ETFS Physical Asian Gold Shares (AGOL), the latest offering from London-based ETF Securities, began trading last Friday (1/14/11). It will custody its physical gold bullion with JP Morgan Chase Bank in secure LBMA (London Bullion Market Association) approved vaults in Singapore.

Each share represents a direct interest in physical gold bullion. The initial quantity is 0.1 ounce of gold per share, which will be reduced over time to pay the 0.39% expense ratio.

ETFs based on physical gold have been very popular with investors, amassing nearly $65 billion in assets. Four ETFs backed by physical gold:

  • SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) launched in late 2004, making it the first ETF in this category. It is currently the largest gold bullion ETF with $58 billion in gold bars stored in London and has an expense ratio of 0.40%.
  • iShares Gold Trust (IAU) is currently the ETF with the lowest expense ratio at 0.25% and each share represents 0.01 ounces of gold (less expenses). It has more than $5 billion in assets and stores its gold in New York, Toronto, London, and other locations.
  • ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (SGOL), launched in September 2009, are backed by 0.1 ounces of gold (less expenses of 0.39%) with the gold stored in Switzerland.
  • ETFS Physical Asian Gold Shares (AGOL) launched last week has an expense ratio of 0.39% and stores its gold in Singapore.

Additional information about AGOL is located in the press release, summary page, fact sheet (pdf), and prospectus (pdf).
Disclosure covering writer, editor, and publisher: Long GLD. No positions in any of the companies or ETF sponsors mentioned. No income, revenue, or other compensation (either directly or indirectly) received from, or on behalf of, any of the companies or ETF sponsors mentioned.