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Investing in gold can be a strategic move for those managing a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF). Gold has long been valued for its stability and potential to diversify investment portfolios. If you’re considering adding gold to your SMSF, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you get started.

Understanding the Appeal of Gold in SMSFs

Gold has historically been a popular choice for investors looking to hedge against inflation and currency devaluation. Its value tends to move inversely to the stock market, making it an attractive option for diversifying an SMSF portfolio. Additionally, gold is seen as a safe haven in times of economic uncertainty.

Compliance and Legal Considerations

Before diving into gold investments, it’s crucial to understand the compliance requirements set by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act. Your SMSF’s trust deed must allow for gold investments, and your investment strategy should reflect the decision to include gold, considering the fund’s risk profile and diversification.

Types of Gold Investments for SMSFs

SMSFs can invest in gold in various forms:

  1. Physical Gold: This includes gold bullion, coins, and bars. When investing in physical gold, consider purity, storage, and insurance costs.
  2. Gold Shares or ETFs: These are shares in gold mining companies or Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that track the price of gold. They offer liquidity and ease of trading but come with different risk profiles compared to physical gold.
  3. Gold Derivatives: Options and futures are more complex and suited for experienced investors. They offer leverage but carry higher risks.

Step-by-Step Guide to Investing in Gold through Your SMSF

Step 1: Review Your Investment Strategy

Ensure that investing in gold aligns with your SMSF’s investment strategy, taking into account diversification, risk, and liquidity. The strategy should justify why gold is a suitable investment for your fund.

Step 2: Update Your Trust Deed if Necessary

If your trust deed does not currently allow for gold investments, you’ll need to update it. This process may require legal advice to ensure compliance.

Step 3: Choose the Type of Gold Investment

Decide whether you want to invest in physical gold, gold shares/ETFs, or derivatives. Each option has its pros and cons:

  • Physical Gold: Offers tangible assets but requires secure storage and insurance.
  • Gold Shares/ETFs: Provides easier liquidity and no physical storage issues but is subject to market fluctuations.
  • Derivatives: High risk and high potential return, suitable for sophisticated investors.

Step 4: Purchasing Physical Gold

If opting for physical gold, choose a reputable dealer. Consider factors like the purity of gold (99.5% purity is generally required for SMSF investments) and storage options. You can store gold in a secure facility like a bank vault or a private security facility. Remember, storing gold at home is not compliant with SMSF regulations.

Step 5: Investing in Gold Shares or ETFs

For gold shares or ETFs, use a licensed broker or an online trading platform. Research the performance and management fees of these funds before investing.

Step 6: Record Keeping and Valuation

Maintain accurate records of all transactions, including purchase invoices, storage receipts, and insurance policies. Gold investments need to be valued at market value for annual SMSF reporting.

Step 7: Ongoing Monitoring and Review

Regularly review your gold investment as part of your SMSF’s investment strategy. Monitor performance, market conditions, and ensure ongoing compliance with SMSF regulations.

Risks and Considerations

While gold can be a valuable addition to your SMSF, it’s not without risks. The price of gold can be volatile, and physical gold incurs additional costs for storage and insurance. It’s also important to consider liquidity; while gold shares and ETFs can be sold quickly, liquidating physical gold can take more time.

gold and silver round coins


Investing in gold through your SMSF can offer diversification and a hedge against inflation, but it requires careful consideration and compliance with regulations, including those related to SMSF loans. By understanding the different ways to invest in gold and the associated risks, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your SMSF’s investment strategy. As with any investment, it’s advisable to seek professional financial advice tailored to your specific circumstances, especially when considering the complexities of SMSF loans.

Remember, the key to successful gold investing in your SMSF is to stay informed, comply with regulations, and regularly review your investment strategy to ensure it continues to meet your retirement goals.

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