Silver is often seen as the poor relation in the precious metals’ family, perhaps that’s because of its relative abundance when compared to gold, platinum and palladium but in truth it's probably an undeserved reputation.

Where to buy, invest in and trade Silver ETFs

You can invest in exchange traded funds (ETFs) directly with the fund managers, as you would in a mutual fund but unlike a mutual fund, you can also buy and sell the ETFs as you would any other stocks and shares that is, through a stockbroker.

ETF managers hedge their exposure by tracking the performance of the underlying asset class. In the case of commodities such as Silver that means having exposure to physical bullion or derivatives, such as futures over the same. Though the exact nature of this hedge can vary from fund to fund. So it’s always worth doing your research and seeking appropriate advice before making an investment. The good news is, that as many ETFs and ETF like products were designed with retail investors in mind there is usually plenty of information about the funds and their holdings, fee structures etc. available online.

Stock brokers where you can buy and invest in Silver ETFs

Featured Trading BrokersAccount TypesKey InformationTypical CostsMore Info

IG

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: Yes
Direct Market Access: Yes
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: Yes
Futures & Options: No
Total Markets: 17,000
Active Clients: 178,000
Minimum Deposit: £250
Founded: 1974
Inactivity Fee: £12 pm
HQ: London, UK
EURUSD: 0.6 pips
UK 100: 1 point
Wall Street: 2.4 points
Gold: 0.3 points
UK Shares: 0.10%
US Shares: 0.10%
See Offer
Your capital is at risk. 76% of retail CFD accounts lose money

CMC Markets

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: Yes
Direct Market Access: Yes
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: No
Futures & Options: No
Total Markets: 9,300
Active Clients: 53,308
Minimum Deposit: £100
Founded: 1989
Inactivity Fee: £10 pm
HQ: London, UK
EURUSD: 0.7 pips
UK 100: 1 point
Wall Street: 2.4 points
Gold: 0.3 points
UK Shares: 0.10%
US Shares: 2¢ per share
See Offer 79% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider

Pepperstone

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: Yes
Direct Market Access: No
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: No
Futures & Options: No
Total Markets: 178
Active Clients: na
Minimum Deposit: £100
Founded: 2010
Inactivity Fee: £0 pm
HQ: Melbourne, Australia
EURUSD: 0.13 pips
UK 100: 3 points
Wall Street: 2.4 points
Gold: 0.5 points
UK Shares: na
US Shares: na
See Offer 79.3% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider

Fineco

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: No
Direct Market Access: Yes
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: Yes
Futures & Options: Yes
Total Markets: 180
Active Clients: na
Minimum Deposit: £100
Founded: 1999
Inactivity Fee: £0 pm
HQ: Reggio Emilia, Italy
EURUSD: 0.8 pips
UK 100: 6 points
Wall Street: 6 points
Gold: 0.3 points
UK Shares: 0.05%
US Shares: na
See Offer 70.50% of retail investor accounts lose money due to CFD trading with FinecoBank

Trade Nation

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: Yes
Direct Market Access: No
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: No
Futures & Options: No
Total Markets: 2,500
Active Clients: 7,500
Minimum Deposit: £5
Founded: 2020
Inactivity Fee: £0 pm
HQ: London UK
EURUSD: 0.6 pips
UK 100: 0.4 points
Wall Street: 1 point
Gold: 0.4 points
UK Shares: 0.1%
US Shares: 2¢ per share
See Offer
57.1% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Saxo Markets

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: No
Direct Market Access: Yes
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: Yes
Futures & Options: Yes
Total Markets: 19,000
Active Clients: 525,000
Minimum Deposit: £500
Founded: 1992
Inactivity Fee: £25 pq
HQ: Copenhagen, Denmark
EURUSD: 0.6 pips
UK 100: 1 point
Wall Street: 3 points
Gold: 0.6 points
UK Shares: 0.05%
US Shares: 2¢ per share
See Offer 70% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Spreadex Financials

Spreadex

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: Yes
Direct Market Access: Yes
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: No
Futures & Options: No
Total Markets: 10,000
Active Clients: 60,000
Minimum Deposit: £100
Founded: 1999
Inactivity Fee: £0
HQ: St Albans, UK
EURUSD: 0.6 pips
UK 100: 1 point
Wall Street: 2.4 points
Gold: 0.4 points
UK Shares: 0.1%
US Shares: 0.15%
Visit IG Website 69% of retail investors lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider
Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers (IBKR)

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: No
Direct Market Access: Yes
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: Yes
Futures & Options: Yes
Total Markets: 7,100
Active Clients: 607,000
Minimum Deposit: $100
Founded: 1978
Inactivity Fee: $20 pm
HQ: Connecticut, USA
EURUSD: 0.20 basis point
UK 100: 0.005%
Wall Street: 0.005%
Gold: na
UK Shares: 0.05%
US Shares: 2¢ per share
See Offer64% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with IBKR

XTB

XTB Brokers

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: No
Direct Market Access: Yes
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: Yes
Futures & Options: Yes
Total Markets: 1,981
Active Clients: 149,304
Minimum Deposit: £100
Founded: 2002
Inactivity Fee: €25 pm
HQ: Warszawa, Poland
EURUSD: 0.6 pips
UK 100: 0.9 point
Wall Street: 2 points
Gold: 0.3 points
UK Shares: 0.08%
US Shares: 0.08%
See Offer79% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

ETX Capital

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: Yes
Direct Market Access: No
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: No
Futures & Options: No
Total Markets: 5,000
Active Clients: 55,000
Minimum Deposit: £100
Founded: 2007
Inactivity Fee: £25 pm
HQ: London UK
EURUSD: 0.6 pips
UK 100: 1 point1
Wall Street: 4 points
Gold: 0.4 points
UK Shares: 0.1%
US Shares: 2¢ per share
ETX Reviews 77.4% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

eToro

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: No
Direct Market Access: No
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: No
Futures & Options: No
Total Markets: na
Active Clients: 12,000
Minimum Deposit: $50
Founded: 2006
Inactivity Fee: $10 pm
HQ: Limassol, Cyprus
EURUSD: 0.3 pips
UK 100: 1.5 points
Wall Street: 6 points
Gold: 0.45 points
UK Shares: 0.9%
US Shares: 0.9%
See Offer75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Plus 500

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: No
Direct Market Access: No
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: No
Futures & Options: No
Total Markets: 2,000
Active Clients: 199,750
Minimum Deposit: $100
Founded: 2008
Inactivity Fee: $10 pm
HQ: Haifa, Israel
EURUSD: 0.8 pips
UK 100: 2 points
Wall Street: 4 points
Gold: 0.59 points
UK Shares: na
US Shares: na
See Offer76.4% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

City Index

CFDs: Yes
Spread Betting: Yes
Direct Market Access: No
Pro Account: Yes
Investments: No
Futures & Options: No
Total Markets: 12,000
Active Clients: 126,000
Minimum Deposit: £100
Founded: 1983
Inactivity Fee: £12 pm
HQ: London UK
EURUSD: 0.5 pips
UK 100: 1 point
Wall Street: 3.5 points
Gold: 0.8 points
UK Shares: 0.18%
US Shares: 2¢ per share
See Offer74% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Silver may be the most common of the precious metals, but it is also the most versatile with many industrial, medical and scientific uses. The chart below records the consumption of silver in the USA between 2009 and 2019 in metric tons.

Source Statista.com

Jewelry was once the biggest use of silver but these days around 35% of silver consumed in the US is used in the electrical and electronics industry compared to just 6.0% that finds its way into jewelry.

Silver's physical and chemical properties make it ideal for use in electronics. For example silver paste is a key component in printed circuits that are used in RFID chips and tags, that allow modern supply and logistic chains to track goods from packaging, through to their end destination.

Like gold (which you can buy through Gold ETFs), silver is traded in troy ounces and is usually priced in US dollars. Silver prices peaked in early April 2011 at US$49.79 an ounce, and have been drifting lower ever since.

Though that downward move has been interspersed with counter trend rallies. Silver has, in the past enjoyed a correlation to gold and indeed the gold silver ratio was used by precious metal traders as a benchmark for the metal’s relative values.

However, that relationship has faded in recent times and the two metals are now able to move much more independently of each other and indeed other markets. For example, Silver has fallen by more than -27.0% in 2020 to date, at the time of writing, whilst gold is down by just -1.20% over the course of 2020 so far.

Given those sharp falls is it now time to be considering an investment in silver? And if so, through what vehicle or method?

There are too many variables and unanswered questions in the markets at the moment to try and time any investment sensibly. Probably the best advice is to wait until the price in a particular market or instrument tells us that it has finished falling or that the downtrend is set to continue.

One of the most convenient ways to trade or invest in silver is through a silver ETF

ETFs or Exchange traded funds, to give them their proper title, are open ended funds that aim to track and replicate the performance of an index, asset class or other benchmark. Unlike actively managed funds the ETF does not seek to outperform the underlying assets it tracks but rather it tries to mirror their returns regardless of whether they are positive or negative.

The open ended nature of these exchange traded funds means that their price is dependent on the performance of the instruments they track and not the supply and demand for units in the fund. The number of “units” in issue ebbs and flows with the amount of money that enters or leaves the fund, as such ETFs are said to be passive investments. ETFs have been increasing in popularity over the last fifteen years or so and they have moved well away from their equity index tracking roots, and there are now ETFs available for most strategies and asset classes.

ETFs were designed to allow those investors that didn’t have access to futures, options and derivative markets to be able trade in and gain exposure to equity indices and other products, like currencies, commodities and specialist investment strategies and factors such as growth and value.

Buying or selling ETFs

You can invest in ETFs directly with the fund managers, as you would in a mutual fund but unlike a mutual fund, you can also buy and sell the ETFs as you would any other stocks and shares that is, through a stockbroker.

ETF managers hedge their exposure by tracking the performance of the underlying asset class. In the case of commodities such as Silver that means having exposure to physical bullion or derivatives, such as futures over the same. Though the exact nature of this hedge can vary from fund to fund. So it’s always worth doing your research and seeking appropriate advice before making an investment. The good news is, that as many ETFs and ETF like products were designed with retail investors in mind there is usually plenty of information about the funds and their holdings, fee structures etc. available online.

What are the top ten most popular Silver ETFs?

The table below shows thirteen leading silver ETFS and ETNs and ranks them by AUM or assets under management, which is simply the amount of money invested in the ETF at a given point in time. The table also highlights metrics such as the fund's expense ratios (the cost of annual ownership) and the three-month total returns for each of these funds.   

Ticker

Fund Name

Issuer

AUM

Expense Ratio

3-Mo TR

SLV

iShares Silver Trust

Blackrock

$6.12B

0.50%

-7.76%

SIL

Global X Silver Miners ETF

Mirae Asset

$411.20M

0.66%

-26.57%

SIVR

Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares ETF

Aberdeen Standard Investments

$389.87M

0.30%

-7.51%

USLV

VelocityShares 3X Long Silver ETN

Credit Suisse

$280.25M

1.65%

-27.73%

SILJ

ETFMG Prime Junior Silver Miners ETF

ETFMG

$107.49M

0.69%

-43.53%

SLVP

iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF

Blackrock

$81.70M

0.39%

-26.43%

DSLV

VelocityShares 3X Inverse Silver ETN

Credit Suisse

$22.65M

1.65%

17.70%

SLVO

Credit Suisse X-Links Silver Shares Covered Call ETN

Credit Suisse

$18.57M

0.65%

-8.49%

DBS

Invesco DB Silver Fund

Invesco

$14.38M

0.79%

-8.06%

SBUG

iPath Silver ETN

Barclays Capital Inc.

$9.75M

0.40%

-8.36%

USV

ETRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Silver Total Return ETN

UBS

$3.10M

0.40%

-7.85%

ZSL

ProShares UltraShort Silver

ProShares

--

1.62%

13.40%

AGQ

ProShares Ultra Silver

ProShares

--

0.95%

-17.69%

How do Silver ETFs differ?

You will notice that some of these funds such as ticker SLVP above do not track silver itself but rather the companies that mine or produce it, As we noted in our recent article on Gold ETFs the share prices of mining companies don’t track the price of commodities in a linear fashion, because as businesses they are influenced by other factors, not just the price of their underlying product or commodities.

You can also see that some of the funds above are labelled as ETNs or Exchange Traded Notes; these are similar in nature to ETFs. However, ETNs allow for more exotic structures than vanilla ETFs.

For instance Ticker DSLV in the table above is the VelocityShares 3X Inverse Silver ETN.

This a three times leveraged vehicle whose price moves in the opposite direction to that of silver  such that a US$1.00 rise in the price of silver will mean a US$3.00 dollar (or equivalent) fall in the price of DSLV and vice versa.

Leveraged and inverse products such as these are designed for short term (intraday)speculation and trading and not for use in long term buy and hold investment strategies.

Make sure the Silver ETF product matches your plan

As with any investment or trading plan it’s important to be clear at the outset what you want to achieve through your investment or trade and to understand how the product that you invest or trade in can help you to meet that goal, or not as the case may be.

When investing in any ETF it’s also important to consider items such as liquidity by which we mean the ease of entering or exiting the fund. One way to get a handle on this is to look at the average volume traded in the ETFs under consideration. A general rule of thumb is that larger liquid issues are usually preferable to smaller funds with lower turnover.