Though it has held its crown as world’s greatest safe haven and secrecy country for over three hundred years now, things have finally begun to change for Switzerland. The wealthy have suffered enough exposure at the hands of the Swiss government who have been cheerfully handing over all of their once-confidential banking account information to the likes of the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The rich have been increasingly turning their sights eastwards as a direct result.

In this article, we compare and contrast the various seven top safe haven offshore precious metals storage locations of the world to see which is now the best place for you to secrete your physical gold and valuables.

Offshore Gold Storage CountryStabilitySecurityInfrastructureLegal IssuesPrivacyConfiscation RiskImport/Export/VAT Duties
Dubai, UAELowTax Free, Duty Free Zone
Cayman IslandsLowNone on Precious Metals
AustriaLow20% Duties on Silver Imports/Exports; waived for those coins that are not local to the EU
LiechtensteinLowNone on Precious Metals
Hong KongMediumNone on Precious Metals
SingaporeLowNone on Precious Metals
SwitzerlandMedium8% Duties on Silver Imports/Exports

Switzerland

For centuries regarded as the gold standard in offshore gold storage and secret banking, the country has had the secrecy veil violently ripped away over the past decade thanks to the machinations of former President Obama of the United States working in concert with former Prime Minister David Cameron of Great Britain and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany.

Much of the old money has moved east in consequence of these countries going after their long-hidden assets here, but Switzerland still boasts a variety of secure and high-tech vaulting facilities, a world class banking and financial sector in Zurich, and first-world infrastructure and airports. Besides this it is stunningly beautiful as a bonus. This is not enough to ensure it no longer has any rivals however.

Austria

In the long-time land of the Hapsburg emperors, Vienna has been a safe haven destination for money and valuables looking to avoid unwanted attention and the asking of uncomfortable questions like “what is the origin source of these funds.” It has one thing that is increasingly hard to find in the safe haven world any longer, and that is a venerable and revered vault company called Das Safe based in Vienna.

Here you are given a truly anonymous numbered storage account into which you can hide anything of value you wish, even thick stacks and stashes of currency. The downside is that if you lose your number or die without warning, reclaiming your assets will be difficult if not impossible. Now that is what you call impressive anonymity and security.

The only problem with the Das Safe Vienna option surrounds the prohibitive cost factor. As it is practically unique in the world (or at least in Europe) for this level of anonymity, they can charge whatever price they want, and in consequence they really do. Apart from the super-wealthy, they count a number of deep-pocketed institutional investors as clients who can both afford and justify the price for this level of sophisticated silence and protection among their anonymous roster of clients.

Liechtenstein

The Principality of Liechtenstein is another popular and more under the radar choice of offshore gold storage safe haven. While it does not have any storage facility on par with Das Safe in neighboring Austria, it does offer a high degree of privacy and anonymity. Liechtenstein benefits in this regard from being outside of the European Union, giving it a more truly independent status than Austria and other European countries as well.

Cayman Islands

The best offshore gold storage safe haven choice for the Americas and Caribbean is undoubtedly the Cayman Islands. Besides offering some of the best weather anywhere in the world, this British colonial gem boasts complete safety and security in their legal framework, and is protected by the full military might and geographical reach of the British armed forces.

This is an island which is ranked as the fifth biggest offshore financial center in the globe. The colonial government here understands very well how important anonymity and privacy issues are to their well-heeled clients which represent more than half of the entire economy here.

The Cayman Islands are also blessed with a nearly new, world-class vault and precious metals storage company there in the SWP Cayman Islands. This means that security for your precious metals is world-leading here in the islands.The prices are also competitive, though they are not the cheapest available anywhere in the world.

Hong Kong

In many ways, Hong Kong is suffering the same fate as Switzerland. For decades (if not longer) it was the top choice for offshore banking and precious metals vaulting in Asia. It also has seen its once-illustrious reputation take a severe hit in the last few years as China has increasingly asserted sovereignty over and assumed greater control in the enclave and its world-leading financial district.

It is unlikely that the Chinese will march in tomorrow and start confiscating anyone’s gold in the numerous precious metals vaults scattered throughout the district, but it is a tarnish on the reputation of what was once an unrivaled offshore financial center. Yet the city still boasts the most numerous and competitive gold dealers as well as the greatest gold market depth and liquidity in all of Asia proper. They still refer to Hong Kong gold pricing as “local London” in honor of its long-time affiliation with London— the world gold trading capital for two hundred years now.

With world-class infrastructure, ease of travel into and out of Hong Kong directly readily available, and extremely competitive pricing on gold storage in this city, Hong Kong is still a contender for best offshore precious metals storage center in the world, though it has numerous challengers to that title nowadays where once it reigned supreme in all of Asia.

Singapore

The biggest single Asian upstart challenger to Hong Kong’s decades of dominance is Singapore. This tiny city-state is one of the leading offshore banking and financial centers in Asia (if not the world) as well as the world’s busiest trading port. Since the government encouraged a conscience effort to bring in world-class precious metals vaulting facilities, it has rapidly emerged as the main contender for Hong Kong’s throne in Asia.

Hong Kong still has Singapore beat in gold market dealers and liquidity, but it can not better the infrastructure and travel connections of the city-state, which are best in the world. Fore sure in Singapore, you do not have to lose any sleep at night about a Chinese imperious takeover of the city-state any time soon.

Dubai, UAE

Dubai has emerged as the unlikeliest powerful contending offshore precious metals storage safe haven in only the last decade. Long known as mostly an exotic shopping center or real estate market, the city has successfully managed to re-brand itself as the “city of gold.” It offers the best of all its rivals worlds now, making it an extremely appealing and sensible choice for expatriating your precious physical assets. Dubai offers all of the following benefits:

  • It’s vaulting prices are the lowest anywhere, even lower than in Hong Kong
  • Dubai’s DBCC free trade zone does not charge any taxes or levy any tariffs on purchasing, storing, owning, holding, or exporting gold and other precious metals for local or foreign investors
  • The Emir of Dubai operates like an independent monarch within his own territory, without any outside influence or intervention on his city-state policies
  • The infrastructure is new and world-class throughout the city and its airport, which thanks to Emirates Airlines offers flights to hundreds of destinations directly all over the region and world
  • As a place that handles more than 20 percent of all the gold produced in the world each year, the depth of their local gold market for buying from and selling into is enormous
  • The DMCC was just recognized as the “Global Free Zone of the Year” again for 2016.

As one of the richest investing families in the world the Hinduja’s recently reminded us all:

“The world’s richest people are instead turning to countries like Dubai, Qatar, and Singapore to house their assets as Switzerland loses its allure as a haven.”

Perhaps it is time for you to consider a similar moving of your valuable precious metals assets to Dubai yourself. Better to contemplate it seriously now before the local financial authorities decide to make it harder to do in the future.

Wesley Crowder

W.D. Crowder is an American published author. His background and areas of expertise include history, economics, retirement, finance, expatriate living, international relations, investments, and personal finance. A widely read and top of his class graduate of Stetson University, he obtained his bachelor of arts degree in History with minors in Latin American Studies and International Relations and a special emphasis in Economics. He was President of his Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honors Fraternity) Stetson University chapter and a Phi Beta Kappa (National Honors Fraternity) member.