Guest Post: Got Gold? Why Owning GLD Can Be Hazardous To Your Wealth

Tyler Durden's picture

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Jim in MN's picture

I guess the question is since GLD is just a gold price deriviative, why does it have any trust expenses?  The obvious answer is that investors are kind of dumb, but perhaps there is another explanation.

This is clearly just a paper asset with extra fees. 

Anyway, nice clear thorough writing...and thanks for the contribution!

peterpeter's picture

It is not just a price derivative.  They have over 36M ounces of Gold in vaults:

> This is clearly just a paper asset with extra fees. 

It is not.  It is a paper asset backed by physical gold, and the fees are to account for the costs of taking and moving inventory around, and vault fees, plus the profit margin for running the SPDR Gold Trust.

Try trading or storing physical gold for anything close to the cost of trading GLD and you'll quickly discover that GLD is usually much cheaper.

cbaba's picture

Dont worry PeterPeter;

You are not alone,

Some people are always ignorant what is crystal clear and dont accept the facts and choose to learn the hard way.

You wil learn when you loose everything that the GLD is a shit of paper.


GoldSilverDoc's picture

To prove that there is gold behind GLD, you just gave us a link to a piece of.... paper.

You didn't really do that, did you?

peterpeter's picture


So Short GLD or buy some PUTs and make money off of the alledged scam.

You people are funny.

knukles's picture

If its so screwed up, how come Soros has steadily increased his GLD holdings?  How come the People's Bank of China is one of the largest holders? 

Either they're delusional, unsophisticated  or its just plain good enough for the power elite, eh?   

GoldSilverDoc's picture

Funny is better than stupid, peterpeter.

Sabremesh's picture

"GLD is cheaper"! Yes, but only because they don't have any gold storage costs. Their main overheads are covering up their giant scam and marketing it to gullible mugs like you. 

freebo's picture

"Try trading or storing physical gold for anything close to the cost of trading GLD and you'll quickly discover that GLD is usually much cheaper."

How about BullionVault or Goldmoney, allocated accounts in your name with daily bar audits, low dealing, trading & storage costs. Insured and idependantly audited, not as good as physical in your posetion but better than GLD.

DosZap's picture

Or better yet, Perth Mint..............allocated, and a hell of a long way off.

caconhma's picture

What about investing in Gold mining stocks (like ABX, GG, GDX, etc.,)?

kalum's picture

what about Sprotts PHYS? Anyone?

Lux Fiat's picture

Read the GLD prospect a while back and stopped using it, even as a short-term trading vehicle, after concluding that there was essentially no audit allowed of the holdings.  When the investment vehicle is supposedly based on physical holdings, but no audits can in reality be conducted of the physical holdings, that is a major red flag.  It's the equivalent of "trust us".  No thank you.

Readings of the UNG prospectus show that they essentially allow front-running of retail ETF holders by the institutions who can create and redeem UNG baskets.  Suspect the same can occur in USO and other commodity ETFs as well.

When going the equity route, I prefer to put my money in the companies that have actual assets - although estimates of proven reserves can have their own issues...

Crab Cake's picture

I think the most dangerous thing one can do right now, financially speaking, is to put faith in "paper"/computer/electronic holdings; of anything.

You want to be in cash?  Good.  Take delivery, and put in a safe, bury it, or put in a safety deposit box.

You want to own gold and silver?  Good.  Take delivery, and put it in a safe, bury it, or put it a safety deposit box.

TAKE DELIVERY.  I don't care what bet you want to place on inflation/deflation, but take delivery of your assets before it is too late.

merehuman's picture

`safe deposit box? Oh yea, sure it will be safe in a bank, especially during a holiday.

sarcasm, or being a bitch for the moment, either way its a reflection of growing impatience with ignorance.

DosZap's picture

As I understand it, it's now against the law to hold cash,bullion in Bank SDB's..................only Collectibles.( How's that for a Bitch?).

First, that's the last place I would put either.

It's not insured, and you cannot prove it was there top begin with.

Spend the bucks on a TL 15/30, and sleep well.

primus's picture

My sediment exactly.

Sooner or later, history is going to teach us all very hard lesson and people that don't wise up to this fact are in for a very rude awakeing. Debt is not wealth, credit is not money and that which cannot go on forever won't.

I am all about tangible assets.

All 401k's, IRA's and pensions will be looted reformed in some sort of government swindle inside the next 5-10 years, likely when the next tsunami of crooked accounting comes home to roost. When that happens, more people will lose confidence in the system. It is a vicious cycle.

futboller04's picture

Why would they confiscate the 401ks and ira's if Benny can simply print more money?

Crime of the Century's picture

1) Because they still have to keep up the appearances of "accounting", and "accounting" says retirements ain't happening.

2) The printer isn't for the little people.

Pure Evil's picture

Well, they don't exactly confiscate the 401k's and IRA's they just help you invest those monies into Treasuries.

Sorta like your investment in payroll taxes for Social Security.

When you're a socialist, or a Marxist-Fascist, or a Nationalist Socialist Marxist, then the thought of someone holding private wealth for retirment is anathema to them. They prefer government dependency and the redistribution of your wealth.

And, don't believe for one second that they believe in re-distributing your wealth to the poor and the downtrodden. The only thing they believe in is redistributing your wealth from your pocket to the governments pocket.

In my limited lifetime I have not seen the reduction of poverty through the Great Society or any other type of government program. I have only seen poverty increase exponentially.

pan-the-ist's picture

We've had this discussion here in the past.  'We' don't like the sensationalism of your words, this isn't fox news.  Please refrain from using Marxist-Fascist, National Socialist Marxist etc, that don't have any meaning besides your subjective sensationalist meaning.  Thanks.

DosZap's picture

THe same reason they are F*#**^#^ us out of SS, and Medicare.........

Their BROKE BITCHES..............cause THEY SOLD their GOLD BITCHES!!!!!!!!

Magua's picture

So Paulsen, the guy that made $4 billion for his hedge fund by shorting the mortgage security market, is one of the biggest holders of GLD. Does he give some back on this trade or is he just parking?

WilliamShatner's picture

Well, if anyone could bust the Comex or GLD it could be Paulsen.

If the demands physical delivery then we could see if GLD is all it's made out to be or if it's just another smoke & mirrors scam.

Carl Marks's picture

Paulson did take delivery on the advice of Alan Greenspan who works for his hedge fund. Greenspan is a gold bug. Think he knows something?

WilliamShatner's picture

Got a link to an article to back that up?

Not calling you a liar, I'd just like to see the source for my personal perusal.

GoldmanSux's picture

As at Dec.31/09 filing he owned $4Billion in GLD. Also, he is marketing an issue right now that claims it will own 15% in GLD.

GoldmanSux's picture

Just spoke to an aquaintance who works for Paulson. They have not taken delivery, but believe they have the ability to do so.

DosZap's picture

IF that happens, then there are going to be a lot of bloody a**holes, and broke SOB's.

GoldmanSux's picture

Paulson is the largest holder in GLD at $4billion. He can request delivery as he has over 100,000 shares.

peterpeter's picture

You must be an authorized participant to convert shares into Gold or Gold into shares.  It's not clear whether Paulson & Co. is or is not an authorized participant:


Each Authorized Participant must (1) be a registered

broker-dealer or other securities market participant such as a bank

or other financial institution which is not required to register as a

broker-dealer to engage in securities transactions, (2) be a

participant in The Depository Trust Company or DTC Participant,

(3) have entered into an agreement with the Trustee and the

Sponsor, or the Participant Agreement, and (4) have established an

unallocated gold account with the Custodian, or the Authorized

Participant Unallocated Account. The Participant Agreement

provides the procedures for the creation and redemption of Baskets

and for the delivery of gold and any cash required for such

creations or redemptions. A list of the current Authorized

Participants can be obtained from the Trustee or the Sponsor.

Willzyx's picture

I have a feeling Paulson can easily meet the "authorized participant" definition if he wants to.

"Taking delivery" from GLD ETF is quite a different process than buying futures.  ETF shares are created as institutional investors exchanges shares of the underlying for ETF depository receipt shares.  This open endedness is what makes ETFs different from closed ended funds.  When the NAV premium gets big enough, someone can capture the small spread.

This means GLD shares are probably created with paper gold to begin with.  With Paulson's size, I he could redeem his shares for real gold, tank GLD, spike the price of gold, and profit from his other gold related investments.

exportbank's picture

If you think you own stocks - ask for the actual share certificate.

If you think you own bonds ask for the bond

If you think you own gold - unless it's in your hand you don't

Everything is a game of musical chairs - just hope the FED band keeps playing..

knukles's picture

Oh for Christ's sake.  Just about every stock or bond in the world are held in a DTCC, Fed Book Entry or similar depository system.  The ETF, closed end fund or similar structure is there to facilitate practical ownership.  Of course its a piece of paper.  Also held by DTCC, etc.
Try reselling a 440oz'er that's been taken out of a LMBA good delivery system vault.  Good luck, discount, cost and hassle.  

akak's picture

"Oh for Christ's sake. Just about every stock or bond in the world are held in a DTCC, Fed Book Entry or similar depository system."


Isn't that the whole point here?  Almost EVERY financial asset that you think you "own" is really encumbered in some way or another ---- except physical precious metals, and certain other tangible assets.  So why is there such a concerted propaganda compaign, even here in this forum, on the part of certain individuals to denigrate and attack those who would chose to go the unencumbered route by holding PMs in their own personal posession?  What is it about the idea of individuals holding precious metals that so threatens and enrages so many people?

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

That is an interesting question akak.

Why do some attack us who hold the physical gold and other PMs?  All the attacking makes me want to own MORE physical.

I want to have physical PMs (and cash FRNs) in a variety of locations.

Diversification...  A good idea even among precious metals holders...

dumpster's picture

Of course its a piece of paper.  Also held by DTCC, etc.
Try reselling a 440oz'er that's been taken out of a LMBA good delivery system vault.  Good luck, discount, cost and hassle.  

you compare 100 shares of X   to 440 oz of gold

500,000 bucks ...just buy the coin , coin dealer,  in hand ,

knuckles chew gum walk 'either eat the meal . or try to take the whole years supply of food in on gulp.

sound like MB  yep tomorrow gold will sell for 80 billion an oz.

fallacious reasoning.    


Amish Hacker's picture

How does GLD account for the income they earn from gold leasing? If they have leased some significant portion of their 850 tons, it seems like it would add up to real money, which would have to be explained.

MarketTruth's picture

They don't per se, their custodians/subs do. So it is very possible they hand over free money to their friends. It could easily be a type of payola/pyramid scheme. Better still, they all get nice fat paychecks. Well, they did stop racing with the LeMans (or was it Rolex series) with a car i have a feeling their shareholders paid for. You know, start a business and then rake in the cash and use some of it perhaps for your own personal fun toy under the guise of advertisment. Seen various companies do this over the years with race cars, so it is nothing new really. One guy i know who does this is a lawyer in Canada(!).


FYI: Form 10-K 25 November 2009

Shareholders do not have the protections associated with ownership of shares in an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 or the protections afforded by the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936, or CEA.

The Trust is not registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and is not required to register under such act. Consequently, Shareholders do not have the regulatory protections provided to investors in investment companies. The Trust will not hold or trade in commodity futures contracts regulated by the CEA, as administered by the CFTC. Furthermore, the Trust is not a commodity pool for purposes of the CEA, and none of the Sponsor, the Trustee or the Marketing Agent is subject to regulation by the CFTC as a commodity pool operator or a commodity trading advisor in connection with the Shares. Consequently, Shareholders do not have the regulatory protections provided to investors in CEA-regulated instruments or commodity pools.



Sudden Debt's picture

I don't believe in the whole Gold bug pumping thing either.

If everybody believes gold is going to explode to 2000, 3000, 4000...

Then why are there so many offers to buy physical gold?

I have had at least 3 offers this week to buy bullions, coins, bars at a 10% price reduction! And it's already like this FOR WEEKS!

For my that means only one thing. If you own it, you want to get rid of it.



What is the earning reports all report nice gains?


merehuman's picture

bullshit. Any of us who own PMs and have the actual wont sell due to price drop. We will sell some if we need cash.

Thats been my experience. I keep whats real and spend the green paper always hoping its still accepted.

I have no such fear about silver and gold. That value is imbedded from the miner to the coin fabricator and the scarcity.

As for banks , dont trust them any further than you can toss the building. And yes in California a bank raided safe deposit boxes illegally.

DosZap's picture

Bingo, folks just do not get's not bought by true Gold Bugs for an's INSURANCE. Anyone on this site, is smart enough to know, they had better have their ass-ets covered.............And there's NOTHING else on the planet,( PM's) that will do it.

You do not lose, or make a dime, unless you SELL .

Not true with PAPER!


Bow Tie's picture

because the people doing the buying stand to make a profit as the price increases?

i doubt the people being persuaded into selling their physical for less than spot price are going to be on the right side of that trade. why else would all these cash 4 gold schemes exist? to make a loss?

Carl Marks's picture

Everybody isn't buying gold and GLD is a scam operated by the TBTF banks to suppress the price of gold through manipulation of futures contracts

Orly's picture

When all other possibilities have been exhausted, the one that remains, no matter how absurd, is the solution.

LeBalance's picture


"You will not apply my precept," he said, shaking his head. "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? We know that he did not come through the door, the window, or the chimney. We also know that he could not have been concealed in the room, as there is no concealment possible. When, then, did he come?"
     The Sign of the Four, ch. 6 (1890)
     Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of the Four (Doubleday p. 111)

EscapeKey's picture

Lol! A "10% price reduction". What you have found is a website that sells gold at a 20% markup from the spot price.

Tell you what, I will give you 20% off if you buy right now (I do charge 75% above spot price, however).