(This post appeared on Jesse’s Café Américain.)
Sprott Asset Management is involved with a new physical gold bullion trust, now trading with the ticker symbol “PHYS.”
The IPO for the fund was last Friday 26 February, with a reported 40 million shares outstanding at 10 $Canadian. The trust is not yet listed in Toronto, but is actively traded in the States. There is no hard news yet on how much of the IPO was held by underwriters.
As you can see, there is still some key information missing. The cash assets less expenses of the trust are not yet listed. And more importantly, the trust lists only 13,686 ounces of gold owned, with a market value of approximately US$15 million.
According to the prospectus, the fund will store its gold in Canada, is based in Ontario, but will calculating its NAV in US$.
IF the trust has sold all its units, they are in a cash position of approximately $390 million. Their prospectus commits them to holding 97% of their assets in London Ready gold bars. And they are only listed $15 million in current gold assets.
Nine out of 10 Americans might notice that the Sprott trust needs to buy gold in the size of most small central bank purchases, if they have not secured delivery already. And again according to the Prospectus, the trust does not traffic in paper and derivatives.
I am more familiar with trusts and funds taking a more incremental approach in their bullion purchases, and the negotiation for delivery before the units are sold in size. I am not sure what the case is here. It obviously is worth watching. Spot gold has risen quite a bit since last Friday. There is not enough data to suggest a correlation.
I have heard that the lead underwriter is holding some of the proceeds of the IPO until the gold is purchased. Its a big impact to the gold market in the short term if this is the case. Lots of arbitrage and front-running potential some might say.
Above and beyond the short term interest in potential physical gold buying pressure, the Trust has some promising innovations in terms of holdings and transparency as compared to some other similar funds.
What I found appealing, subject to details, is the ability for individual unit holders to redeem their shares for delivery of as little as one bar of London Ready bullion, at the NAV but subject to delivery fees. This will obviously have its appeal for those who wish to add bullion for retirement accounts, with an eye to taking physical delivery at some point without incurring storage fees which can be significant over time.
I know some ETF writers are working on this. It is not really my area of recent knowledge, and I have to admit that the IPO completely escaped my attention, although I did know it was coming some months ago.
Disclosure: I bought some units yesterday despite not feeling comfortable yet about being able to calculate the NAV for myself. It was listed by the company on their site at less than 2 per cent which is advantageous and more than reasonable.