Silver exchange-traded funds (ETFs) closely track the price of silver and are generally more liquid than owning the precious metal itself. Like other precious metals, silver ETFs are favored by investors seeking a hedge against inflation or a safe haven in times of market turmoil. Silver ETFs are generally structured as grantor trusts, a typical structure for funds whose assets are a single commodity held physically in a vault. This grantor trust structure allows each share represented by the ETF the specific right to a particular quantity of silver, measured in ounces.​​​

The silver ETF universe is comprised of just 2 distinct ETFs, excluding inverse and leveraged ETFs and ones with assets of less than $50 million. The best performing silver ETF for Q3 2020, based on performance over the past year, is the Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares ETF (SIVR). We examine these two silver ETFs below. All numbers in this story are as of May 13, 2020.

Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares ETF (SIVR)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 4.5%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.30%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: N/A
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 397,686
  • Assets Under Management: $418.2 million
  • Inception Date: July 24, 2009
  • Issuing Company: Aberdeen Standard Investments

SIVR is structured as a grantor trust, 100% physically backed by silver bullion and coins held in a vault on behalf of investors. With this physical backed strategy, this fund does not utilize futures contracts. Like other silver ETFs, while SIVR may be a useful safe haven during market uncertainty, it may not be attractive as a long-term, buy-and-hold investment.

iShares Silver Trust (SLV)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 4.2%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.50%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: N/A
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 27,685,368
  • Assets Under Management: $6.6 billion
  • Inception Date: April 28, 2006
  • Issuing Company: iShares

SLV is structured as a grantor trust, 100% physically backed by silver bullion and coins held in a vault on behalf of investors. In this sense, it is essentially the same as SIVR. But the two funds offer slightly different expense ratios, and vary dramatically in both assets under management and average daily volume.