How gold ETFs keep fees and costs low

Jun 8, 2022

ETF Fees Low 1440x1080

As with all managed funds, gold ETFs incur costs and fees charged to their investors to cover the expenses of operating the product on a regulated exchange.

Unlike most other ETF products, which tend to have some cash in them as part of the portfolio of assets owned on behalf of investors, gold ETFs don’t have much, and in some cases, don’t hold any cash at all.

This is by design, as gold ETFs are designed to track the gold price and must, therefore, be fully invested in gold.

To charge a fee, gold ETFs typically build in a daily reduction to the metal entitlement that each unit, share or option (not all gold ETFs follow the same legal structure) provides to each investor.

By reducing the metal entitlement, the gold ETF issuer can then effectively use the gold it has ‘taken’ to pay the management fee the investors owe.

For example, if we assume a gold ETF entitled an investor to one troy ounce of gold for every unit they bought on the day the gold ETF was launched, and the gold ETF had a management fee of 1% per annum, then after one year the metal entitlement of that one unit would be 0.99 troy ounces of gold.

If we also assume that the gold price was AUD 2,500 per troy ounce on the day it was launched, and was still worth AUD 2,500 one year later, then the price the gold ETF would trade in the market on these two days would look like this:

Date

Gold price - AUD

Metal entitlement - troy ounces

ETF price per unit - AUD

Date

Launch date

Gold price - AUD

2,500

Metal entitlement - troy ounces

1.000

ETF price per unit - AUD

2,500

Date

One year later

Gold price - AUD

2,500

Metal entitlement - troy ounces

0.990

ETF price per unit - AUD

2,475

The Perth Mint gold ETF has a management fee of 0.15% (ASX:PMGOLD), making it the lowest cost gold ETF on the ASX.

Don’t lose returns on fees

Costs are a critical factor for investors to consider as the trading spreads incurred when buying and selling an asset, as well as ongoing management fees, eat away at the returns generated.

One of the advantages of gold ETFs is that they are inexpensive both from a management fee, as well as a trading cost perspective.

This can be seen in the accompanying tables which highlight the management fees and trading spreads of a variety of ETFs available through the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), including The Perth Mint’s ETF ASX:PMGOLD.

MANAGEMENT FEES FOR ASX LISTED ETFS

Asset class

Management fee (%) per annum

Asset class

Currency

Management fee (%) per annum

0.82

Asset class

Infrastructure

Management fee (%) per annum

0.68

Asset class

Commodities

Management fee (%) per annum

0.54

Asset class

Australian Equities

Management fee (%) per annum

0.56

Asset class

Global Equities

Management fee (%) per annum

0.62

Asset class

Property

Management fee (%) per annum

0.51

Asset class

Mixed Asset

Management fee (%) per annum

0.36

Asset class

Fixed Income

Management fee (%) per annum

0.32

Asset class

PMGOLD

Management fee (%) per annum

0.15

Source: ASX Funds Statistic Management expense ratio for March 2022 - ASX funds statistics

This table highlights the fact that the Perth Mint’s gold ETF is at the very low end of the cost range, with management fees that are much less expensive than nearly every asset class available to investors via an ASX listed ETF.

It is not just management fees where gold ETFs are at the lower end of the cost range.

TRADING SPREADS FOR ASX LISTED ETFS

Asset class

Trading average spread (%) per sectors

Asset class

Commodities

Trading average spread (%) per sectors

0.39

Asset class

Mixed Asset

Trading average spread (%) per sectors

0.23

Asset class

Infrastructure

Trading average spread (%) per sectors

0.29

Asset class

Global Equities

Trading average spread (%) per sectors

0.31

Asset class

Property

Trading average spread (%) per sectors

0.23

Asset class

Australian Equities

Trading average spread (%) per sectors

0.25

Asset class

Fixed Income

Trading average spread (%) per sectors

0.18

Asset class

Currency

Trading average spread (%) per sectors

0.25

Asset class

PMGOLD

Trading average spread (%) per sectors

0.09

Source: ASX Funds Statistic Management expense ratio for March 2022 - ASX funds statistics

The low costs associated with The Perth Mint gold ETF (PMGOLD) is obviously beneficial to investors who will get to keep more of the return generated by the gold for themselves, rather than paying it away in product fees.

It’s not just the management fees that are low, the benefits of a gold ETF through The Perth Mint also includes a guaranteed backing from the Government of Western Australia. These are the only government-backed ETFs in the world.

To find out more about The Perth Mint’s gold ETF (ASX:PMGOLD) visit: www.perthmint.com/invest/perth-mint-gold-ASX-PMGOLD/

DISCLAIMER

Past performance does not guarantee future results. The information in this article and the links provided are for general information only and should not be taken as constituting professional advice from The Perth Mint. The Perth Mint is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent financial advice to check how the information in this article relates to your unique circumstances. All data, including prices, quotes, valuations and statistics included have been obtained from sources The Perth Mint deems to be reliable, but we do not guarantee their accuracy or completeness. The Perth Mint is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided directly or indirectly, by use of this article.

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