Matching the Gold Bug with a Silver-Based ETF

Doug Fabian

Doug Fabian is known for his expert knowledge of ETFs, bear funds and enhanced index funds to profit in any market climate.

Under the rules of medieval heraldry, gold and silver were classed together as “metallic” colors, but could not be used on top of one another in a coat of arms. That relationship between the two is similar in the world of finance today, where gold and silver are both classified as “precious metals,” but are really two different metals with two different tendencies. This week’s exchange-traded fund (ETF) spotlight on the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) will be a deviation from the various gold funds I’ve been featuring but it still will be within my current theme of examining promising precious metals ETFs.

SLV was founded in 2006 and it is not your standard ETF. The trust is not an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 nor is it a commodity pool under the Commodity Exchange Act. Shares of the trust are subject to the same requirements as a mutual fund. SLV’s purpose is, generally speaking, to reflect the price of silver owned by the trust at that time and give investors exposure to the day-to-day movement of the price of silver bullion.

Like with several of the gold funds I have recently highlighted, rather than forcing shareholders to physically own a hunk of precious metal, SLV aims to give its investors easier, more cost-effective access to physical silver. That is because the expenses involved in an investment in physical silver are dispersed among all holders of iShares rather than a single individual.

One rather unique feature of SLV is that the Trust’s shares are not redeemable except in large aggregate units called “baskets.” These baskets are created when silver is deposited into the trust, and SLV then will sell silver to cover the redemption price of these baskets. Only authorized brokers who have entered into a contract with the sponsor and trustee of the trust can purchase or redeem baskets, but shares of SLV can be bought or sold through any brokerage account.

Exclusive  The Nasdaq and Cryptocurrencies Finally Part Ways

SLV’s share price has traded in a wide arc over the last year, with its high and low points approximately matching the strong and weak times in the market. Year to date, SLV has risen close to 20% on the recent surge that has taken hold of precious metals and related sectors. The trust does not offer a dividend, but it has a modest expense ratio of 0.5% and about $5 billion in assets. SLV is one of the largest precious metals ETFs out there.


View the current price, volume, performance and top 10 holdings of SLV at

SLV is 100% invested in silver, similar to many ETFs that are aligned with precious metals. However, it lacks the diversified holdings of traditional exchange-traded funds.

Usually, gold and gold stocks receive mainstream attention in the precious metals sector, but silver is an alternative investment. If you want to consider an investment in this “secondary” precious metal, then the iShares Silver Trust ETF (SLV) might be a good place to start.

If you want my advice about buying and selling specific ETFs, including appropriate stop losses, please consider subscribing to my Successful ETF Investing newsletter.

As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an e-mail. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.

share on:
share on:


Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

Product Details

  • Forecasts & Strategies
  • Home Run Trader
  • Fast Money Alert
  • Five Star Trader
  • TNT Trader

Bryan Perry

A former Wall Street financial advisor with three decades' experience, Bryan Perry focuses his efforts on high-yield income investing and quick-hitting options plays.

Product Details

  • Cash Machine
  • Premium Income PRO (exclusively for subscribers of Cash Machine)
  • Quick Income Trader
  • Breakout Options Alert
  • Hi-Tech Trader

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker,
financial journalist, and money manager. As well as a book author and regular contributor to
numerous investment websites, Jim is the editor of:

Product Details

  • Successful Investing
  • High Velocity Options
  • Intelligence Report
  • Bullseye Stock Trader
  • Eagle Eye Opener

Bob Carlson

Bob Carlson provides independent, objective research covering all the financial issues of retirement and retirement planning. In addition, Bob serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fairfax County (VA) Employees’ Retirement System, which has over $2.8 billion in assets.

Product Details

  • Retirement Watch
  • Retirement Watch Spotlight Series
  • Lifetime Retirement Protection Program

Jon Johnson

Jon Johnson's philosophy in investing and trading is to take what the market gives you regardless if that is to the upside or downside. For the past 21 years, Jon has helped thousands of clients gain success in the financial markets through his newsletters and education services:

Product Details

  • Investment House Daily
  • Stock of the Week
  • Technical Traders Alert
  • Rapid Profits Stock Trader

Used by financial advisors and individual investors all over the world, is the premier provider and one-stop shop for dividend information and research.

Product Details

Popular tools include our proprietary Dividend Calendar, Dividend Calculator, Dividend Score Card, and many more.

  • Dividend Investor