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Indians are having a strong affinity towards gold for many centuries now. Ironically, the country’s first Gold ETF (Gold BeES) was started only in 2007, which set the trend. Its underlying asset is gold. Hence, Gold ETFs gives you exposure to the Indian gold market. In this article, we have covered the following topics.

  1. What are Gold ETFs?
  2. Who should invest in Gold ETFs?
  3. Features & benefits of Gold ETFs?
  4. How do Gold ETFs work?
  5. How to invest in Gold ETFs?
  6. Gold vs Gold ETFs

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1. Gold ETF or Gold Exchange Trade Fund

Gold Exchange Traded Funds, or Gold ETFs are open-endedmutual fund schemes based on the ever-fluctuating cost of gold. The physical gold doesn’t generate income, and the making charges are high. Hence, they expose investors to the gold market. It is a good investment which can beat inflation in the long-run. Besides, gold is a less volatile asset than equities. One Gold ETF unit is equal to 1 gram gold. So, it gives you the dual benefit of stock trading as well as gold investments. Some fund houses capitalise on gold bullion, and hence, they must keep a close watch on the market performance. As the price of gold rises, the value of Gold ETFs too increases and vice versa. Therefore, it doesn’t compromise on purity and is promises uniform availability across the country.  

2. Who should invest in Gold ETFs

Gold ETFs suit investors who wish to diversify their portfolio with some exposure to gold. It is a low-risk investment that suits conservative investors. The money you invest goes towards standard gold bullion of 99.5% purity. Hence, even if these ETFs trade on a stock exchange (like company shares), it is a low-risk investment. Not all gold investors may want to deal with storage and additional taxes. Such people can opt for this. You may start with 1 gram of gold, which is one unit.

3. Features & benefits of Gold ETFs

a. Flexibility

You can purchase gold ETFs online and place it in your Demat account. The asset management company trades them on a stock exchange, and you can enter/exit quickly. Therefore, they are just like physical gold, even in Demat format.

b. Liquidity

AAnything traded on the exchange offers high liquidity created by market indicators, and so do Gold ETFs. For instance, you may sell it during a trading session at the current price. Thus, the transactional expenses (broker fee and govt duty) is less than that of physical gold.

c. Smaller denomination

Approaching a retailer will need a large amount of money to purchase gold. Hence, Gold ETFs have an advantage here as you can buy and sell them in smaller measures.
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d. Ease of participation in the gold market

Investors can get exposure to the gold market – it is transparent, profitable and safe. For instance, Gold ETFs also offer you significant liquidity as gold can be traded instantly without any hassle.

e. Easy to hold for long

Gold ETFs do not levy wealth tax on Gold ETFs as opposed to physical gold. Storage (in demat account) and safety are no issues either. Hence, you can hold on to your ETFs for as long as you want.

f. Tax-efficiency

This fund offers a tax-friendly means to hold gold. This is because the money you earn from Gold ETFs are subject to long term capital gains tax.  However, there will be no additional burden of sales tax, VAT, or wealth tax.

g. Use of exchange platform (NSE)

Gold ETF investors use the exchange platform, National Stock Exchange (NSE), to keep transactions and trade transparently. Therefore, it is safe.

h. Ease of transaction

Aside from listing and trading on the stock exchange, you can also use it as security for secured loans. Transactions are quicker and seamless with zero entry and exit load.

i. Cost-effective

Golf ETFs do not have designing or making charges like gold (ornaments or bars). You can purchase it at international rates. Hence, there will be no mark-up at all.

j. Risk factors

Like any equity fund, the NAV or Net Asset Value of a gold ETF can go up or down as per the market trends. Similarly, the extra expenses like the fund manager’s fee and others can impact the returns.

4. How Gold ETFs work

Physical gold supports Gold ETFs as security at the back-end. For instance, when you buy a Gold ETF, the person or entity at the back-end is purchasing gold. They give guarantee to the investors about the purity of gold too.    For instance, Gold BeES are registered on the NSE (National Stock Exchange). They meticulously follow the latest market cost, called spot prices of gold. NSE allows an ‘Authorised Participant or Member’ to handle the purchase and sale of gold to generate ETFs. They are generally large companies. Hence, constant trading and control by ‘Authorised Members’ ensure that the cost of gold and ETFs remains the same.  

5. How to invest in Gold ETFs 

Step 1: Open a demat account and a trading account online by submitting PAN, ID proof, and residential proof
Step 2: Select a Gold ETF and order one. There is also an option to choose mutual funds with an underlying gold ETF
Step 3: You get a confirmation sent to your email and/or phone
Step 4: Therefore, they will deduct a nominal amount for brokerage during the transaction

6. Gold versus Gold ETFs

ETF Gold
It is an investment Idle wealth
For short-term or long-term financial goal Personal use, loan collateral
No need to store and no risk Must store away safely
Same value as gold Subject to market rate fluctuations
Traded on stock exchange Shop-bought
Fund management expense (expense ratio) Making charges, which are higher
So, if you choose gold as something to invest for long-term, then it is time to think beyond bars, coins, and ornaments and capitalise on innovative gold products like Gold ETFs.

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