Swiss structured products exchange Scoach has become the world's first exchange to allow trading in gold-denominated structured products and might also allow exchange traded funds (ETFs) with gold as the trading currency.

Structured products priced in gold, with the international currency code XAU, could previously only be traded over the counter, making them generally less liquid and prices less visible than for products traded on an exchange.

As of today, issuers can list structured products in gold and trade them in XAU, said Scoach spokesman Stephan Meier.

There were already structured products denominated in XAU, but previously you couldn't trade them on an exchange.

Scoach, a joint venture between Switzerland's SIX Group and Deutsche Boerse, teamed up with EFG Financial Products , the structured products arm of the Swiss private bank, to launch the new structured products.

In times of world uncertainty in relation to currencies, gold is a valid alternative. So it is only consistent to offer gold as a trading currency as well, said Christian Reuss, Chief Executive of Scoach Switzerland in a statement.

To invest in XAU-denominated structured products, investors will either need to have a precious metal or gold account, or they can buy the product using francs which their bank will then convert into XAU, Meier said.

When they sell their products the currency will be XAU. Whether they can cash this in for physical gold will depend from bank to bank, Meier said.

Meier said XAU-denominated ETFs were also a possibility. ETFs -- baskets of securities such as stocks, bonds or commodities -- have attracted floods of money as investors seek cheap, liquid exposure to sometimes hard-to-access asset classes.

Multi-currency ETFs are already listed on the SIX, allowing investors to trade in euros, dollars, yen, francs and other currencies, but there are as yet no products denominated in XAU, Meier said.

If market participants want to list ETFs denominated in XAU, the international currency code for gold, we could do that, Meier said.