How Precious Metals Royalty and Streaming Companies Create Value
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How Precious Metals Royalty and Streaming Companies Create Value

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The following content is sponsored by Empress Royalty.

Gold and Silver Royalty and Streaming Companies

Investing in precious metals often seems like it boils down to either buying the physical gold or silver or investing in shares of specific mining companies, both with their own very distinct advantages and risks.

Rather than having to settle for the simplicity of bullion or extensive research in individual mining companies, precious metals royalty and streaming companies provide investors with exposure to a diversified portfolio of miners’ revenues and produced metals.

These companies are not operators of mines. Instead, they seek to find undiscovered value by financing and working directly with miners to forge agreements that provide their shareholders with steady exposure to precious metals production.

This infographic from Empress Royalty outlines exactly how gold and silver royalty and streaming companies operate, and how they mitigate risk and create value for their shareholders.

What Do Precious Metals Royalty and Streaming Companies Do?

Royalty and streaming companies are an important part of the mining industry’s financial ecosystem, as they provide capital to mine operators and explorers in exchange for a percentage of revenue or metals produced from the mine.

Mining companies receiving this investment are able to further develop or expand projects, providing greater returns for both their shareholders and the companies with royalties and stream agreements on the projects.

These agreements typically last for the life of a mine, providing steady cash flow to royalty and stream holders while cutting out various risks associated with mining companies and operations.

“What it takes in the royalty business is patience and cash.”
– Pierre Lassonde, co-founder of the first royalty and streaming company, Franco-Nevada

The Difference Between Royalty Agreements and Streams

Royalty agreements and streams have similarities in their structure, but ultimately have some key differences.

  • Royalty agreements, also called net smelter return (NSRs), provide the royalty holder a percentage of the mine’s revenue from production, typically around 1-3%. There are also other kinds of royalty agreements like net profits interests (NPIs), where the royalty holder receives a percentage of the profits rather than the revenue.
  • Streams provide the right to purchase a certain percent (typically 5-20%) of metal production directly from the mine. Typically, streams will have an already decided purchasing price for the metal, which is usually either a fixed dollar amount or a fixed percentage of the spot price.

Royalties are more common than streams as they provide cash directly to the royalty company rather than the option to buy the physical metal which then needs to be sold.

While royalty and streams differ in what is delivered, both kinds of agreements avoid operational costs as they receive cuts from the top line.

The Growing and Diverse Landscape of Royalty and Streaming

The niche sector of gold and silver royalties has changed greatly since the founding of the original royalty business, Franco-Nevada in 1980.

While still fairly small today, the subsector has grown to have more than 10 companies with a market cap of $100M USD each, with five surpassing the $1B mark.

Here are the top 10 royalty and streaming companies by market cap:

CompanyMarket Capitalization (USD)Forward Dividend Yield
Franco-Nevada$21.6B0.91%
Wheaton Precious Metals$17.8B1.20%
Royal Gold$7.1B1.12%
Osisko Gold Royalties$1.9B1.39%
Sandstorm Gold$1.3B0.00%
Maverix Metals$738.0M0.75%
Nomad Royalty$488.6M1.82%
Metalla Royalty and Streaming$368.3M0.37%
EMX Royalty Corporation$308.0B0.00%
Abitibi Royalties$237.9M0.78%

Source: Yahoo Finance

While the three big names of Franco-Nevada, Wheaton Precious Metals, and Royal Gold tend to focus on larger and more secure ounce-producing agreements, the newer precious metals royalty companies start out by establishing a few cash-flowing agreements in their portfolio.

After this, they can begin targeting more speculative agreements with developing or exploration projects which are typically worth smaller dollar amounts and are slightly riskier or further from production, but have the potential of undiscovered upside.

Some royalty companies don’t even deal with mining companies at all, and focus exclusively on buying royalty and stream agreements held by third party companies or prospectors.

How These Companies Reduce Risk and Capture Upside

By avoiding many of the operational costs, royalty and streaming companies cut out a large amount of risk that is typically associated with mining investments.

In precious metal bull markets, it’s typical to see mining company revenues rise alongside the prices of gold and silver.

While mining companies’ operational costs will also rise, royalty and stream holders simply reap the benefits of high margins as they sell their physical metals at higher prices, despite having acquired them at lower fixed prices according to their agreement.

Another key advantage royalty and streaming companies have is their ability to diversify their portfolios and be selective with their agreements. This allows them to escape concentrated jurisdictional or asset risk and make agreements with mines which are already producing or close to production.

Since royalties and streams tend to last as long as the associated mine is operational, the holders of these agreements also benefit from any increased production or lifespan.

Royalty and Streaming Companies: Stable Exposure to Metals

As precious metals royalty and streaming companies are able to carefully choose their agreements and are overall less exposed to price downturns, they provide investors with a more stable investment in gold and silver.

Royalty and streaming companies typically have dividend policies which ensure shareholders are consistently rewarded with rising dividends, while many gold and silver mining companies cut dividends aggressively during precious metal market downturns.

As they help finance new projects and expansions, royalty and streaming companies take advantage of high margins in a unique form of financial arbitrage while providing their shareholders with stable exposure to precious metals and mining operations.

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Retirement Spending: How Much Do Americans Plan to Spend Annually?

Retirement expenses can vary significantly from person to person. In this graphic, we show the range of expected retirement spending.

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Retirement Spending

Americans’ Expected Annual Retirement Spending

Planning for retirement can be a daunting task. How much money will you need? What will your retirement spending look like?

It varies from person to person, based on factors like your health, outstanding expenses, and desired lifestyle. One helpful trick is to break it down into how much you estimate you’ll spend each year.

In this graphic from Personal Capital, we show the expected annual retirement spending of Americans. It’s the last in a three-part series that explores Americans’ spending and savings.

The Range of Retirement Spending

To determine how much people expect to spend, we used anonymized data from users of Personal Capital’s retirement planning tool. It’s worth noting that these users are proactive regarding financial planning. They also have a median net worth of $829,000 compared to the $122,000 median net worth of the U.S. population overall.

Here is the range of expected annual retirement spending.

Expected Annual Retirement SpendingPercent of People
$10K1.3%
$20K3.3%
$30K7.5%
$40K9.8%
$50K5.2%
$60K12.7%
$70K10.2%
$80K6.4%
$90K9.1%
$100K5.4%
$110K1.5%
$120K9.7%
$130K1.5%
$140K2.8%
$150K2.2%
$160K0.9%
$170K0.4%
$180K2.7%
$190K0.7%
$200K0.8%
$210K0.5%
$220K0.2%
$230K0.1%
$240K1.6%
$250K0.3%
$260K0.2%
$270K0.1%
$280K0.1%
$290K0.1%
$300K0.7%
Over $300K2.1%

Users are a mix of single individuals and people in a relationship. In all cases, expected retirement spending is what the household expects to spend annually.

The most commonly-cited expected spending amount is $60,000. Interestingly, this is roughly in line with what Americans spend annually on their credit cards. This suggests that people may be using their current bills to help gauge their future retirement spending.

Median spending, or the middle value when spending is ordered from lowest to highest, falls at $70,000. However, average spending is a fair amount higher at $100,000. This is because the average is calculated by adding up all the expected retirement spending amounts and dividing by the total number of users. Higher expected spending amounts, some in excess of $300,000 per year, skew the average calculation upwards.

Of course, given their higher net worth, it’s perhaps not surprising that many Personal Capital users expect to spend larger amounts in retirement. How does this compare to the general population? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans age 65 and older spend about $48,000 per year on average.

Chances of Retirement Success

Once you’ve determined how much you’ll spend in retirement, your next step may be to wonder if your savings are on track. Based on an assessment of Personal Capital retirement planner users, here is the breakdown of people’s chance of success.

Retirement Spending Chance of Success

The good news: more than half of people have an 80% or better chance of meeting their retirement spending goals. This means they have sufficient financial assets and are contributing enough, regularly enough, to meet their expected spending amount. The not so good news: one in five people has a less than 50% chance of meeting their goals.

This problem is even more troublesome in the overall U.S. population. Only 50% of people have a retirement account, and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimates half of today’s workers are unprepared for retirement.

Setting Your Own Retirement Spending Goals

While seeing the goals of others is a starting point, your annual retirement spending will be very specific to you. Not sure where to start?

Financial planners typically recommend that you should plan on needing 70-80% of your pre-retirement income in retirement. This is because people generally no longer have certain expenses, such as commuting or childcare costs, when they retire. However, keep in mind your expenses could be higher if you still have a mortgage, encounter unforeseen medical expenses, or want to splurge on things like travel when you retire.

It requires some upfront planning, but being realistic about your retirement spending can give you confidence in your financial future.

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Navigating Market Volatility: Why ETFs Are Critical Tools

Historically, the trading volume of ETFs has spiked during market volatility. We explore why ETFs are preferred by institutional investors.

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ETFs During Market Volatility

Download the ETF Snapshot for free.

Why ETFs Are Critical Tools During Market Volatility

Investors experienced record-breaking volatility in 2020. During COVID-19 market turbulence, the CBOE Volatility index surpassed the previous peak seen in 2008.

In this infographic from iShares, we explore how ETFs rose in popularity during this time—and the characteristics that make them particularly useful during market volatility. It’s the first in a five-part series covering key insights from the ETF Snapshot, a comprehensive report on how institutional investors manage volatility.

The Methodology

To assess how institutional investors navigated this volatility, Institutional Investor published a report in 2021 based on a survey of 766 decision makers. Respondents were from various types of organizations, firm sizes, and regions.

For instance, here is how responses broke down by location:

  • 21% Asia Pacific
  • 36% North America
  • 29% Europe, Middle East and Africa
  • 14% Latin America

Here’s what the survey found.

Rebalancing During Market Volatility

In total, 90% of institutional investors said they rebalanced their portfolios between the first and third quarter of 2020. How did they do it?

Among all financial tools, ETFs were the most popular vehicle for rebalancing. For instance, ETFs were used by 70% of investors globally, compared to the 51% who used mutual funds or derivatives.

The popularity of ETFs was evident in market activity. From January to March 2020, ETFs as a proportion of total equity trading volume increased.

 January 2020February 2020March 2020
VIX142058
ETF trading volume$95B$136B$240B
ETF as % of equity volume26%27%36%

Based on an average of daily values. Reflects all listed U.S. ETFs across all asset classes.

This trend is true historically as well, as ETF trading volume has typically spiked during periods of volatility.

Want more institutional insights into ETFs?

Global Forecast 2022

Download The ETF Snapshot for free.

The Attributes Driving ETF Usage

Why are ETFs preferred by institutional investors? They offer three key characteristics:

  1. Liquidity: ETFs make it much simpler to buy and sell large portfolios instantly, instead of trading individual securities.
  2. Transparency: Among multi-asset managers, transparency of holdings is the top reason for using ETFs. A clear holdings breakdown helps these managers achieve exposures to particular asset classes, sectors, and styles.
  3. Efficiency: ETFs can be traded quickly. They typically also have lower transaction costs relative to the underlying basket of securities.

Based on these key benefits, ETFs were an invaluable tool during extreme market volatility.

Growing Momentum

ETFs are also poised to help institutional investors navigate the market going forward. Globally, 65% of institutional investors plan to increase their use of ETFs in the future.

In fact, this is already coming to fruition. As of September 2021, the average daily trading volume of ETFs was up more than 5% compared to 2020.

Evidently, ETFs play a critical part in helping institutional investors achieve their goals.

Download the ETF snapshot for free.

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