(The Yorkshire Analysis)Gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have emerged as a popular investment avenue, offering exposure to the precious metal’s performance without the complexities of owning physical gold. As investors seek to diversify their portfolios, understanding the advantages and disadvantages of various gold ETFs becomes crucial. Here, we delve into the specifics of the top gold ETFs and analyze their performance to aid in informed investment decisions.

Pros of Investing in Gold ETFs

1. Diversification:

Gold ETFs offer a simple and cost-effective means to diversify investment portfolios, providing exposure to the gold market’s movements without owning physical gold.

2. Liquidity:

Being exchange-traded, these funds provide liquidity, enabling investors to buy and sell shares throughout market hours at market prices, unlike physical gold.

3. Lower Expenses:

ETFs generally have lower expense ratios compared to actively managed funds. Among the top gold ETFs, SPDR Gold MiniShares ($GLDM) and iShares Gold Trust Micro ($IAUM) boast the lowest expense ratios at 0.10% and 0.09%, respectively.

Cons of Investing in Gold ETFs

1. Negative Returns:

Over the past three years, several top gold ETFs have experienced negative annualized returns. For instance, SPDR Gold Shares ($GLD) reported an annualized return of -1.08%, while iShares Gold Trust (IAU) showcased -0.93%. This negative trend in returns raises concerns for potential investors.

2. Varying Asset Sizes:

The total assets under management (AUM) for different gold ETFs vary significantly. While SPDR Gold Shares ($GLD) leads with $57.8 billion in AUM, iShares Gold Trust Micro (IAUM) trails with $968.8 million. Investors might prefer larger AUM funds due to perceived stability.

Performance Overview of Top Gold ETFs

1. SPDR Gold Shares ($GLD):

With an expense ratio of 0.40% and the highest AUM at $57.8 billion, GLD reported a negative 3-year annualized return of -1.08%.

2. iShares Gold Trust ($IAU):

IAU, with an expense ratio of 0.25% and AUM of $26.0 billion, demonstrated a 3-year annualized return of -0.93%.

3. SPDR Gold MiniShares ($GLDM):

GLDM, boasting a low expense ratio of 0.10%, holds $6.1 billion in AUM, reporting a 3-year annualized return of -0.84%.

4. iShares Gold Trust Micro ($IAUM):

IAUM, with an expense ratio of 0.09% and AUM of $968.8 million, lacks a three-year performance record.

5. Abrdn Physical Gold Shares ($SGOL):

SGOL maintains an expense ratio of 0.17% and $2.8 billion in AUM, presenting a 3-year annualized return of -0.85%.

6. GraniteShares Gold Trust ($BAR):

BAR, with an expense ratio of 0.175% and $944.6 million in AUM, aligns with an annualized return of -0.84% over three years.


While gold ETFs offer an accessible investment avenue for exposure to the precious metal, recent negative trends in annualized returns might raise concerns among potential investors.

However, the lower expense ratios and liquidity of these ETFs remain attractive for diversifying portfolios. Evaluating individual preferences, risk tolerance, and the broader market outlook becomes crucial before considering investment in gold ETFs.


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