A complete guide to buying, selling and investing in gold

Learn more about gold, why it is seen as 'safe', and how you can invest today.

Updated

Fact checked
Hargreaves Lansdown Hargreaves Lansdown

Best for beginners (Capital at risk)

IG IG

Best for US shares (Capital at risk)

eToro eToro

Best for social trading (Capital at risk)

Interactive Investor Interactive Investor

Best for online platform (Capital at risk)

You might have noticed that global stocks have taken a hit in 2020 and prove to be pretty volatile. This is mainly due to coronavirus while everyone panics all over the world about where to put their money.

For centuries, gold has been a popular store of wealth. In turbulent times, you might notice people talking about gold as an investment. During times like this, you often see the price of gold rising, while other stocks are falling.

Ways to invest in gold

There are a number of ways you can invest in or buy gold, from physically buying gold bullion or gold coins, to investing in gold-related stocks (such as mining companies), exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or gold derivatives like futures.

The main ways to invest or buy gold are:

  • Gold-mining stocks
  • Gold ETFs
  • Physical gold (gold bullion/jewellery)
  • Gold futures/contracts for difference (CFDs)

Buy gold mining stocks

One option is to invest in gold mining firms. You can find many large firms listed on the FTSE 100. Equally the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) can offer access to smaller, newer enterprises. Through investing in mining stocks, you’re directly linking your capital to the success of these companies, and the changing value and price of gold.

While heavily correlated, the performance of gold mining stocks will not perfectly match the price of gold. Unlike the resource itself, companies are subject to a number of external factors such as employees taking strike action, geo-political implications for the area, natural disasters, and business decisions.

Pros

  • You can pick and choose a range of stocks through a Stocks and Shares ISA, and cash out when you want.
Cons

  • Like any investment, mining stocks are not immune to risk.

Gold exchange traded funds (ETFs)

ETFs are another option worth considering. ETFs give access to a whole load of assets, without having to put all of your money into one or two firms. If you need to brush up on ETFs, check out our guide.

Simply, ETFs allow investors to minimise risk, while taking advantage of the performance and general popularity of a particular sector – in this case gold.

There are loads of gold-based ETFs to select from, covering off a whole host of different companies within the industry. There are mining companies, exploration companies, as well as the actual asset itself. Gold ETFs are a pretty good choice for those who are new to investing, as well as those looking to secure their portfolio.

Pros

  • ETFs allow for instant diversification across the whole gold industry, at a low price.
Cons

  • By placing your money in an ETF, you are trusting your gold portfolio to a robo—adviser, and so you naturally relinquish some control over the split of assets.

Gold ETFs in the UK

ETFTickerAnnual costNumeric
iShares Physical Gold ETCSGLN0.25%
Invesco Physical Gold ETCSGLD0.29%
WisdomTree Physical GoldPHAU0.39%
Gold Bullion Securities LtdGBS0.40%
WisdomTree Physical Swiss GoldSGBS0.19%
WisdomTree Physical Gold GBP Daily HedgedGBSP0.39%
WisdomTree Physical Gold GBPPHGP0.39%
WisdomTree Physical Precious MetalsPHPM0.44%

If the trading platform you use has access to the US stock market and other international markets, you should also be able to invest in a range of foreign gold ETFs.

Buy solid gold

For some people, part of the appeal of gold is being able to hold it. If you’re one of those people then good news, buying solid gold has never been easier. Traditionally, you can buy gold Bullion via the Royal Mint.

The Royal Mint is the government owned mint that produced the UK’s coins. Head to The Royal Mint site and you’ll be able to choose from a range of Gold Bars. From 1g up to 1kg, you can buy it online today.

Alternatively, there are plenty of UK based dealerships that will buy and sell gold for competitive prices.

Before you buy physical gold, you should make sure of the following:

  1. You have a way to store it securely. If you plan on holding the gold yourself, you should have a safe or other secure way to store the gold.
  2. The gold is real and certified. Make sure the seller is legitimate and that the gold has been tested before buying.
  3. The price is fair. It’s important that you are paying a market rate, or at least a price that you believe represents good value.

If you want to own gold but not store it yourself, many dealers will sell it and then store it on your behalf. Instead of receiving the physical gold, you will receive a gold certificate for the amount you bought.

However, these certificates are only as good as the company that issues them, and it may be hard to sell off your gold, e

Pros

  • You have a tangible asset which is yours to hold, store, or pass on to someone else.
Cons

  • You will need to factor in the cost of secure storage and insurance if you plan to build up a stockpile of gold. These costs will stack up over time, even if the value of your gold decreases.

Compare providers for access to gold ETFs and more

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
Fineco
Fineco
£2.95
£2.95
Zero platform fee
Fineco Bank is good for share traders and investors looking for a complete platform and wide offer. Your first 50 trades are free with Fineco, until 30/09/2020. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.
IG
0% commission on US shares, and £3 on UK shares
From £5
£0 - £24 per quarter
IG is good for experienced traders, and offers learning resources for beginners, all with wide access to shares, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund & Share Account
£11.95
£5.95
Transfer out fee
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. Capital at risk.
eToro Free Stocks
0% commission, no markup, no ticket fee, no management fee
N/A
Withdrawal fee & GDP to USD deposit conversion
eToro is good for social trading - letting you mirror the portfolios of other traders. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor
From £7.99 on the Investor Service Plan
From £7.99 on the Investor Service Plan
No transfer fees or exit fees. £9.99 a month on the Investor Service Plan
Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.45%
£11.95
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got everything you'll need, from beginners to experienced investors. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor stocks and shares ISA
£100 or £25 a month
£119.88
£7.99
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. Capital at risk.
Legal & General stocks and shares ISA
Legal & General stocks and shares ISA
£100 or £20 a month
0.61%
N/A
Legal & General is a big financial services company which offers insurance, lifetime mortgage, pensions and stocks and shares ISAs. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA
No minimum deposit requirement
0.12%
£8.00
Saxo Markets offers a wide access to a range of stocks, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell stocks and shares ISA
£500
0.25%
£9.95
AJ Bell is a good all-rounder for people who to choose between shares, funds, ISAs and pensions. Capital at risk.
Fidelity stocks and shares ISA
£1000 or a regular savings plan from £50
0.35%
£10.00
Fidelity is another good all-rounder, offering a good package at a decent price. Not suited for trading shares. Capital at risk.
Moneybox stocks and shares ISA
Moneybox stocks and shares ISA
£1
0.45%
Fixed subscripction fee of £1 per month
Moneybox offers a general investment account, Lifetime ISA and Junior ISA and lets you manage your money with an easy-to-use app. Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum investment Choose from Annual fee Brand description
PensionBee Pension
No minimum
7 funds
0.5% - 0.95%
Pension Bee is a newbie in the pension market. It helps consolidate your pension plans into one place. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Pension
£100
2,500 funds
0-0.45%
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got three different retirement options. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor Pension
£25/month
Over 2,500 funds
£10/month
interactive investor is a flat-fee platform, which makes it cost effective for larger portfolios. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets Pension
Saxo Markets Pension
£10
Over 11,000 funds
No annual fee
Saxo Markets gives flexibility and control over your investment strategy. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Pension
£1,000
Over 2,000 funds
0.05-0.25%
AJ Bell has two different pension options, a self managed pension and one that is managed for you. Capital at risk.
Moneybox Pension
£1
3 funds
0.15% - 0.45% charged monthly
Manage your money with an easy-to-use Moneybox app. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm Pension
Moneyfarm Pension
0.35%-0.75%
7 funds
£1,500 (initial investment)
Moneyfarm has pensions that are matched against your risk appetite, goals and planned retirement date. Capital at risk.
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All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Capital is at risk.

Why is gold a ‘safe haven’?

There are many reasons people view gold a safe haven for investors. For example:

  • Gold is a physical asset
  • It is not easily created or destroyed
  • It does not change (it is resistant to oxidation, gold looks the same hundreds of years from now)
  • Cultural and historical value – gold predates modern currency, and has always been seen as beautiful and special
  • This is partly why governments turn to gold in times of financial crisis, which in itself adds to gold’s stability

How much is gold worth now?

What is a safe haven?

A safe haven investment is typically stable in times of market volatility. A safe haven is also useful for investors looking to diversify their portfolio, decreasing exposure to riskier assets or investments.

Frequently asked questions

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Capital is at risk.

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