The Zurich vault

Where is my bullion ?

The Zurich (Switzerland) gold vault is run on our behalf by ViaMat, and the Zurich silver vault is run on our behalf by Brink's.  Only our vault operators ever handle BullionVault bullion.

A section of Via Mat's Zurich vault is reserved exclusively for BullionVault customers.  Your gold is there.

A section of Brink's Zurich vault is reserved exclusively for BullionVault customers.  Your silver is there.

The Zurich vaults operate under Swiss jurisdiction. 

What form does my gold take in Zurich?

The Zurich (Swiss) gold vault stores 400 troy oz (12.4kg) London Good Delivery bars.  They have a minimum assayed purity of 99.5%.  Your gold balance on BullionVault consists of the 100% pure content of those bars, which is calculated by multiplying each bar's gross weight by its measured purity.

These bars are the acceptable form for dealers in the Swiss bullion market. 

What form does my silver take in Zurich?

The Zurich silver vault stores 1,000 troy oz (31.1kg) London Good Delivery Bars.  They have a minimum assayed purity of 99.9%.  In line with standard bullion-market practice, BullionVault accounting units of silver are expressed in gross weight, not fine. They are denominated in kilograms and grams.

These bars are the acceptable form for dealers in the Swiss bullion market. 

What is special about the Zurich vault ?

The primary attraction of Zurich is that it is in Switzerland.  The Swiss have a deserved reputation as one of the strongest supporters of foreigners' property rights in the world, and to a considerable extent they have built their economy around that reputation.

Swiss charges for bullion delivery to the vault are marginally higher than for the other vaults, and consequently the BullionVault offer price tends to be slightly higher too.

Many people would like to own property in Switzerland, but find the entry level to Swiss private banking is too high.  $500,000 is a common starting point for a private bank account, and servicing fees frequently start at thousands of dollars a year.

BullionVault lowers both the barrier to entry and the annual costs.  With charges at 0.12% per annum for gold and 0.48% per annum for silver, and subject to a minimum of only $48 a year and $96 per year respectively, you can economically use our Zurich vault to store in Switzerland sums as small as a few thousand dollars in gold or silver.

Misconceptions about Switzerland

Anonymous numbered accounts

There is no such thing as an anonymous numbered Swiss bank account.  All Swiss bank accounts are associated with a known identity even if some are so sensitive as to maintain their records within a bank's accounting system with a number, which links to a single record of the customer's identity held discreetly in a safe.   This is usually done to preserve identity even from most bank staff - but never all of them.  BullionVault does not support numbered gold accounts.  All our accounts must be for verified identities of real people and organisations.

Criticism over neutrality

The strength of foreigners' property rights on occasion gets the Swiss into trouble.  In particular they still find themselves in difficulties over their care of Nazi money.  Maintaining a position of strict international neutrality is not easy and - given hindsight - has made the Swiss appear tolerant of some ugly customers.  Nevertheless many descendants of the victims of Nazism choose Switzerland as the means to protect themselves from future persecution.

100% bank secrecy

There is no 100% guarantee of bank secrecy in Switzerland.  After some pressure from their neighbours and the global financial community the Swiss have agreed to lift the veil of banking secrecy whenever a customer is suspected of involvement in serious crime - for example rackets associated with terrorism, drugs or violence.

The Swiss have to walk a careful line to protect their foreign custom.  On the one hand they do not antagonise their neighbours and trading partners by hiding the money of career criminals.  It is not in the Swiss business interest to attract either the money of gangsters and tyrants or the criticism of the civilised world which follows it.  So they reject those types of customers wherever they find them (and so does BullionVault).

On the other hand they refuse to recognise tax issues as serious crime.  They are right to do so because there is a long tradition of governments raising taxes in such a way as to turn into criminals all their citizens who have savings.  The Swiss regard the protection of those savings as having a moral precedence over the actions of those types of government.  This is their unique contribution to personal liberty everywhere.


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