Category Archives: Security

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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Royal England Safe Deposit Box Ltd. Featured On Hong Kong Tatler Website

Funny I should mention Hong Kong’s Royal England Safe Deposit Box Ltd. yesterday and an article about the private, non-bank vault pops up on the website of luxury magazine Hong Kong Tatler the same day.

While I brought up the new safe deposit box facility’s use of smartphone technology to improve customer service/experience, the Tatler piece went into more detail about the Royal England operation (first blogged about here). For example, regarding the security/technology utilized in the secured storage space:

When devising the vault technology, Royal England enlisted the help of security experts from Wynn Macau and the Venetian Macao to develop a fully automated security system to encrypt client data. The system requires no staff and uses computer and biometric identification to ensure accuracy in verification of identity. Just one person is able to enter the vault at a time, meaning you can access your valuables free from any interference. Royal England does not number the boxes, so the location of your box cannot be leaked. Instead, it uses a lighting system to indicate the whereabouts of your box once you’re inside the vault.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That box location procedure is a nice touch, providing an extra layer of security for personal belongings of significant worth. And attracting wealthy clients particularly interests the Hong Kong business. As director Ray Li stated in a recent interview:

Our target customers are the well-heeled in the society, to appeal to them, we hope to present Royal England as the top safe deposit box service brand in the world.


“Royal England- Exclusive Art Appreciation & Whiskey Tasting”
YouTube Video

As mentioned previously, Royal England Safe Deposit Box Ltd. is a member of the Safe Deposit Federation, “a self-regulating federation of independent safe deposit box companies.”

Head on over to the Hong Kong Tatler website here to read the entire article. And for more information about Royal England, readers can visit their site here.

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

(Editor’s note: The mention of a particular business/organization 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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Related Reading: The Telegraph Looks At Latest Security Technology In Bank, Private Vaults

I’m back after several days spent on matters related to the research business (focus: specialized asset protection) I’m in the process of rolling out. Despite the “spring break,” I compiled a good deal of material to blog about in the near future. Getting back into the saddle then…

“How to rob a bank”

This headline grabbed my attention while pulling up news related to Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes. Oliver Pickup reported on the website of The Telegraph (UK) this morning:

If you are toying with the idea of robbing a bank vault, here’s some friendly advice: don’t do it. Seriously. While it may be alluringly mischievous to fantasise about ill-gotten riches, the truth is that an attempted heist in 2017 is extremely likely to become a nightmare and land you in a whole heap of trouble with the law.

In fact, the chances of even glimpsing the desired lucre are slim. When our heroes in Going in Style raid the fictional WSB bank, which obligingly has bags of cash on hand, that’s what it is – fiction. This is because technological advances have made prospective targets impregnable to wannabe thieves eyeing a quick buck.

These days, the majority of banks and safe-deposit facilities are veritable mini Fort Knox-type strongholds, armed with a suite of defensive weapons, including motion sensors, continuously-monitored closed-circuit television, fingerprint recognition locks, and a series of steel cages, one inside another. And that’s just for starters

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

An interesting glimpse at the latest security technology being utilized by bank and private vaults, which you can read about here in its entirety on the The Telegraph website.

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

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Thoughts About The Hatton Garden Job Movie Trailer Release

Back on April 8, 2015, I blogged for the first time about the now-infamous heist of potentially £21 million in valuables from 73 safe deposit boxes within Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd. in London.

Earlier today, I viewed the official movie trailer for The Hatton Garden Job ahead of its April 14, 2017, release.


“The Hatton Garden Job- Official Trailer”
YouTube Video

Probably not the kind of publicity private, non-bank vaults really need.

That being said, I offer up the following again from an October 2, 2015, blog post:

I read on Hatton Garden’s website (still operational as I type this) that the non-bank vault “was founded in 1954 making it one of the first companies in the UK to offer safe deposit boxes.” Such a shame things had to come to this. But as I’ve noted several times since this blog has been up and running, both bank and private vaults have fallen victim to criminal activity lately (I found the October 19, 2014, bombing of a Berliner Sparkasse bank branch and theft of contents belonging to more than 100 safe deposit boxes from its vault particularly interesting). And I think it’s only going to get worse in the short to medium term as financial crises pop off all over the word (the 2008 global economic crisis was merely papered-over by governments and central bankers, who only “kicked the can” down the road a bit), and criminals grow bolder as public safety budgets are slashed.

All vault operators should strive to protect their customer’s valuables to the best of their abilities. In the wake of Hatton Garden and prior to this grittier operating environment I envision, management should take a second look at security infrastructure, procedures, and personnel, and follow through on implementation. Perhaps recent vault burglaries could be scrutinized as to what needs to be addressed?

Regrettably, I suspect it’s only a matter of time before we hear about a really ruthless assault on one of these facilities. Let’s hope the incident turns out to be just an exception rather than the rule because bank and private vaults took time to prepare.

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

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The Safe House In Singapore

More safe deposit box news out of Singapore. The Middle Ground, a news site covering that part of the world, ran an article back on March 31 about award-winning bullion dealer Silver Bullion and its subsidiary- The Safe House (TSH), a Singapore private, non-bank vault. Ryan Ong wrote:

Silver Bullion is a company that owns a 630 tonne capacity vault, somewhere in the Chai Chee area. Big deal, right? Banks have these all over the place. But there’s something special about this one.

Silver Bullion doesn’t just store precious metals like a typical bank deposit (with all the relevant insurance), although that alone would be useful right now – the wait list for deposit boxes in banks has become ridiculous.

(Little known fact: our banks hate deposit boxes, because it costs around $1 million to build a vault with 3,000 boxes. With annual fees under $300 per annum, it’s not very profitable.)

Silver Bullion is also different because it comes with a P2P loan system…

Ong discussed the Silver Bullion peer-to-peer lending program, but talked a good deal about The Safe House facility as well. He mentioned security, precious metals testing, and the vaults-within-a-vault setup- “600 metric tons of segregate and reserved silver storage capacity in 800 kg pallet cages” and “25+ metric tons of segregate and reserved gold storage in a UL Class 2 gold vault,” per TSH’s website.

From their brochure detailing the safe deposit box service:

Large Class I boxes are available for bulk storage and smaller Class II vault boxes for high value items such as gold and platinum.

And from an e-mail exchange I had with The Safe House all the way back in November 2014:

Customers are allowed to store items other than bullion in our safe deposited boxes provided that customers adhere to the weight limits specified for each type of box and not store any prohibited items.

Ong added:

Silver Bullion’s founder, Mr Gregor Gregersen, said that at present most of the depositors were foreigners.

Singapore is a favourite place to park gold, due to fears of nationalisation. This is the fear that, during times of financial crisis, a government may seize assets such as private gold and silver reserves.

This is a known possibility in the United States, for example, where some remember executive order 6102. This happened in 1933, when the United States seized gold assets and paid a (low for the time) price for the confiscated gold.

Singapore is regarded as a safe haven, because it places gold and silver assets outside the reach of other governments. It is also politically stable with a low crime rate…

You can read Ong’s entire piece on The Middle Ground website here. And for more information about The Safe House, head on over to 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.)

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New York City Bank Safe Deposit Boxes Robbed Again

Bank safe deposit boxes in New York City have fallen victim to theft once again. Natalie O’Neill, Daniel Prendergast, and Jamie Schram reported on the New York Post website Monday:

A thief waited until most of Borough Park was home for the Sabbath and then climbed through a rooftop hatch into a local bank and made off with $280,000 in cash along with safe-deposit items, police sources said Monday.

The crook pulled off the daring heist at an HSBC branch on 13th Avenue and 44th Street — the heart of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community — on Friday night or Saturday morning, according to police.

The burglar appeared to have cut holes in a chain-link fence near the building’s rear, climbed a ladder to the roof and slipped in through a ceiling hatch, police sources said.

Once inside, the thief cut a hole in the top of a nearby vault before swiping safe deposit boxes full of customers’ jewelry and other valuables, law-enforcement sources said.

The bandit burrowed through the ceiling to reach the vaulted area…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I wouldn’t go so far as to say New York City is suffering an epidemic of bank safe deposit box robberies, but regular readers of Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes may recall that back on January 22, 2015, I blogged about a Christmas Day robbery of safe deposit boxes at a Flushing Bank branch in Bayside, Queens. And on April 2, 2015, I wrote about another heist of these secured containers that took place around March 28-29 at a Santander Bank branch in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Once again, as I observed back in January 2015:

A couple of things to take away here:

1. Like I said in the intro, bank safe deposit boxes aren’t necessarily more safe than private, non-bank safe deposit boxes. That goes for the U.S. and overseas. Remember when I blogged about that bank in Germany that was blown up recently?

2. Got insurance? Here in the United States, “The contents of a safe deposit box are not insured by the FDIC.” That’s straight from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s website. Make sure the contents of your offshore safe deposit box are insured.

3. All vault operators should strive to protect their customer’s valuables to the best of their abilities. As the global financial system’s health gets worse, the criminal element will be sizing up these facilities for a big score. What was it the retired Irish footballer Roy Keane liked to say?

“Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail.”

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

Source:

O’Neill, Natalie, Prendergast, Daniel and Schram, Jamie. “Thief steals $280K from bank after climbing through roof hatch.” New York Post. 11 Apr. 2016. (http://nypost.com/2016/04/11/thieves-steal-280k-from-bank-after-cutting-hole-in-roof/). 12 Apr. 2016.

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