Gold, a precious and widely sought-after resource, holds a prominent position in the global market due to its historical significance and enduring value.
With a rich history spanning millennia, gold has served as a form of currency in ancient civilizations, symbolized affluence and prosperity, and held great cultural significance for diverse populations. Many investors have recognized gold as a reliable and secure investment avenue for generations.
There are multiple avenues available for investing in gold, offering investors a range of options to consider. These might involve getting physical gold or buying shares of companies engaged in the gold industry. Often, it might also include participating in gold futures trading or investing in an exchange-traded fund (ETF) and other exchange-traded products.
While each option presents its own set of costs and complexities, investing in physical gold ETFs emerges as a cost-effective and straightforward approach to gain exposure to this coveted metal.
Among the numerous ETFs available, the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) stands as a noteworthy choice, offering investors a convenient and efficient means to tap into the potential of gold.
GLD refers to the SPDR Gold Shares exchange-traded fund, an exchange-traded fund designed to track the price movements of gold. It is one of the market’s largest and most well-known gold ETFs. The acronym “GLD” is derived from the fund’s ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
As an exchange-traded fund, GLD offers investors an opportunity to gain exposure to the performance of gold without directly owning physical gold. The fund aims to replicate the price movement of gold by holding physical gold bars in secure vaults. Each share of GLD represents a fractional ownership in the underlying gold holdings.
Investing in GLD provides investors with a convenient and cost-effective way to include physical gold in their investment portfolios. It allows individuals to participate in the potential price appreciation of gold while avoiding the logistical challenges and ongoing expenses associated with owning, storing, and insuring physical gold.
GLD shares can be bought and sold on stock exchanges, making it a liquid investment that can be traded throughout the trading day. The fund’s value is generally expected to closely mirror the price of gold, making it a popular choice for those seeking exposure to the gold market.
To track the price of physical gold, GLD employs a strategy involving the acquisition and custody of gold bullion. The fund holds its physical gold in the form of allocated London Gold Delivery bars, each weighing 400 ounces. These physical gold bars are securely stored in a vault located in London or in the vaults of trusted sub-custodians.
Maintaining a high level of accuracy in tracking gold’s price, GLD aims to minimize any discrepancies between the price of an exchange-traded fund and the underlying spot price of physical gold. However, it is important to note that the fund experiences an annual tracking error of approximately 0.93%.
This tracking error arises due to various factors, including ETF expenses associated with managing the fund, transaction costs, and the presence of any cash holdings. Such discrepancies are common in fund operations and are inherent to any fund that tracks a benchmark.
The fund acquires shares of GLD through the trust in batches known as “baskets,” with each basket containing 100,000 shares. These shares are then issued to authorized participants, typically large financial institutions, on an ongoing basis. When the trustee accepts an order to create a basket, the baskets are offered at the net asset value (NAV) on that particular day. Subsequently, the trust sells these shares to the public at the prevailing market price for physical gold and the exchange-traded fund.
GLD holds a substantial amount of physical gold bars in its portfolio. As of June 19, 2020, it possessed 37.2 million ounces of gold, which amounted to a market value of approximately $64.6 billion. This significant holding reflects the fund’s commitment to providing investors with exposure to the gold market through its robust physical gold reserves.
The SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) is sponsored by World Gold Trust Services and marketed by State Street Global Markets. BNY Mellon Asset Servicing acts as the trustee of the fund, while HSBC Bank serves as the custodian for the physical gold holdings.
SPDR, the company behind GLD, is widely recognized as a leading player in the ETF market. They offer a range of popular ETFs that track various physical asset, including major stock indexes and fixed-income securities.
GLD made history as the first ETF to track the price of gold bars when it commenced trading in 2004. The fund carries an expense ratio of 0.4%, which, although not exorbitant, is relatively higher compared to some other gold ETFs. For instance, the iShares Gold Trust boasts an expense ratio of 0.25%.
However, for most investors, the variance in expense ratios is unlikely to impact their overall returns significantly. The fluctuations in the spot price of gold bullion will likely exert a more substantial influence on particular investment decisions.
As of June 19, 2020, GLD boasted ETFs net asset that totaled $62.4 billion and had delivered a one-year total return of approximately 14%.
Investors can conveniently purchase shares of the GLD ETF through any broker, with transactions executed on the New York Stock Exchange Arca exchange. This accessibility enables individuals to participate in the potential benefits of owning gold bullion without the need for specialized platforms or complex processes.
Also Read: Gold ETF vs. Physical Gold Investments.
It’s crucial for potential investors to understand that owning shares of GLD or SLV does not mean direct ownership of physical gold bullion or silver. While these funds are based on and hold these precious metals as their primary assets, certain limitations and processes are involved in obtaining the physical commodities.
For GLD, shareholders are not guaranteed the receipt of physical gold bullion in exchange for their shares. Owning gold bullion means one must go through the fund’s trustee, the Bank of New York Mellon. However, the Bank of New York Mellon does not interact directly with the general public. Instead, shareholders who wish to obtain physical gold bullion must be authorized participants and engage in transactions involving blocks of 100,000 shares.
Furthermore, arrangements need to be made with a broker. Considering the current price of gold bullion and the market price, a block of 100,000 shares translates to a substantial monetary value of approximately $12,572,000. As a result, this option may be financially out of reach for the majority of investors. While taking delivery of physical gold is feasible for some, it typically involves a complex process and significant financial commitment.
Similarly, with SLV, a comparable situation arises. To redeem baskets of shares in SLV for physical silver, one must be an authorized participant and engage in transactions involving blocks of 50,000 shares. Once again, the substantial number of shares required for delivery can make it impractical for many investors to pursue this option.
Therefore, it is important for investors to recognize that while GLD and SLV provide exposure to the price movements of gold bullion and silver, respectively, direct ownership of the physical metals through these funds entails specific requirements, limitations, and significant financial considerations.
In conclusion, GLD, or the SPDR Gold Shares ETF, offers investors a convenient and accessible means to gain exposure to the price movements of gold. While owning shares of GLD does not equate to direct ownership of physical gold, the fund is designed to track the performance of gold through its holdings of physical gold bars and cash assets. The redemption process for obtaining physical gold involves engaging with the fund’s trustee, the Bank of New York Mellon, and adhering to specific requirements for authorized participants.
GLD is backed by the World Gold Trust Services, which ensures the security and integrity of the physical gold holdings. State Street Global Advisors, a renowned investment management firm, manage this ETF. Additionally, GLD is part of the offerings by the World Gold Council, a leading authority on gold market intelligence and research.
It is important to note that investing in GLD or any commodity carries inherent risks. Fluctuations in the price of gold can result in financial gains or losses, and investors should carefully evaluate their risk tolerance and investment goals before considering an investment in GLD or any gold-related product. As with any investment in commodities, conducting thorough research and consulting with a financial advisor like State Street Global Advisors is essential to understand the potential risks and rewards.
In summary, GLD provides individuals with an accessible avenue to participate in the gold market, facilitated by reputable entities such as the World Gold Trust Services, the World Gold Council, and State Street Global Advisors. However, it is vital to recognize that investing in commodities entails significant risk, and prudent decision-making is crucial when considering such investments.
We hope this guide has been informative and useful to. We wish you the best of luck in your journey!