Frequently Asked Questions

BFI Bullion in Brief

ABOUT US

How is BFI Bullion different from other companies that deal with precious metals?


Contrary to other precious metals programs where the terms of the ownership can be vague or unclear, with BFI Bullion, a 100% Swiss company complying with Swiss law and regulations, you own your precious metals fully and directly. We do not hedge, pledge, loan or lease your metals. BFI Bullion’s services and storage facilities are located “outside” of the banking system, meaning that we are not dependent on functioning stock markets or banks. And if you need access to your metals – to sell, pick-up, or even take delivery of – they are immediately available.




What is the connection between BFI Bullion and the BFI Capital Group?


BFI Bullion is a subsidiary of the BFI Capital Group, an internationally recognized wealth management firm founded in 1993. BFI Bullion is its own company, in business since 2009, but clients can benefit from the knowledge, services offered, and network behind the entire BFI Capital Group.




Does BFI Bullion have a blog or regular newsletter?


Yes. Being a subsidiary of the BFI Capital Group, we also regularly contribute to the Group’s blog, www.bficapital.com/groupblog. Subscribers benefit from not only what we write, but to the contributions regarding asset protection, wealth protection, international investing, etc. offered by the different companies in the Group. Furthermore, we also have our Quarterly “Digger” newsletter, with important topics regarding not only precious metals, but other items that impact our clients, as well as service updates.




Is there a benefit to working with BFI Bullion, as a Swiss company, when it comes to precious metals purchase and storage?


BFI Bullion is a 100% Swiss company operating under Swiss law and jurisdiction. The benefits are many, but we believe the highest benefit is our federalist and democratic system; it ensures that the Swiss people still have a say in and keep a key check over what the government can do. The Swiss highly treasure and respect the individual’s property rights. (See/link “10 arguments for Switzerland”)




I live on a different continent/time zone than Switzerland. How will the client services be if I have questions or need help?


While it is true our clients live in different time zones across the world, BFI Bullion takes a great deal of pride in providing superior client service. Clients can reach us via phone or video call during our usual business hours and can email or write to us over our secure Client Login Portal at any time. You will communicate with real team members and not receive the often repetitive, annoying automated and computer-generated correspondence. We are dedicated to helping our clients; we do our best to make sure 5,000 kilometers feels more like 5.




Does BFI Bullion pledge the metals held in storage? Are they leased to third parties?


BFI Bullion does not and cannot lease, pledge, or otherwise use the metals stored with BFI Bullion. Our Storage Contract was carefully crafted to avoid this and provide security that all our clients’ metals are in storage 100% of the time. We conduct monthly internal audits of the vaults, and all of BFI Bullion’s vaults are audited annually by one of the Big-4 auditing firms. A summary of the Audit Report is available upon request.




What would happen to my gold if BFI Bullion went bankrupt?


As you have direct, allocated ownership of your metals, your metals are not part of our balance sheet. As such, if BFI Bullion were to go bankrupt, the creditors will not be able to put a claim on your metals. Since we do not pre-finance any purchases, nor do we hedge, pledge or speculate with your metals, our business model largely eliminates business risks.





GETTING STARTED

Are there any countries’ citizens that you refuse to take on as clients?


In general, we accept clients from all over the world. BFI Bullion carefully examines every client application assuring that the necessary due diligence is done to comply with Swiss law and to fulfill our own high ethical criteria.




What type of clients does BFI Bullion accept? Can I open an account for my trust or company?


BFI Bullion accepts private, individual clients, as well as legal entities. Therefore, yes, we can accept a trust, foundation, partnership, or company, provided our anti-money laundering and KYC (Know Your Client) rules can be met. We also offer a unique option for Swiss investors as they benefit from no VAT on white metals when purchased and stored with us in Switzerland. And we offer unique, specialized services for Institutional clients.




How do I become a client of BFI Bullion?


First, take a few short minutes to register online. You will then receive access to your very own personal and highly secure Client Online Portal. After validating your identity document(s) and completing our onboarding process, you’ll be ready for your first purchases. Alternatively, we also have a manual application process that can be done via mail, email or fax.




Is Joint Ownership possible?


Yes, joint ownership is possible. Joint Ownership under BFI Bullion is dealt with as tenancy in common, meaning that each owner owns an equal share of the holdings and do not necessarily have a right of ownership to each other. For estate planning purposes, sometimes the use of a trust or other entity could be beneficial.




What is my Client Reference Account and why is it important?


The “Client Reference Account” is the account where you are either wiring the funds for a purchase from, or where we wire cash residuals or sales proceeds to. We can only wire to an account in the name of the BFI Bullion client. The Account can be changed in the future, or you can keep more than one.




What can I do with my Client Login Portal?


Your Client Login Portal has a variety of tools and features that you can use, and those will continue to grow. New clients will be able to complete their application process, and existing clients will be able to submit Buy and Sell orders. You can see your holdings at any time, review current/past transactions, download the most important forms, or pay the annual storage fees via credit card. You can also communicate with us through our highly secure, Portal Messenger, which we recommend all of our clients use.





BUY & SELL

Where does BFI Bullion purchase their clients’ metals from?


BFI Bullion purchases its precious metals directly from a specially select group of refineries, mints, and reputable wholesalers (for example, the Austrian Mint, Valcambi, and Argor-Heraeus). The actual provider used depends on where we can get the best pricing from at the time we are executing your trade.




What products do you offer?


We offer only bullion products (no semi-numismatic or numismatic products), a list of which can be found at our website, www.bfibullion.com. If you are interested in a product that is not on our list, please do not hesitate to ask us, as sometimes we are able to source other bullion products.




Are all products available in each storage location? Can I buy in one country and ship to another?


Not all the products we offer may be available for direct purchase at our other storage locations outside of Switzerland. The main reason for this is that we only offer the most liquid products in each storage location. However, as a client of BFI Bullion, we can also ship your current holdings at any time to any of the other storage facilities we use.




How is the price calculated when buying or selling?


With a purchase, the price is calculated by using the spot price, plus the premium on the particular metal/format, and the BFI Bullion brokerage fee. If you sell your metals, the price is normally slightly above, at, or slightly below spot plus the BFI Bullion brokerage fee. Actual pricing is determined at the point of the trade.




When is the price fixed? Is it when I send the Buy Order forms?


Once we have your Buy Order and funds, the price is fixed at the time we execute the trade. All trades are done during our usual business hours. Limit orders with a minimum value of CHF 250’000 can be placed where a maximum price can be set by you. Pricing (updated every 30 seconds) can be found on the “Products” page of our website or in the Client Login Portal. These prices are not binding but are only indicative of the current pricing based on the terms mentioned on the Products page of the website.




What happens to any residual value after the purchase?


Since BFI Bullion is purchasing only allocated metals, there will always be a cash residual after purchase. Any cash residual to come from a transaction will be wired back to your “Client Reference Account” on file immediately after the trade has been executed.




Can I place an order after hours?


BFI Bullion only trades during our usual business hours from 8am – 5pm (Swiss time). If we receive a trade outside of those hours, we execute it the following morning.




Is there a minimum initial investment?


Yes, the initial investment is CHF 50’000 (or equivalent in USD, EUR, or GBP). Thereafter, an investment of at least a particular metal’s format lot size is required.




Why do you sell by lot sizes?


For coins, the reason is the packaging – it is important that they are properly packed and protected e.g., against scratches. For example, you can buy gold coins in lot sizes of 10, e.g., 10, 20, 50, etc. Alternatively, for bars, after having initially purchased the minimum lot size (e.g., the lot size for 100g gold bars is 4), you may buy singular bars additionally as part of that order.




Can I pay by check or with credit card? In which currencies can I buy?


No. We only accept bank wires for purchases at this time. Trades can be executed in CHF, USD, EUR, and GBP. The annual storage fees can be paid via credit card or bank wire in the same currencies.




Do you charge VAT on purchases?


No, VAT is not applicable for metals purchased and/or stored within our storage facilities. However, if the metals leave the physical storage facility of BFI Bullion, the VAT regime of the destination country would be due.




Are all offered products normally available for immediate delivery into storage?


Under normal conditions, it can take between a couple of days to 2 weeks after purchase for delivery and final storage under the custody of BFI Bullion. If there is a scarcity in the market, delays can occur. The client will always be informed if any longer delays are expected.




If I want to sell my gold, what guarantee is there that someone will buy it?


We work with a select network of partners, including refineries and metals providers. The status and business volume we generate with these partners regularly ensures that we are able to find a buyer promptly.





STORAGE & LOGISTICS

Can I have my metals delivered to me?


Yes, we can ship your metals to your requested destination at any time. Because your metals are physically held in storage, there are no fabrication delays or costs. The metals are fully insured when being delivered. BFI Bullion can help you organize the delivery of your metals, or you can also arrange the delivery yourself.




Can I pick up my metals?


Yes, it is possible to go directly to our storage facilities to pick up your metals. We’ve also had metals delivered to our office and have our clients pick them up there. Again, because of your unencumbered ownership of your metals, we generally only need 48 hours to arrange the pick-up with our storage providers.




If I wanted to, could I visit the vault where my gold is stored?


Yes. A visit to the storage facility can be arranged. BFI Bullion will need at least a 48-hours’ notice to organize. Because of the strict security procedures, there are fees for the visit.




Do you ship internationally?


Yes, generally you can ship anywhere in the world. However, there might be some different rules or restrictions depending on the country. Please contact BFI Bullion for pricing.




Is it possible to move my existing metals into the custody of BFI Bullion?


Yes, but it is subject to the minimum value of the metals moved in being CHF 250’000 (or equivalent). Because Swiss regulations dictate that such a transaction could create certain risks, we require additional information from you that will allow us to conduct this transaction, and the metals are likely to need assaying in order to be allowed into the BFI Bullion storage facilities. We will guide you through the process. At the moment, we only conduct the complete in-kind process in Switzerland. If you chose to store in any of our non-Swiss storage facilities, we would transfer the metals after assaying and acceptance with additional delivery fees to the final storage destination.




How do you ensure that the metals and coins are real when accepting such transfers?


All metals not purchased directly by BFI Bullion are subject to assaying. Once the metals arrive, they are kept separate until assayed by an independent, registered assayer. Once verified, they are accepted and moved to the BFI Bullion storage vault.




What storage options does BFI Bullion offer?


BFI Bullion offers three storage services: Collective Storage (COL), Segregated Storage (SEG) and Key Box Storage (KBS). With Collective storage, your metals are held collectively with other clients’ metals of the same type and format. Collective storage is our least expensive and most popular option. In Segregated storage, your metals are held physically separate from the holdings of any other BFI Bullion clients. Storage fees are higher than with the COL option. Key Box Storage has you purchasing your own Key Box, with lock and keys. The storage fees are the same as with SEG storage. With KBS, only you have access to your metals. Thus, withdrawing or selling metals from your personal box will require you to be present personally, or to give powers to a third party for access to the box. Under the COL and SEG storage, BFI Bullion can sell your metals based on your instructions at any time. (See/link to “High Security Storage”)




How much does it cost to store metals with BFI Bullion?


The list of storage fees for our different storage options can be found under the Storage page of our services. The storage fees are paid annually in arrears, and the fees charged vary depending on the value of your holdings. The storage fee calculations are based on the average daily spot price of the storage period (January 1st to December 31st, pro-rated if the services were used only part of the year).




Are my metals insured?


Yes, your metals are fully insured against fire, water, fraud, theft, and burglary. The storage fees you pay annually cover the costs for the insurance.




What is the storage invoicing process?


The storage fees are paid annually in arrears. We contact you at the beginning of each year and invoice you for our storage service during the prior fiscal year. Your storage invoice is uploaded to your password-protected Client Login Portal. Once you log in, you can pay the storage fees directly online via credit card or find the bank details to make a bank-to-bank wire transfer to settle the storage invoice.




How can I find out the current value of my holdings is at GG?


Each client has access to their own Client Login Portal which shows the holdings you have with us. Current and historical values are available.




Can I change the location of my storage?


Yes, that is possible. You can change the location of your storage within the storage locations we offer. The price for having the metals shipped depends on the quantity and on the location. Please contact us to find out more about the costs involved.




Does BFI Bullion offer unallocated storage?


No. BFI Bullion only offers fully allocated storage.





MORE

What is the benefit of “offshore” and diversifying my assets outside of my home country?


Much in the same way you wouldn’t invest all of your hard-earned assets into one single stock, it is important to consider holding at least part of your assets outside of your home country. History has taught us that the more a country is indebted, the higher the risk of confiscation of the wealth of its citizens will be! Therefore, an important part of any individual risk assessment must address the necessity of international wealth diversification into different jurisdictions.




How do I choose which format I should buy?


Which product you purchase depends largely on your personal preferences. Bars come with lower premiums, and thus can be purchased “cheaper” per ounce than intricately detailed coins. However, coins can afford you more flexibility when liquidating vs. a large bar or can used more easily in the ultimate fiat currency crisis. Your investment goals and the reasons for purchasing metals should be reviewed. If you are looking for guidance on which product(s) are right for you, please feel free to call/email us with your questions. Or, have a look at a blog post we wrote on the subject.




Is it possible to change the ownership of my account?


Yes. First, it is important that the “new” owner has submitted an application kit and has its own BFI Bullion client number if not a client already. Then, a Change of Ownership form, signed by both “old” and “new” owners will facilitate the change. Note that storage fees from January 1st to the point the metals change ownership need to be paid prior to the move.




Is it possible to give a Power of Attorney to a third party to act on my BFI Bullion account?


Yes, you can name a Power of Attorney. The PoA gives the third party a right to purchase, sell, and give other instructions on your behalf, so it is a powerful right to give. A notarized copy of the valid passport of the Attorney would need to be provided, plus an original-signed form confirming all parties’ agreement on the PoA.




Are U.S. IRAs accepted as BFI Bullion clients?


Yes, provided the IRA custodian agrees to allow for BFI Bullion in the IRA and signs the application accordingly. We are aware that some US IRA custodians allow for foreign precious metals storage. This is something you might have to check on with your custodian or specialized US-based companies.




If I am a US person, do I need to be reporting my GG holdings on the FBAR?


We work with international clients and keeping up on the reporting requirements for all of them is quite difficult. We have a limited knowledge of the FBAR, or FiNCEN form 114, but know there are reasons as to why or why not a US person should report BFI Bullion holdings. We recommend contacting a US tax expert for a qualified, final answer.




When Covid became a problem in Europe in the early spring of 2020, how did it affect your business?


While Covid was certainly problematic with lockdowns, disrupted supply chains, home-office rules, temporary shutdowns of refineries and mints, etc., our commitment remained with our clients. We kept a regular contact with our clients through direct communications, blog posts, and our usual personalized service. Thanks to our select network of metals and storage providers, we were able to always source metals and the different formats for our clients, as well as sell or arrange delivery even in the hardest times.