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Meet Ima Casanova, Portfolio Manager, Gold and Precious Metals

May 01, 2023

Watch Time 2:50 MIN

Portfolio Manager Ima Casanova discusses her background, how she got her start in the financial industry and how that culminated in her taking on the portfolio manager role for VanEck’s active gold strategy.

I'm originally from Venezuela. I was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

I was 16 years old, when I came to the United States. I didn't speak English, so I spent the first year at Colorado School of Mines—pure coincidence, kind of a 360—so I did go to Colorado School of Mines to learn English.

After that, I attended Case Western Reserve University and studied mechanical engineering. I was fortunate enough, while I was studying there, to also be awarded a scholarship for graduate studies, and I completed my master's degree in mechanical engineering.

After completing my master's degree, I did work in the United States for a little bit before returning to Venezuela, where I decided to access more opportunities by becoming a petroleum engineer.

I worked for Shell for a couple of years as a production technologist, and I did have the opportunity for a full year to work as a drilling supervisor working at an oil rig offshore in Maracaibo Lake, where I had obviously a very unique operational, on the ground experience in the resource industry.

After a few years at Shell, I decided to move back to the states to New York City. They don't drill wells in New York City, so once more I asked myself, where are the opportunities? Where are there more opportunities professionally? And that guided me to the financial industry.

That's how I started covering the oil and gas industry as an equity research associate, which eventually led to a position as an equity analyst associate in the gold mining industry.

I spent the first part of my career covering precious metals on the sell side. And eventually in 2011, Joe Foster reached out and said he needed some help running the fund here at VanEck and at that point I made the transition to the buy side.

I've been here at VanEck since 2011, working alongside with Joe running our active gold strategy. And as I mentioned, that has now led to the opportunity to be the lead portfolio manager for this strategy, which I am very excited about.


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You can lose money by investing in the Fund. Any investment in the Fund should be part of an overall investment program, not a complete program. The Fund is subject to the risks associated with concentrating its assets in the gold industry, which can be significantly affected by international economic, monetary and political developments. The Fund’s overall portfolio may decline in value due to developments specific to the gold industry. The Fund’s investments in foreign securities involve risks related to adverse political and economic developments unique to a country or a region, currency fluctuations or controls, and the possibility of arbitrary action by foreign governments, or political, economic or social instability. The Fund is subject to risks associated with investments in Australian and Canadian issuers, commodities and commodity-linked derivatives, commodities and commodity-linked derivatives tax, gold-mining industry, derivatives, direct investments, emerging market securities, ESG investing, foreign currency transactions, foreign securities, other investment companies, management, market, non-diversification, operational, regulatory, small- and medium-capitalization companies and subsidiary risks.

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