a company or country.
The Fund may invest up to 25% of its net assets, as of the date of the investment, in gold and silver coins, gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion and exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) that invest primarily in such coins and bullion and derivatives on the foregoing. The Fund’s investments in coins and bullion will not earn income, and the sole source of return to the Fund from these investments will be from gains or losses realized on the sale of such investments.
The Fund may gain exposure to gold bullion and other metals by investing up to 25% of the Fund’s total assets in a wholly owned subsidiary of the Fund (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary primarily invests in gold bullion, gold futures and other instruments that provide direct or indirect exposure to gold, including ETFs, and also may invest in silver, platinum and palladium bullion and futures. The Subsidiary (unlike the Fund) may invest without limitation in these investments. The Fund will “look-through” the Subsidiary to the Subsidiary’s underlying investments for determining compliance with the Fund’s investment policies. For tax reasons, it may be advantageous for the Fund to create and maintain its exposure to the commodity markets, in whole or in part, by investing in the Subsidiary. The portfolio of the Subsidiary is managed by the Adviser for the exclusive benefit of the Fund.
The Fund may use derivative instruments, such as structured notes, futures, options, warrants, currency forwards and swap agreements, to gain or hedge exposure. The Fund may invest up to 20% of its net assets in securities issued by other investment companies, including ETFs. The Fund may also invest in money market funds, but these investments are not subject to this limitation. The Fund may invest in ETFs to participate in, or gain exposure to, certain market sectors, or when direct investments in certain countries are not permitted or available.
PRINCIPAL RISKS
There is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. The Fund’s share price and return will fluctuate with changes in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio securities. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund involves the risk of losing money.
Australian Issuers Risk. Investments in Australian issuers may subject the Fund to regulatory, political, currency, security, and economic risk specific to Australia. The Australian economy is heavily dependent on exports from the agricultural and mining
25


sectors. As a result, the Australian economy is susceptible to fluctuations in the commodity markets. The Australian economy is also becoming increasingly dependent on its growing services industry. The Australian economy is dependent on trading with key trading partners, including the United States, China, Japan, Singapore and certain European countries. Reduction in spending on Australian products and services, or changes in any of the economies, may cause an adverse impact on the Australian economy. Additionally, Australia is located in a part of the world that has historically been prone to natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes and droughts, and is economically sensitive to environmental events. Any such event may adversely impact the Australian economy, causing an adverse impact on the value of the Fund.
Canadian Issuers. Investments in securities of Canadian issuers, including issuers located outside of Canada that generate significant revenue from Canada, involve risks and special considerations not typically associated with investments in the U.S. securities markets. The Canadian economy is very dependent on the demand for, and supply and price of, natural resources. The Canadian market is relatively concentrated in issuers involved in the production and distribution of natural resources. There is a risk that any changes in natural resources sectors could have an adverse impact on the Canadian economy. Additionally, the Canadian economy is heavily dependent on relationships with certain key trading partners, including the United States, countries in the EU and China. Because the United States is Canada’s largest trading partner and foreign investor, the Canadian economy is dependent on and may be significantly affected by the U.S. economy. Reduction in spending on Canadian products and services or changes in the U.S. economy may adversely impact the Canadian economy. Trade agreements may further increase Canada’s dependency on the U.S. economy, and uncertainty as to the future of such trade agreements may cause a decline in the value of the Fund’s Shares. Past periodic demands by the Province of Quebec for sovereignty have significantly affected equity valuations and foreign currency movements in the Canadian market and such demands may have this effect in the future. In addition, certain sectors of Canada’s economy may be subject to foreign ownership limitations. This may negatively impact the Fund’s ability to invest in Canadian issuers.
Commodities and Commodity-Linked Derivatives. Exposure to the commodities markets, such as precious metals, industrial metals, gas and other energy products and natural resources, may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. The commodities markets may fluctuate widely based on a variety of factors including changes in overall market movements, political and economic events and policies, war, disease, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and changes in interest rates or inflation rates. Because the value of a commodity-linked derivative instrument and structured note typically are based upon the price movements of physical commodities, the value of these securities will rise or fall in response to changes in the underlying commodities or related index of investment.
Commodities and Commodity-Linked Derivatives Tax Risk. The tax treatment of commodity-linked derivative instruments may be adversely affected by changes in legislation, regulations or other legally binding authority. If, as a result of any such adverse action, the income of the Fund from certain commodity-linked derivatives were treated as non- qualifying income, the Fund may fail to qualify as a regulated investment company and/or be subject to federal income tax at the Fund level. The uncertainty surrounding the treatment of certain derivative instruments under the qualification tests for a regulated investment company may limit the Fund’s use of such derivative instruments.
Concentration in Gold-Mining Industry. The Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of industries. The Fund may be susceptible to financial, economic, political or market events, as well as government regulation, impacting the gold industry. Fluctuations in the price of gold often dramatically affect the profitability of companies in the gold industry.
Derivatives. The use of derivatives, such as swap agreements, options, warrants, futures contracts, currency forwards and structured notes, presents risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in traditional securities. The use of derivatives can lead to losses because of adverse movements in the price or value of the underlying currency, security, asset, index or reference rate. Derivative strategies often involve leverage, which may exaggerate a loss, potentially causing the Fund to lose more money than it would have lost had it invested in the underlying security. Also, a liquid secondary market may not always exist for the Fund’s derivative positions at times when the Fund might wish to terminate or sell such positions. Over-the-counter instruments may be illiquid, and transactions in derivatives traded in the over-the-counter market are subject to counterparty risk.
Direct Investments. Direct investments may involve a high degree of business and financial risk that can result in substantial losses. Because of the absence of any public trading market for these investments, the Fund may take longer to liquidate these positions than would be the case for publicly traded securities. Direct investments are generally considered illiquid and will be aggregated with other illiquid investments for purposes of the limitation on illiquid investments.
Emerging Market Securities. Emerging market securities typically present even greater exposure to the risks described under “Foreign Securities” and may be particularly sensitive to certain economic changes. Emerging market securities are exposed to a number of risks that may make these investments volatile in price or difficult to evaluate and trade. Companies in emerging market countries generally may be subject to less stringent financial reporting, regulatory, disclosure, accounting, auditing and recordkeeping standards than companies in more developed countries. In addition, securities law and the enforcement of systems of taxation in many emerging market countries may change quickly and unpredictably, and the ability to bring and enforce actions, or to obtain information needed to pursue or enforce such actions, may be limited.
26

ESG Investing Risk. The Adviser’s consideration of ESG risks and opportunities in the Fund’s investment process could result in the Fund performing differently compared to funds that do not take into account ESG considerations. The Adviser’s consideration of ESG risks and opportunities may result in the Fund investing in securities, industries, or sectors that underperform other securities, industries, or sectors, or underperform the market as a whole. The Fund is also subject to the risk that the companies identified by the Adviser do not operate as expected when addressing ESG issues. Regulatory changes or interpretations regarding the definitions and/or use of ESG criteria could have a material adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to invest in accordance with its ESG considerations.
Foreign Currency Transactions. An investment transacted in a foreign currency may lose value due to fluctuations in the rate of exchange. These fluctuations can make the return on an investment go up or down, entirely apart from the quality or performance of the investment itself.
Foreign Securities. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers involve risks beyond those associated with investments in U.S. securities. These additional risks include greater market volatility, the availability of less reliable financial information, higher transactional and custody costs, taxation by foreign governments, decreased market liquidity and political instability. Because certain foreign securities markets may be limited in size, the activity of large traders may have an undue influence on the prices of securities that trade in such markets. The Fund invests in securities of issuers located in countries whose economies are heavily dependent upon trading with key partners. Any reduction in this trading may have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investments.
Investments in Other Investment Companies. The Fund’s investment in another investment company may subject the Fund indirectly to the underlying risks of the investment company. The Fund also may bear its share of the underlying investment company’s fees and expenses, which are in addition to the Fund’s own fees and expenses.
Management. Investment decisions made by the Adviser in seeking to achieve the Fund’s investment objective may not produce the returns expected by the Adviser, may cause a decline in the value of the securities held by the Fund and, in turn, cause the Fund’s shares to lose value or underperform other funds with similar investment objectives.
Market Risk. The prices of the securities in the Fund are subject to the risks associated with investing in the securities market, including general economic conditions, sudden and unpredictable drops in value, exchange trading suspensions and closures and public health risks. These risks may be magnified if certain social, political, economic and other conditions and events (such as natural disasters, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism, conflicts and social unrest) adversely interrupt the global economy; in these and other circumstances, such events or developments might affect companies world-wide.  An investment in the Fund may lose money.
Non-Diversification. A non-diversified fund’s greater investment in a single issuer makes the fund more susceptible to financial, economic or market events impacting such issuer. A decline in the value of or default by a single security in the non-diversified fund’s portfolio may have a greater negative effect than a similar decline or default by a single security in a diversified portfolio.
Operational. The Fund is exposed to operational risk arising from a number of factors, including but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or system failures.
Regulatory. Changes in the laws or regulations of the United States or the Cayman Islands, including any changes to applicable tax laws and regulations, could impair the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective and could increase the operating expenses of the Fund or the Subsidiary.
Small- and Medium-Capitalization Companies. The Fund may invest in small- and medium-capitalization companies and, therefore will be subject to certain risks associated with small- and medium- capitalization companies. These companies are often subject to less analyst coverage and may be in early and less predictable periods of their corporate existences, with little or no record of profitability. In addition, these companies often have greater price volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity than larger more established companies. These companies tend to have smaller revenues, narrower product lines, less management depth and experience, smaller shares of their product or service markets, fewer financial resources and less competitive strength than large-capitalization companies. Returns on investments in securities of small- and medium-capitalization companies could trail the returns on investments in securities of larger companies.
Subsidiary. By investing in the Subsidiary, the Fund is indirectly exposed to the risks associated with the Subsidiary’s investments. The Subsidiary is not registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”) and, unless otherwise noted in this prospectus, is not subject to all the investor protections of the 1940 Act.
27


PERFORMANCE
The following chart and table provide some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year to year and by showing how the Fund’s average annual total returns compare with those of a broad measure of market performance and one or more other performance measures. For instance, the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index is a modified market capitalization-weighted index comprised of publicly traded companies primarily involved in the mining of gold and silver in locations around the world. MSCI AC World Daily TR Gross USD Index represents large- and mid-cap companies across developed and emerging market countries. The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future. The annual returns in the bar chart are for the Fund’s Class A shares and do not reflect sales loads. If sales loads were reflected, returns would be lower than those shown.
Additionally, large purchases and/or redemptions of shares of a class, relative to the amount of assets represented by the class, may cause the annual returns for each class to differ. Updated performance information for the Fund is available on the VanEck website at vaneck.com.
CLASS A: Annual Total Returns (%) as of 12/31
ck0000768847-20211231_g4.jpg
Best Quarter: +73.76% 2Q 2020
Worst Quarter: -33.43% 2Q 2013
28

Average Annual Total Returns as of 12/31/2021 1 Year 5 Years 10 Years
Class A Shares (2/10/56)
Before Taxes -19.23% 8.40% -2.85%
After Taxes on Distributions1
-21.21% 6.07% -4.22%
After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares
-11.36% 5.61% -2.61%
Class C Shares (10/3/03)
Before Taxes -15.68% 8.88% -3.00%
Class I Shares (10/2/06)
Before Taxes -13.94% 10.14% -1.86%
Class Y Shares (4/30/10)
Before Taxes -14.02% 10.01% -1.98%
NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes, except withholding taxes)
-9.37% 10.10% -3.50%
MSCI AC World Daily TR Gross USD Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)
19.04% 14.97% 12.44%
1     After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. These returns are shown for one class of shares only; after-tax returns for the other classes may vary. Actual after-tax returns depend on your individual tax situation and may differ from those shown in the preceding table. The after-tax return information shown above does not apply to Fund shares held through a tax-advantaged account, such as a 401(k) plan or Investment Retirement Account.
PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
Investment Adviser. Van Eck Associates Corporation
Portfolio Managers.
Joseph M. Foster has been Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 1998 and a member of the investment team since 1996. Imaru Casanova has been Deputy Portfolio Manager of the Fund since 2014 and a member of the investment team since 2011.
PURCHASE AND SALE OF FUND SHARES
In general, shares of the Fund may be purchased or redeemed on any business day, primarily through financial representatives such as brokers or advisers, or directly by eligible investors through the Fund’s transfer agent. Purchase minimums for Classes A, C and Y shares are $1,000 for an initial purchase and $100 for a subsequent purchase, with no purchase minimums for any purchase through a retirement or pension plan account, for any “wrap fee” account and similar programs offered without a sales charge by certain financial institutions and third-party recordkeepers and/or administrators, and for any account using the Automatic Investment Plan, or for any other periodic purchase program.
Purchase minimums for Class I shares are $1 million for an initial purchase and no minimum for a subsequent purchase; the initial minimum may be reduced or waived at the Adviser’s discretion.
TAX INFORMATION
The Fund normally distributes net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders annually. These distributions are generally taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax advantaged retirement account, such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (IRA), in which case your distributions may be taxed as ordinary income when withdrawn from such account.
PAYMENTS TO BROKER-DEALERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES
If you purchase the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and/or its affiliates may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your financial professional to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your financial professional or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
29

II. INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES, STRATEGIES, POLICIES, RISKS AND OTHER INFORMATION
This section states each Fund’s investment objective and describes certain strategies and policies that the Fund may utilize in pursuit of its investment objective. This section also provides additional information about the principal risks associated with investing in each Fund.
1. INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES
Fund    Emerging Markets Fund
Objective    The Emerging Markets Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in equity securities in emerging markets around the world.
Fund    Emerging Markets Leaders Fund
Objective    The Emerging Markets Leaders Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in equity securities in emerging markets around the world.
Fund    Environmental Sustainability Fund
Objective    The Environmental Sustainability Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in equity securities of companies operating in environmental sustainability markets.
Fund    Global Resources Fund
Objective    The Global Resources Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in global resource securities. Income is a secondary consideration.
Fund    International Investors Gold Fund
Objective    The International Investors Gold Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in common stocks of gold-mining companies. The Fund may take current income into consideration when choosing investments.
Each of the Emerging Markets Fund, Global Resources Fund and International Investors Gold Fund's investment objective is fundamental and may only be changed with shareholder approval.
Each of the Emerging Markets Leaders Fund and Environmental Sustainability Fund's investment objective is non-fundamental and may be changed by the Board of Trustees without shareholder approval. To the extent practicable, the Fund will provide shareholders with 60 days’ prior written notice before changing its investment objective.
2. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND RISKS
Depositary Receipts Risk. (Emerging Markets Leaders Fund only.) Depositary receipts are certificates that evidence ownership of shares of a foreign issuer and are alternatives to purchasing the underlying foreign securities directly in their national markets and currencies. Depositary receipts may be subject to certain of the risks associated with direct investments in the securities of foreign companies, such as currency, political, economic and market risks, because their values depend on the performance of the non-dollar denominated underlying foreign securities. Moreover, depositary receipts may not track the price of the underlying foreign securities on which they are based, and their value may change materially at times when U.S. markets are not open for trading. The issuers of certain depositary receipts are under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications to the holders of such receipts, or to pass through to them any voting rights with respect to the deposited securities. Investments in depositary receipts may be less liquid than the underlying shares in their primary trading market. The issuers of depositary receipts may discontinue issuing new depositary receipts and withdraw existing depositary receipts at any time, which may result in costs and delays in the distribution of the underlying assets to the Fund and may negatively impact the Fund’s performance.
Commodities and Commodity-Linked Derivatives Risk. (Global Resources Fund and International Investors Gold Fund only.) Commodities include precious metals (such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium in the form of bullion and coins), industrial metals, gas and other energy products and natural resources. The value of a commodity-linked derivative investment generally is based upon the price movements of a physical commodity (such as energy, mineral, or agricultural products), a commodity futures contract or commodity index, or other economic variable based upon changes in the value of commodities or the commodities markets. The Fund may seek exposure to the commodity markets through investments in leveraged or unleveraged commodity-linked or index-linked notes, which are derivative debt instruments with principal and/or coupon payments linked to the value of commodities, commodity futures contracts or the performance of commodity indices. These notes are sometimes referred to as “structured notes” because the terms of these notes may be structured by the issuer and the purchaser of the note.
Exposure to the commodities markets may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. The commodities markets may fluctuate widely based on a variety of factors including changes in overall market movements, political and economic events and policies, war, disease, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and changes in interest rates or inflation rates. Prices of various commodities may also be affected by factors such as drought, floods, weather, embargoes, tariffs and other regulatory developments. The prices of commodities can also fluctuate widely due to supply and demand disruptions in major producing or consuming regions. Certain commodities may be produced in a limited number of countries and may be
30

controlled by a small number of producers. As a result, political, economic and supply related events in such countries could have a disproportionate impact on the prices of such commodities.
Commodity-Linked “Structured” Securities. Because the value of a commodity-linked derivative instrument typically is based upon the price movements of a physical commodity, the value of the commodity-linked derivative instrument may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors affecting a particular industry. The value of these securities will rise or fall in response to changes in the underlying commodity or related index of investment.
Structured Notes. Structured notes expose the Fund economically to movements in commodity prices. The performance of a structured note is determined by the price movement of the commodity underlying the note. A highly liquid secondary market may not exist for structured notes, and there can be no assurance that one will develop. These notes are often leveraged, increasing the volatility of each note’s market value relative to changes in the underlying commodity, commodity futures contract or commodity index.
Tax Risk. The tax treatment of commodity-linked derivative instruments may be adversely affected by changes in legislation, regulations or other legally binding authority. If, as a result of any such adverse action, the income of the Fund from certain commodity-linked derivatives was treated as non-qualifying income, the Fund might fail to qualify as a regulated investment company and/or be subject to federal income tax at the Fund level. As a regulated investment company, the Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from sources treated as qualifying income under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), including income from any financial instrument or position that constitutes a security under section 2(a)(36) of the 1940 Act. In September 2016 the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced that it will no longer issue private letter rulings on questions relating to the treatment of a corporation as a regulated investment company that require a determination of whether a financial instrument or position is a security under section 2(a)(36) of the 1940 Act. The IRS also revoked rulings issued to some funds regarding the treatment of commodity-linked notes held directly by such funds. The uncertainty surrounding the treatment of certain derivative instruments under the qualification tests for a regulated investment company may limit the Fund’s use of such derivative instruments. The Global Resources Fund and the International Investors Gold Fund also may incur transaction and other costs to comply with any new or additional guidance from the IRS.
Communication Services Sector Risk. (Emerging Markets Fund and Emerging Markets Leaders Fund only.) As of December 31, 2021, the Emerging Markets Fund invested a significant portion of its assets in companies in the communication services sector. Separately, the Emerging Markets Leaders Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in companies in the communication services sector. Each Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of sectors. Each Fund will be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the communication services sector. Companies in the communication services sector may be affected by industry competition, substantial capital requirements, government regulations and obsolescence of communications products and services due to technological advancement.
Concentration in Gold-Mining Industry Risk. (International Investors Gold Fund only.) The Fund concentrates its investments in the securities of companies engaged in gold-related activities, including exploration, mining, processing, or dealing in gold. The International Investors Gold Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of industries. The Fund may be susceptible to financial, economic, political or market events, as well as government regulation (including environmental regulation), impacting the gold-mining industry. Fluctuations in the price of gold often dramatically affect the profitability of companies in the gold-mining industry. Changes in the political or economic climate for a large gold producer, such as China or Australia, may have a direct impact on the price of gold worldwide. The value of securities of companies in the gold-mining industry are highly dependent on the price of gold at any given time.
Consumer Discretionary Sector Risk. (Emerging Markets Fund and Emerging Markets Leaders Fund only.) As of December 31, 2021, the Emerging Markets Fund invested a significant portion of its assets in companies in the consumer discretionary sector. Separately, the Emerging Markets Leaders Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in companies in the consumer discretionary sector. Each Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of sectors. Each Fund may be susceptible to financial, economic, political or market events, as well as government regulation, impacting the consumer discretionary sector. The consumer discretionary sector comprises companies whose businesses are sensitive to economic cycles, such as manufacturers of high-end apparel and automobile and leisure companies. Companies in the consumer discretionary sector are subject to fluctuations in supply and demand. These companies may also be adversely affected by changes in consumer spending as a result of world events, political and economic conditions, commodity price volatility, changes in exchange rates, imposition of import controls, increased competition, depletion of resources and labor relations.
Derivatives Risk. (Environmental Sustainability Fund, Global Resources Fund and International Investors Gold Fund only.) The term “derivatives” covers a broad range of financial instruments, including swap agreements, options, warrants, futures contracts, currency forwards and structured notes, whose values are derived, at least in part, from the value of one or more indicators, such as a security, asset, index or reference rate.
31


The use of derivatives presents risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in traditional securities. The use of derivatives can lead to losses because of adverse movements in the price or value of the underlying currency, security, commodity, asset, index or reference rate, which may be magnified by certain features of the derivatives. Derivative strategies often involve leverage, which may exaggerate a loss, potentially causing the Funds to lose more money than it originally committed to initial margin, and more money than it would have lost had it invested in the underlying security. The values of derivatives may move in unexpected ways, especially in unusual market conditions, and may result in increased volatility, among other consequences. There may be imperfect correlation between changes in the market value of a derivative and the value of its underlying reference asset, or in the case of hedging, in the value of the portfolio investment being hedged, and this may be exaggerated in times of market stress or volatility. Many derivatives require the Funds to post margin or collateral or otherwise maintain liquid assets in a manner that satisfies contractual undertakings and regulatory requirements. In order to satisfy margin or other requirements, the Funds may need to sell securities from its portfolio or exit positions at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. All of this could, in turn, affect the Funds' ability to fully execute its investment strategies and/or achieve its investment objective. The use of derivatives may increase the amount of taxes payable by shareholders because changes in government regulation of derivatives could affect the character, timing and amount of the Funds’ taxable income or gains. Additionally, the Funds’ use of derivatives may be limited by the requirements for taxation of the Fund as a regulated investment company. Other risks arise from the Funds’ potential inability to terminate or sell derivative positions. A liquid secondary market may not always exist for the Funds’ derivative positions at times when the Funds might wish to terminate or sell such positions. Over-the-counter instruments (investments not traded on an exchange) may be illiquid, and transactions in derivatives traded in the over-the-counter market are subject to counterparty risk, which is the risk that the Funds' counterparty in a transaction may be unwilling, or unable, to perform its obligations under the transaction. The use of derivatives also involves the risk of mispricing or improper valuation and that changes in the value of the derivative may not correlate perfectly with the underlying currency, security, commodity, asset, index or reference rate. Derivatives may be subject to changing government regulation that could impact the Funds' ability to use certain derivatives and their cost.
On October 28, 2020, the SEC adopted new regulations governing the use of derivatives by registered investment companies. The Fund will be required to implement and comply with Rule 18f-4 by the third quarter of 2022. Rule 18f-4 will impose limits on the amount of derivatives a fund can enter into, eliminate the asset segregation framework currently used by funds to comply with Section 18 of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, treat derivatives as senior securities so that a failure to comply with the limits would result in a statutory violation and require funds whose use of derivatives is more than a limited specified exposure amount to establish and maintain a comprehensive derivatives risk management program and appoint a derivatives risk manager. As the Funds come into compliance, the Funds' approach to asset segregation and coverage requirements described in this Prospectus may be impacted.
Direct Investments Risk. Direct investments are investments made directly with an enterprise not through publicly traded shares or interests. A Fund will not invest more than 10% of its total assets in direct investments. Direct investments may involve a high degree of business and financial risk that can result in substantial losses. Because of the absence of any public trading market for these investments, a Fund may take longer to liquidate these positions than would be the case for publicly traded securities. Although these securities may be resold in privately negotiated transactions, the prices on these sales could be less than those originally paid by the Fund. Issuers whose securities are not publicly traded may not be subject to public disclosure and other investor protection requirements applicable to publicly traded securities. Direct investments are generally considered illiquid and will be aggregated with other illiquid investments for purposes of the limitation on illiquid investments.
Emerging Market Securities Risk. Investments in securities of emerging market issuers involve risks not typically associated with investments in securities of issuers in more developed countries that may negatively affect the value of your investment in the Fund. Such heightened risks may include, among others, expropriation and/or nationalization of assets, restrictions on and government intervention in international trade, confiscatory taxation, political instability, including authoritarian and/or military involvement in governmental decision making, armed conflict, the impact on the economy as a result of civil war, crime (including drug violence) and social instability as a result of religious, ethnic and/or socioeconomic unrest. Issuers in certain emerging market countries are subject to less stringent requirements regarding accounting, auditing, financial reporting and record keeping than are issuers in more developed markets, and therefore, all material information may not be available or reliable. Emerging markets are also more likely than developed markets to experience problems with the clearing and settling of trades, as well as the holding of securities by local banks, agents and depositories. Low trading volumes and volatile prices in less developed markets may make trades harder to complete and settle, and governments or trade groups may compel local agents to hold securities in designated depositories that may not be subject to independent evaluation. Local agents are held only to the standards of care of their local markets. In general, the less developed a country’s securities markets are, the greater the likelihood of custody problems. Additionally, each of the factors described below could have a negative impact on the Fund’s performance and increase the volatility of the Fund.
Securities Markets. Securities markets in emerging market countries are underdeveloped and are often considered to be less correlated to global economic cycles than those markets located in more developed countries. Securities markets in emerging market countries are subject to greater risks associated with market volatility, lower market capitalization, lower trading volume, illiquidity, inflation, greater price fluctuations, uncertainty regarding the existence of
32

trading markets, governmental control and heavy regulation of labor and industry. These factors, coupled with restrictions on foreign investment and other factors, limit the supply of securities available for investment by the Fund. This will affect the rate at which the Fund is able to invest in emerging market countries, the purchase and sale prices for such securities and the timing of purchases and sales. Emerging markets can experience high rates of inflation, deflation and currency devaluation. The prices of certain securities listed on securities markets in emerging market countries have been subject to sharp fluctuations and sudden declines, and no assurance can be given as to the future performance of listed securities in general. Volatility of prices may be greater than in more developed securities markets. Moreover, securities markets in emerging market countries may be closed for extended periods of time or trading on securities markets may be suspended altogether due to political or civil unrest. Market volatility may also be heightened by the actions of a small number of investors. Brokerage firms in emerging market countries may be fewer in number and less established than brokerage firms in more developed markets. Since the Fund may need to effect securities transactions through these brokerage firms, the Fund is subject to the risk that these brokerage firms will not be able to fulfill their obligations to the Fund. This risk is magnified to the extent the Fund effects securities transactions through a single brokerage firm or a small number of brokerage firms. In addition, the infrastructure for the safe custody of securities and for purchasing and selling securities, settling trades, collecting dividends, initiating corporate actions, and following corporate activity is not as well developed in emerging market countries as is the case in certain more developed markets.
Political and Economic Risk. Certain emerging market countries have historically been subject to political instability and their prospects are tied to the continuation of economic and political liberalization in the region. Instability may result from factors such as government or military intervention in decision making, terrorism, civil unrest, extremism or hostilities between neighboring countries. Any of these factors, including an outbreak of hostilities could negatively impact the Fund’s returns. Limited political and democratic freedoms in emerging market countries might cause significant social unrest. These factors may have a significant adverse effect on an emerging market country’s economy.
Many emerging market countries may be heavily dependent upon international trade and, consequently, may continue to be negatively affected by trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which it trades. They also have been, and may continue to be, adversely affected by economic conditions in the countries with which they trade.
In addition, commodities (such as oil, gas and minerals) represent a significant percentage of certain emerging market countries’ exports and these economies are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Adverse economic events in one country may have a significant adverse effect on other countries of this region. In addition, most emerging market countries have experienced, at one time or another, severe and persistent levels of inflation, including, in some cases, hyperinflation. This has, in turn, led to high interest rates, extreme measures by governments to keep inflation in check, and a generally debilitating effect on economic growth.
Although inflation in many countries has lessened, there is no guarantee it will remain at lower levels. The political history of certain emerging market countries has been characterized by political uncertainty, intervention by the military in civilian and economic spheres, and political corruption. Such events could reverse favorable trends toward market and economic reform, privatization, and removal of trade barriers, and result in significant disruption in securities markets in the region.
Also, from time to time, certain issuers located in emerging market countries in which the Fund invests may operate in, or have dealings with, countries subject to sanctions and/or embargoes imposed by the U.S. Government and the United Nations and/or countries identified by the U.S. Government as state sponsors of terrorism. As a result, an issuer may sustain damage to its reputation if it is identified as an issuer which operates in, or has dealings with, such countries. A Fund, as an investor in such issuers, will be indirectly subject to those risks.
The economies of one or more countries in which the Fund may invest may be in various states of transition from a planned economy to a more market oriented economy. The economies of such countries differ from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including levels of government involvement, states of development, growth rates, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Economic growth in these economies may be uneven both geographically and among various sectors of their economies and may also be accompanied by periods of high inflation. Political changes, social instability and adverse diplomatic developments in these countries could result in the imposition of additional government restrictions, including expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxes or nationalization of some or all of the property held by the underlying issuers of securities included in the Fund. There is no guarantee that the governments of these countries will not revert back to some form of planned or non-market oriented economy, and such governments continue to be active participants in many economic sectors through ownership positions and regulation. The allocation of resources in such countries is subject to a high level of government control. Such countries’ governments may strictly regulate the payment of foreign currency denominated obligations and set monetary policy. Through their policies, these governments may provide preferential treatment to particular industries or companies. The policies set by the government of one of these countries could have a substantial effect on that country’s economy.
33


Investment and Repatriation Restrictions. The government in an emerging market country may restrict or control to varying degrees the ability of foreign investors to invest in securities of issuers located or operating in such emerging market countries. These restrictions and/or controls may at times limit or prevent foreign investment in securities of issuers located or operating in emerging market countries and may inhibit the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment objective. In addition, the Fund may not be able to buy or sell securities or receive full value for such securities. Moreover, certain emerging market countries may require governmental approval or special licenses prior to investments by foreign investors and may limit the amount of investments by foreign investors in a particular industry and/or issuer; may limit such foreign investment to a certain class of securities of an issuer that may have less advantageous rights than the classes available for purchase by domiciliaries of such emerging market countries; and/or may impose additional taxes on foreign investors. A delay in obtaining a required government approval or a license would delay investments in those emerging market countries, and, as a result, the Fund may not be able to invest in certain securities while approval is pending. The government of certain emerging market countries may also withdraw or decline to renew a license that enables the Fund to invest in such country. These factors make investing in issuers located or operating in emerging market countries significantly riskier than investing in issuers located or operating in more developed countries, and any one of them could cause a decline in the value of the Fund’s Shares.
Additionally, investments in issuers located in certain emerging market countries may be subject to a greater degree of risk associated with governmental approval in connection with the repatriation of investment income, capital or the proceeds of sales of securities by foreign investors. Moreover, there is the risk that if the balance of payments in an emerging market country declines, the government of such country may impose temporary restrictions on foreign capital remittances. Consequently, the Fund could be adversely affected by delays in, or a refusal to grant, required governmental approval for repatriation of capital, as well as by the application to the Fund of any restrictions on investments. Furthermore, investments in emerging market countries may require the Fund to adopt special procedures, seek local government approvals or take other actions, each of which may involve additional costs to the Fund.
Available Disclosure About Emerging Market Issuers. Issuers located or operating in emerging market countries are not subject to the same rules and regulations as issuers located or operating in more developed countries. Therefore, there may be less financial and other information publicly available with regard to issuers located or operating in emerging market countries and such issuers are not subject to the uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards applicable to issuers located or operating in more developed countries.
Foreign Currency Considerations. A Fund’s assets that are invested in securities of issuers in emerging market countries will generally be denominated in foreign currencies, and the proceeds received by the Fund from these investments will be principally in foreign currencies. The value of an emerging market country’s currency may be subject to a high degree of fluctuation. This fluctuation may be due to changes in interest rates, the effects of monetary policies issued by the United States, foreign governments, central banks or supranational entities, the imposition of currency controls or other national or global political or economic developments. The economies of certain emerging market countries can be significantly affected by currency devaluations. Certain emerging market countries may also have managed currencies which are maintained at artificial levels relative to the U.S. dollar rather than at levels determined by the market. This type of system can lead to sudden and large adjustments in the currency which, in turn, can have a disruptive and negative effect on foreign investors.
A Fund’s exposure to an emerging market country’s currency and changes in value of such foreign currencies versus the U.S. dollar may reduce the Fund’s investment performance and the value of your investment in the Fund. Meanwhile, the Fund will compute and expects to distribute its income in U.S. dollars, and the computation of income will be made on the date that the income is earned by the Fund at the foreign exchange rate in effect on that date. Therefore, if the value of the respective emerging market country’s currency falls relative to the U.S. dollar between the earning of the income and the time at which the Fund converts the relevant emerging market country’s currency to U.S. dollars, the Fund may be required to liquidate certain positions in order to make distributions if the Fund has insufficient cash in U.S. dollars to meet distribution requirements under the Internal Revenue Code. The liquidation of investments, if required, could be at disadvantageous prices or otherwise have an adverse impact on the Fund’s performance.
Certain emerging market countries also restrict the free conversion of their currency into foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar. There is no significant foreign exchange market for many such currencies and it would, as a result, be difficult for the Fund to engage in foreign currency transactions designed to protect the value of the Fund’s interests in securities denominated in such currencies. Furthermore, if permitted, the Fund may incur costs in connection with conversions between U.S. dollars and an emerging market country’s currency. Foreign exchange dealers realize a profit based on the difference between the prices at which they are buying and selling various currencies. Thus, a dealer normally will offer to sell a foreign currency to the Fund at one rate, while offering a lesser rate of exchange should the Fund desire immediately to resell that currency to the dealer. A Fund will conduct its foreign currency exchange transactions either on a spot (i.e., cash) basis at the spot rate prevailing in the foreign currency exchange market, or through entering into forward, futures or options contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies.
34

Operational and Settlement Risk. In addition to having less developed securities markets, emerging market countries have less developed custody and settlement practices than certain developed countries. Rules adopted under the 1940 Act permit the Fund to maintain its foreign securities and cash in the custody of certain eligible non-U.S. banks and securities depositories. Banks in emerging market countries that are eligible foreign sub-custodians may be recently organized or otherwise lack extensive operating experience. In addition, in certain emerging market countries there may be legal restrictions or limitations on the ability of the Fund to recover assets held in custody by a foreign sub-custodian in the event of the bankruptcy of the sub-custodian. Because settlement systems in emerging market countries may be less organized than in other developed markets, there may be a risk that settlement may be delayed and that cash or securities of the Fund may be in jeopardy because of failures of or defects in the systems. Under the laws in many emerging market countries, the Fund may be required to release local shares before receiving cash payment or may be required to make cash payment prior to receiving local shares, creating a risk that the Fund may surrender cash or securities without ever receiving securities or cash from the other party. Settlement systems in emerging market countries also have a higher risk of failed trades and back to back settlements may not be possible.
A Fund may not be able to convert a foreign currency to U.S. dollars in time for the settlement of redemption requests. In the event of a redemption request from an AP, the Fund will be required to deliver U.S. dollars to the AP on the settlement date. In the event that the Fund is not able to convert the foreign currency to U.S. dollars in time for settlement, which may occur as a result of the delays described above, the Fund may be required to liquidate certain investments and/or borrow money in order to fund such redemption. The liquidation of investments, if required, could be at disadvantageous prices or otherwise have an adverse impact on the Fund’s performance (e.g., by causing the Fund to overweight foreign currency denominated holdings and underweight other holdings which were sold to fund redemptions). In addition, the Fund will incur interest expense on any borrowings and the borrowings will cause the Fund to be leveraged, which may magnify gains and losses on its investments.
In certain emerging market countries, the marketability of investments may be limited due to the restricted opening hours of trading exchanges, and a relatively high proportion of market value may be concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of investors. In addition, because certain emerging market countries’ trading exchanges on which the Fund’s portfolio securities may trade are open when the relevant Exchange is closed, the Fund may be subject to heightened risk associated with market movements. Trading volume may be lower on certain emerging market countries’ trading exchanges than on more developed securities markets and securities may be generally less liquid. The infrastructure for clearing, settlement and registration on the primary and secondary markets of certain emerging market countries are less developed than in certain other markets and under certain circumstances this may result in the Fund experiencing delays in settling and/or registering transactions in the markets in which it invests, particularly if the growth of foreign and domestic investment in certain emerging market countries places an undue burden on such investment infrastructure. Such delays could affect the speed with which the Fund can transmit redemption proceeds and may inhibit the initiation and realization of investment opportunities at optimum times.
Certain issuers in emerging market countries may utilize share blocking schemes. Share blocking refers to a practice, in certain foreign markets, where voting rights related to an issuer’s securities are predicated on these securities being blocked from trading at the custodian or sub-custodian level for a period of time around a shareholder meeting. These restrictions have the effect of barring the purchase and sale of certain voting securities within a specified number of days before and, in certain instances, after a shareholder meeting where a vote of shareholders will be taken. Share blocking may prevent the Fund from buying or selling securities for a period of time. During the time that shares are blocked, trades in such securities will not settle. The blocking period can last up to several weeks. The process for having a blocking restriction lifted can be quite onerous with the particular requirements varying widely by country. In addition, in certain countries, the block cannot be removed. As a result of the ramifications of voting ballots in markets that allow share blocking, the Adviser, on behalf of the Fund, reserves the right to abstain from voting proxies in those markets.
Corporate and Securities Laws. Securities laws in emerging market countries are relatively new and unsettled and, consequently, there is a risk of rapid and unpredictable change in laws regarding foreign investment, securities regulation, title to securities and securityholders rights. Accordingly, foreign investors may be adversely affected by new or amended laws and regulations. In addition, the systems of corporate governance to which emerging market issuers are subject may be less advanced than those systems to which issuers located in more developed countries are subject, and therefore, securityholders of issuers located in emerging market countries may not receive many of the protections available to securityholders of issuers located in more developed countries. In circumstances where adequate laws and securityholders rights exist, it may not be possible to obtain swift and equitable enforcement of the law. In addition, the enforcement of systems of taxation at federal, regional and local levels in emerging market countries may be inconsistent and subject to sudden change. A Fund has limited rights and few practical remedies in emerging markets and the ability of U.S. authorities to bring enforcement actions in emerging markets may be limited.
Equity Securities Risk. The value of the equity securities held by the Funds may fall due to general market and economic conditions, perceptions regarding the markets in which the issuers of securities held by the Funds participate, or factors relating to
35


specific issuers in which the Funds invest. Equity securities are subordinated to preferred securities and debt in a company’s capital structure with respect to priority in right to a share of corporate income, and therefore will be subject to greater dividend risk than preferred securities or debt instruments. In addition, while broad market measures of equity securities have historically generated higher average returns than fixed income securities, equity securities have generally also experienced significantly more volatility in those returns, although under certain market conditions fixed income securities may have comparable or greater price volatility.
Environmental-Related Securities Risk. (Environmental Sustainability Fund only.) Companies that promote positive environmental policies may not perform as well as companies that do not pursue such goals. Issuers engaged in environmentally beneficial business lines may be difficult to identify and investments in them maybe volatile. They may be highly dependent upon government subsidies, contracts with government entities, and the successful development of new and proprietary technologies. Such technologies risk rapid product obsolescence, short product cycles, and competition from new market entrants. Current valuation methods used to value companies involved in alternative, clean water, and clean power technology sectors, for example, may not have been in widespread use for a significant period of time, and it may be difficult to value share prices of such issuers. In addition, seasonal weather conditions, fluctuations in supply of and demand for clean energy products (including, in relation to traditional energy products, such as oil and gas), changes in energy prices, and international political events may cause fluctuations in the performance of these issuers and the prices of their securities. Environmentally-focused investing is qualitative and subjective by nature, and there is no guarantee that the factors utilized by the Adviser or any judgment exercised by the Adviser will reflect the opinions of any particular investor. Information regarding responsible practices is obtained through voluntary or third-party reporting, which may not be accurate or complete, and the Adviser is dependent on such information to evaluate a company’s commitment to, or implementation of, responsible practices.
ESG Investing Risk. The Adviser’s consideration of ESG risks and opportunities in each Fund’s investment process could result in a Fund performing differently compared to funds that do not take into account ESG considerations. The Adviser’s consideration of ESG risks and opportunities may result in a Fund investing in securities, industries or sectors that underperform other securities, industries or sectors, or underperform the market as a whole. Each Fund is also subject to the risk that the companies identified by the Adviser do not operate as expected when addressing ESG issues. Regulatory changes or interpretations regarding the definitions and/or use of ESG criteria could have a material adverse effect on a Fund’s ability to invest in accordance with its ESG considerations.
Financial Services Sector Risk. (Emerging Markets Fund and Emerging Markets Leaders Fund only.) As of December 31, 2021, the Emerging Markets Fund invested a significant portion of its assets in companies in the financial services sectors. Separately, the Emerging Markets Leaders Fund may a significant portion of its assets in companies in the financial services sectors. Each Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of sectors. Each Fund may be susceptible to financial, economic, political or market events, as well as government regulation, impacting the financial services sector. Companies in the financial services sector may be subject to extensive government regulation that affects the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and the amount of capital they must maintain. The profitability of companies in the financial services sector may be adversely affected by increases in interest rates, by loan losses, which usually increase in economic downturns, and by credit rating downgrades. In addition, the financial services sector is undergoing numerous changes, including continuing consolidations, development of new products and structures and changes to its regulatory framework. Furthermore, recent developments in the credit markets may cause companies operating in the financial services sector to incur large losses, experience declines in the value of their assets and even cease operations.
Foreign Currency Transactions Risk. An investment transacted in a foreign currency may lose value due to fluctuations in the rate of exchange. These fluctuations can make the return on an investment go up or down, entirely apart from the quality or performance of the investment itself. A Fund may enter into foreign currency transactions either to facilitate settlement transactions or for purposes of hedging exposure to underlying currencies. To manage currency exposure, the Fund may enter into forward currency contracts to “lock in” the U.S. dollar price of the security. A forward currency contract involves an agreement to purchase or sell a specified currency at a specified future price set at the time of the contract.
Foreign Securities Risk. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers involve risks beyond those associated with investments in U.S. securities. These additional risks include greater market volatility, the availability of less reliable financial information, higher transactional and custody costs, taxation by foreign governments, decreased market liquidity and political instability. Because certain foreign securities markets may be limited in size, the activity of large traders may have an undue influence on the prices of securities that trade in such markets. Certain foreign markets that have historically been considered relatively stable may become volatile in response to changed conditions or new developments. Increased interconnectivity of world economies and financial markets increases the possibility that adverse developments and conditions in one country or region will affect the stability of economies and financial markets in other countries or regions. The Fund invests in securities of issuers located in countries whose economies are heavily dependent upon trading with key partners. Any reduction in this trading may have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investments. Because the Fund may invest in securities denominated in foreign currencies and some of the income received by the Fund may be in foreign currencies, changes in currency exchange rates may negatively impact the Fund’s return.
36

Foreign issuers are often subject to less stringent requirements regarding accounting, auditing, financial reporting and record keeping than are U.S. issuers, and therefore, not all material information may be available or reliable. Securities exchanges or foreign governments may adopt rules or regulations that may negatively impact the Fund’s ability to invest in foreign securities or may prevent the Fund from repatriating its investments. The Fund may also invest in depositary receipts which involve similar risks to those associated with investments in foreign securities. In addition, the Fund may not receive shareholder communications or be permitted to vote the securities that it holds, as the issuers may be under no legal obligation to distribute shareholder communications.
Certain foreign markets may rely heavily on particular industries or foreign capital and are more vulnerable to diplomatic developments, the imposition of economic sanctions against a particular country or countries, organizations, entities and/or individuals, changes in international trade patterns, trade barriers, and other protectionist or retaliatory measures. The United States and other nations or international organizations may impose economic sanctions or take other actions that may adversely affect issuers of specific countries. Economic sanctions could, among other things, effectively restrict or eliminate the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities or groups of securities for a substantial period of time, and may make the Fund’s investments in such securities harder to value. These sanctions, any future sanctions or other actions, or even the threat of further sanctions or other actions, may negatively affect the value and liquidity of the Fund.
Also, certain issuers located in foreign countries in which the Fund invests may operate in, or have dealings with, countries subject to sanctions and/or embargoes imposed by the U.S. Government and the United Nations and/or countries identified by the U.S. Government as state sponsors of terrorism. As a result, an issuer may sustain damage to its reputation if it is identified as an issuer which operates in, or has dealings with, such countries. A Fund, as an investor in such issuers, will be indirectly subject to those risks.
Global Resources Sector Risk. (Global Resources Fund only.) The Fund concentrates its investments (i.e., invests 25% or more of its total assets) in the securities of global resource companies and instruments that derive their value from global resources. Global resources include precious metals (including gold), base and industrial metals, energy, natural resources, and other commodities. Investments in global resources companies can be significantly affected by events relating to this industry, including international political and economic developments, embargoes, tariffs, inflation, weather and natural disasters, livestock diseases, limits on exploration, rapid changes in the supply of and demand for natural resources and other factors. The Fund’s portfolio securities may experience substantial price fluctuations as a result of these factors, and may move independently of the trends of other operating companies. Companies engaged in global resources may be adversely affected by changes in government policies and regulations, technological advances and/or obsolescence, environmental damage claims, energy conservation efforts, the success of exploration projects, limitations on the liquidity of certain natural resources and commodities and competition from new market entrants. Political risks and the other risks to which foreign securities are subject may also affect domestic global resource companies if they have significant operations or investments in foreign countries. Changes in general economic conditions, including commodity price volatility, changes in exchange rates, imposition of import controls, rising interest rates, prices of raw materials and other commodities, depletion of resources and labor relations, could adversely affect the Fund’s portfolio companies. The highly cyclical nature of the global resources sector may affect the earnings or operating cash flows of global resources companies.
The Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of sectors. The Fund may be susceptible to financial, economic, political or market events, as well as government regulation (including environmental regulation), impacting the global resources sectors. Specifically, the energy sector can be affected by changes in the prices of and supplies of oil and other energy fuels, energy conservation, the success of exploration projects, the risks generally associated with the extraction of natural resources, such as the risks of mining and drilling, and tax and other government regulations. The metals sector can be affected by sharp price volatility over short periods caused by global economic, financial and political factors, resource availability, government regulation, economic cycles, changes in inflation, interest rates, currency fluctuations, metal sales by governments, central banks or international agencies, investment speculation and fluctuations in industrial and commercial supply and demand. Precious metals and natural resources securities are at times volatile and there may be sharp fluctuations in prices, even during periods of rising prices. Additionally, companies engaged in the production and distribution of global resources may be adversely affected by changes in world events, political and economic conditions, energy conservation, environmental policies, commodity price volatility, changes in exchange rates, imposition of import controls, increased competition, depletion of resources and labor relations.
Health Care Sector Risk. (Emerging Markets Fund and Emerging Markets Leaders Fund only.) The Funds may invest a significant portion of its assets in companies in the health care sector. To the extent that it continues to invest significantly in the health care sector, each Fund will be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the health care sector. Companies in the health care sector may be affected by extensive government regulation, restrictions on government reimbursement for medical expenses, rising costs of medical products and services, pricing pressure, an increased emphasis on outpatient services, limited number of products, industry innovation, changes in technologies and other market developments. Many health care companies are heavily dependent on patent protection. The expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies. Many health care companies are subject to extensive litigation based on product liability and similar claims. Health care companies are subject to competitive forces that may make it difficult to raise
37


prices and, in fact, may result in price discounting. Many new products in the health care sector may be subject to regulatory approvals. The process of obtaining such approvals may be long and costly. Companies in the health care sector may be thinly capitalized and may be susceptible to product obsolescence.
Industrials Sector Risk. (Emerging Markets Leaders Fund and Environmental Sustainability Fund only.) As of December 31, 2021, the Environmental Sustainability Fund invested a significant portion of its assets in companies in the industrials sector. Separately, the Emerging Markets Leaders Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in companies in the industrials sector. To the extent that it continues to invest significantly in the industrials sector, each Fund may be sensitive to changes in, and its performance may depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the industrials sector. Companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by changes in government regulation, world events and economic conditions. In addition, companies in the industrials sector may be adversely affected by environmental damages, product liability claims and exchange rates.
Information Technology Sector Risk. (Emerging Markets Fund, Emerging Markets Leaders Fund and Environmental Sustainability Fund only.) As of December 31, 2021, each of the Emerging Markets Fund and the Environmental Sustainability Fund invested a significant portion of its assets in companies in the information technology sector. Separately, the Emerging Markets Leaders Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in companies in the information technology sector. Each Fund may be subject to greater risks and market fluctuations than a fund whose portfolio has exposure to a broader range of sectors. Each Fund may be susceptible to financial, economic, political or market events, as well as government regulation, impacting the information technology sector. Information technology companies face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Information technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of information technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. Companies in the information technology sector are heavily dependent on patent protection and the expiration of patents may adversely affect the profitability of these companies.
Investing in Australian Issuers Risk. (International Investors Gold Fund only.) As of December 31, 2021, the Fund invested a significant portion of its assets in securities of Australian issuers. Investment in Australian issuers may subject the Fund to regulatory, political, currency, security, and economic risk specific to Australia. The Australian economy is heavily dependent on exports from the agricultural and mining sectors. As a result, the Australian economy is susceptible to fluctuations in the commodity markets. The Australian economy is also becoming increasingly dependent on its growing services industry. The Australian economy is dependent on trading with key trading partners, including the United States, China, Japan, Singapore and certain European countries. Reduction in spending on Australian products and services, or changes in any of the economies, may cause an adverse impact on the Australian economy. Additionally, Australia is located in a part of the world that has historically been prone to natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes and droughts, and is economically sensitive to environmental events. Any such event may adversely impact the Australian economy, causing an adverse impact on the value of the Fund.
Investing in Canadian Issuers Risk. (International Investors Gold Fund only.) As of December 31, 2021, the Fund invested a significant portion of its assets in securities of Canadian issuers. Investments in securities of Canadian issuers, including issuers located outside of Canada that generate significant revenue from Canada, involve risks and special considerations not typically associated with investments in the U.S. securities markets. The Canadian economy is very dependent on the demand for, and supply and price of, natural resources. The Canadian market is relatively concentrated in issuers involved in the production and distribution of natural resources. There is a risk that any changes in natural resources sectors could have an adverse impact on the Canadian economy. Additionally, the Canadian economy is heavily dependent on relationships with certain key trading partners, including the United States, countries in the EU and China. Because the United States is Canada’s largest trading partner and foreign investor, the Canadian economy is dependent on and may be significantly affected by the U.S. economy. Reduction in spending on Canadian products and services or changes in the U.S. economy may adversely impact the Canadian economy. Trade agreements may further increase Canada’s dependency on the U.S. economy, and uncertainty as to the future of such trade agreements may cause a decline in the value of the Fund’s Shares. Past periodic demands by the Province of Quebec for sovereignty have significantly affected equity valuations and foreign currency movements in the Canadian market and such demands may have this effect in the future. In addition, certain sectors of Canada’s economy may be subject to foreign ownership limitations. This may negatively impact the Fund’s ability to invest in Canadian issuers.
Investments in Chinese Issuers Risk. (Emerging Markets Fund and Emerging Markets Leaders Fund only.) As of December 31, 2021, the Emerging Markets Fund invested a significant portion of its assets in securities of Chinese issuers, including Hong Kong and the Taiwan region. Separately, the Emerging Markets Leaders Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in securities of Chinese issuers, including Hong Kong and the Taiwan region. Investing in securities of Chinese issuers involves certain risks and considerations not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. issuers. These may include, among others, (i) more frequent (and potentially widespread) trading suspensions and government interventions with respect to Chinese issuers, resulting in lack of liquidity and in price volatility; (ii) currency revaluations and other currency exchange rate fluctuations or blockage; (iii) the nature and extent of intervention by the Chinese government in the Chinese securities markets (including both direct and indirect market stabilization efforts, which may affect valuations of Chinese issuers), whether such intervention will continue and the impact of such intervention or its discontinuation; difficulty in obtaining information necessary for investigations into and/or litigation
38

against Chinese companies, as well as in obtaining and/or enforcing judgments; limited legal remedies for shareholders; (iv) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets; (v) the risk that the Chinese government may decide not to continue to support economic reform programs; (vi) limitations on the use of brokers (or action by the Chinese government that discourages brokers from serving international clients); (vii) higher rates of inflation; (viii) greater political, economic and social uncertainty; (ix) market volatility caused by any potential regional or territorial conflicts or natural or other disasters, such as the recent coronavirus outbreak; (x) the risk of increased trade tariffs, embargoes, sanctions, investment restrictions and other trade limitations; (xi) China custody risks associated with investing via the Stock Connect Program; (xii) both interim and permanent market regulations which may affect the ability of certain stockholders to sell Chinese securities when it would otherwise be advisable, (xiii) foreign ownership limits of any listed Chinese company and (xiv) the general risks applicable to the Stock Connect.
In addition, the economy of China differs, often unfavorably, from the U.S. economy in such respects as structure, general development, government involvement, wealth distribution, rate of inflation, growth rate, interest rates, allocation of resources and capital reinvestment, among others. The Chinese central government has historically exercised substantial control over virtually every sector of the Chinese economy through administrative regulation and/or state ownership and actions of the Chinese central and local government authorities continue to have a substantial effect on economic conditions in China. In addition, previously the Chinese government has from time to time taken actions that influence the prices at which certain goods may be sold, encourage companies to invest or concentrate in particular industries, induce mergers between companies in certain industries and induce private companies to publicly offer their securities to increase or continue the rate of economic growth, control the rate of inflation or otherwise regulate economic expansion. The Chinese government may do so in the future as well, potentially having a significant adverse effect on economic conditions in China. Export growth continues to be a major driver of China’s rapid economic growth. As a result, a reduction in spending on Chinese products and services, the institution of tariffs or other trade barriers, or a downturn in any of the economies of China’s key trading partners may have an adverse impact on the Chinese economy. The current political climate and the further escalation of a trade war between China and the United States may have an adverse effect on both the U.S. and Chinese economies, as each country has recently imposed tariffs on the other country's products. These actions may trigger a significant reduction in international trade, the oversupply of certain manufactured goods, substantial price reductions of goods and possible failure of individual companies and/or large segments of China’s export industry, which could have a negative impact on the Funds’ performance. Events such as these and their consequences are difficult to predict and it is unclear whether further tariffs may be imposed or other escalating actions may be taken in the future. Further, actions by the U.S. government, such as delisting of certain Chinese companies from U.S. securities exchanges or otherwise restricting their operations in the U.S., may negatively impact the value of such securities held by the Fund. Additionally, the inability of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) to inspect audit work papers and practices of PCAOB-registered accounting firms in China with respect to their audit work of U.S. reporting companies may impose significant additional risks associated with investments in China.
Investments in Chinese companies may be made through a special structure known as a variable interest entity (“VIE”) that is designed to provide foreign investors, such as the Fund, with exposure to Chinese companies that operate in certain sectors in which China restricts or prohibits foreign investments. Investments in VIEs may pose additional risks because the investment is made through an intermediary shell company that has entered into service and other contracts with the underlying Chinese operating company in order to provide investors with exposure to the operating company, and therefore does not represent equity ownership in the operating company. The value of the shell company is derived from its ability to consolidate the VIE into its financials pursuant to contractual arrangements that allow the shell company to exert a degree of control over, and obtain economic benefits arising from, the VIE without formal legal ownership. The contractual arrangements between the shell company and the operating company may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct equity ownership, and a foreign investor's (such as the Fund's) rights may be limited, including by actions of the Chinese government which could determine that the underlying contractual arrangements are invalid. While VIEs are a longstanding industry practice and are well known by Chinese officials and regulators, the structure has not been formally recognized under Chinese law and it is uncertain whether Chinese officials or regulators will withdraw their implicit acceptance of the structure. It is also uncertain whether the contractual arrangements, which may be subject to conflicts of interest between the legal owners of the VIE and foreign investors, would be enforced by Chinese courts or arbitration bodies. Prohibitions of these structures by the Chinese government, or the inability to enforce such contracts, from which the shell company derives its value, would likely cause the VIE-structured holding(s) to suffer significant, detrimental, and possibly permanent loss, and in turn, adversely affect the Fund's returns and net asset value.
Investing in Indian Issuers Risk. (Emerging Markets Fund and Emerging Markets Leaders Fund only.) As of December 31, 2021, the Emerging Markets Fund invested a significant portion of its assets in securities of Indian issuers. Separately, the Emerging Markets Leaders Fund may invest a significant portion of its assets in securities of Indian issuers. Investments in securities of Indian issuers involve risks and special considerations not typically associated with investments in the U.S. securities markets. Such heightened risks include, among others, greater government control over the economy, political and legal uncertainty, competition from low-cost issuers of other emerging economies in Asia, currency fluctuations or blockage of foreign currency exchanges and the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets. Large portions of many Indian companies remain in the hands of individuals and corporate governance standards of Indian companies may be weaker and less transparent, which may increase the risk of loss and unequal treatment of investors. In addition, religious and border disputes persist in India. India
39


has experienced civil unrest and hostilities with neighboring countries, including Pakistan, and the Indian government has confronted separatist movements in several Indian states. India has also experienced acts of terrorism that have targeted foreigners, which have had a negative impact on tourism, an important sector of the Indian economy. India has tested nuclear arms, and the threat of deployment of such weapons could hinder development of the Indian economy and escalating tensions could impact the broader region.
The Indian securities markets are smaller and less liquid than securities markets in more developed economies and are subject to greater price volatility. Issuers in India are subject to less stringent requirements regarding accounting, auditing and financial reporting than are issuers in more developed markets, and therefore, all material information may not be available or reliable. In