Silver Investing: Which Silver ETF Is Right For You? (SLV, SIVR, DBS)

Daniela Pylypczak: Although silver often times lays in the shadow of investors’ number one safe haven, gold, this shiny metal has by no means lost any of its luster. Silver has always been one of the most popular commodities given its rich history and various ornamental and industrial uses. The white metal’s appeal as an investable asset has grown for several reasons over the years. Silver is often times used as an alternative (and cheaper) safe haven investment, as well as a potential hedge against inflation. Additionally, the commodity is used in a variety of industrial goods and processes, making it an interesting play on manufacturing or industrial activity. And thanks to the ever-expanding universe of exchange-traded products, there are now several ways investors can gain exposure to the ultra popular precious metal. Below, we outline the three most popular silver ETFs and which one will fit your investment objectives [see also 25 Ways To Invest In Silver].

Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV)

Quick Stats (as of 7/26/2012)

SLV is by far the largest and most popular silver ETF available on the market with its portfolio of just over $8.5 billion in total assets. On average, the fund exchanges hands nearly 13 million times a day. Quite simply, its sheer size and high levels of liquidity are perhaps its most appealing features. Since its inception in 2006, iShare’s SLV has been tracking the spot price of physical bullion. The fund is often used in portfolios as a part of a long-term strategy, acting as both a diversification agent and a nice safe haven investment. In addition, SLV has a very active options market as well as a healthy daily volume, making it an ideal option for more active traders [for more silver news subscribe to our free newsletter].

SLV is Right for You if: You are an active trader seeking to either speculate on silver’s movements or quickly execute positions in the precious metal.

Physical Silver Shares (NYSEARCA:SIVR)

Quick Stats (as of 7/26/2012)

SIVR is a very similar fund to SLV in that it tracks the spot price of physical silver bullion. The major distinguishing feature between these two funds is SIVR’s strikingly lower expense ratio. SIVR charges 20 basis points less than SLV, making it a more appealing options for both long-term and cost-conscious buyers. Although the difference in expenses may seem not to have a major impact, consider two separate million dollar portfolios, one invested in SLV and the other in SIVR. The holder of the SLV portfolio will have to pay up $5,000 a year in fees, while its competitor will only have to shell out $3,000. Perhaps the $2,000 difference may not seem to be significant, but over the years the annual expense payments will add up quickly.

SIVR is Right for You if: You are a long term and cost conscious investor seeking to hold onto a silver ETF for an extended period of time.

DB Silver Fund (NYSEARCA:DBS)

Quick Stats (as of 7/26/2012)

DBS is another popular silver ETF, offering exposure to silver prices without directly investing in physical bullion. This fund tracks the DBIQ Optimum Yield Silver Index Excess Return, a benchmark comprised of futures contracts on silver. DBS utilizes its proprietary Optimum Yield methodology to help minimize the negative effects of rolling futures contracts when markets are in contango, while at the same time maximizing the positive effects when markets experience backwardation. This unique feature has attracted many investors: since inception in 2007, DBS has accumulated more than $66.5 million in assets [see also Forget Gold, Why Your Portfolio Needs Silver].

DBS is Right for You if: You are an investor who is looking to achieve silver exposure through the futures market. 

Written By Daniela Pylypczak From CommodityHQ  Disclosure: No Positions.

CommodityHQ offers educational content, analysis, and commentary on global commodity markets. Whether you’re looking to speculate on a short-term jump in crude or establish a long-term allocation to natural resources, CommodityHQ has the information you need.

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