What is the Best Silver ETF?

Silver investing, though often overshadowed by the prevalence of gold, is still among the most popular commodity allocations in today’s markets. One of the most popular ways to gain access to this white metal is through exchange-traded products, as there are a number of funds that cracked the world of silver wide open. But because investors are presented with so many choices for silver investing, many are often left wondering which of these ETFs is the best [for more silver news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

The answer isn’t quite as clear cut as a simple ticker. In reality, the answer is that it depends on your investment objectives and goals. Below we outline several scenarios and which silver ETFs are the best for investors who fall under those categories.

The Trading Two

iShares Dow Jones US Home Const. (ETF) (NYSEARCA:ITB)

As far as active trading is concerned, there are two products that trump the rest of the space. The first place fund, by far, is the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV). This fund tracks physical silver and just recently crossed the $10 billion mark as far as assets are concerned. Not only that, but the fund trades more than 10 million times each day (about 2 million more than SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD)) and has a healthy options market for active investors [see also 25 Ways To Invest In Silver].

But sometimes, trading plain silver is simply not enough, as those looking to make speculative bets want to leverage their exposure. Never fear; there is another silver instrument that is among the most traded commodity ETFs globally. The ProShares Ultra Silver (NYSEARCA:AGQ) represents a 2X leveraged play on the precious metal, and pulls in an average volume of over one million shares per day. The fund is extremely risky, but can be a very effective tool for those looking to make speculative bets on this precious metal.

What About Buy and Hold?

Here is where the debate gets a bit tricky. Similar to the gold ETF space, there are two competing, physically-backed funds, that offer very different expense ratios. SLV is one of them, but it competes with the Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SIVR), a physical fund that charges a full 20 basis points less than SLV. As far as liquidity is concerned, SIVR cannot compare with SLV. But when it comes to buying and holding two funds that offer identical exposure, SIVR gains the edge thanks to its cheaper expenses; it also maintains a strong liquidity.

Investors should also note that SIVR’s slightly lower fees will allow it to outperform SLV over time by a slight margin. So that’s it, SIVR wins the long-term scenario right? Not quite. Just like the gold ETF space, there is another fund that aims to be more tax efficient than its physical competitors [see also Jim Rogers: Silver Is a Better Investment Than Gold].

The E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Silver ETN (USV) is an ETN that holds multiple silver futures at once in an effort to mitigate the negative impacts of contango. But this is not what makes the fund a more enticing choice. When it comes to tax treatment, USV dominates its physical competitors by charging just 15% for long-term capital gains; SLV and SIVR are both taxed as collectibles and will therefore charge 28% no matter how long you hold them.

Let’s say you invested $10,000 in SLV, SIVR and USV exactly three years ago. Your positions would be worth as follows:

  • SLV – $17,602
  • SIVR – $17,695
  • USV – $17,080
SIVR’s lesser expense ratio allows it to edge out in performance, but when you add in the tax expenses of these three year positions, the tables are turned [see also Inside Ron Paul’s Gold and Silver Portfolio].
Gold ETPs
SLV SIVR USV
Value $17,602 $17,695 $17,080
LTCG Rate 28% 28% 15%
Taxes ($2,129) ($2,155) ($1,062)
Net Value $15,473 $15,540 $16,018

As far as total returns are concerned, USV bested its physically-backed competition while still charging 10 basis points less than SLV at 0.40%. Of course, investors need to take into account that USV has just $6.7 million in assets and a low trading volume; a tragedy considering that it has proven itself as a better fund in the past few years. The low assets put the fund in danger of closing, and the low liquidity scares off big investors, a plague that this fund may never be able to overcome.

This article was originally written by Jared Cummans, and posted on CommodityHQ.

Biotech Insider Alert - $6 Stock To Hit $40

$200 Million Dollar Healthcare Hedge Fund's #1 Best Idea Right Now

The best healthcare hedge fund out there right now is one of the largest shareholders in this biotech stock. The fund returned more than 20% in each of the last 2 years with a virtually fully hedged portfolio, and it's sending out a BUY signal on this biotech stock. Get your FREE REPORT today (retail value of $300)

This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.
Click here to Read Comments
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 74 percentage points in 2.5 years. Our beta is only 1.2 (download a FREE newsletter and see the details inside)

Lists

Best Selling Magazines in the World

Shortest People in History

The Most Celebrated Holidays in the World

Most Expensive Handbag Brands in the World

Top Selling Comic Book Issues of this Century

The Most Powerful Women in Politics

Best Paid DJs

Most Rebellious Female Artists

Best Paid TV Actresses of 2014

Best Paid Actors of 2014

Most Expensive Horses in the World

Tallest People Ever

Most Encouraging Feminist Celebrities

Best Paid Supermodels of 2014

Top 10 Suburbs for Retirement in 2015

10 Wealthiest Cities in America

Top 10 TED Talks for Entrepreneurs

Best TED Talks on Education

25 Most Dangerous Places to Live in America

Top 10 Ski Resorts in the United States – 2014 List

Top 10 Most Remote Places in the World

Most Visited Museums in the United States

Wealthiest Photographers in the World

Most Famous Gay Athletes

The World’s Most Famous Circuses

Best Hair Stylists

Most Popular NASCAR Drivers

The Best Romance Movies of all Time

The Most Wanted Drug Lords

The Oldest Money Managers

The Greatest Directors in the World

Largest Animals in the World

World’s Most Expensive Desserts

Best Selling Comic Books of All Time

A-list Actors who Sabotaged Their Career

Rappers With a College Degree

The Best Jazz Albums of all Time

The Most Influential Jazz Musicians

The World’s Most Famous Photographers

The Best Oscar-Winning Songs

Most Influential Choreographers Ever

Most Expensive Department Stores in the World

The Most Expensive Stolen Paintings in the World

The World’s Most Expensive Teas

Top Oscar Record Holders

The Most Expensive Flowers in the World

Countries With a Booming Film Industry

Most Expensive Cupcakes in the World

Uncommon European Escapes

The Most Stolen Artists in History

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 129% in 2.5 years!! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!