I have previously offered an explanation that would rationalize this (apparent) conflict of interest: GLD is nothing but a leveraged sham used to fund HSBC's massive shorting operations. My reasoning here is very straightforward. HSBC has two massive positions/obligations in the gold market: it's in-house short position and its role as (long) custodian for GLD. However, only one of these two positions is ever audited. It would be a classic "shell game" except, instead of using three shells, HSBC only needs two. Immediately the conflict of interest disappears. Instead of sabotaging its own multi-billion dollar short position and subsidizing small investors, it would be using those small investors as chumps -- to fund the massive shorting operations that undermine their own (long) investments. Which model is more plausible to readers: HSBC acting as a gold philanthropist, and subsidizing small investors against its own (massive) financial interests; or HSBC acting as a gold-predator, using the money of small investors against themselves? In eerie, disturbing symmetry; the scenario is identical in the silver market -- with JP Morgan ( JPM) penciled in instead of HSBC -- except for one significant difference: global silver inventories/stockpiles have collapsed. With no (known) large, national stockpiles of silver we have JP Morgan claiming to have possession of both of the world's two largest holdings of silver. Here we have multiple layers of (apparent) illegitimacy. Along with the same conflict of interest with SLV that HSBC faces in the gold market, we have the sheer, grossly excessive size of these holdings. In a world starved for silver, JP Morgan claims to be holding a long and short position, both of which are more than twice as large as the Hunt Brothers' position in the silver market -- when they were charged and convicted with attempting to corner the market. The major difference between JP Morgan's massive concentration(s) in the silver market today and that of the Hunt Brothers is that back at the end of the 1970s when the Hunt Brothers made their effort at cornering the market, global silver inventories were more than 10 times larger. This makes it much less plausible that a single entity could be in possession of both of the world's two largest stockpiles of silver.