Since their introduction in 2003, gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have transformed the gold investment market. Read our Gold-backed ETF primer for an overview of the history, features and benefits of gold-backed ETFs.

This primer gives an overview of gold-backed ETFs, explaining what they are and how they differ from other (gold and non-gold) investment products.



  • When they were launched in 2003, gold-backed ETFs made it easier, and cheaper, for many investors to invest in gold.
  • There are many benefits to investing in gold-backed ETFs, including quality, security and – often – lower fees.
  • The market is large and liquid, making it easy to transact in either large or small volumes.  By the end of 2017, global gold-backed ETFs held 2,368 tonnes of gold, worth US$99bn.