Tag Archives: Singapore

Thoughts On Safe Deposit Box Article By The Straits Times

Yesterday I came across an article on The Straits Times (Singapore) website entitled “Time to part ways with safe deposit boxes.” Business editor Lee Su Shyan wrote Sunday:

Growing up, having a safe deposit box symbolised financial adulthood, even more than scoring that exclusive credit card.

But that’s not a view shared by many nowadays. I did a casual check among friends and colleagues whom I met over the Chinese New Year period and only a couple owned up to having a box. Others said: “I don’t, but my mother has one.”

It’s probably the hassle that has contributed to the decline in popularity. Access is only at limited times, although the hours are certainly longer at non-bank locations such as that of Certis Cisco.

Then there is the issue of the rental rate. Even if it’s not a large sum, it’s still a few hundred dollars annually.

Banks, too, are apparently none too keen on encouraging customers to have one. They take up precious space and offer a poor return on capital.

A couple of years ago, a report by the Swiss authorities highlighted the growth of non-bank safe deposit box companies, with some quarters questioning their rapid expansion. Apparently, many customers were using them for stashing gold and valuables. Since the contents are known only to their owners, these boxes could pose a money-laundering risk…

Some thoughts about the piece:

1. Longer operating hours are indeed often found at private safe deposit box facilities. Certis Cisco in Singapore, for example, is open 365 days a year and up to 12 hours a day according to their website.

2. “Banks, too, are apparently none too keen on encouraging customers to have one.” The Times’ Rachel Boon reported on April 22, 2015, that “banks cut back on safe deposit box services in land-scarce Singapore,” with HSBC and DBS Bank closing a number of safety deposit boxes on the island nation.

3. The article stated:

A couple of years ago, a report by the Swiss authorities highlighted the growth of non-bank safe deposit box companies, with some quarters questioning their rapid expansion. Apparently, many customers were using them for stashing gold and valuables. Since the contents are known only to their owners, these boxes could pose a money-laundering risk

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I believe the report being referred to here was produced by Switzerland’s Federal Department of Finance (FDF) and released to the public on December 14, 2015 (blogged about here). From the accompanying media release:

The report also explains the money laundering and terrorist financing statutory framework in terms of safe-deposit box rental and the relevant rules of professional conduct. Moreover, it sheds light on the potential risks and actual abuses.

Although a potential risk of abuse does exist for certain categories of safe-deposit box, there is little evidence of actual abuse and thus of a real danger according to the report

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

4. The Times’ business editor concluded the piece with:

At this rate, it looks like I will have to part ways with that box. The money I save from the rental of the box won’t get me a fancy piece of jewellery – but it will go some way to buying a sturdy safe.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I don’t know how it is for Singapore, but the Spartanburg Journal-Herald (South Carolina) just noted in a February 11 article on their website:

A residence is almost 20 times more likely to be robbed than a safe deposit box in a bank.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I believe the source of this U.S. statistic is Elgin, Illinois-based Safe Deposit Box Insurance Coverage (SDBIC), a provider of safe deposit box insurance.

You can read that entire Straits Times article on the paper’s website here.

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

Source:

“Money Talk: Security for a safe deposit box in an insecure world.” Spartanburg Herald-Journal. 11 Feb. 2017. (http://www.goupstate.com/news/20170211/money-talk-security-for-safe-deposit-box-in-insecure-world). 13 Feb. 2017.

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List Of Offshore Private Vaults Updated

Updates have recently been performed on the list of private, non-bank vaults outside the United States (offering safe deposit boxes/lockers at a minimum) located on this blog’s sister site- Offshore Private Vaults.

Safe deposit facilities now open for business have been added under the following countries:

-Germany (pro aurum, Bad Homburg)
-Hong Kong (UltraVault by Malca-Amit)
-India (Navkettan Lockers, Mumbai)
-Japan (UltraVault by Malca-Amit, Kobe and Tokyo)
-Liechtenstein (Swiss Gold Safe (Liechtenstein) AG, Triesen)
-Malaysia (Titanium Safe Deposit Box, Tawau in Sabah)
-Netherlands (DNK, Maasdijk)
-New Zealand (Imperial Vaults, Mount Roskill- Auckland suburb)
-Singapore (Malca-Amit, Central Business District; UltraVault by Malca-Amit)
-United Kingdom (Luton Safe Deposit Centre, Luton, England; Newcastle Vaults, Newcastle upon Tyne, England)
-Uruguay (Cambio Europa S.A., Montevideo- formerly Europa Servicios)

Know of any I may have missed? Please let me know.

Readers can view the updated list of offshore private vaults here.

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

2/6/17 UPDATE: Imperial Vaults in New Zealand and Luton Safe Deposit Centre in the United Kingdom were added to the above list after this post was originally published

(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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Consider Country Corruption Perceptions When Selecting Location For Offshore Safe Deposit Box

Over the last year I’ve provided blog readers with some potential resources for determining where to open an overseas safe deposit box.

On February 29, 2016, I pointed out Mercer’s 18th annual Quality of Living Survey.

On March 7, 2016, I identified HSBC Bank’s 8th annual Expat Explorer Survey.

This morning, I’m going to talk about another possible resource with Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2016. From the Facebook page for the Berlin-based international non-governmental organization:

Transparency International (TI) is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. TI challenges the inevitability of corruption, and offers hope to its victims…

Our best-known tool is the annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption around the world…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And from a January 25 press release regarding the 2016 edition of the CPI:

69 per cent of the 176 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 scored below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), exposing how massive and pervasive public sector corruption is around the world. This year more countries declined in the index than improved, showing the need for urgent action…

Denmark and New Zealand perform best with scores of 90, closely followed by Finland (89) and Sweden (88). Although no country is free of corruption, the countries at the top share characteristics of open government, press freedom, civil liberties and independent judicial systems…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Rounding out the “top ten” were:

5. Switzerland
6. Norway
7. Singapore
8. Netherlands
9. Canada
10. 3-way-tie between Germany, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom

The United States came in at number 18, falling from 16th place a year earlier.

You can view 2016’s Corruption Perceptions Index here on Transparency International’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 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.)

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Related Reading: Singapore Private Vaults ‘Have Quietly Begun To Bulge With Gold And Silver’

I recently came across an article on The Business Times (Singapore) website which points out privately-owned precious metals from around the world are finding their way to non-bank vaults in Singapore. Andrea Soh reported on December 12:

These are unsettling times.

A recession looms. Extremist parties are on the ascent globally.

One of the oldest banks in the world is on the brink of collapse in Italy.

A sense of unease is on the rise, but with it, Singapore’s safe-haven status has soared.

As investors the world over seek refuge in precious metals, they need somewhere to put all of it, and that somewhere, for many of them, is Singapore.

Commercial vaults on the island have quietly begun to bulge with gold and silver…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Two of the private vault companies mentioned by Soh in the piece have been covered by Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes, including Malca-Amit (blogged about here) and The Safe House (talked about here).

An intersting article- particularly the mention of “trust” issues with banks/governments- which you can read in its entirety here on The Business Times website.

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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Related Reading: Malca-Amit’s New UltraVault Safe Deposit Box Service Profiled By South China Morning Post

Malca-Amit, “widely recognized as the world’s leader in diamonds, jewellery and precious metals logistics and storage,” recently launched its UltraVault safe deposit box service in Asia. According to the UltraVault website:

Our innovative portable safe deposit box enables you to:

-View, withdraw or store your assets any time of the day or night
-Select the location of your choice for viewing
-Select the time of your choice, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…

“Portable safe deposit box.” Interesting. Last Sunday, Enoch Yiu reported on the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) website:

Hong Kong’s recent string of high profile burglaries has sparked demand for safe storage of valuables such as gold bars and jewellery, prompting one company to develop an on-call safe deposit box service known as Ultra-Vault.

Malca-Amit, a company which specialises in safe depository services, launched the new service in September, targeting wealthy clients in Hong Kong and Singapore, according to company president Nigel Paxman.

“There has been strong demand for mobile vault services in both Hong Kong an Singapore since the launch,” Paxman said. “It is so successful that we have decided to expand the services to London, New York and Tokyo at the end of this year or early next year.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

An informative read, which you can view in its entirety here on the SCMP webiste.

While I plan to blog about UltraVault more in-depth in the coming days, at this time Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes would like to offer Malca-Amit all the best with its new offering.

For more information about UltraVault, head on over to the service’s website here.

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

(Editor’s note: The mention of entities offering safe deposit box/locker storage 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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