Particularly during times of uncertainty, gold's importance as an asset class increases: Besides the fact that gold is seen as protection against inflation and a "safe haven", the precious metal also has real value and cannot be arbitrarily reproduced, one of the main reasons for its popularity among investors.
In addition, gold moves relatively independently of other asset classes such as equities. Consequently, during crisis situations portfolios diversified with gold frequently outperform those without it.
Whether as a hedge against crises or as a long-term commodity diversifier, gold is a permanent fixture in many investors' portfolios.
Investing in physical gold – where to start?
The question remains: What is the best way to invest in gold? The most obvious option is a physical investment in coins or bars. The disadvantage with this option, however, is the risk of theft or else the additional costs that arise for secure storage, as well as the costs involved in manufacturing the physical standard units.
For this reason, physically covered ETFs on gold are growing increasingly popular among investors: they invest entirely in physical gold and can be bought and sold on the stock exchange. Moreover, some ETFs – including UBS’s own – allow for redemption in kind. Investments in any currency other than the US dollar, which is the reference currency for gold, can be hedged against exchange rate fluctuations between it and the currency of investment using currency-hedged ETFs.
To sum up, UBS gold ETFs combine the benefits of an investment in physical gold with the flexibility of exchange traded securities, as well as low management and transaction costs.