By Sue Roban
Exchange-traded funds pioneer Graham Tuckwell has to stop and think when the conversation about his own portfolio turns to gold. “I’m not sure there would be anybody else in the world with a bigger exposure to gold as a percentage of their assets,” he muses.
Tuckwell, who is estimated to be worth $559 million on the BRW 2016 Rich List, made his fortune off the back of the precious metal after masterminding and setting up the world’s first exchange-traded fund tracking the gold price. That was 13 years ago, and even though his London-based ETF Securities Group has expanded to provide a range of exchange-traded products, gold still accounts for $12 billion of its $21 billion asset base.
Tuckwell, who retains 57 per cent of the private company, also holds 5 per cent of his overall wealth in its london-listed gold security GBS. In light of world events and flatlining interest rates, he remains very bullish about its outlook. “People turn to gold in times of uncertainty and right now we are seeing massive political uncertainty,” he says.
Despite his wealth, the millionaire philanthropist, who made news recently for handing over the largest personal donation to an Australian university ($100 million to ANU to augment the $50 million scholarship program he and his wife set up three years ago), lives by his mantra of keeping it simple.
He is a fervent evangelist for the passive option of low-cost ETF-style investments, which track the index of a selected market, over actively managed funds. “There are any number of studies out there showing that, on average, after fees, most people just don’t beat the market so why bother,” he says.
He backs this up by having the vast bulk of his wealth vested in ETF Securities Group and its leading Gold ETF, with the rest in cash.