Difference between Gold Saving Funds and Gold ETF ?

POSTED BY manish ON June 30, 2011 COMMENTS (143)

Today we will see what is the difference between Gold Saving Funds and Gold ETF’s .

The biggest marketing pitch for selling the Gold saving fund is that one can invest in gold funds without a demat account and can set a SIP for the same, which is true.

However, the alternate option of Gold ETFโ€™s doesnโ€™t not allow investments and/or SIPs without a demat account. But most of the agents hide these details of costs and do not educate their clients on how things work!

how to invest in gold

Source : Kotak Website

As of today, Reliance, Kotak and Quantum have launched their Gold Saving Funds of Funds. All of these Gold saving funds are almost same. Lets take an example of Reliance Gold Saving Fund, which is nothing but a fund of funds which invest in their respective Gold ETF’s ๐Ÿ™‚ Did you know that?

Difference between Gold Saving Funds and Gold ETF’s ?

Gold ETF’s :

Letโ€™s understand this for a moment. In simple terms, these are financial products which invests in physical gold and tracks its pricing on day to day basis. These ETFs have their own expense ratio which is considered very high if compared to US market, but thatโ€™s the price we pay to invest in gold electronically.

You need a demat account to invest in Gold ETF and you can trade these ETFs through stock exchange.

Gold Saving funds

Gold savings funds are nothing but mutual funds which invests majority of its corpus (90%-100%) in Gold ETFs (of the same sister company), a small portion might also be in money market instruments or some short term debt products.

For example –ย  Quantum Gold Saving Funds of Funds as per its mandate can invest anywhere from 95%-100% in the units of Quantum Gold ETF’s, and rest in money market instruments and other short term debt products.

But the important point you should note here is that the underlying investment is still gold, but not directly! It’s indirectly through gold ETF’s, and now as there are two layers in between, you pay charges two times!

So you pay charges for Gold saving funds and also for gold ETF’s, this part is generally not revealed by the agent who sells you these Gold saving funds. Also for the gold saving funds there are high exit load’s ๐Ÿ™‚

Gold Saving Funds

So which one is better and which one you should choose?

We can’t make a general statement that one is good and the other is bad, because it’s not like that. If someone does not have a demat account and wants to automatically invest in gold each month through SIP, gold saving funds are the best option.

But for someone who is conscious about the expenses and can invest through his demat amount each month, Gold ETF’s are a good option.

But high charges will surely hurt in long run! One important point is that do not confuse gold saving funds with “gold mutual funds” which are mutual funds investing in gold mining companies, they are totally different.

Gold Saving Funds

Conclusion

A lot of investors are lured into these gold saving funds without giving any information on the charges, which is not right. Gold saving funds over a long-term can really eat away your returns because the high charges will cut a big pie out of the returns earned.

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143 replies on this article “Difference between Gold Saving Funds and Gold ETF ?”

  1. prafulgadge says:

    hi manish
    i have a SIP in reliance gold saving fund from 3 years. but nowadays fund prices going to down should i continue or withdraw the fund.
    please suggest me its urgent

    praful

    1. Has it beaten its benchmark ?

  2. MAHAMMAD says:

    Sir this is mohammad and I read your artical and I am interested in investment in gold so kindly give me some gold etf and gold saving funds to invest and also tell me how to reach fund management because I am new to it and I am from andrapradesh

  3. Rahul Nagarani says:

    For a long term, its better to go with Gold Funds as you will not have to bear with all the Dmat maintainance and brokerage charges. Please be informed that brokerage charges are applicable when you sell too. So its double hit here too (while buying as well as selling).

    However, if you are a short term investor, then you need to consider the exit load as well with respect to Gold Fund. Exit load is quite high, as high as 2% for some Gold funds.

    Regards,

    1. Thansk for your answer Rahul !

  4. Abhijeet says:

    I guess i will go for ETF , guarantee is the last thing that we get these days ..
    So Hoping for best , will do the rest ..

    thanks so much manish for the advice ..

  5. Abhijeet says:

    There isn’t any compulsion , just wanted to invest in gold to get better returns than FD .

    1. But thats not guaranteed !

  6. Abhijeet says:

    Hi Manish,

    I want to invest in gold for a period of 2-3 years , i have Basic service Demat account.
    can you please suggest which would be the better option for me , Gold saving Funds or ETF .I can invest further but i would need some return after 2-3 year as i need them for my marriage .

    Thanks,
    Abhijeet

    1. I would suggest FD in that case, If you have compulsion on GOLD , then choose Gold ETF’s !

  7. flowerlady says:

    Hi Manish,

    I am planning to invest in gold ( for investment as well as for my daughter). I already have a demat account. Do you think Gold ETF would be good for long term (like 5-10 years) ? I have demat a/c with aditya birla money.

    Can you please temm which is usually good for long term Gold savings fund or Gold ETFs.

    Thanks
    Flower

    1. flowerlady says:

      Hi,

      Can you reply to my question. Thanks

    2. Yes, it would be a better choice if its for 5-10 yr time frame !

  8. Satya says:

    Hi Manish,
    Gold has been collapsed quite from last few weeks. Whatโ€™s your opinion/prediction on this?
    I am thinking to invest in Gold Saving Fund but not sure how much benefit I will get in coming 5 years.
    Let me know your thoughts.
    Thx,
    Satya

    1. Cant comment on Gold movements in short period . No one can actually ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Prithvi says:

    Most ETFs you can buy equivalent to 1gm as units. Where as Gold savings you can invest minimum from 100/- every month. If you want to invest more than 3000/- per month and if you have DEMAT account ETF is good.

    1. Yes, thats the advantage part of Gold saving funds

  10. Sunand says:

    Also what is the dividend payout option in Reliance R* Shares Gold ETF? What is the rate of dividend and is it applicable for investors who invest through exchange?

    1. Yes its true for all the investors !

  11. Sunand says:

    First of all excellent article. However, should not one consider 0.5% brokerage charged on each transaction in ETF? Now if you compare the charges between them, then they come out to be more or less same right. Also can you please explain how and when is the expense ratio charged on the ETF transaction? (For eg. at the time of buying or at the time of selling or any other time.) Also if one holds the ETF for less than one year, then will the expense ratio be exempted? Thank you in advance.

    1. Check this article to understand how expenses ratio is deducted ! https://www.jagoinvestor.com/2011/07/expense-ratio-mutual-funds.html

  12. Joel Vaz says:

    Hi Manish,

    I am planning to invest into Quantum Gold Saving Fund by start of March. My time horizon is of 18 to 24 months. Will be investing 10000 p.m.

    I am aware of the charges involved in both ETF and Gold Saving Funds. I do not have a Demat account for ETF.

    Do you think that I am doing the rite thing by investing in this fund for the said period.

    Also can you please give your take on Reliance My Gold plan, wherein on maturity the payment is in Physical Gold.

    Thanks,
    Joel

    1. If you are doing it purely for investment purpose , you can go ahead with the Quantum Gold Saving plan ..

      1. Joel Vaz says:

        Thanks Manish. If you can also give your views on Reliance My Gold plan, on whether its cost effective to invest in this plan ?

  13. Dr Snehal says:

    Good article..Thanks!

  14. bhavadeep says:

    hi this is bhavadeep. am thinking to invest on gold ETF of kotak mahindra bank.
    is this a better way of investing gold….or shall i buy a physical gold.
    actually am thinking to buy for 170000…
    the brokerage charges are like
    online trading: same day=0.05% and delivery day=0.5%
    ofline trading : same day:0.04% and delivery =0.4%
    is this a less brokerage charge ?
    please suggest me friend …….

    1. If your purpose of investments if just INVESTMNET , then buy gold ETF ..

  15. Ganeshan Nadarajan says:

    A lot of investors are lured into these gold saving funds without giving any information on the charges, which is not right. Gold saving funds over a long-term can really eat away your returns because the high charges will cut a big pie out of the returns earned.

  16. Abhinav Gulechha says:

    Thanks Manish for the valuable information. I invest in gold fund (after being aware of the double load involved), as I dont have a demat account and wont want to open it for gold investing purpose only.

    You have made a very right point on the expense ratio and its benchmarking – since there is no active fund management, SEBI should look into possibility of reducing loads in these funds.

    Abhinav

    1. Yea .. thanks for your view on this topic .

  17. Vaishnavi says:

    Hi Manish
    All your blogs are very informative and eye openers. Till now i have been concentrating on investing in LIC,PO and RD’s in bank. I do share trading , but have never invested SIP. I have decided to start SIP’s after seeing you blogs.
    I have selected the following Funds to start off with
    1. HDFC top 200 fund
    2. Reliance Gold savings Fund or Reliance ETF.
    Going by your blog i feel its best to invest in Reliance ETF than gold savings gold.
    Thanks a lot for guiding financial illeterates with your blogs.
    Vaishnavi

    1. NIce .. just take action and complete them !

      1. Vaishnavi says:

        Hi Manish
        I have completed the action and invested in following SIP’s ICICI Blue chip Equity , HDFC Top 200 fund, ICICI Discovery Fund , HDFC Prudence fund , Rs 2000 in each.
        One of my collegue is taking SBI Life Insurance SMART PERFORMER ULIP, the features seems to be very rosy and tempting?
        Whats your outlook on ULIP?

        Thanks,
        Vaishnavi

        1. Just ignore that ULIP , they are made to look tempting and rosy !

  18. Rajeev Poonia says:

    hi
    I want to invest 5000 in Gold MF. but i have confuse between gold etf and gold saving fund …..which is better for long run. please give me advise about matter…..?

    1. What are you confused about ? Its all discussed in the article already

  19. Trups says:

    Oh sorry one more question :
    If I start with 2000 rs SIP for one year. After completion is it possible to continue increase/decrease SIP value?
    Thanks

    1. Yes, you can then again start it for any number of years again with different amount

  20. Trups says:

    Hi,
    I’m new in MF actually never invested in MF earlier. But after seeing GOLD trend I want to invest. But really confused. how to choose good ETF.

  21. jagjeet singh says:

    but i have seen that the returns of gold and equity is almost same if we see 10 yrs of track record. 18 to 20% of returns. and there are higher fluctuation expected in equity than gold. isnt it worth to invest in gold to be on safer side. As the fund i am creating is for my children education. can get we higher returns than gold in equity

    1. Did you verify this ? 10 yrs past and 20 yrs past , see both values.

  22. jagjeet singh says:

    Hi,

    I have just opted an SIP of Rs 5000 pm for SBI Gold funds. My purpose was to regularly put something into gold funds for a long term (say 15 to 18 yrs). which otherwise is impossible to manually purchase in the form of ETFs. Since its SIP, it would automatically go from my account and it will create a corpus for me after the term i have decided. If there is an option of SIP in ETFs in future, then would probably think of that as that would save the expenses. It is just the SIP feature for which i have opted sBI gold funds.

    do you feel i am doing ok with this or shall i consider some other option, as per my requirements of creating corpus.

    1. Yea you are doing good, just that for 15-18 yrs of long period , you should have invested in a equity oriented fund.

  23. Sudheer says:

    Nice discussion above….What are the things that we have to consider before making any kind of investments in GOLD.
    And also Short term/ Long term investements which one would be better with minimum risks and maximun gains.
    I am very much new to these investments and tradings

  24. Shy says:

    is it sensible to invest in gold this month looking at the falling rupee?

    1. You cant invest looking at just one month .

      1. Shy says:

        I want to start a reliance gold savings from this month (2000/month) onwards for the next 5-6 yrs. should i wait for the rupee to come back to 40s and then start the sip? sooner or later, whenever, I hav decided to start this. But when to start?

        1. Start now , dont find the perfect moment . Better do it now

  25. binu says:

    is the returns from gold savings funds slighthly lower than that from gold etfs?

    1. Binu

      You cant judge like that , both are different product , and both work differently , so the returns will vary !

  26. binu says:

    hi manish,
    Can u please tell me about taxation on gains from gold etf and savings fund…thanks

    1. Binu

      Gold Funds and Gold ETF are taxed in same way as a debt fund . Its your tax slab rate before 1 yr and indexation after 1 yr . to understand indexation , read : https://www.jagoinvestor.com/2009/05/how-to-calculate-capital-gains-and-what_7801.html

      Manish

  27. Mahi says:

    Hi guys !!

    Interesting discussion above, I must say ! Well in my opinion, Gold also needs to be diversified in paper/electronic as well as physical form. So as Sanjay wanted to invest in 50 g gold, my suggestion would be to buy approx 20 g physical gold asap and invest balance in SIPs (approx 3000/- per month) for the next two years as per his goal ! However, there are certain factors we need to consider as under :-

    a) Physical gold has a definite advantage but also a risk factor to it. So watch out for that.
    b) SIPs are a great tool for financial planning over LONG term only. The prices may or may not go in our favour for short durations, but over long term the rupee averaging factor ensures stable and safer returns.
    c) Gold ETFs, even though have the highest possibility of returns among all but also carry the maximum risks. Secondly, we must understand that ETFs do not invest 100 % of our money in gold, but anywhere between 90-98% only and the balance in debt funds. So at any point in time, we are getting only Rs 98 worth of gold for every Rs 100 spent at the max. Third most important factor is that we need to time the market, which may or may not always be beneficial to us as regular investors. At present there is no SIP facility for ETFs, we have to physically trade online using our Demat A/c. So all the more pain and constant worry involved for “timing the market.” In my opinion, we as regular investors with limited knowledge of market and trading, must not get involved in ETFs, as even a small drop in prices are often quite appealing and may lure us to buy more units or vice versa. This eventually adds to our expenses involved, cuts down the power of compounding available to us when investing in SIPs and also subjects us to higher risks of market volatility. I think this much of trouble is not worth it and suits only serious investors with enough financial back-up and the capability to suffer a major loss !! Atleast I don’t have that in me ๐Ÿ™‚
    d) Gold Bonds and Mutual Funds are again better options, depending upon our risk appetite and our financial goals.

    Thats all about gold, but we must also try out equity and mutual funds in our portfolio, besides real estate and some debt funds like Tax saving schemes, Debt funds, FDs etc.

    *By the way Debt Funds are again better than the FDs, if u had no idea about it ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Mahi

      Thanks for your views . .good point that gold needs to be diversified in itself .. I am sure a lot of people would love that concept

      1. Mahi says:

        Manish

        Thanks a lot for ur reply…. I will be content if even one person can make a decision and get benefited by my advice.. Not that what i wrote is all bull****, but simply ‘coz that’s the reason i wrote it. It feels good when u do something good and someone appreciates that ! ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Jyoti Gupta says:

          Hi Mahi/Manish

          I am not sure on “Gold ETF’s carry maximum risk/reward”. Can one of you elaborate on the risks associated with ETF and why it is on the higher side? Even if underlying gold purchased is 90-98%, I thought buying ETF is better than the physical gold.

          As an investor, me & my husband diversified our overall portfolio. Hence we wanted to buy more Gold and believe ETF is better (compare to Gold MFs & physical gold). If you can share your thought on buying gold ETF & risks associated, that will help me to make a decision. Other query I have how to identify which ETFs are better (Goldman or Reliance or which one)?

          1. He might be reffereing to the high fluctuations which can happen in gold prices . .

  28. sudhank says:

    what i understand that NAV signifies the performance of fund. I purchase “x” number of units through investment of 1000 rs every month for said NAV “y”. If in next month NAV goes up, then i will get lesser number of units in comparison to “x” with same investment of 1000 rs. and vice verse. I am accumulating more number of units in case of less NAV every month while less NAV shows poor performance of the fund. So on increasing NVA every month i should feel happy or on decreasing ?

    1. Sudhank

      It depends on the tenure you are planning to invest ๐Ÿ™‚ . If you are going to sell it in near future , feel happy on increasing , but if its long term then feel happy on decreasing .. the issue is that you will never know when its low and when its high , so better do not feel anything and just focus on action

      Manish

  29. Srividhya says:

    I don’t have demat account. Please guide me what is the procedure to open the account. Gold ETF option to invest is safe and best return?

    1. Srividya

      Just chooose the company where you want to open the demat and just leave your contacts on their website .. they will contact you

  30. Sanjay says:

    Hi Manish,

    I am 25 yrs old and getting married in 2 years. I have planned to buy 50 grams of gold in 2 yrs . Please advise me which is best option to buy gold,

    1. Buy 50 grams now itself as an one time investment.
    2. Join gold scheme and invest Rs 6000 per month for next 2 years.

    I am not sure which option to select since the gold price is raising day by day.

    Thanks

    1. Sanjay

      there cant be a definate answer to this .. it will be a speculation to choose an option like that .. rather choose the option based on the money you have and how much less risk you want to take

      Manish

  31. sudhank says:

    I have taken Kotak Gold Fund – Growth in May 2011 through SIP of 1000 rs per month. NAV in Dec 2011 was 13.6433 and summarized NAV is 12.8642.
    Manish can you please provide information about understanding of NAV for fund monitoring purpose ?
    Which option is better : 1 gm of gold per month or 2000 rs per month for gold investment ?

    1. I am not clear about what info you want about NAV ?

  32. sourav says:

    whether i should invest in gold saving fund in sip mode for rs 2000 per month,if yes then in which fund keeping all aspects ex. charges,growth, etc. i have no demat account.plz reply soon

    1. Sourav

      You have an option of SIP fund only .. I cant give any suggestion in this ,as i dont want to time the gold movement . Better discuss it with other users at our forum : https://www.jagoinvestor.com/forum/

      Manis

  33. Samruddha Salvi says:

    well the SIP is difficult to calculate, since month wise acurate historic data is not available.
    But if you want you can see the historic gold price chart over here..
    http://reformistindia.in/2011/11/14/why-invest-in-gold-prices/
    the chart covers gold price from 1968 to 2010 ๐Ÿ™‚ in USD

    1. from what I know , gold has given great returns over last 10 yrs ,but if you look at 20 or 30 yrs , it still does not beat stocks or equity

      Manish

  34. Samruddha Salvi says:

    Its an interesting article.
    I would also like to mention that investing in gold on a long term basis is one of the best things to do, considering that on an average if one has invested in gold for a period of ten years via SIP route then he would have got 19% CAGR. which is similar to Sensex. for the year 2001 to 2010.

    1. Samruddha

      Great .. and what about the last 30 yrs ? Can you share the results for that too ?

      Manish

  35. Hemanth says:

    I myself have invested in gold fund of SBI today for 1500/- monthly, but honestly they havent mentioned the above points, thanks for explaing them

  36. Rashmi says:

    Hi Manish,
    Thanks for this post. It is very informative. How much money is lost when one invests in gold savings fund. I see that the NAVs of gold savings funds are very low. When you take an example of Reliance Gold savings fund, the current NAV is 12.737 and Reliace Gold ETF is 2515. So I end up investing more through Gold ETF than in Gold savings fund at the present situation.
    Can you give an example by taking some 10000 Rs as an example and explain this. Thanks.

    1. Rashmi

      Your logic of looking at NAV is wrong , thats not the way on looks at it .. what matters is how your investments has performed .. note that 20% return is same for Fund A and fund B , irrespective of NAV value

      Manish

  37. KK BABU says:

    Dear sir

    I do have a De-mat account. I want to invest in Gold for long term (either in lumpsum or in SIP). Is Gold ETF is better for me than Gold saving fund?

    IDBI Gold ETF is charging 1.5% of charges. Is it worth investing?

    Thanks N Regards
    KK Babu

    1. KK BABU says:

      Mr. Manish

      Can you pl. reply on this?

      Thanks and Regards
      KK Babu

      1. I am on vacation right now , will reply soon

    2. KK Babu

      Are you sure its IDBI Gold ETF or GOLD Fund , if its good fund , then its a pure MF and will have charges , 1.5% is standard , you can pay that much if you are clear that you want to invest through gold fund and not ETF , here is the difference you should read : https://www.jagoinvestor.com/2011/06/gold-saving-funds-gold-etf.html

      1. KK BABU says:

        Thank you Mr. Manish for your clarifications.

        However, I understood that IDBI Gold ETF is charging 1.5% as recurring charges.

        Regards
        KK Babu

  38. Very Good Article on Comparison og Gold ETF and Gold saving funds.

  39. Thiyagarajan says:

    Just one reminder, there is an option for Systematic Investment planning (SIP) in Gold ETF, people are investing in spot exchange via SIP only.

    1. Thiyagrajan

      Which AMC is providing SIP facility in gold ETF ? Can you tell me ?

      Manish

      1. Thiyagarajan says:

        Religare Gold ETF.

  40. aditya says:

    is it a financially good decision to keep money in gold etf (gold bees)for longer duration like 5- 10 years

    1. Aditya

      You dont look at it this way . Just tell what you want in next 5-10 yrs ?

      Manish

      1. aditya says:

        Hello Manish
        i want to be benefited by whatever gains gold achieves in next 10 years
        so what is most cost efficient way for that
        1 physical gold in lockers
        2 or gold bees ( takes 1 % of total holding every year)
        further i had quantity every few months

        1. Good bees is the better options

          Manish

  41. Ruchika says:

    Have already invested in Gold Fund… looking at the double charges mentioned what should I do now?

    1. Ruchika

      Not a big deal . The charges are not that high btw , unless you are planning to put it for 10-20 yrs

  42. Gaurav says:

    Hi Manish,

    Thanks for this article. I want to know that today (12/07/11), i purchased Gold Bees, are these good for medium term or long term. How long i should hold them. I purchased them keeping Long term in mind. Please advise..

    Thanks & Regards,
    Gaurav Shah

    1. Gaurav

      Its nothing about gold bees , its all about gold , so you are asking about gold movement in long term , which no one can predict . I dont see them moving up as much as it did in last 10 yrs . I think you should keep limited exposure .

      Manish

  43. Vishnu says:

    Many of the investors who doesn’t have the Demat Account, the Savings Fund might be useful.

    Because, the demat account will not be free where you might need to pay annual charges around 750 every year. (Not sure about the charges). Those who already have Demat Account for stock trading/investing, there will not be any additional charges.

    Let us assume that Gold Saving Funds has 0.5% additional expenses. So, for some one who is investing around 1 Lac in an year in Gold Saving Fund will be loosing 500 from the profit, which is better than loosing 750 annual charges. And, no hassle to maintain the demat account.

    For some one who invests in large amount, going for ETF through Demat might be beneficial.

    For example, my wife wants to invest in Gold like 3000 in a month. For them, Gold Savings Fund SIP will be better and simple.

  44. Ankur says:

    Hi Manish,

    Another good article from you.. can you throw some light on Silver ETF’s and Silver saving fund that are available for retail investors.

    Thanks in advance!!
    Ankur

    1. Ankur

      There is nothing for silver as of now , the only way a retail investor can invest in Silver is e-gold (electronic) and physical .

      Manish

  45. Ashish says:

    Manish,

    Good post. Already mentioned in the comments – the concept of Equity SIP is valid in teh Demat account – however yes the minimum quantum in not in terms of money (i.e. Rs 1000 SIP) but in terms of units.
    You could also have a post on comparative charges incurred in respective cases when someone holds gold in various forms – i.e. Bullion, coins, jewellery, ETF. Funds etc.
    Read about it long ago in a newspaper (i guess) – would be helpful.

  46. Mr. Investor says:

    Good Article, when investing in Gold MF it’s like paying to middle man ๐Ÿ˜›

    Why do you say there is NO SIP option for Gold ETF. I understand it’s not like MP SIP, but currently brokers (icici direct) is providing an option for Equity SIP through which i’m investing in Benchmark Gold ETF

    1. Mr Investor

      I said no SIP option from MF side , I mean you cant setup a SIP if you dont go through a online broker .

      Manish

  47. Paresh says:

    In fact,If investor is a active share trader,then he can invest in Gold Etfs.

    But mutual funds have their own advantages.Long term investing approach is possible only in Gold mutual funds,,not Gold ETFs.

    In Gold ETFs investors will surely be tempted to book the profits as they do in shares.

    Its not matter of where will be the prices after 10 years but after 10 years investors in Gold Mutual funds will be consistant due to their SIP investment while ETf investors will find that they have bought some of the units here and there only.

    Also,,as few of the readers indicated,,after considering brokerage charges Gold ETfs are not cost effective as well.

    1. paresh

      Yes , agreed !

  48. VIJAY says:

    Hi Manish,
    Nice article to know the difference.In the post you have mentioned there is no SIP setup for gold ETF, but I want to bring to your notice that ICICI direct offers SIP for shares listed on stock exchange, so under that you can set SIP to buy gold ETF daily, weekly,monthly .
    This is for your info.

    1. Vijay

      SIP’s in ETF’s or stocks can be provided at brokers level, but mutual funds directly dont allow SIP’s in ETF’s . Thats why I wrote that . You are right that ICICI provides it to some level . Even FundsIndia provides SIP in ETF’s through their platform

      Manish

  49. Madhav says:

    Dear Manish

    Though few of above pointed already, I wish to say for more clarity.. When you are comparing – you have to consider all costs. In you article though you have considered ETF charges – how about Demat & especially borkerage charges.. Even if you have Demat account, if people want to go for SIP like investment with small amounts – ETF (including ICICI Equity SIP) also not advisable due to high brokerage charges.. Like in case some body want’s to invest Rs. 500 as SIP cost through ETF would defenetly higher. I think you have to mention this to complete the article in full.

    1. Madhav

      Yes you have a point , but how often one buys gold ? Once or twice a year ! , so brokerage charges does not matter a LOT.

      Manish

      1. Ajay says:

        Manish – Does this mean that if one wants to invest on a monthly basis in GOLD ETFs then going for Gold Funds make sense ?

        ICICI charges 25Rs flat + taxes per txn of 3k or less… It turns our to be 1.22% most of the times for brokerage in today’s gold prices.

        1. Ajay

          then look for gold saving funds ๐Ÿ™‚

          Manish

          1. Pramod says:

            Manish,

            I wanted to invest Rs 500/- weekly in a gold etf thru SIP. I have opened demat with ICICI. But its not allowing to invest in SIP reason being Rs 500/- is too low. Suggested that min should be Rs 750/- but then also, it didnt accept.
            what difference it makes if i invest thru SIP Rs 2000 monthly instead of Rs 500 weekly?

            1. Pramod

              ETF;s are like shares , and one unit sometimes equals 1 gm or .5 gram of gold , so minimum value of 1 unit might come to an amount like 750 .

  50. Deepika says:

    Manish,

    There cost benefits of investing through the Gold Savings Fund vis-ร -vis investing through Demat Mode is multifold. Let me give you an example of Quantum Gold Savings Fund –

    Account Opening Charges: Nil for both

    Annual Maintenance charges of Demat Account: Rs. 0 – Rs. 1200 for gold etf through demat and Nil for Gold Savings Fund

    Delivery brokerage charges: Rs. 25-Rs.175 for gold etf through demat and Nil for Gold Savings Fund

    Transaction charges: Rs. 25 for gold etf through demat and Nil for Gold Savings Fund

    Annual Scheme Recurring Expenses: Rs.500 for gold etf through demat and Rs. 625 for gold savings fund

    Total: anywhere between Rs. 550 โ€“ Rs. 1900 for gold etf through demat and Rs. 625 for gold savings fund

    The best feature for Quantum gold savings fund is that there is No Investment Management Fee will be charged to the Quantum Gold Savings Fund.

    1. Deepika

      Nice summerization of what can be the costs . now it depends on the person to choose among these based on their own requirement . Thanks

      Manish

      1. Ashwin DSOuza says:

        Nice breakup Deepika. After reading Manish’s article, even i was going to add that brokerage and transaction costs will be there in ETF. At some stage if the money is large enough, the ETF works out better or cost effective, but for smaller investors <1 lakh, the gold savings is a better, seamless option (esp for SIPs).

    2. Sourabh says:

      Gr8 details…… how can i invest in quantum gold fund???

      1. Srikanth says:

        Sourabh,

        Quantum Gold fund is available for SIP or lump-sum investment at FundsIndia.com as well as Quantum’s own website – http://www.quantummf.com.

        thanks,

        Srikanth
        FundsIndia.com

  51. Santy says:

    Manish,

    This article will not be complete until we take e-gold for NSE into account. It probably has the least expense ratio. Also it is the only way where we have the option to take physical delivery.

    – Santy

    1. Srikanth says:

      Santy,

      E-Gold will be subject to wealth-tax, and “short-term” is defined as 36 months for E-gold. So, there are adverse tax implications with holding E-Gold as opposed to ETF or MF:

      http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/investment-world/personal-finance/article1471526.ece?viewImage=2

      thanks,

      Srikanth
      FundsIndia.com

  52. Deepesh says:

    ICICI Direct has been offering Equity SIP i.e. you can set a predetermined unit to be purchased on a given date at the opening price, pretty much the same as MF SIP. But one thing to note is everytime you buy ETF you pay brokerage fee + service tax + stamp duty, which act like entry load in MF. And of course you cannot buy a fraction of unit.
    Personally, I prefer Equity SIP as I already have demat a/c and ETF gives flexibility of limit buy/sell in case of sharp movement.

    1. Ajay says:

      Moreover ICICI charges of Rs 25 per txn that is less than 3k or 4k turns out to be 1.25% towards brokerage…

    2. Deepesh

      Yes agree with you . Also Equity SIP does not make sense as in case of some bad phase it would go against you , unlike equity funds

      Manish

  53. Sourabh says:

    Manish,
    Being a BANKER n regular reader of JAGOINVESTOR …..
    I tell u that u r rite on charges…. 2ndly let me tell u if a small retail investor invests in gold fund instead of ETF actually he saves money by not paying demat charges which may vary 4m 400 to 600 / annum..
    can not do SIP in ETF which is prefered way of investing by a salaried person…
    in ETF u hv to buy alteast 1 gram of gold which is app 2200 rs/gm but u can do SIP with rs 1000…..

    1. Sourabh

      Yes , all this points which you mentioned makes gold funds a right way of investing in gold for all those who do not have a demat account .

      Manish

  54. Srikanth says:

    Manish,

    Please mention about brokerage charges for trading ETFs, and the demat maintenance expense when comparing costs.

    My advice to my clients is simple – if you already have a demat account that you are using for stocks, go with gold ETF. If you are going to open one just for gold ETFs, don’t do that; go with gold savings fund instead. The Quantum gold fund has the lowest expense ratio – 1.25% which at the end of the day would work out pretty cheap.

    Another important advantage of gold savings fund is the ability to invest in terms of rupees instead of grams or half-grams. You want to do a SIP of Rs. 1000 per month in gold? Gold savings fund is the only way to go. SIP of Rs. 5000, Gold savings fund will give you Rs. 5000 worth of gold. ETF will give you, say, two grams of gold leaving about Rs 600 on the table uninvested since you can’t buy fractional shares.

    thanks,

    Srikanth
    FundsIndia.com

    1. Srikanth

      thats a good point . I also advice same thing when they talk about openeing a demat for investing in ETF

      Manish

      1. Sunil says:

        I myself had started an SIP in reliance GOLD savings fund of 500 per week (2000 PM) for the same reason. No idea why they cant start SIP for GOLD ETF with minimum SIP amount being at par with any Equity SIP (say 500 or 1000).

        1. Ajay says:

          @Sunil –
          The answer is “since you canโ€™t buy fractional shares”.

        2. Sunil

          yes, even I am not sure why they dont have SIP with ETF ?

          1. Mayur says:

            @Manish –
            I have a SIP in BENCHMARK GOLD EXCH TRADED. Why do you say there is no SIP in Gold ETFs.

            1. Mayur

              It might be available from some external platform like ICIC Direct or fundsIndia, in general AMC’s dont directly provide it

              Manish

  55. chrisy says:

    thanks for this post…

    i didnt know abt it

    1. Chrisy

      Thanks . Share it with others as well

      Manish

  56. raj says:

    Manishbhai
    Nice article,
    You have shown in the above table that Expense ratio is 1% & 1.5 % respectively for ETF & Gold SF.The difference is of only 0.5%.Then how Gold saving funds over a long-term can really eat away your returns because the high charges will cut a big pie out of the returns earned? Please elaborate this with an example.
    Also please guide regarding Bank RD.
    Once again thanks for your guidance.

    -raj

    1. Raj

      I will write an article on that soon . try to find yourself, its nothing but negative compounding .

      Manish

    2. bharat shah says:

      as such , both etf and saving funds expense ratios are higher particularly when gold prices are stable on long period of time, and the asset company to manage by only selling part of gold representing the gold unit, and then the investor would feel pinch of the expense ratio.

  57. vipul says:

    Gold saving funds offred by mutual funds are fundS of fund and as their expense ratio is higher than the ones belonging to American funds , they are expensive!Even though they offer maximum 1.5% expense ratio?This logic does not make sense. Instead of educating investors , it confuses them. Better find out some other proper logical reason to prove them that they are very expensive in indian context or worst among all available options in gold investments.The article should have worked out acceptable expense ratio and compared with the present one of 1.5% only.Otherwise how can you say that it is expensive . Compared to what? Why one must consider American expense ratio as standard ratio for indian fund also?
    Their exit load is very high – this statement does not justice to the real facts. It would have been much better had it been pointed out that very low SIP amount like Rs 100 or Rs 500 ONLY would attract exit load if the units are redeemed before 5 yrs. Actually it is in favour of those fickle minded investors who invest the least possible and want to redeem the moment market comes down a bit.This deterrant will help them to create some value which they cant do as they dont understand how wealth is created.

    1. Ramesh says:

      Vipul,

      Its not clear what you are trying to say here. But can understand that you are trying to contradict Manish. That’s good for a discussion. But would have been better if you had come with more facts.

      I am naive investor and this forum made me understand the basics of ETF and Saving Fund invested in gold.Thanks Manish.

      1. vipul says:

        Ramesh
        What facts would you like to have ?Pls specify. I have just opined that any comparison must be proper and supported with logical reasoning. Manish needs to clarify what benchmark he has used to conclude that expense ratio is very high.It higher compared to American funds is not justifiable or acceptable. Why not consider UK fund / european / australian fund etc. See what are the differences in sizes , management styles, marketing expenses etc and then compare with SEBI’s calculation. In finance we need figures and facts not opinions.
        vipul

    2. Vipul

      Why do you think expense ratio being on higher side is not a big thing ?

      Do you understand the long term implications of a fund having a higher expense ratio ?

      Manish

      1. vipul says:

        Manish
        My question is how this expense ratio is being termed as very high. My point is we must be given proper facts and the conclusion must be proper. Pls elaborate why you consider it very high, in what context, and as per your opinion what should be the proper expense ratio along with supporting facts.
        PS – You have always advised lay investors to invest in equity schemes for long term wealth creation. Do you know what is the expense ratio allowed by SEBI as normal for such schemes? 1.5- 2.5% .Pls let me know why as per SEBI 1% is ok for ETFs and upto 1.5% is allowed for passive funds like above mentioned FOFs.

        vipul

  58. Santosh Navlani says:

    Nice & crisp post Manish :). And this knowledge is definitely needed because almost no one i’ve spoken to is aware about this! Not that they need to. But what they definitely need to know is the cost is higher in the Savings Fund/ etc. option compared to ETFs. And yes, your point on expense ratio of ETFs in India being high is valid. Vanguard in USA charges as low as 0.17% as the expense ratio.

    Further, i’ve myself experienced the lack of liquidity in ETF trading in India. Though that was for Benchmark NIFTY BeeS. There aren’t enought sellers in market when Nifty corrects sharply…so you actually invest in Nifty BeeS when the market is up! So much for investing in ETF – high costs + low liquidity.

    Santosh Navlani | moneysights.com

    1. Santosh

      truely speaking I dont see charges going down sharply in ETF’s , but the only thing i wanted to communicate was the high charges vs low charges , thats the gist here

      Manish

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