We're gearing up for an all new trading experience. Here's a sneak peek at what's to come. Visit old website here.
Ventura Wealth Clients
4 min Read

Gold, the timeless metal, has captivated investors for centuries. In today's dynamic financial landscape, many investors turn to gold as a hedge against inflation and market volatility. But how do you invest in this precious metal? Two popular options emerge: Gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs). Both offer distinct advantages and drawbacks, making the choice a strategic one. Let's delve into the world of gold investments, unpacking the intricacies of Gold ETFs and SGBs to help you pick the option that aligns best with your financial goals.

What are Gold ETFs?

Imagine a basket filled with actual gold, conveniently divided into tradable units on a stock exchange. That's essentially the concept behind a Gold ETF. These investment vehicles mimic the price of gold, allowing investors to participate in the gold market without the physical burden of holding the metal itself.

Investing in Gold ETFs: the benefits

  • High Liquidity: Gold ETFs are traded on stock exchanges like any other security. This ensures high liquidity, meaning you can easily buy and sell units throughout the trading day, depending on market movements.
  • Transparency: Gold ETFs are priced based on the underlying gold price. This transparency allows for informed investment decisions based on real-time market data.
  • Lower Costs: Compared to physical gold, Gold ETFs offer lower investment costs. You avoid expenses like insurance, storage lockers, and safety deposit fees. Additionally, expense ratios for Gold ETFs are typically minimal.
  • Convenience: Investing in Gold ETFs requires minimal paperwork and eliminates the security concerns associated with holding physical gold. You can hold them in your existing demat account alongside your stocks and bonds.
  • Fractional Ownership: Gold ETFs allow you to invest in smaller denominations, making them accessible even to investors with limited capital. You're not restricted to buying an entire bar of gold; you can invest in fractions of an ounce.

Investing in Gold ETFs: the drawbacks

  • Indirect Ownership: While Gold ETFs track the price of gold, you don't actually own any physical gold. This can be a concern for some investors who prefer the tangible security of holding the metal itself.
  • Market Dependence: The value of your Gold ETF investment directly correlates with the gold price. If the gold price dips, so will the value of your ETF units.
  • Underlying Costs: While expense ratios are low, there are still brokerage fees associated with buying and selling Gold ETF units.
  • Tax Implications: Capital gains earned from selling Gold ETF units held for less than 36 months are taxed as per your income tax slab. Long-term capital gains (over 36 months) are taxed at 20.8% with indexation benefits.

What are Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs)?

SGBs are essentially government-issued bonds denominated in grams of gold. The Indian government, in collaboration with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), periodically issues these bonds. SGBs offer a unique blend of gold investment with the safety and security of a sovereign guarantee.

Investing in SGBs: the benefits

  • Assured Interest: Unlike Gold ETFs, SGBs offer a fixed interest rate (currently 2.5% per annum) payable semi-annually. This provides a guaranteed return on your investment, irrespective of gold price fluctuations.
  • Tax Benefits: The interest earned on SGBs is taxable as income. However, capital gains on redemption at maturity are exempt from capital gains tax, making them a tax-efficient investment option for long-term investors.
  • Sovereign Guarantee: SGBs are backed by the Government of India, adding a layer of security and minimising credit risk. This can be particularly appealing to risk-averse investors.
  • Physical Redemption Option: At maturity, you have the option to redeem your SGBs in physical gold units. This allows you to hold the tangible metal if desired.

Investing in SGBs: the drawbacks

  • Limited Liquidity: Unlike Gold ETFs, SGBs have limited liquidity. They can be redeemed on maturity (typically 8 years) or traded on secondary markets after one year but with lower liquidity compared to ETFs.
  • Lock-in Period: SGBs come with a mandatory lock-in period of one year. You cannot exit your investment before that without incurring a penalty.

  • Exit Costs: Premature redemption of SGBs before maturity incurs a penalty, typically equal to the interest accrued in the last six months. This reduces your overall return.

Choosing the right path: tailoring your investment to your goals

Now that you understand the intricacies of both Gold ETFs and SGBs, it's time to analyse which option aligns better with your investment goals and risk tolerance. Here's a breakdown to help you decide:

  • For Liquidity and Flexibility: If easy buying and selling and the ability to react quickly to market movements are priorities, then Gold ETFs are the clear choice. Their high liquidity allows you to capitalise on short-term gold price fluctuations.
  • For Guaranteed Returns and Tax Efficiency: If you prioritise a steady, risk-averse investment with guaranteed returns and tax benefits, SGBs are a compelling option. The fixed interest income and tax exemption on capital gains at maturity make them attractive for long-term wealth creation.
  • For Risk Tolerance: Gold ETFs are a purer play on the gold price. Their value hinges directly on market movements. SGBs offer a hedge against gold price volatility with their guaranteed interest component. Investors with a lower risk tolerance might favour the stability of SGBs.
  • For Investment Horizon: If your investment horizon is short-term and you require the flexibility to exit quickly, Gold ETFs are more suitable. For long-term wealth creation, SGBs can be a good option due to their tax benefits and guaranteed interest.

Beyond the basics: additional considerations

  • Investment Objective: Are you looking to hedge against inflation, diversify your portfolio, or generate capital appreciation? Clearly define your investment objective to guide your choice.
  • Investment Cost: Factor in not just the purchase price but also the ongoing costs associated with each option. Expense ratios for Gold ETFs and potential exit penalties for SGBs need to be considered.
  • Market Outlook: Do you have a bullish or bearish view of the gold price? If you anticipate a significant price rise, Gold ETFs might offer higher potential returns.
  • Tax Implications: Understand the tax implications of both options, especially considering your tax bracket and investment horizon.


Gold remains a valuable asset class, offering diversification and a potential hedge against inflation. Whether you choose the flexibility and liquidity of Gold ETFs or the guaranteed returns and tax benefits of SGBs, there's a gold investment option that aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance. Remember, thorough research, a clear understanding of market dynamics, and consulting with a financial advisor can empower you to make informed investment decisions and unlock the potential of gold within your portfolio.

Like what you see?

Subscribe for regular updates

Zero spam. You can unsubscribe any time.
Privacy Policy