Prevailing conditions for value storage in Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Interesting facts about security, taxes, buying precious metals, reporting requirements and much more
The storage of physical precious metals and other valuables in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein offers many advantages to investors from all over the world. Both countries are governed independently and neither is a member of the European Union (EU). Their geographical locations in the heart of Europe mean that each country can be readily accessed. Furthermore, a long-established tradition of protecting property rights and its status as one of the world’s largest financial markets make Switzerland in particular an ideal place to secure assets. In addition, the private storage facilities available in both these locations offer maximum privacy and operate outside the banking system.
You can read more detail about the options for storing assets and valuables in Switzerland or Liechtenstein in the following series of articles. Just click on a link below to learn more about that particular topic.
Switzerland is politically independent, has its own currency and, as a non-EU country, can make its own laws. Thus, gold and other precious metals can be safely stored without becoming subject to regulation or disclosure requirements – while still respecting ownership and property rights. Indeed, with its own vibrant gold market, Switzerland can offer some decisive advantages.
Many gold investment products such as coins, bars or granules are exempt from VAT when purchased. They are considered by law to be purely capital goods. And in most cases, importing investment gold into Switzerland is exempt from import tax and reporting requirements. However, there are some important exceptions investors should be aware of.
Investors wishing to transfer their silver to Switzerland for storage, will find an import tax applies to assets valued at 300 CHF or more. However, this can be avoided by making an alternative arrangement to have the silver delivered to a Swiss duty-free warehouse instead. It is also possible to purchase these same goods VAT-free from a Swiss dealer, and then send them for duty-free storage. Understanding how this works means investors can save on both VAT and import taxes.
Those wishing to store gold and other valuables safely and securely, should first weigh up the risks posed by different locations. Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein are both considered safe countries in which to keep assets. But when emergency law and expropriation are important considerations for precious metal investors, there remain questions to answer. In fact, investors should be aware there are some differences between these two independent states.
Since October 2021, the Financial Supervisory Authority’s enhanced regulations apply in Liechtenstein. In order to curb money laundering, data about Liechtenstein’s bank customers must now be stored – which also means the existence of bank safe deposit boxes must now be disclosed. This creates a so-called safe deposit box register to which the authorities have direct access. However, as a private storage company, Swiss Gold Safe (Liechtenstein) Ltd. is not subject to this regulation.
Safe, bank-independent storage of silver and other white metals outside the EU is available in independent Switzerland. Investors can buy silver coins or silver bars VAT-free via local precious metal dealers and store them duty-free in private storage company facilities. In practical terms, this means investors can thus purchase more precious metal for the same money.
Although bank safe deposit boxes offer more security when storing valuables than any home safe, customer data must still be recorded. Nevertheless, privately managed, bank-independent safe deposit boxes continue to offer maximum security and privacy: no bank account is required, and there is no obligation to report to government agencies.
Home safes offer very limited protection for storing precious metals and other valuables. Safe deposit boxes offer more security. But can you arrange this option without disclosing your personal details? New anti-money laundering laws and consumer protection legislation seem to make this practically impossible. However, private security companies such as Swiss Gold Safe can still offer you maximum anonymity.
In order to curb money laundering, bank safe deposit boxes are linked to bank accounts almost everywhere across the world. Such arrangements can be used to retrieve personal data, thus revealing the existence of a bank safe deposit box. However, the situation is very different with privately managed, bank-independent safe deposit boxes such as those offered by Swiss Gold Safe. Here, there is no legal obligation to disclose.
Precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum or palladium can be secured using either individual custody or collective storage. While collective storage is usually less expensive, individual (segregated) custody offers many advantages: when assets are retrieved from storage, investors receive exactly the same coins or bars that they delivered into storage. Thus ownership rights are 100% preserved.
When opening a gold depository, investors buy common coins or bars from precious metal dealers or via a direct sale at a refinery. These assets are then stored by the provider under collective custody arrangements. The alternative? Investors can opt for individual custody in bank-independent safe deposit boxes or via a depository at Swiss Gold Safe in Switzerland or Liechtenstein.
Instead of storing valuables in bank safe deposit boxes, many private individuals often consider a home safe. However, this must meet certain requirements and the installation can be very expensive due to the additional systems required. Alternatively, gold, silver and other valuables can be stored with the private provider Swiss Gold Safe – in personal safe deposit boxes and outside the banking system.
According to experts, investment products made of gold, silver, platinum or palladium are ideal for minimising the risk to your assets. These precious metals do not have to be purchased and stored in your own country. We recommend non-EU countries such as Switzerland or Liechtenstein, which are characterised by their stable economic and political situations and uncompromising protection of property rights.
Browse our informative Swiss Gold Safe guide to the purchase and storage of gold as an offshore investment. Follow our six-step plan to help you navigate through essential features, such as: choosing an optimal storage location, evaluating available storage formats and more – includes tips on finding a broker.
Contents insurance is necessary to ensure that the value of precious metals, jewellery or cash stored in a safe deposit box is properly protected. Household contents insurance often takes effect in the event of a loss from your home safe or a bank safe deposit box. However, such general insurance protection is usually insufficient. This article contains detailed information about possible risks, and the obligation to provide evidence of losses.
Banks and precious metal dealers offer safe deposit boxes for private individuals and commercial institutions. But are these the best service providers to safeguard your precious metals and other assets whilst also securing your property of the stored goods? There are many points to consider when choosing the best safe deposit box provider, such as preservation of property, independence, experience and location.