For security purposes, BullionVault bullion is only handled by Brink’s, an American security and protection firm and LOOMIS (formerly Loomis, Fargo & Co.), a cash handling company. Both LOOMIS and Brinks operate secure vaults in five different countries; one of these vaults is the Zurich vault, located in Switzerland. The Zurich vault has a section reserved exclusively for BullionVault customers with silver holdings. The Zurich silver vault holds 1,000 troy ounces (31.1kg) London Good Delivery Bars with a minimum assayed purity of 99.9%. These bars are the acceptable form for dealers in the Swiss bullion market. The Zurich silver vault operates under Swiss jurisdiction.
What makes the Zurich Vault special?
Obviously, the first thing that makes the Zurich vault standout is the fact that it is in Switzerland; a country well known for its advanced international private banking sector and strong support of foreigners’ property rights.
The Swiss have, to a considerable extent, built their economy around the profits of their financial services industry. This economic stability produces one of the most stable and conservative political environments anywhere in the world.
For many investors, owning property in Switzerland can be quite challenging since the entry level to Swiss private banking is rather high. In most Swiss private banks, the minimum investment is $500,000 and the annual servicing fees often start at thousands of dollars.
BullionVault brings down both the entry level and the annual servicing fees. With charges at 0.12% and 0.48% per annum for gold and silver respectively, and minimum annual servicing fees ranging from $48 to $96 per annum, BullionVault allows investors to economically store small gold and silver holdings worth only a few thousand dollars.
Zurich Vault Security
Both BullionVault and its independent storage operator LOOMIS (formerly Loomis, Fargo & Co.) and Brink’s have a sophisticated safety and security concept. LOOMIS and Brink’s belong to the largest global vault operators and secure logistics companies.
BullionVault publishes the holdings of each of its investors daily. The investors’ total holdings are listed under online nicknames. The vault operators LOOMIS and Brinks send a daily bar list of the total gold holdings which are then published on the BullionVault website.
The annual statements of BullionVault are audited by an accounting firm from the United Kingdom, and the gold bars in the vaults are inspected by an LBMA-accredited, independent inspection company.
BullionVault and LOOMIS/ Brink’s have additional processes in place to increase the safety and security of their investors’ bullion holdings. For example, the maximum daily withdrawal of gold from a LOOMIS vault is limited to 5% of the total gold holdings, and BullionVault must give 2 days’ notice of a bullion withdrawal to LOOMIS and publish the notice on the BullionVault website’s front page.
Withdrawal of gold is possible for clients of BullionVault, but additional fees apply. The withdrawal fee for whole good delivery gold bars (400 troy ounces) is 2.5% of value. For smaller amounts of gold a surcharge of 5.0% applies. For safety reasons, there are withdrawal restrictions on the transfer of funds. Normally, BullionVault only allows money to be returned to the bank from which the client’s BullionVault account was originally funded. There are exceptions, but these require additional security measures to ensure that money can only be transferred to the client and nobody else.
All buy and sell transactions of gold through the BullionVault platform are instantaneously settled, i.e. clients can only buy gold, when their accounts are funded. The potential cost of wiring funds direct to the client’s bank is deducted from the amount withdrawn. The charge is $30. Wire transfers in the European Union are free of transaction costs. There is no settlement risk. BullionVault does not loan client gold to other investors without a written consent by the client.
Every client has outright ownership of his/her amount of gold or silver. The gold becomes the client’s legal property. A potential default of BullionVault or LOOMIS/ Brinks cannot change this. The client would still own his/her gold. The finances of BullionVault are sound, and the World Gold Council is a strong investor in BullionVault.
The insurance cover maintained by LOOMIS is at least equivalent to the value of all the precious metals LOOMIS holds on behalf of Bullionvault Customers. BullionVault is entitled to demand cover up to 50% in excess of the prevailing market value of precious metal, and to have the cover in place within 24 hours.
In order to buy gold or silver with BullionVault, investors have to perform the following steps:
1. Open an account online with BullionVault
Opening a BullionVault account is free and only takes a short time. You can start a BullionVault account and make gold or silver purchases in less than 10 minutes. You only require a few simple details to open an account with Bullionvault.
2. Deposit funds into your BullionVault account
Deposit funds into your BullionVault account. You can deposit funds in US Dollars, Pound Sterling, euros or Japanese Yen. Funds can be wired directly to BullionVault client account at Lloyds TSB in the United Kingdom. Customers in the US, Germany, France or Italy can also deposit funds through Bank of America.
3. Buy gold or silver
You can place an order as soon as your funds have cleared and are reflected on trading account Balance under ‘Currency’. You can purchase bullion on BullionVault’s Order Board or directly from BullionVault’s markets via the Balance page.
4. Prove your identity
There are two reasons for this requirement; firstly, BullionVault is required by law to establish its clients’ identity. Secondly, it is much better when both BullionVault and you are in agreement on the reimbursement destination of your funds – for when you eventually withdraw your funds or sell your bullion.
You can validate your account online by providing a copy of your ID/ passport or driving licence and a copy of a statement from your linked bank-account. Alternatively, you can validate your identity by having a standard bank form stamped by your bank and sending it to BullionVault by post. You can fund your account and trade before you are validated.
You don’t have to validate your account before you fund it and buy gold or silver bullion. However, you should validate your account within 14 days of opening it.