The iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF is an opportunity to invest in companies whose primary activity is the mining of silver. This is not to be confused with the Global Metals & Mining Producers ETF which excludes gold and silver, but includes aluminum and steel. Among the top ten holdings of the Silver Miners ETF are Coeur Mining (headquartered in Chicago), Hecla Mining from Idaho, Canada’s Tahoe Resources and Wheaton Precious Metals (in fact a silver streaming company, not a miner, and which has seen gold activity eclipse that of silver), and Fresnillo plc of Mexico. Total assets under management top $60 million. It trades as SLVP on the New York Stock Exchange.
MSCI is an independent provider of international investment and risk analytics, and the world leader in the exchange traded fund industry. (MCSI stands for Morgan Stanley and Capital Group International, the two founding shareholders of the index 1998 – 2007.) BlackRock Inc, the largest asset manager in the world, offers a series of exchange traded funds (ETFs) to match MSCI analytical segments in a vast portfolio of some 300 funds under the name of iShares. These “seek to provide long-term capital growth by replicating the performance” of the specific segment. The MSCI series is the oldest ETF offering on the books, now operating for over 20 years.
Suitability and Recommendations
It is important to note that the companies represented in the iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF only earn a majority of their revenues from silver mining, so the fund presents exposure to other precious metals (including gold) such as is the case with Fresnillo and Wheaton. Companies are located in both developed and emerging markets so risk assessment will vary through the portfolio. The ETF has attracted relatively little investor interest, which is reflected in its low expense ratio.
In contrast to other funds in which you are trading in the market value of silver, this is an investment in silver enterprises, although the two aspects are undeniably related. The great variety in company size brings an added speculative factor, along with their prospects for success or lack thereof. A degree of confidence can certainly be taken from the MSCI indexing and their inclusion in the fund by investment giant BlackRock.
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