From Index Universe:
Gold ETFs may appear to be same, until you consider expense ratios and vaulting.
With four different ETFs offering physical storage of gold, investors may feel like they are at Best Buy trying to find the best plasma TV.
Fortunately, there are some key differences between the funds that will make the decision easy, as long as you care about these distinctions.
But if all you care about is investing in gold without having to bury it in your backyard or store it in a safe, the decision is even easier: Buy the iShares Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU) and use the savings to buy more.
The four grantor trust ETFs that hold physical gold differ mostly in their expense ratio and vaulting, with little else differentiating them. After all, gold in Mumbai is the same as gold in Carson City, Nevada.
The problem is, some gold investors aren’t just concerned about how much it costs to access the yellow metal; they also care about where that metal is held.
After all, if you’re buying gold to protect against the apocalypse or currency crisis, you want to be sure your gold is not only where your custodian says it is, but that it is deposited in a place that isn’t likely to see a government confiscation or re-hypothecation.
In other words, some investors want to know that their gold is accounted for and insulated from the corruptibility of elected officials and banking magnates.
Without trying to paint the entire gold investment community with too broad a brush — and dipped in a bucket of conspiracy theorist paint — it’s still important to touch upon…