Vanguard’s Precious Metals Fund will begin to invest in non-precious metals and the fund name will be changed to accommodate this, the company’s board of trustees announced Thursday.

The $615 million fund is shifting into the non-precious sector "in response to the increasing concentration of the metals and mining industries, a trend that limited the options available to the fund’s investment advisor, " the company said in a statement.

Said Vanguard Chairman and CEO John Brennan, "Expanding the fund’s investment universe will provide greater flexibility to the fund’s advisor and should reduce the fund’s volatility." We believe the fund should continue to exhibit a low correlation to the performance of the broad equity market, and thereby provide diversification within an overall investment portfolio."

The 20-year-old Precious Metals Fund, which Vanguard itself admits carries some additional risks because of its non-parallelism with the equity markets, will continue its emphasis on precious metals like gold but will no longer exclude the non-precious metals and minerals like nickel and copper.

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