The golden anchor is a way to remove virtually all counterparty risk while still staying reasonably well diversified. Buy a large chunk of gold, place it in a secure location and short most of this position on paper. Then go out and use the money from the shorting to buy a diversified portfolio as you normally would.
In today’s risky world, with governments everywhere competing for the biggest fiat-funded bailout, precious metals should be a part of any diversified portfolio. However, most investments professionals only recommend 10-20% of the portfolio’s net worth to be in precious metals. And most people have such precious metals investments in either ETFs or certificates. I agree that 20% is probably enough of a weighting towards silver and gold, provided you have other commodities such as oil and food in your portfolio. I’m not a certified financial advisor, but here’s what I would consider fair diversification:
- 20% Stocks (Mostly tech companies, as they create additional value for tomorrow)
- 20% Real estate (Most people far exceed this by owning their own home, only needed if you rent)
- 20% Commodities (Energy and food)
- 20% Cash (Several currencies if possible)
- 20% Gold and silver (Actually take delivery of your gold and get your own bank safe deposit box to store it)
Why do I want you to take delivery of the gold and silver? Because as things have developed, there is a new type of risk out there, that threatens to take out your entire portfolio: What if the stock exchange closes? What if the bank takes a prolonged bank holiday? 60% of your portfolio is rendered unavailable if your stock exchange or broker closes. Another 20% is unavailable if currencies are destroyed. If your gold and silver only exists in your broker’s computer or as a fancy piece of paper, you are last in line when the limited quantity of actual gold is divided. What if it is overbooked?
Having 20% of your portfolio in gold in a vault that only you have the key to open, makes you extremely unlikely to lose everything in any scenario. But why settle for 20%? Is there a way to maintain diversification and have less counterparty risk? What I propose is to own more gold, say 80% of your portfolio.
By now you have way too much gold to be properly diversified. So you go to your broker and short gold ETFs for 60% of your portfolio’s total value. Your net position in gold is now 20%. Your 60% stock portfolio is enough to maintain margin requirements for the 60% short gold position. In the event of large upward moves in the gold price, you may need to sell some of your gold to maintain the short paper position. You are still net long on gold, so such moves are to your benefit still. If gold goes down, you may want to buy more as the gold in the vault no longer covers 80% of your portfolio, but you’re not forced to do so.
There is a slight premium on owning physical gold as opposed to certificates. And there is a larger spread between bid and ask when selling. This amounts to what I would call an ‘insurance premium’ that you pay to use the above strategy. But even if the markets close or your broker capsizes, you have access to 80% of your portfolio in the vault. Depending on whether your selected currencies are still worth anything, your 20% cash position is ready as well.