Franklin Templeton Gold and Precious Metals Fund Review

Franklin Templeton Gold and Precious Metals Fund Review

Dipping your toes into the investment pool? There's something timeless and magnetic about gold and precious metals. These assets have not only stood the test of time but have also been a refuge for investors during turbulent market periods. 

Now, imagine a big player like Franklin Templeton offering a special fund just for these shiny assets - that's the Franklin Templeton Gold and Precious Metals Fund for you! 

With the financial landscape constantly evolving, it's crucial to understand where such a fund fits in. Let's dive in and uncover the ins and outs of this fund, backed by our hands-on experience and deep-dive research.

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What is the Franklin Templeton Gold and Precious Metals Fund?

franklin templeton gold fund website

The Franklin Templeton Gold and Precious Metals Fund is a specialized investment vehicle that primarily targets gold and precious metals mining companies. At its core, the fund's strategy is to identify and invest in companies that show robust growth potential.

This approach is not limited by the size of the company, meaning both large, established mining corporations and smaller, emerging ones can be part of the fund's portfolio. 

The fund's investment approach is a harmonious blend of fundamental analysis and a deep understanding of the global precious metals market. Fundamental analysis involves evaluating a company's financial health, its competitive position in the industry, and other economic indicators.

This ensures that the fund's investments are sound and have a strong foundation. Coupled with this is the fund's expertise in the global precious metals market, which allows it to navigate the complexities and volatilities inherent in this sector. 

Over its operational years, this fund has weathered various market conditions. From soaring gold prices to market downturns, the fund has experienced it all. Yet, its consistent aim has been to offer value to its investors, ensuring that their investments grow over time.   

With that said, it's essential to note that while the fund has its distinct advantages, there are other funds in the market that cater specifically to precious metals enthusiasts.

Some of these funds might offer more specialized investment options or a broader range of assets within the precious metals domain.

Does this Fund Offer Gold and Precious Metals as Investment Options?

Yes, the fund provides a diverse range of investment options that revolve around gold and other precious metals. The primary mode of investment is through shares in mining companies.

These companies can range from those involved in the exploration and extraction of gold to those that mine other precious metals like silver, platinum, and palladium.

man looking at a clipboard

Investing in shares of mining companies offers a unique set of benefits. For one, it provides investors with exposure to the precious metals market without the need to handle or store physical metals. 

Additionally, as these companies grow and become more profitable, the value of their shares can increase, leading to potential capital appreciation for investors.

However, like all investments, there are risks involved. The metals market is known for its volatility, and this can affect the stock prices of mining companies.

Factors like geopolitical events, supply and demand dynamics, and global economic conditions can influence metal prices. Therefore, while the potential for growth exists, there's also a risk of capital loss.

It's also worth noting that investing in mining shares is different from investing in physical metals. Physical metals, like gold bars or coins, have intrinsic value and can act as a hedge against inflation or economic downturns. 

In contrast, mining shares are affected by both the performance of the company and the metals market. As a result, it's crucial for investors to understand these nuances and make informed decisions.

Can You Buy Physical Gold Coins and Bars Through the Fund?

The Franklin Templeton Gold and Precious Metals Fund is primarily designed to provide investors with exposure to the gold market through mining shares.

This means that the fund invests in companies that are involved in the mining and production of gold, rather than in the physical metal itself.  When we talk about mining shares, we're referring to stocks of companies that mine gold.

many gold coins and bars

These shares can be influenced by various factors, including the overall health of the company, its operational efficiency, geopolitical issues in mining regions, and the global demand for gold. 

Investing in these shares offers a different set of risks and rewards compared to owning physical gold. For instance, if a mining company discovers a new gold reserve, the value of its shares might surge.

Conversely, operational challenges or declining gold prices can negatively impact the share value.  For those specifically interested in owning physical gold, such as coins or bars, the Franklin Templeton Gold and Precious Metals Fund might not be the right fit.

Physical gold offers direct exposure to gold's market value and can be held as coins, bars, or jewelry. It serves as a tangible asset that can be stored, sold, or even passed down through generations.

Investors keen on this form of investment would need to look at other avenues, such as purchasing from bullion dealers or mints. 

It's essential to understand the distinction between owning shares in gold mining companies and owning the metal itself. As indicated by our tests, while the fund does grant access to the gold market, it's an indirect route through the equity of mining companies.

Does it Offer Precious Metals in IRAs?

Yes, the fund can be included in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). IRAs are tax-advantaged accounts designed to help individuals save for retirement.

The advantage of diversifying an IRA with precious metals, especially gold, is that it can act as a hedge against inflation and currency fluctuations.

cartoon of woman looking at taxes and a calculator

Gold often retains its value over time, making it a stable asset in turbulent economic conditions. 

However, it's crucial to note that when we talk about the fund's inclusion in IRAs, the exposure to precious metals is still via mining shares and not the physical metals. 

This means that the IRA would hold shares in companies that mine and produce gold and other precious metals, rather than the metals themselves.

There are specific IRAs known as Gold IRAs or Precious Metals IRAs that allow investors to hold physical gold or other precious metals. These IRAs have particular storage and custodian requirements, ensuring the safekeeping of the physical assets.

If an investor's primary goal is to have physical metals in their retirement account, they might consider setting up a gold IRA with a specialized custodian. 

Incorporating precious metals, be it through mining shares or physical assets, into an IRA can provide diversification and potentially safeguard against economic downturns.

Through our practical knowledge, we've seen that while the FT fund offers a unique approach to precious metals investment, it's essential for investors to be clear about their investment goals and the nature of their IRA holdings.

What Physical Gold is on Offer?

Physical Bullion

Physical bullion is the tangible representation of gold in the form of bars and coins. When we talk about owning gold, this is often the image that comes to mind: shimmering gold bars stacked in a secure vault or gold coins gleaming in one's hand.

The allure of physical bullion is its tangibility; it's a real, physical asset that you can hold, unlike stocks or digital assets. 

The bullion market operates globally, with a vast network of buyers and sellers trading in precious metals, including gold and silver. This market operates 24 hours a day, with transactions primarily taking place over-the-counter (OTC) or on exchanges like the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA).   

When buying gold on the spot market, it's crucial to understand that the purchase price of a gold bar isn't exactly the quoted spot price of gold. There's a small premium added to the spot price to cover various costs, such as manufacturing, transport, insurance, and the dealer’s margin.

The size of this premium can vary based on the size, quantity, and brand of bars being purchased. Generally, the larger the bullion bar, the lower the premium.

However, it's essential to note that the FT fund doesn't offer an avenue for direct investment in physical bullion. Instead, their focus is on providing exposure to the gold market through mining shares.

While mining shares can indeed offer growth potential, they come with their own set of risks.  These risks differ significantly from those associated with owning physical bullion.

For instance, mining shares are influenced by factors like the operational efficiency of mining companies, geopolitical issues in mining regions, and overall stock market trends.

What’s a Gold Futures Contract?

A gold futures contract is a fascinating financial instrument. At its core, it's a legally binding agreement to buy or sell a specific amount of gold at a predetermined price on a set future date. These contracts are standardized by futures exchanges in terms of quantity, quality, time, and place of delivery. The only variable is the price.

These contracts serve two primary market participants: hedgers and speculators. Hedgers use futures contracts to manage price risk on an expected purchase or sale of the physical metal.

For instance, a jeweler concerned about rising gold prices might buy a futures contract to lock in a current price. 

If gold prices rise as feared, any loss from purchasing gold at a higher market price could be offset by profits from the futures contract. On the other hand, speculators have no interest in taking delivery. They're in the game to profit from price fluctuations.

Trading in gold futures offers several advantages. Firstly, they provide financial leverage, allowing traders to control a large market value product with only a fraction of its total value. For example, one futures contract for gold controls 100 troy ounces.

If gold is trading at $600 per ounce, the contract's value is $60,000. However, due to exchange margin rules, the margin required to control one contract might be only a fraction of that, say $4,050. This leverage means that for every $1, a trader can control roughly $15 worth of gold.

Another advantage is the flexibility futures contracts offer. They make it just as easy to initiate a short position (betting on a price decrease) as a long position (betting on a price increase). This flexibility is particularly valuable in volatile markets.

Additionally, since futures contracts are traded on centralized exchanges, they eliminate counterparty risks, ensuring that both parties in the contract fulfill their obligations.

However, it's worth noting that the FT fund does not engage in gold futures contracts. Their primary focus remains on mining shares, which, as mentioned earlier, come with their own set of risks and rewards.

What Does FT Fund Charge for Its Gold Offerings?

The FT fund, like many investment funds, operates with a structured fee system for its gold and precious metals offerings. These fees can be broken down as follows:

Management Fees: These are fees that are paid out of fund assets to the fund’s investment adviser for the investment portfolio management, as well as any other management fees payable to the fund’s investment adviser or its affiliates, and administrative fees payable to the investment adviser that are not included in the "Other Expenses" category.

Administrative Costs: These are the operational expenses of the fund, excluding the management fees. They include expenses such as legal fees, audit fees, trustee fees, and other miscellaneous expenses that the fund incurs. 

Other Associated Charges: This category might include transaction costs, custodial fees, registration fees, and other expenses. These are costs associated with the buying and selling of the fund's assets and are essential for its operation.


Gold and precious metals have always been intriguing investment options. The Franklin Templeton Gold and Precious Metals Fund offers a unique way to tap into this market through mining shares.

While the fund has its advantages, our research indicates that there might be better options for those keen on direct exposure to precious metals. 

As always, thorough research and understanding are key to making informed investment decisions. We hope this review has shed light on the offerings of the FT fund and helps you make a more informed decision.

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