Gold News

Hatton Garden 'Safe' Deposit? Unmanned, Unchecked, Uninsured

So it's unbelievable just how complacent Hatton Garden's safe-deposit box customers were...
 
WHO leaves gold, diamonds and other precious items in un-manned, unchecked, uninsured storage over a long holiday weekend? asks Adrian Ash at BullionVault.
 
Half of Hatton Garden's professional jewellers apparently.
 
Police say raiders emptied some 300 safety deposit boxes in the heart of London's "diamond district" at some point between Good Friday and Easter Bank Holiday Monday.
 
Incredibly, the theft wasn't discovered until 08.10 Tuesday morning. Because it seems the site, Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Limited, had been shut since Thursday evening.
 
More incredibly still, a security guard had checked the front door...found it locked...and so went on his way, thinking everything was in order...sometime over the weekend.
 
But, ummm...what about the back door...or the stuff supposed to be inside? Or that big drilling noise from the 'heavy equipment' police say must have been used...?
 
One safe deposit box customer tells the Press Association news-wire that a security guard told him he "wasn't paid enough" to bother looking inside the site when checking an alarm.
"He just said he looked in, it all looked fine and I think he just went and that is it."
Shouldn't safety deposit box customers expect better security?
"Of course they should. After six o'clock there is no security at all."
You might wonder how a 'safe' deposit box company could be so lax about security. Or more to the point, how could professional jewelers...who make a living working with high-value stuff...be so lax asking about the safety of the safe deposit boxes they rented in Hatton Garden, too.
 
Either way, you can be sure this is NOT how the professional bullion vaults caring for our users' gold and silver work.
 
Indeed, it's hard to overstate their level of security. Hence the very low insurance premiums, already included in BullionVault's  monthly storage charges.
 
Accredited bullion vaults are typically sited at major airports (beneath the runway in some cases), so armed police response is immediate. Even authorised visitors...such as the independent assayers we send into the vaults to double-check the bar lists each year...must leave the secure facilities whenever a delivery/withdrawal is being made. Nor can they view other material besides what they are asked and approved to study.
 
Never say never, of course. Which is why all BullionVault users' property is insured, as warranted by our Terms & Conditions...as shown for your study on our Help Pages...and as confirmed by the independent financial auditors' annual study of the Daily Audit which proves in public that all client material is where it should be, in full, each day.
 
We can only hope that Hatton Garden's safe-deposit customers were insured. But most incredible of all, at least some customers weren't covered...and knew they weren't covered too!
 
Given that their property lacked anything like proper security 24/7 on-site anyway, we shudder to think what kind of insurance premiums they would have been paying if they had bothered to arrange insurance themselves.
 
Genuinely secure sites don't take security for granted. Hence the insurance. But that strict physical and procedural security means insurance costs very much less than you could ever hope to arrange for home or other non-specialist storage.
 
The real shocker of this Easter's Hatton Garden heist is that, sadly, the safe deposit box customers didn't ask, know or seem to care what level of security they were paying for.

Adrian Ash is director of research at BullionVault, the world-leading physical gold, silver and platinum market for private investors online. Formerly head of editorial at London's top publisher of private-investment advice, he was City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning from 2003 to 2008, and he has now been researching and writing daily analysis of precious metals and the wider financial markets for over 20 years. A frequent guest on BBC radio and television, Adrian is regularly quoted by the Financial Times, MarketWatch and many other respected news outlets, and his views from inside the bullion market have been sought by the Economist magazine, CNBC, Bloomberg, Germany's Handelsblatt and FAZ, plus Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore.

See the full archive of Adrian Ash articles on GoldNews.

Please Note: All articles published here are to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it. Please review our Terms & Conditions for accessing Gold News.

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