Category Archives: Privacy

BullionStar Highlights Advantages To Storing Precious Metals In Singapore

These days, the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore is a popular destination for the storage of gold and other precious metals. A number of private vaults can be found there, as well as safe deposit boxes outside the banking system.

Last week, the Singapore bullion dealer BullionStar published a blog post entitled “Gold Demand in the Singapore Bullion Market” in which the advantages of storing precious metals in the “Switzerland of Asia” were highlighted. From BullionStar’s Blog on December 11:

One of the early initiatives that transformed Singapore into a precious metals trading and storage hub came in February 2012, when during a budgetary speech to parliament, finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced that the importation and supply of investment-grade gold and other precious metals in Singapore would become exempt from Singapore’s Goods and Services Tax (GST)…

Apart from the GST exemption on investment precious metals, there are a number of other jurisdictional advantages that have supported the growth of Singapore as a gold trading and storage hub, and that reinforce the logic for buying gold and storing gold in Singapore.

In Singapore, there are no other taxes when buying gold, silver or other precious metals. This means no capital gains tax, no other sales tax, no death tax, in short no taxes. There are no reporting requirements when buying or selling gold or silver or other precious metals in Singapore. This means no reporting requirements to any Singaporean authority and no reporting requirements to any international authority.

There is no GST when importing gold and other precious metals into Singapore, or exporting gold or other precious metals out of the country. Singapore is also famed for its strong rule of law, making the country one of the safest and most secure countries on earth to buy and store gold. If taking delivery or selling precious metals, it is quite safe, apart from the usual precautions, to walk in and out of bullion dealer shops in Singapore carrying your precious metals.

Furthermore, the Singapore legal system is very protective of private property rights, and the nation of Singapore has strong military capabilities, both of which are reassuring when storing gold or silver in the city-state. Finally, because it’s a thriving gold trading hub, with a buoyant wholesale and retail bullion market, Singapore has a very well-developed gold storage and vaulting infrastructure, and is very well serviced by secure transport companies

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

An informative blog post about Singapore’s growth as a precious metals trading and storage hub, which can be read here on BullionStar’s website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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‘Asset Protection’ Joins ‘Offshore’ In Coming Under Attack?

Yesterday I noted the negative connotation associated with the word “offshore” these days.

Apparently, the term “asset protection” is increasingly being demonized as well.

Mark Nestmann, an expert in both these matters, shared his observations about growing villification back on September 26, 2017, in an article on The Nestmann Group’s website. Nestmann wrote in “‘Asset Protection’ Isn’t a Scam”:

In the last few months, I’ve noticed an increasing stream of articles in the professional journals I read with the same theme: only tax evaders, fraudsters, and criminals pursue asset protection.

If I were a trial lawyer who earned his living by suing defendants with deep pockets, I might feel the same way. But you shouldn’t…

Nestmann put forth some solid arguments in defense of Americans’ legal use of asset protection, which includes offshoring.

An interesting and insightful read, which you can view here on The Nestmann Group’s site.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: The mention of a particular business should not be construed as confirmation of services claimed to be provided or any sort of recommendation. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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‘Paradise Papers’ And Offshore Asset Protection Going Forward

Some time ago, an overseas safe deposit box facility contacted me about removing them from that list of offshore private vaults I maintain on this blog’s sister site.

The concern was over the use of the word “offshore” with the website- and the negative connotation associated with it these days.

I sympathized with the vault operator and happily complied with the request.

I was already well-acquainted with the demonization of pretty much anything having “offshore” attached to it while creating/naming the Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes blog and Offshore Private Vaults website four years ago. However, I was comfortable with the use of the word with these projects since the secured storage of lawfully-obtained/owned, privately-held belongings outside the United States (plenty of legitimate reasons to do so, and perfectly legal per Uncle Sam) is different from offshore banking (no financial transactions are being conducted).

Offshore finance is under attack today as the so-called “Paradise Papers”– “a huge leak of financial documents that throw light on the top end of the world of offshore finance” as BBC News calls it- makes headlines in the legacy media.

But note what the BBC also said concerning this material. Tucked away in a “Paradise Papers reporting team” web article yesterday:

The vast majority of the transactions involve no legal wrongdoing.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And there’s this “pop-up” accompanying a piece by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reportedly overseeing the investigation:

Please read the statement below before searching. There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While the “Paradise Papers” may result in additional vilification of anything “offshore” among consumers of mainstream media, likely users of offshore products could shrug it off (while keeping in mind the importance of following the law). It’s conceivable this group ends up dismissing the matter after they contemplate/investigate potential agendas and/or influences.

I leave readers with this, which I posted on April 5, 2016, with the release of the “Panama Papers”:

Even though offshore corporate structures, offshore banking, and the like aren’t exactly my forte and not really areas this blog and sister site Offshore Private Vaults focus on, I feel I too should emphasize “offshore” doesn’t necessarily mean “criminal.”

The secured storage of legally-obtained and owned assets in bank and private, non-bank safe deposit boxes located outside the United States is perfectly within the law. And as regular readers of this blog know, Americans do it for a variety of reasons, including:

• Securing and having convenient access to valuables while residing, studying, travelling, and working overseas
• Geographically-diversifying wealth per the advice of financial/investment advisers
• “Prepping” for potential nationwide emergencies/disasters, where domestic access to privately-owned assets becomes impossible
• Protecting assets should “Uncle Sam” ever go rogue and join the growing wealth confiscation movement across the globe

While both the blog and website are aimed at the law-abiding, I still go so far as to communicate the following to visitors:

“Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes strongly condemns any attempted use of these overseas storage containers for illegal purposes.”

“Offshore Private Vaults strongly condemns any attempted use of these private vaulting facilities and their safe deposit boxes/lockers for illegal purposes.”

As it concerns U.S. government reporting requirements, just last week I blogged:

If “Uncle Sam” requires precious metals in an offshore bank safe deposit box to be reported, then by all means, you should do it.

And should taxes be involved, the way I see it, it’s like The Good Book says:

Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…

In conclusion, who knows how far the fallout from the “Panama Papers” will extend. But it would be a real shame if offshore asset protection , and in particular the tool of the offshore safe deposit box, gets thrown under the bus from this event despite it being beneficial and legal for Americans to pursue.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on information found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

Sources:

Paradise Papers Reporting Team. “Paradise Papers: Tax haven secrets of ultra-rich exposed.” BBC News. 6 Nov. 2017. (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41876942?ocid=socialflow_twitter&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=twitter). 7 Nov. 2017.

“Offshore Trove Exposes Trump-Russia Links And Piggy Banks Of The Wealthiest 1 Percent.” International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 5 Nov. 2017. (https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/paradise-papers-exposes-donald-trump-russia-links-and-piggy-banks-of-the-wealthiest-1-percent/). 7 Nov. 2017.

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Storing Precious Metals Focus Of Numismatic News Article

Yesterday, I pointed out a new “how-to” video entitled “How To Store Silver Bars And Coins At Home” by the folks over at GoldSilver.com, a global leader in gold and silver sales and one of the world’s most highly regarded investment education companies since 2005.

This comes a few weeks after a different piece about precious metals storage appeared on the website of Numismatic News. Back on March 9, Pat Heller penned an article entitled “Hard assets make soft targets?” in which he discussed the advantages/disadvantages of keeping precious metals in bank safe deposit boxes (a number of the “drawbacks” don’t apply to their private, non-bank brethren) and other “storage alternatives” including:

-“Hidden storage on your property”
-“Storage in safe or strong box on your property”
-“Precious metals vault storage”

It’s an interesting read, which you can view in its entirety over on the Numismatic News site here if you didn’t catch it a couple of weeks ago.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to taking any action- financial or otherwise- based on information found in this weblog. If this recommendation is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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GoldSilver.com Video: ‘How To Store Silver Bars And Coins At Home’

Long-time readers of Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes might remember an April 22, 2014, blog post mentioning Mike Maloney of GoldSilver.com, a global leader in gold and silver sales and one of the world’s most highly regarded investment education companies since 2005. The founder and owner had just come out with a video in which he warned precious metals are not safe being stored in a bank safe deposit box.

These days, Maloney and gang are out with a new “how-to” video which readers might be interested in viewing. In “How To Store Silver Bars And Coins At Home,” senior precious metals analyst Jeff Clark and Mike Maloney tackle the following questions:

1. “So how do we store our silver bullion both efficiently and safely?”
2. “And should it be stored at home anyway?”

Storing silver in bank safe deposit boxes and at private, non-bank vaults is also addressed. From the video:

Should We Use a Bank Safe Deposit Box?

Easy, simple, and relatively inexpensive- those are the advantages to using a safe deposit box at your local bank. But, consider the drawbacks:

-Your access is restricted. You can only get to the bullion during regular banking hours. No evening, weekend, or holiday access. In fact, during 9/11, some banks were closed for a period of time.
-No insurance against robbery or disaster. Think about the customers whose safe deposit boxes were washed away with the tsunami in Japan in 2011.
-Lack of privacy. If the government or an aggressive attorney comes after you, they’ll thank you for the generous clue you provided them of where some of your assets are stored.
-Also, silver takes up so much space that you’d likely be forced to pay for a larger box. And it might not be an option at all. A monster box of silver is too big for most bank safe deposit boxes.

Remember, one reason we own physical bullion is to protect against the banking system. If you go this route, be aware of the risks and only place a small portion of your metal there.

What About a Professional, Third Party Vaulting Service?

Once your stash starts to grow, I recommend you consider professional storage. Your risk grows as you accumulate more metal. You don’t want to be wiped out if something happened to your stash at home.

The keys to professional storage are that your metal be held:

1. Outside the banking system
2. Fully segregated or allocated in your name
3. Fully insured, and
4. Easy online access…


“How To Store Silver Bars & Coins At Home- Mike Maloney”
(Bank/private vault discussion begins at 11:36)
YouTube Video

A nicely-done production by Clark and Maloney.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: The mention of entities marketing themselves as precious metals dealers/educators should not be construed as confirmation of services claimed to be provided or any sort of recommendation. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to taking any action- financial or otherwise- based on information found in this weblog. If this recommendation is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

Maloney’s book on gold/silver investing…

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HSBC Implements Controversial New Rules For Its Hong Kong Safe Deposit Boxes

Here’s a story I came across on the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) website over the holiday weekend that might interest readers. Cannix Yau reported Sunday night:

A barrister has accused HSBC of trampling on the concept of personal privacy by demanding the power to snoop on customers’ safe deposit boxes and dump “offensive” items.

According to a letter sent to clients last month, a copy of which was obtained by the Post, the bank said that under new conditions of its leases for the lockers it had the right to dispose of any items it considered illegal, of an “offensive” nature or likely to be a “nuisance”, in any way it saw fit and without prior notice or consent.

The letter did not clarify what HSBC meant by “offensive” or “nuisance”, and did not explain under what circumstances bank staff would be able to inspect the boxes

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Financial crime-fighting on the part of HSBC? Or the next volley in the so-called “War on Cash”?

I’m not going to steal Yau’s thunder here, so head on over to the SCMP website to read her entire article. It’s a good one.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

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Switzerland Still Best Place In The World To Store Physical Wealth?

On March 1, I blogged about a recent Financial Times (UK) article in which American investment banker/risk manager/attorney/financial commentator James Rickards recommended storing gold in private, non-bank vaults in Switzerland. Such advice from Rickards, who penned The New York Times bestsellers Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis (2011) and The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System (2014), isn’t exactly new. Back on June 17, 2015, The Gold Chronicles, a production of the Cayman Islands-based Physical Gold Fund SP, uploaded an interview with Rickards on its website. The New York-based adviser on capital markets to the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of the Secretary of Defense spoke highly of Switzerland regarding asset protection matters. Rickards shared with listeners:

With regard to Switzerland specifically, Switzerland is my favorite jurisdiction in the world for security and liberty and respect for the rule of law

The Swiss do take this seriously. They have not been invaded successfully for over 500 years or maybe longer. The last time somebody tried to invade them, a Swiss force met them on almost a suicide mission. The Swiss were outnumbered and killed, but they just wanted to prove a point and they did. The invading army retreated pretty quickly.

Of course, the country is heavily armed. A lot of those mountains that you like to ski on and they look pretty from the train, well, guess what? They’re hollowed out and have armaments, artillery, communications, and command-and-control stations. It’s interesting to note that some Swiss vaults are buying hollowed out mountains from the Swiss Army and using them as vaults. Some of the expanded capacity, in terms of Swiss vaulting, is actually inside a number of these mountain tunnels and chambers that have been hammered out for defensive purposes.

For all the reasons I mentioned, i.e., rule of law, national security, integrity, tradition, liberty, I think Switzerland is probably the best place in the world to store physical wealth. I know a lot of people talk about Singapore, but I’m just not a big fan of Singapore. It looks kind of libertarian from the outside with pretty good rule of law, and I do business in Singapore, but it’s a little too close to China. It’s a little too under the Chinese thumb for my comfort whereas Switzerland, I would say, isn’t under anybody’s thumb.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Is Switzerland really the go-to country for protecting lawfully-obtained and owned private wealth? I mean, certain members of the U.S. financial community have recently proclaimed that Switzerland has capitulated to those seeking to eliminate privacy and eventually confiscate individual wealth to increase government coffers.

Interested in finding out if Switzerland still maintains its long tradition of respecting and protecting privately-owned assets, I recently communicated with a Swiss private vault that offers safe deposit boxes in the mountainous Gotthard region (Altdorf). Swiss Gold Safe Ltd. spokesman Ludwig Karl was very reassuring that Switzerland can and will respect/protect individual wealth as it’s something still largely embedded in the national consciousness. From a March 4 e-mail:

We have chosen Altdorf for private lockers, because it is a landmark and symbol of freedom. In Altdorf, the bailiff Gessler, representing the count of Habsburg in central Switzerland, requests that everybody greets his hat on a rod on the market square. William Tell refuses reverence to the hat. The bailiff forces William Tell to shoot an apple off his sons head with his crossbow. William Tell hits the apple, but he has prepared a second arrow to shoot the bailiff in case he would have hurt the child. Later on William Tell shoots the Austrian tyrant Gessler in the hollow way between Immensee and Küssnacht.

Later in 1291, the three oath-takers (Eidgenossen) from the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden, wanted to be free and independent and founded the Old Swiss Confederacy with their oath on the “Rütli”, a silent meadow above Lake Lucerne. Nowadays, central Switzerland is often associated with the notion of the réduit, the Swiss bunker and defence system in the Alps, developed around the time of the Second World War. This idea of réduit – of resistance – is still firmly entrenched in the national psyche and often associated with the St. Gotthard mountains.

Beside the fact, that we are a well-armed nation, we have cultivated the so called “spiritual defence” (geistige Landesverteidigung), a strong and widespread political will of the Swiss population to defend Switzerland’s independence and democratic constitution against aggressors of all kind. We have a long tradition of respecting private property and wealth and are willing to defend our values of freedom.

Today, Swiss Gold Safe uses the privatized Bunkers successfully and offers security lockers and storage in remote surroundings…

That’s right. Swiss Gold Safe is one of those non-bank vaults Rickards was referring to when he said, “Swiss vaults are buying hollowed out mountains from the Swiss Army and using them as vaults.” From their website:

Swiss Gold Safe Ltd. is a privately owned Swiss storage company, founded in 2006, totally independent from banks and other organisations. Near Altdorf, in the Gotthard massive we offer safe deposit boxes in a high security bunker, originally constructed for the Swiss army and privatized in 2007…

Swiss gold safe indeed, by the sound of it.

So is Switzerland still “the best place in the world to store physical wealth”? The arguments in support of that idea sure seem quite compelling.

The Rickards interview can be listened to here on the Physical Gold Fund SP website. For more information about Swiss Gold Safe Ltd., which is celebrating 10 years in existence in 2016, you can visit their site here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: The mention of entities marketing themselves as private vaults outside the U.S. offering safe deposit boxes/lockers at a minimum should not be construed as confirmation of services claimed to be provided or any sort of recommendation. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

Rickards’ soon-to-be-released book…

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