President & CIO
Axel Merk is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Merk Investments, manager of the Merk Funds.
Founder of the firm bearing his name, Merk is an expert on macro trends, hard money, international investing and on building sustainable wealth. An authority on currencies, he is a pioneer in the use of strategic currency investing to seek diversification. Axel Merk is a sought after speaker and author on topics ranging from the economy, gold and currencies to sustainable wealth and personal finance, as well as a regular guest and contributor to the business media around the world.
Merk’s insight and expertise have allowed him to foresee major economic developments: As early as 2003, he identified the building of the credit bubble; in 2005, he positioned his clients to move out of real estate and the faltering U.S. dollar by investing in hard currencies and gold; in early 2007 he wisely cautioned that volatility would surge, causing a painful credit contraction affecting all asset classes. Read the latest Merk Insights providing the Merk perspective on currencies, global imbalances, the trade deficit, the socio-economic impact of the U.S. administration’s policies and effects on your wealth.
Axel Merk’s 2009 book “Sustainable Wealth” is about understanding how the greater economic universe works, how that may affect your finances, and how to manage those finances to seek financial stability. Click here for more information.
Axel Merk holds a B.A. in Economics (magna cum laude) and a M.Sc. in Computer Science from Brown University.
While best known for his macroeconomic insights, Merk has an extensive quantitative background. While attending Brown, Merk adapted his research in applied mathematics and machine learning to the financial markets. A paper based on Merk's Master of Science Thesis was published by Elsevier Science Publishers in 1992. After completing his masters, Merk conducted post graduate research in finance at Imperial College in London. During the course of his academic work, Merk consistently disagreed with academic research in finance that ignored boundary conditions. Merk, a computer scientist at heart, argued that it was the boundary conditions, the bugs, that crash programs.
Axel Merk founded Merk Investments in Switzerland in 1994 by pooling the investments he had been managing for his friends starting in college. In 2001 he relocated the business to California, and Merk Investments became a SEC registered investment advisory firm. In 2005 Merk Investments launched its first mutual fund, the Merk Hard Currency Fund.
Having extensively studied quantitative modeling early in his career, and realizing the pitfalls of over analyzing - historic - quantitative data, Merk became an expert on qualitative research and macroeconomic trends. Merk's investment philosophy can be best described as an integration of quantitative and qualitative analysis based on the knowledge and experience gained from decades of primary research and direct investment experience
He is married to Hanna Tikkanen-Merk and they live in the San Francisco Bay Area with their four children. He is a marathon runner and a private pilot.
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