How to Invest in Gold ETF in Singapore

Gold bars

Gold is a valuable commodity that’s the go-to investment during times of economic volatility to safeguard one’s wealth. And with the metal’s prevailing reputation as a ‘safe haven’ asset, it’s no wonder that there has been a growing interest in the metal.

For those who want to avoid the hassle of owning the physical commodity or can’t afford it, investing in gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can be a more manageable and cheaper alternative.

In this article, we look into some gold ETFs that you can consider and what to look out for before adding them to your portfolio.

Table of Contents

What is a Gold ETF and How Does It Work

Gold ETFs are a type of exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks the performance of gold, meaning the value of a gold ETF rises and falls along the price of this precious metal.

A gold ETF holds gold as its underlying asset. When you buy one unit of a gold ETF, you don’t own physical gold but instead a share of the gold held by the fund.  

Advantages of Investing in Gold ETFs 

Hedge Against Inflation

Gold has a solid track record of being a safe, reliable asset that acts as a hedge against inflation. The prices of gold generally rise as the cost of living increases, shielding your investments from the negative effects of inflation and preserving your wealth over the long term.

Risk Management

Historically, gold and equities have an inverse relationship; when the stock market underperforms, we generally see the price of gold increasing. Because of this, many invest in this yellow metal as a way to mitigate risks in their investment portfolios and the stock market’s volatility.

Plus, investors value gold for its liquidity; it’s thought to be an easy asset to cash in on when the markets are down. The good news is that there seems to be perpetual demand for gold around the world, so a recession in one region is unlikely to skew this precious metal’s value.

Low Entry Barriers

Many investors appreciate the accessibility of gold ETFs which typically require lower investment amounts compared to purchasing physical gold bars or coins.


Gold ETFs have become increasingly popular due to the convenience they provide. To participate in the gold market, investors would traditionally have to source for credible dealers, verify the authenticity of the gold, and identify a secure storage location. 

But with gold ETFs, the hassle involved in buying and storing physical gold is eliminated, and all an investor has to do is buy their favourite ETFs via their preferred brokerage platform!

Hedge Against Weakening US dollar

Gold and the US dollar typically have an inverse relationship; when the value of the US dollar decreases, the price of gold tends to rise, and vice versa. This relationship exists because gold is priced in US dollars globally. When the dollar weakens, it takes more greenback to buy the same amount of gold, leading to an increase in its price.

Risks of Investing in Gold ETFs

Market Risks

The price of gold is influenced by market conditions like marco-economic factors such as interest rates, and changes in investor sentiment. As a result, while gold is considered a safe haven asset, it’s not entirely risk-free.

Expense Ratios and Fees

Investors of gold ETFs are subjected to ETF fees despite not having full ownership of physical gold. These fees are expenses related to managing and marketing the ETF, and are recurring costs that you’ll have to deal with. 

Some investors may point out that the longer you hold onto a gold ETF, the more money you’ll lose in comparison to owning physical gold since you have to constantly pay for the maintenance of your investment.

Tax Implications of Investing in Gold ETFs in Singapore

Investing in gold may subject you to regulatory and tax implications. Fortunately, in Singapore, investment-grade gold is exempt from goods and services tax (GST). Plus, there is no capital gains tax should you choose to sell your gold ETF.

What to Look Out for When Buying Gold ETFs

Like with most ETFs, paying attention to the fund’s expense ratios, liquidity, and assets under management are key metrics that you should analyse before investing.

However, with gold ETFs, another thing investors should check is the custodian of the gold ETF. 

The custodian refers to the company that physically holds the gold backing the ETF, and you’d ideally want a company that’s reputable and reliable to handle the gold.

How to Buy Gold ETFs

SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GSD.SI or O87.SI)

Expense ratio0.40%
Assets under management$57.8B
Gold custodian(s)JPMorgan Chase Bank and HSBC Bank plc 
Vault locationsLondon

As of 17 March 2024

SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) is issued by State Street Global Advisors and backed by physical gold. The fund’s sole asset is gold which is securely vaulted in London. GLD has the largest assets under management (AUM) among all the gold ETFs.  

Special Mention: GSD.SI and O87.SI

The SPDR Gold Shares ETF is available to trade in 2 currencies—SGD (GSD.SI) and USD (O87.SI), and Singaporean investors can consider buying these ETFs on SGX.  Apart from buying, holding or selling shares of the fund through standard brokerage accounts, the SPDR Gold Shares ETF is also included under the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS).

iShares Gold Trust Micro (IAUM)

Expense ratio0.09%
Assets under management$1.1B
Gold custodian(s)JPMorgan Chase Bank, London branch
Vault locationsNew York, London

As of 17 March 2024

The iShares Gold Trust Micro is backed by physical gold, and this fund has the lowest expense ratio in the market at 0.09%. The fund’s gold is stored in secure, segregated, allocated storage around the globe and like other ETFs, IAUM is designed to allow investors to participate in gold markets having to physically own and store the metal.

abrdn Physical Gold Shares ETF (SGOL)

Expense ratio0.17%
Assets under management$2.9B
Gold custodian(s)JPMorgan Chase Bank
Vault locationsZurich, London

As of 17 March 2024

The fund is physically backed by gold bullion bars that are stored safely in their vaults located in Zurich and London. For maximum security, the fund also enlists the services of a physical commodity inspector to inspect the vault twice a year.

Investing in Gold ETFs in Singapore

All you need to do is conduct your research, identify the gold ETF you want to invest in, and make the purchase via a brokerage platform! If you’re a seasoned investor, you should know the steps to buying a gold ETF like the back of your hand. 

Ready to invest in gold ETFs? Sign up now to receive S$20 in cash credits when you sign up for Syfe’s Brokerage. 

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