Should I buy a gold ETF?
Are you looking for a price bet or the real thing?
For safe-haven, asset-preservation purposes, the best alternative is not futures, options, mining stocks or even ETFs, but delivery of the metal itself in the form of gold coins or bullion. Some think that owning an ETF is akin to owning real gold, but it is not. It is essentially a price bet simply because only owners of 10,000 ounces or more (with most trusts) can take delivery of the metal represented by the shares. Then there is the problem of counterparty risk. “Unlike physical gold bullion – which is a tangible asset,” says Mauldin Economics’ Olivier Garret, “ETFs are a financial product that have counterparty risk. Counterparty risk is present when there’s a possibility the other party in an agreement will default or fail to live up to their obligations. . .[O]ne of gold’s primary benefits is being the only financial asset that is not simultaneously somebody else’s liability. Therefore, these ETFs are a poor substitute.” In short, by owning an ETF instead of the real thing, investors expose themselves to one of the primary risks they hope to avoid through gold ownership.
The USAGOLD storage option – strong competition for the ETF
One of the advantages of a gold or silver ETF is that the trustee stores the metal for you and makes it easy to buy and sell. We can open a fully-allocated storage account for you that offers the same advantages. In fact, the annual cost of storage and insurance is actually lower than most ETF fees. You can buy and sell with a phone call. Most importantly, because specific coins and/or bullion are stored in your account, you can still take delivery in part or full whenever you so wish – something, as mentioned above, that the ETFs offer only to their largest institutional clients.