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Have you ever heard of Bullionvault? If you spend any time in the UK, you probably have. Since being founded in 2003, this precious metals company has grown to become the largest investment service in the industry. The company serves more than 80,000 clients spanning almost 200 countries.
But what exactly does Bullionvault offer? Are they a worthwhile company to invest with, and who can benefit from their investment services?
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Bullionvault has been part of the precious metals industry since 2003. The founder was Galmarley Limited, a London corporation that’s dedicated to precious metals trading. Today, parts of the company are owned by Augmentum Capital and the World Gold Council. It is the biggest online platform for precious metals trading on the planet.
The company has five international vaults that store more than 2 billion dollars in total bullion. It is also part of multiple London markets and exchanges related to precious metals. The firm has been the recipient of the Queen’s Award for excellent enterprise, and it is extremely well known in the UK.
There are a variety of security regulations in place to make sure that customers have their privacy and their accounts respected. Bullionvault exists as a subsidiary of the Galmarley Limited, and it has a separate registration from its parent company.
Every vault undergoes a full audit every day, and there are published reports about the client holdings. This lets people track the growth of their holdings over time. The vaults are managed by three independent operating companies, while the precious metals are transported using a high security transportation company.
The vaults themselves are outfitted with copious physical security. On top of that, the contents are fully insured, so even if something happened, you wouldn’t run into any financial losses. Similarly, if any of the involved companies filed for bankruptcy, the precious metals would be shipped to their owners rather than used to pay off the debt.
How the Company Works
Though Bullionvault was founded in 2003, it wasn’t until 2005 that it first began to offer vaulted gold to investors through the internet. “Vaulted” gold refers to actual tangible gold assets. When an investor buys it, they retain ownership, even if the gold is stored in another company’s vault.
Today, you can purchase and liquidate many different types of precious metal through the international trading platform. You can also call the company for customer support if you run into any trouble.
Vaulted silver joined the lineup of available precious metals in 2011. In 2017, vaulted platinum became part of the platform as well. These expansions have allowed Bullionvault to become the default platform that casual investors use when they want to liquidate any metals.
Vaults are located in Canada, Singapore, the US, the UK, and Switzerland. The US vault is situated in New York, so it might not be ideal for people outside the northeast region who want to be close to their holdings. It’s possible to spread your holdings across multiple vaults; this may help you take advantage of the tax benefits in Singapore and Switzerland.
Rather than being a customer-to-business exchange, Bullionvault aims to connect individual investors to each other. In this way, you get access to a much larger market. It’s easier to find low-priced bullion from people who are liquidating their assets. By comparison, precious metals dealerships often have markups because they need to cover their overhead.
Automatic Investment Plans
A new piece of software was integrated into the Bullionvault platform in 2013. When you sign up for an automatic investment plan, you will automatically buy gold according to a set schedule. All you need to do is put money into your account.
You can set the system up by time, by monetary amount, or by gold weight. For example, maybe you want to invest $500 in gold every week, no matter how much the gold costs. Or maybe you want to purchase an ounce of gold every month, without much worry about potential price fluctuations.
Something that sets this plan apart from the competition is the flexibility. With traditional savings plans, you need to adhere to a rigid setup. But you can adjust your automatic settings at any time. If you want, you can cut back on your contributions, increase them, or even sell some of your existing holdings.
There are certain criteria that a gold investment company should meet before you can consider your investment secure. You want to be sure that Bullionvault has not only the safety of your assets in mind, but also the safety of your personal information.
These are some of the positive key takeaways from Bullionvault’s particular setup:
Bullionvault works independently of any banking systems. While this means that it isn’t tied to any one centralized currency, it does mean that there isn’t as much regulation as there could be. Banks and other financial institutions in Europe are subject to strict regulatory guidelines.
With that said, there aren't any indications that the company is engaging in bad practice. It does have some poor recent consumer reviews, but these are mainly related to subpar customer service and low quality items being shipped. The issues don't point to a pattern of malicious failure.
Bullionvault Costs and Fees
There are some fees associated with doing business through the Bullionvault exchange. At the same time, there are also promotions and perks available to new customers.
For example, when you register your account with Bullionvault, you'll receive a free four grams of silver. That's a pretty good promotional offer, especially for people who are just getting into precious metals investing. Just keep in mind that the platform is advanced enough to be a little confusing for newbies.
The fee and pricing structure is transparent; you don't have to worry about having commissions tacked on at the end. What you're shown is exactly what you'll get.
Gold tends to be marked up to slightly above the market price. However, the markup is extremely small for both sellers and buyers, averaging out to just around 0.07%. Comparatively, most other dealerships have markups of 5 to 10 percent to cover their overhead.
This markup doesn't include the commission fees. Commissions are how the company makes money. They take a small percentage of each sale and purchase; you can expect to pay the same commission no matter what side of the deal you're on.
For the first $75,000 worth of gold that you buy in a year, the transaction will have a commission fee of 0.5%. Again, this is extremely low when compared to some of the competition. It's common to see brokerages charge double-digit commissions at the end of a transaction.
Once you reach the $75,000 threshold, the commission cost drops down to just 0.1% until you reach another $750,000. Both purchases and sales count toward this number.
If you manage to pass this milestone in a single year, every transaction after that will have a commission rate of just 0.05%. In this way, Bullionvault encourages high net worth individuals to reap the benefits of their brokerage.
Commission fees are calculated on an annual basis. Once you get to the anniversary of your account registration, your rate will reset. It's a good idea for high net worth individuals to take advantage of the low rate while they have it.
Storage and Insurance
If you store your precious metals in one or more of the company's vaults, you will need to pay certain fees for maintenance and upkeep.
One potential drawback of using this platform to invest is that the storage fees are a percentage of your holdings. That means that as you accrue more gold and silver, you'll be paying more for your vault. There are other companies that have flat storage fees, which keeps you from being penalized for accruing more wealth.
That said, the percentage is small. For gold vaults, there is a minimum of $4 per month or $48 per year. Once 0.12% of your holdings exceeds $4, you will begin paying that instead. It's barely any of your accrued metals.
If you want to withdraw your precious metals from the vault and have them shipped to you, you will need to pay a withdrawal penalty.
If you're having 400-ounce gold bars delivered, you will need to pay 2.5% of the total value of the withdrawal. When you're working with smaller 100-gram bars of gold, the percentage will be anywhere from 3 to 6%. That number increases to almost 8% if you're working with a gold bar that's not standard sized.
There is also a small withdrawal fee for removing liquid funds from your account. Rather than being built for company profit, this fee is just to cover the costs of a wire transfer. It is extremely rare for that to be greater than $30. In fact, if you transfer money between bank accounts in the EU, you won't need to pay any fee whatsoever.
For those using the automatic investment plan, there are some specialized fees. You'll be paying 0.8% of the value of a transaction in fees when the automatic buying happens. This transaction fee isn't applied when you're simply trading gold with other precious metals investors instead of Bullionvault itself.
You might run into occasional fees here and there, but all of them are transparently explained on the Bullionvault website. For example, there might be a slight fee if you want to opt into text messages about transactions made with your account.
Is Bullionvault a Scam?
Bullionvault is a legitimate company. They have been established with a physical address in the UK since 2003. Their clientele spans six continents, and they have a variety of credible customer reviews online. All of the products and services that the company claims to offer are actually being offered.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Bullionvault is the best option for your investment. For those living in Europe, it’s one of the first go-to companies that people think of. However, there have been some customer reviews that raise certain red flags. People say that the customer service is lacking, which they found surprising for a company that’s so well established.
Another potential drawback is that because the company is not US-based, they don’t offer any IRA services. In order to provide IRA services, company employees must be extremely familiar with US tax codes and retirement account paperwork. This is simply outside the company’s realm of expertise, and they don’t appear interested in offering IRA services anytime soon.
No matter whether you’re investing in a personal portfolio or planning for the future, there are alternative companies with a much better track record. You might want to use one of these instead of trusting Bullionvault just because they’re the biggest.
Pros & Cons of Bullionvault
Bullionvault is an incredible impressive precious metals dealership. With headquarters in the UK, they have expanded to serve clients in 175 countries. Their platform manages over 2 billion dollars worth of precious metals. The investment services are valued by individuals who want to trade precious metals across multiple languages and types of currency.
There’s no question that Bullionvault is a legitimate business. It has been given awards by the UK government and is a member of both the London Platinum and Palladium Market and the London Bullion Market Association.
But it might not be the absolute best business for your needs. There have been some mixed customer reviews in recent years, indicating that the company management may be suffering. If you’re looking for a European precious metals dealer, there are alternative companies with similar offerings and better customer reviews.
If you’re in the US and looking to invest in a retirement account, Bullionvault is definitely not for you. The company doesn’t have any services to help you set up or maintain an IRA, nor do they separate out the IRA-eligible metals on their platform. In this case, it’s much better to work with a specialized US-based company that has expertise in precious metals IRAs.
Overall, we believe that there is a better option when it comes to your investment.
The above company is our top recommendation after doing extensive research. Feel free to keep doing your own research, or you can visit Bullionvault below!