Which is the best gold ETF in India?

Update: I have done a more recent comparison on gold ETFs and that data can be found here. The methodology is the same which you can read there as well, but reading this post gives a good perspective on how this space has evolved.  Updated Article. 

This question keeps popping up in emails and comments from time to time, and I thought I’d address this with a post. Let me begin this post by saying that this is just my way of deciding which is the best gold ETF in India, and you are free to poke holes in this methodology, or even reject it outright, but if I were to invest in a gold ETF – this is the way I would go about it.

First off – I’d compare the expense ratios of all existing Indian gold ETFs, and see which are the ones with the lower expenses. I have already done that research earlier on this blog, and know that right now the Gold BeeS ETF from Benchmark Funds has the lowest expense ratio of 1%. Quantum Funds comes second with 1.25%. All the other funds charge higher expenses. The lower the expenses – the better it is because it leaves more on the table for investors.

Expenses alone are not enough for me because I want my investment to be liquid, and need the fund to have good volumes too. I went to the NSE website and gathered the volume data for all gold ETFs for the last month or so. I am presenting you yesterday’s volume data of all gold ETFs here. I am presenting just one day’s worth of data because that is pretty much representative of the overall volumes and is easier to read.

Gold ETF Volumes in India
Gold ETF Volumes in India

As you can see from the image – Gold BeeS, which has the lowest expenses also has the highest volume, and by a large margin too.

That does it for me – and if I had to invest in a Gold ETF – it would be this.

Keep in mind though that this is just my opinion and not expert advice tailored to your investing situation. Also bear in mind that I am not going to invest in this ETF because I am not looking at investing in gold right now, and even if I was – I would probably go for the more direct option of buying gold coins.

Update: I have done a more recent comparison on gold ETFs and that data can be found here. 

234 thoughts on “Which is the best gold ETF in India?”

  1. thanks jitendra solanki for the answer.

    what is the general average return of gold etf funds annually in percentage?


      1. Sun,

        Gold ETF have been able to produced 20+% returns in last few years.

        But then there is a strong misconception that gold will continue producing these returns.In next few years you shoudl not expect repeat of thsi performance unless gold really carshes an dthen ris eagain.

        I personally beleive when you are investing for inflation hedge you should expect 9-10% return from this asset class in long ter,.In short term its not more than a commodity which have its risk return characteristics.

  2. Hi
    I am anil, Idont know how to invest in SIP in gold etf but i want to invest. So please guide me
    1.how to invest and how much i invest in gold etf.
    2.which points should remember when investing and what are the risk points.
    3.which is the best gold etf.is sbi gold is good.
    4.is any charges for entry or exit.and how much long time i can invest.
    Thank U.

    1. If you wanted to set up a SIP in gold ETF then you can buy a gold mutual fund which in turns invest in gold ETF. There are many like that. The biggest risk is if gold prices went down, then the price of the gold ETF will also go down. All ETFs are similar in nature GoldBeeS has low costs and is the biggest, but if you wanted to do a SIP then perhaps you should choose something else. Normal brokerage charges apply.

      How much, good or bad time to invest is a question that you have to answer yourself because that’s your take on whether gold prices will continue to rise or not.

  3. i read about gold bees fund run by goldman sachs.
    goldman sachs is a foreign bank/company.
    what our the risks and implications of such a company if it goes bust like lehman brothers or mf global.
    secondly returnwise which gold fund or etf gives high percentage of return annually

    1. Sun
      ETF structure is same across all companies and hence the returns are almost similar.The only difference come sin tracking error which is high in some funds.Look at this figure and you can select a fund with ow tracking error.

      Gold Bees Fund was launched by Benchmark which is now bought by Goldman Sachs.I don’t see chances of it going burst like Lehman as there has been heavy regulation on it after the Lehman fiasco.Moreover MF structure is different from Investment Banking. Even if it has problem worlwide it will sell its assets in India like lehman did in most part of countries.

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    Me and my team aims to enhance financial literacy in the society and guide people to map their available finance resources into their personal financial goals that they aim to achieve, this would not only influence their financial satisfaction but also impact their life satisfaction.

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  5. seems equity is getting a silent bounce back ( 2012 Feb month, the time I posted ths msg 🙂 , in my POV, we must avoid GOLD and SILVER investment for now ad start looking equity for cherry pick. A detailed technical analysis can be found here:


  6. Thanks Manshu.

    if we can choose to sell them at either of the two exchanges, both price variation, however small and liquidity difference if any, should be of no concern. hope I have understood correctly.

    1. That’s my understanding yes, though I have never actually done this myself, so I have no practical experience in this. I’ve always bought and sold on the NSE.

  7. I understand that Gold ETFs are available online both at NSE and BSE. There is always a little price difference. So I think we should buy whereever the price is lesser and sell wherever the price is higher. Am I right? Or is it that if we buy at BSE we have to sell it at BSE only? Is liquidity different in the two exchanges?

    1. You can do that if you see a price difference though I wouldn’t expect it to be much of a price difference at any time because that will create a good arbitrage opportunity. How much of a difference have you normally seen?

      Liquidity is different in different exchanges and I suspect NSE to be more liquid for Goldbees trading than BSE though I have never seen the numbers.

  8. Can you please do a an analysis of the best Nifty ETF in India based on the expense ration and performance(C.A.G.R)

  9. well, Gold ETF is the easiest available way of investing in the gold, at the same time the tracking error of most of ETFs is negligible.

    In order to invest in gold etf one can go for the IPO route, or can buy them directly on exchange through broker, But gold ETF can also be bought directly from the Fund house, provided the investor buys minimum of 1000 units.


  10. I know that ETFs are best in case of long term investment But what is the best way of buying gold in case of wedding say due to 6-8 months? Physical gold or ETF. And from where i can buy.

    1. Dinesh – for such a short term try looking for some jewelers who allow you to lock on to today’s rate if you set up a plan with them to buy in the future. In some cases they give good discount also. Check with people in your family or neighborhood to see if any such deals exist where you are.

  11. Hi Manshu,

    I have learnt much from this page on ETFs, gold, etc. Right now, I have about 10 L in SB account (NRI). I want to put it to good use. I dont have DEMAT account, I wont be coming home until Feb next. I would appreciate it, if you can give me some idea of where to invest.

    1. If you don’t have a Demat account, and are out of the country then probably the most effective way for you to get returns on this money is to open a fixed deposit and take advantage of the current high interest rates. That way your money will generate better returns, and when you do get back you can get things set up.

  12. What is the best substitute for physical gold? I am not too keen on investing in golf MFs as performance will depend on tthe fund managers. I want virtual gold which I can buy at market price and sell at market price just like buying and selling stocks. Do ETFs meet my requirements?

    1. No, they don’t and you need to get more familiar with gold mutual funds also. They just own ETFs nothing else – they are not actively managed like you presume.

  13. hello manshu,

    I am following your website since 2 months and i would like to ask you one question

    can you tell me the best investment to put money monthly 4k or 5k.
    I am 24 yrs old and want to earn money through mutual funds, gold or silver…
    Can you suggest me…

    1. There is no such thing as a best investment! It all depends on what your risk taking ability is, what your goals are, how long you can hold on to your investments etc. If you are young and starting out then I’d say having a mix of diversified mutual funds and fixed deposits is a good thing to start with, but there is no short answer to the question you are asking.

  14. Dear Manashu,
    You r genius having a sharp knowledge about gold etf i have read your various comment/reply I am new investor as Shiva I have daughter of 1.9 years and I am preparing for her marriage and education kindly suggest me option for investment I can invest 2-3k per month and best way to purchase gold Etfs and also risk factors , probable benefits would get in 2025 years.
    My Email ID lka_1975@sify.com

    1. Well, if you have to start with 2 – 3k only then just gold may not be wise for you – mix it up by investing in a mutual fund a fixed deposit investment and then a gold ETF or if you don’t have a Demat then gold mutual fund since I guess you are looking to buy some gold with this money. Mix it up well, and don’t expose yourself too much to just one type of asset.

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