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State Street's Gold Fund Is ETF Land's Biggest Cash Machine

State Street's Gold Fund Is ETF Land's Biggest Cash Machine
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Friday, 31 July 2020 05:04 PM

This year’s frenzied rush for gold is turning out to be quite a boon for State Street Corp.

The Boston-based firm’s $78 billion SPDR Gold Shares exchange-traded fund, ticker GLD, is now making more money than any other product in the $4.6 trillion U.S. ETF market.

Annual revenues for the fund have jumped to about $312 million as of July 30, meaning it is out-earning the world’s largest ETF. That’s another State Street vehicle, the $288 billion SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), which generates about $270 million.

Fund Ticker Total assets (bln) Expense ratio Annual revenue (mln)
SPDR Gold Shares GLD $77.877 0.4 $311.508
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY $287.641 0.095 $270.383
Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 QQQ $122.377 0.2 $244.753
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF EEM $24.063 0.68 $163.625
iShares MSCI EAFE ETF EFA $47.737 0.32 $152.760
 

A combination of GLD’s higher fees -- an expense ratio of 0.4% versus 0.095% for SPY -- and an almost relentless demand for the yellow metal have catapulted it from fourth on the revenue leader board in 2017, according to Bloomberg Intelligence data. Coronavirus-fueled market turmoil and the plunge in global bond yields have fueled 19 consecutive weeks of inflows to gold ETFs, with bullion prices soaring to an all-time high this week.

“It’s a perfect combination of record gold ETF demand and GLD being priced at more than double the industry weighted average expense ratio,” said Nate Geraci, president of investment-advisory firm the ETF Store. “If gold ETF demand continues, GLD can absolutely hold on to the top spot. But competition will ultimately chip away.”

History Matters

From an issuer perspective, the current rankings may offer consolation amid the fund industry’s ongoing fee war.

Vanguard Group -- the second-largest ETF player behind BlackRock Inc. and arguably the cheapest -- doesn’t have a single product in the top 10. Its biggest offering, the $154 billion Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO), is the 30th most profitable fund. The 0.03% expense ratio generates just $4.6 million per year.

The triumph of GLD highlights an aspect of competition in the market which is often over-looked: Investors tend to like funds with history. State Street launched a less-expensive gold ETF in 2018, the SPDR Gold MiniShares ETF (GLDM), with an expense ratio of 0.18%. At $3.2 billion the fund is still dwarfed by GLD, which began trading in 2004.

The unprecedented demand for gold ETFs could enticebi other issuers into the space, Geraci reckons. There are just 13 gold exchange-traded products listed in the U.S., with industry heavyweights such as Vanguard noticeably absent.

“I’m still surprised Vanguard hasn’t moved into physical gold ETF space,” Geraci said. “It seems ripe for another big player.”

© Copyright 2020 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


   
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This year's frenzied rush for gold is turning out to be quite a boon for State Street Corp.The Boston-based firm's $78 billion SPDR Gold Shares exchange-traded fund, ticker GLD, is now making more money than any other product in the $4.6 trillion U.S. ETF market.Annual...
state, street, gold, fund, etf, cash, machine
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2020-04-31
Friday, 31 July 2020 05:04 PM
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