7 Silver ETFs at a Glance

How to Invest in Silver
five stacks of silver coins

ETFs are becoming increasingly popular with investors. If you’re interested in silver ETFs, here are seven you may want to consider.

Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, have existed since 1993, although it took 15 additional years for the first actively managed ETF to become available on the market.

Since then, ETFs have risen in popularity, in large part because they are a cheaper investment option than traditional mutual funds. Today a huge number of ETFs are in play — ETF shares focus on a wide variety of spaces, such as derivatives, bonds and commodities.

Within the commodity space are silver ETFs, and investors interested in these have many options to choose from. For instance, some ETFs focus solely on physical silver bullion, while others focus on silver futures contracts. Still others focus on the silver-mining market itself.

Many individuals gravitate towards silver ETFs over silver mutual funds because mutual funds can only be bought or sold at the close of the trading day, while silver ETFs offer more flexibility as they can be traded whenever the stock market is open.

In order to determine which silver ETF will best suit their precious metals needs, investors should examine the options available to them. Here's a brief look at seven of the top silver ETFs by total assets. The first four are ETFs that give exposure to silver, while the last three provide access to silver stocks; all numbers were collected on October 28, 2021, using data from ETF Database.

ETFs with exposure to silver

1. iShares Silver Trust (ARCA:SLV)

Total assets: US$13.24 billion

As the iShares Silver Trust’s website warns, it is not your standard ETF. Why? Put simply, the iShares Silver Trust is not an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, or a commodity pool under the Commodity Exchange Act. Further, its ETF shares aren’t subject to the regulatory requirements that apply to mutual funds.

Investors who are not put off by those conditions may find the iShares Silver Trust appealing. It uses the London Bullion Market Association silver price as its benchmark and holds silver bullion — 546,747,963.5 ounces as of the date noted above. Its net asset value clocks in at US$13,158,094,289, and since its inception it has achieved an average annual return of 4.53 percent for its investors.

2. Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares (ARCA:SIVR)

Total assets: US$1.01 billion

The Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares ETF is also not a typical ETF, and is very similar to the iShares Silver Trust. It's geared at investors who want to hold physical ounces of silver.

The investment objective of the Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares ETF is for its shares to reflect the performance of the silver price less the expenses of the trust's operations.

The fund's silver stocks are held with JPMorgan Chase Bank in London in a secured vault. This ETF reportedly has a good record for correctly tracking the spot price of silver. The Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares ETF's net asset value is determined by the silver ounce price as set by London Bullion Market Association at approximately 12:00 p.m. London time divided by the number of shares outstanding for the fund at 4:00 p.m. New York time each trading day.

3. ProShares Ultra Silver ETF (ARCA:AGQ)

Total assets: US$568.88 million

Established in December 2008 by ProShare Capital Management, the ProShares Ultra Silver ETF offers investors twice the daily long leverage to silver bullion.

The fund uses derivatives such as futures contracts to invest in silver. ETF Database suggests it may be "a powerful tool for investors with a bullish short-term outlook for silver." The ProShares Ultra Silver ETF has the highest expense ratio of the four silver-backed ETFs at 0.93 percent.

4. Invesco DB Silver Fund (ARCA:DBS)

Total assets: US$20.38 million

The Invesco DB Silver Fund is the smallest silver ETF on this list in terms of total assets and has an expense ratio of 0.75 percent. This ETF offers investors exposure to silver through futures contracts.

ETF Database comments, "DBS may be a good choice for investors seeking futures-based exposure to silver but who wish to avoid the hassle of trading on a futures account."

ETFs with exposure to silver stocks

5. Global X Silver Miners ETF (ARCA:SIL)

Total assets: US$1.14 billion

The Global X Silver Miners ETF gives investors access to many silver-mining companies. It benefits from the fact that those companies can enjoy quick gains when the price of the metal is rising. Given that it provides exposure to a basket of global silver miners, it also allows investors to avoid the risks associated with individual companies and lets them add geographical diversity to their portfolios.

As of the date noted above, the silver ETF’s net assets stood at more than US$1.13 billion, and it had an expense ratio of 0.65 percent at that time.

6. ETFMG Prime Junior Silver ETF (ARCA:SILJ)

Total assets: US$865.82 million

The ETFMG Prime Junior Silver ETF bills itself as the "first and only ETF to target small cap silver miners." The index provides a benchmark for investors to track public small-cap companies in the silver space.

The ETF’s holdings span Canada, the US and the UK, and include First Majestic Silver (TSX:FR,NYSE:AG) and Pan American Silver (TSX:PAAS,NASDAQ:PAAS).

7. iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF (BATS:SLVP)

Total assets: US$274.68 million

The iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF tracks an index composed of global equities of companies primarily engaged in silver exploration or metals mining; however, it skews toward Canadian mining stocks. The ETF has the lowest expense ratio of the three ETFs focused on silver stocks at 0.39 percent.

Holdings for the iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF include Pan American Silver, SSR Mining (TSX:SSRM,NASDAQ:SSRM) and Hecla Mining Company (NYSE:HL).

This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2014.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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