Rising inflation expectations have attracted an unlikely investor to gold.
Richard Bernstein, who has spent more than 35 years on Wall Street, is buying gold for his clients' portfolios for the first time.
"My firm and I are not gold bugs," said Bernstein, a former chief investment strategist for Merrill Lynch who started his eponymous firm in 2009, at the Morningstar ETF conference on Thursday. "Most of the people who tell you stories about gold are people trying to sell you gold funds and gold ETFs, and those stories are not based on reality at all."
When Bernstein used to teach at New York University's Stern School of Business, he would ask his students what the difference was between gold and wampum, the shell beads American Indians used to trade.
"The correct answer was, 'There is no difference,'" he said. "It's a real asset that we ascribe some romantic value to, that kind of becomes a pseudo-currency."