Last update: 21.09.2017
What BullionVault offers to gold investors
BullionVault is an award-winning precious metals trading platform, which enables individuals to buy and sell physical gold, silver, and platinum. Private investors can trade through BullionVault gold, silver and platinum bullion, which is stored on their behalf by an independent vault operator. Investors acquire outright ownership of their precious metals holdings and have a delivery option. The gold, silver, and platinum holdings are regularly inspected and audited, the respective reports are published.
Investors also have the option to buy vaulted gold on a regular basis similar to a savings plan.
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|Number of clients||ca. 65,000|
|Assets||Total precious metals holdings and currencies of about US$ 2 billion|
BullionVault was founded in 2003. In 2005 BullionVault started offering vaulted gold for private investors over the Internet. Vaulted gold means physical gold, which is owned by an individual investor and professionally stored in high-security vaults. Customers can buy and sell gold through BullionVault’s Internet platform. BullionVault also offers customer support over the phone. In 2011, BullionVault began offering vaulted silver, in March 2017 it added offering vaulted platinum.
Investors acquire outright ownership of their gold and can choose between five different vaults in Zurich (Switzerland), London (United Kingdom), New York (United States), Singapore and Toronto (Canada). Customers can also choose multiple vaults and thereby diversify their gold holdings across multiple jurisdictions.
When buying gold with BullionVault, investors buy grams of standard bullion bars with a weight of approximately 400 ounces (ca. 12.5kg) as defined by the London Bullion Market Association. The LBMA is the professional association for the London gold market and sets the rules for standard bullion bars or what are known as good delivery bars.
Standard bullion bars are traded at very low premiums above the market value of their gold content and enable investors to purchase, sell and store gold at low costs.
BullionVault operates similar to a gold exchange for private investors: Customers can buy and sell or trade gold with other customers. BullionVault also functions as a market maker, i.e. they buy and sell gold to/from clients.
BullionVault introduced in March 2013 its Automatic Gold Investment Plan which allows investors to buy gold regularly at the daily London price. Once set-up, an investor can simply deposit money into its BullionVault account and the money will be used to purchase gold automatically. Investors do not need to place any orders or trade directly on BullionVault’s trading platform. An investor can set up a monthly automatic payment or standing order from his bank account to make regular deposits (e.g., every month) to his BullionVault account for the purchase of gold. The Automatic Gold Investment Plan differs form traditional savings plans in that investors are completely free to decide when and in what amount they make deposits into their accounts. They can adjust the frequency or amounts of their payments and stop making deposits at any time without any negative consequences. More about BullionVault’s Automatic Gold Investment Plan can be found on BullionVault’s website.
BullionVault was twice the winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the United Kingdom: In 2009 BullionVault has won the innovation award for enabling private investors to access the professional gold bullion market; in 2013 it won the Queen’s Award in the category of international trade.
In June 2010 the World Gold Council together with a technology fund whose main investor is the Rothschild Investment Trust (RIT Capital Partners) acquired an equity stake in BullionVault. The World Gold Council is the market development organisation for the gold industry. Its members are the leading gold mining companies with a combined market capitalisation of more than US$ 200 billion.
|Precious metals||Gold, silver, platinum|
|Minimum investment||1 gram of gold|
|Delivery of gold||Optional, separate fees apply (see below)|
|Currencies||Clients of BullionVault can trade gold in U.S. dollars, British pounds sterling, euros and Japanese Yen|
According to BullionVault, the company has a sophisticated safety and security concept. Both Bullion Vault and its independent storage operator LOOMIS as well as Brinks for storage of gold in Toronto and silver in Singapore are members of the of the London Bullion Market Association. LOOMIS and Brinks 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 BullionVault gold holdings which is 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/ Brinks have additional processes in place to increase the safety and security of their investors’ gold and silver. For instance, 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 front page of BullionVault’s website.
Withdrawal of gold is possible for clients of BullionVault, but additional fees apply (see costs associated with precious metals’ holdings at BullionVault below). 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. There is no settlement risk. BullionVault does not loan client gold to other investors without a written consent by the client.
The clients’ un-invested money is held at Lloyds TSB bank in a segregated and pooled trust account.
Every client has outright ownership of his/her amount of gold, silver or platinum. 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.
More details on our review methodology and the covered safety and security criteria can be found on our Safety criteria page.
Trustable Gold’s Safety Considerations
|Outright Ownership of 100% Gold||Insured, independent storage||Transparent, external audit||Price transparency||Liquidity||Regulation|
|Clients of Bullion Vault own their gold, it is their legal property||The gold is insured, the independent storage company is a member of the LBMA||Annual audit by independent auditor and gold bar inspection company; results are published; daily reconciliation of client gold holdings with formal bar list from vault operator; publication of audited company accounts||Yes, see below||Clients can place buy and sell orders daily, around the clock (365×24). Outside of usual trading hours, trade volumes can be low and premiums higher than usual||BullionVault is independent of banks|
4 grams of silver for free
- New clients of BullionVault receive 4 grams of silver for free upon account registration.
Premium/mark-up for buying and selling gold
- Typically about 0.07% in each case (buying gold or selling gold)
Commission for buying and selling gold
Commission applies both for the purchase of gold and for the sale of gold:
- The first US$ 75,000 of gold purchased in the year so far: 0.50%
- the next US$ 750,000 of gold purchased in the year so far: 0.10%
- all additional gold purchased in the year so far: 0.05%
The same commission structure applies for the sales of gold.
All commission tiers are calculated annually. The commission rates will reset to 0.5% on the anniversary of the client’s account registration each year.
Costs for storage and insurance
- 0.12% per year on gold, billed monthly and subject to a monthly minimum of US$4.
Withdrawal fee for delivery of gold
The withdrawal fee for whole good delivery gold bars (400 troy ounces) is 2.5% of value. For 100g gold bars a surcharge of ca. 3-6% applies, in case of non-standard sizes 7.5% are charged.
Withdrawal fees for funds
The potential cost of wiring funds direct to the clients’s bank is deducted from the amount withdrawn. The charge is $30. Wire transfers in the European Union are free of transaction costs.
Automatic Gold Investment Plan
For BullionVault’s Automatic Gold Investment Plan special fees apply. BullionVault charges a transaction fee of 0.8% on buying and on selling gold at the daily London price.
BullionVault’s ongoing charges for storage, including insurance, are as normal.
Further fees, e.g. for SMS text message notifications of account transactions can be found on BullionVault’s website.
In order to buy gold or silver with BullionVault, investors have to perform the following steps:
1. Open an account online with BullionVault
Enter your data into the online registration form on the BullionVault website.
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, silver or platinum
You can place an order as soon as Bullion Vault receives your deposit.
4. Prove your identity
Validate your identity within two weeks of funding your account. 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.
The entire process usually only takes a few days.