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World Midas touch: Singapore exchange touts gold to the masses

12:28  18 september  2020
12:28  18 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Singapore , Sept 18, 2020 (AFP) - Fancy owning your own gold bars that you can admire and take selfies with? With the coronavirus fuelling demand for safe-haven assets for investors to park their cash, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what it says is an easier way to get their

As demand for gold soars during the pandemic, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what they say is an easier way to get their hands on the precious metal.

Investors can turn up to admire their treasure whenever they want © Martin ABBUGAO Investors can turn up to admire their treasure whenever they want

Fancy owning your own gold bars that you can admire and take selfies with? 

With the coronavirus fuelling demand for safe-haven assets for investors to park their cash, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what it says is an easier way to get their hands on the precious metal.

a close up of a sign: The Singapore Precious Metals Exchange holds the bullion at the city-state's Le Freeport private maximum-security facility © Martin ABBUGAO The Singapore Precious Metals Exchange holds the bullion at the city-state's Le Freeport private maximum-security facility

The Singapore Precious Metals Exchange is seeking to do away with the notion trading in bullion is only for professional investors or the super-rich, by offering small amounts for reasonable prices that can be bought using a phone app.

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As demand for gold soars during the pandemic, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what they say is an easier way to get their hands on the precious metal.

As demand for gold soars during the pandemic, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what they say is an easier way to get their hands on the precious metal.

a close up of a bench: High-net-worth individuals can splash out more than US$60,000 for a one kilogram bar © Martin ABBUGAO High-net-worth individuals can splash out more than US$60,000 for a one kilogram bar

"When we first started our business a decade ago, obviously we attracted the elite group, people who had money," chief executive Victor Foo told AFP.

"But it's our aspiration to be able to reach the mass market." 

The price of an ounce of gold topped US$2,000 for the first time last month -- fuelled by worries about the economic impact of the virus as well as future inflation -- and Foo says sales have risen. 

But 80 percent of his customers are still high-net-worth individuals and the exchange's most popular offering is a one kilogram (2.2 pound) gold bar -- setting them back more than US$60,000. 

a close up of a box: To appeal to mom-and-pop investors, the exchange is also offering one, five, ten, 50 and 100 gram bars © Martin ABBUGAO To appeal to mom-and-pop investors, the exchange is also offering one, five, ten, 50 and 100 gram bars

Foo is, however, keen to stress you can start much smaller.

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As demand for gold soars during the pandemic, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what they say is an easier way to get their hands on the precious metal.

As demand for gold soars during the pandemic, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what they say is an easier way to get their hands on the precious metal.

For around US$70 you can buy one gram -- a wafer the size of an SD memory card -- while mini-bars weighing five, ten, 50 and 100 grams are also available.

SGPMX says it is the world's first precious metals exchange entirely backed by physical bullion, and investors can turn up whenever they like to admire their trove.

a person holding a piece of paper: With the coronavirus fuelling demand for safe-haven assets for investors to park their cash, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what it says is an easier way to get their hands on the precious metal. © Catherine LAI With the coronavirus fuelling demand for safe-haven assets for investors to park their cash, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what it says is an easier way to get their hands on the precious metal.

While virus-related travel curbs have halted most visits from overseas for now, there is a steady stream in usual times -- with Japanese particularly keen to check out their investments. 

"They visit us once a year, they see their thing, take pictures, 'wefie', then they go," Foo said.

The bullion is stored at Le Freeport, a fortified, Fort Knox-like vault near the city-state's main airport set up to house treasures from around the world and private art collections.

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As demand for gold soars during the pandemic, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what they say is an easier way to get their hands on the precious metal.

As demand for gold soars during the pandemic, a Singapore exchange is offering mom-and-pop investors what they say is an easier way to get their hands on the precious metal.

Security is tight -- the gold is kept inside vaults protected by massive metal doors and thick walls that block mobile phone signals.

Most investors are from Europe and the United States, but Foo predicts the number from Asia will increase in the coming years. 

It may be hard to change age-old habits however. While gold is popular among many Asian communities, it is typically bought in the form of jewellery to give as gifts at special occasions, rather than in bars and coins. 

mba/sr/dan

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