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 and 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. Some of these ETFs are structured as exchange-traded notes (ETNs), which are unsecured debt securities that track an underlying index of securities and trade like a stock. Silver ETNs invest in futures contracts that track the price of silver.

The silver ETF universe is comprised of about 4 distinct ETFs, excluding inverse and leveraged ETFs. The best-performing silver ETF for Q1 2020, based on performance over the past year, is the iShares Silver Trust (SLV). We examine the 3 best silver ETFs below. All numbers in this story are as of February 16, 2020.

iShares Silver Trust (SLV)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 13.0%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.50%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: N/A
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 11,923,887
  • Assets Under Management: $6,435.1 million
  • 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.

Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares ETF (SIVR)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 13.0%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.30%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: N/A
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 143,897
  • Assets Under Management: $403.9 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.

E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Silver ETN (USV)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 12.8%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.40%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: N/A
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 1,161
  • Assets Under Management: $3.3 million
  • Inception Date: April 1, 2008
  • Issuing Company: UBS

USV is structured as an ETN, which invests in futures-based silver contracts providing exposure to silver without any physical holdings.