Back on February 24, 2014, I published my first entry on Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes. A little over two years later, I’ve finally reached post number 200. The aim of the project still hasn’t changed:
Welcome to Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes, a financial blog focusing on safe deposit boxes located outside the United States. The weblog looks at why offshore safe deposit boxes are considered effective asset protection tools.
But the economic environment in which these secured storage containers are utilized has.
For instance, threats to legally-obtained and owned private wealth look to be on the rise as the health of the global financial system grows increasingly precarious. Consider wealth confiscation activity undertaken by governments and banking systems since this blog debuted. From the section entitled “Why Offshore Private Vaults” on this blog’s sister site:
• Spain, July 2014, all bank account deposits subject to blanket taxation rate of 0.03 percent
• Germany, July 2014, plans approved for creditor (may also mean depositor) bail-in of banks beginning in 2015, a year earlier than required under European-wide plans setting rules for failing financial institutions
• In November 2014, the G-20 Group of Nations endorsed a proposal which offshore experts The Nestmann Group says “profoundly changes the rules for banking globally, and not in a good way. Deposits in banks that are ‘too big to fail’ will be ‘promptly recapitalized’ with their ‘unsecured debt.’ This avoids those nasty taxpayer-funded bailouts that proved so politically unpopular during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. And the largest chunk of unsecured debt is your bank deposits. Insolvent banks will recapitalize themselves by converting your deposits- checking accounts, but also money market accounts and CDs- into stock. Thus, when you deposit money in a bank, you’re taking the same risk as someone buying a stock.”
• Greece, October 2015, announcement by deputy finance minister Tryfon Alexiadis that bank safe deposit boxes belonging to Greeks owing more than €150,000 in back taxes and those suspected of tax evasion would be opened. Tax inspectors will be allowed to confiscate as much as half of any cash found, and stocks, bonds, jewelry, and works of art will be confiscated.
• European Union, January 2016, new EU bank bail-in procedures implemented on New Year’s Day via the Bank Resolution and Recovery Directive. Central to the BRRD is the single resolution mechanism. The European Council (EU institution that defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union ) said in a November 30, 2015, press release, “The single resolution mechanism (SRM) is aimed at ensuring the orderly resolution of failing banks without recourse to taxpayers’ money. This will involve both a systematic recourse to the bail-in of shareholders and creditors, in line with the EU’s directive on bank recovery and resolution, and the possible recourse to the SRF…” Note that bit about “creditors.” From my research on the subject, it has been argued that the terms “creditors” and “depositors” are interchangeable. As such, depositors may be on the hook for a future EU bank bail-in as a result of this new setup.
America’s financial well-being has also eroded since I started this blog. Despite relentless government spin (aided by the mainstream media) of a significant, sustainable recovery, one needs only to scratch the surface of the “rosy” (manipulated?) economic data to recognize not just the warning signs of a coming recession but another major financial crisis worse than what the country experienced beginning in 2008. As I’ve shared with readers of Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes and other projects for a number of years now, the politicians and central bankers only managed to “paper up” the 2008 event and “kick the can down the road” for a few more years. Considering wealth confiscation has already taken place in the United States (1933 gold confiscation order by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt), no one can say for sure that personal assets won’t be seized again in a future crisis. That includes individual wealth stored in safe deposit boxes.
The so-called “War on Cash” also started making headlines since I started writing back in February 2014. From what I gather, the idea behind this “war” is that world governments, in collusion with the bankers, are striving to replace physical cash with its digital equivalent to make it easier to track and tax, resulting in increased government coffers, less citizen dissent (“keep quiet or we’ll zap your bank account!”), and the preservation of power/status quo. Forcing cash and precious metals out of bank safe deposit boxes is supposedly one feature of this “war.” I blogged back on April 22, 2015:
Sounds like JPMorgan Chase Bank, or Chase Bank, here in the United States now prohibits cash from being stored in its safe deposit boxes. Joseph T. Salerno, academic vice president of the Mises Institute, wrote on the Mises Wire blog Monday:
In a letter to its customers dated April 1, 2015 pertaining to its “Updated Safe Deposit Box Lease Agreement,” one of the highlighted items reads: “You agree not to store any cash or coins other than those found to have a collectible value.” Whether or not this pertains to gold and silver coins with no numismatic value is not explained…
(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)
It’s been argued that the push to eliminate high-denomination notes has more to do with thwarting attempts to store large amounts of cash in bank safe deposit boxes than fighting terrorism or money laundering.
Finally, coinciding with increased suspicion of the banking system has been the continued growth of the private, non-bank vault industry since my first blog post. I wrote at the end of January:
I’m familiar with two private vaults in this state (Illinois) alone, with one located just a short drive from me. And glancing at this blog’s sister site- Offshore Private Vaults- I now count just over 200 overseas, non-bank facilities that are either open or will be soon. And I come across new ones on a regular basis as part of my research.
Like I said, even though it’s only been a little over two years since I launched Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes, the environment has certainly changed.
Personally, I’ve found this weblog to be very educational. I’ve learned a lot researching and writing about overseas safe deposit boxes as asset protection tools- knowledge that will be put to good use in the new research business I’ll be rolling out later this year. In the meantime, I look forward to publishing new material on Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes on a regular basis. Thank you for your continued support, and as always, feel free to contact to me with any suggestions/concerns you may have concerning the blog.
Christopher E. Hill