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Our New Endorsed Solution for Purchasing Precious Metals

Offering institutional advantages to the retail investor
Thursday, July 19, 2012, 11:13 PM

We're very pleased to announce our participation in the Hard Assets Alliance, our newly endorsed solution for purchasing precious metals.

For years, we've received a continuous stream of questions from readers, all essentially asking where's the best place to buy gold and silver?

While we've done our best to review and present an assessed list of the top bullion vendors, the remaining work readers needed to do in comparing each of them was still more challenging and confusing than we were comfortable with. It's been clear that folks are hoping for a single "best of the best" recommendation.

That's why we were so glad when the Hard Assets Alliance was formed, and we had the good fortune to be invited to be a Founding Member. This new platform offers so many clear advantages to customers that we were happy to throw our support behind it.

What is the Hard Assets Alliance?

The Hard Assets Alliance (HAA) is an industry association of well-known economic and investment research firms that strive to help their clients and readers better understand prevailing economic trends and how to intelligently position themselves. Other founding members in the HAA include Casey Research, Agora Financial, Mauldin Economics, and other names likely known to many of our readers.

These firms all share the desire to offer a better way for individuals to buy, store, and sell precious metals than has been historically available to the retail customer.

They have collectively identified an innovative solution, the SmartMetals platform, which offers a superior level of quality, price, and service to the individual bullion investor, and they have agreed to support its development.

The SmartMetals platform was initially developed to provide a robust precious-metals trading platform to governments and the biggest investment banks. Until recently, it has only been available through institutional broker/dealers. But with the advent of the Hard Assets Alliance, the retail customer can now access the benefits of this platform directly.

What are the benefits?

Basically, this solution makes the same advantages enjoyed by institutions available to the retail bullion investor.

Among the most notable are:

  • Excellent pricing - For every order, a least four suppliers provide a bid to meet it. The platform compares them and offers you the best one.
  • Quality of product - The HAA only offers sovereign coins and standard bullion bars, which hold their value more consistently than any other forms.  No numismatics or rare coins. You can buy gold, silver, platinum, or palladium through the HAA.
  • Delivery options - Take physical delivery immediately of your purchased bullion, or opt to have the HAA store it for you safely at low cost.
  • Allocated storage - All bullion (bars or coins) that you purchase and store through the HAA is held in your name at the vault location of your choosing. If you purchase bars, the serial numbers are provided to you. Bullion stored by the HAA is never pooled, margined, or otherwise leveraged.
  • Storage options - You can choose to have your bullion stored in vaults in the US (New York and Salt Lake City), the UK, Switzerland, Australia and/or Singapore. (Metals available at any location are subject to availability) 
  • Storage security - HAA bullion is stored in the same secure vaults as for the major global investment banks and governments that use the SmartMoney platform. These vaults have around-the-clock armed physical security, state-of-the-art electronic protection, and insurance for the full value of your deposit. Their precious metal holdings are audited every day and an audit report containing bar lists is sent to the Hard Assets Alliance daily. In addition, an internationally recognized Big Four auditing firm audits all of the precious metal holdings on a quarterly basis. Precious-metal bar holdings are confirmed with Hard Assets Alliance and reported on the Hard Assets Alliance website. 
  • Low storage fees - Between 0.5%-0.8% per year for gold and silver
  • At-will delivery - Any bullion you store with the HAA will be shipped to you, fully-insured, within 48 hours of your request.
  • Easy, anytime, instant transactions - Once your HAA account is funded, the online system lets you buy and sell bullion and/or request delivery with just a few mouse clicks. You can perform any of these transactions 24/7.
  • Reliability - Since the SmartMoney platform must meet the service requirements of the world's largest investment banks, you can have confidence that if worldwide bullion inventories become tight, the HAA will have the highest reliability that it can fulfill your order when you need to transact.
  • World-class support - In addition to the online system, live support via phone, email, and chat is available to help you 12 hours a day, 5 days a week.
  • IRS reporting - HAA accounts are considered US accounts, even if your bullion is stored in a vault overseas. Therefore you are not required to file IRS foreign-held asset reporting forms such as TD F 90-22.1.

How can I learn more?

Visit the Hard Assets Alliance website. In particular, check out the helpful Frequently Asked Questions section.

What else do I need to know?

The members of the Hard Assets Alliance, including Peak Prosperity, receive a portion of the proceeds transacted through the platform. Because the low-cost structure is a major feature of the program, such commissions are very modest and do not affect the prices paid by clients.

There are minimum purchase requirements: $5,000 for delivery and $10,000 for storage. If you do not have those amounts readily available, you can add funds to your HAA account over time until you have sufficient levels to transact.

Our endorsement of the Hard Assets Alliance in no way refutes the quality of service offered by the other providers listed on our Where to Buy Gold & Silver page or recommended previously through this site. We simply think this new solution offers the best combination of benefits for the widest audience of retail precious metals investors.

We hope our new and longtime readers find this new service of as much value as we think you will. For those who decide to become HAA customers, please share feedback with us about your experience.

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53 Comments

searesponse's picture
searesponse
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 3 2011
Posts: 29
HAA -vs- GM -vs- BV

So CM endorses Bullionvault, GoldMoney and HAA?
Would be interesting to see the relative merits of each compared, but I guess we'll only know when the excrement hits the fan. 

How much gold/assets does HAA actually have? 

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 3393
Gold and Silver Options

This new platform and storage opportunity fits right into our larger strategy for owning gold and silver, which, I will remind everyone, has at its core physical that you have at your immediate disposal.  For some that will mean a safe deposit box at a local bank(s), for others careful storage (and silence!) somewhere on their property.  

But for many, there will either be additional gold and silver they'd like to purchase, or there is not a local storage option that makes sense at the time, and thus the ability to safely store gold and/or silver, coupled with the ability to rapidly buy and sell electronically is something of a necessity.

Bullion Vault, Gold Money, and now HAA all offer ways to diversify various risks and meet different needs.  It is wonderful to have these options to recommend...the offerings have expanded a lot since I first bought my first ounce of gold.

switters's picture
switters
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 19 2008
Posts: 743
Comparison of BV, GM & HAA?

Thanks, Chris. I'd also be interested in a comparison of these three services, since they are quite similar.

Pioneer's picture
Pioneer
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 1 2009
Posts: 60
HAA versus Bullionvault

Chris, thanks for this valuable information on the HAA. 

I have used Bullionvault for several years. 

I did some research this morning comparing HAA to Bullionvault and here are some considerations  - Chris and fellow subscribers, please comment:

1.  Annual custody fees (storage and insurance); silver is more because it takes up more space per unit of value.   HAA :  0.5% to 0.7% Gold, 0.6 to 0.8% silver.  Bullionvault: 0.12% for gold; 0.48% for silver.  Bullion is up to 1/2 the cost of HAA.

2.  Transaction commissions:   HAA:   gold: 1.7% to 3.0%;  silver: 1.7% to 3.5%.    Bullionvault transaction commission, gold or silver:   0.8% max, less for transactions above $30k.  BullionVault is much cheaper. HAA also charges a one-time $35 account set-up fee.

3.  Best price.  I compared gold trading prices simultaneously on both platforms twice today, three hours apart.  The second check pretty much reflected the same as the first; prices per ounce for HAA / Bullion Vault:   Buy: 1633 / 1587, Sell: 1534 /1581.  If this three-hour market window is typical for both platforms, then it's cheaper to purchase on BullionVault (about $100 cheaper!) and just about the same sale prices, so looks like Bullionvault is more lucrative, if I am understanding the platforms correctly  - better check this out, folks.    

4.  HAA is an international platform, like Bullionvault, but may have more bidders and so could yield more competitive offers?  Bullionvault has 39,000 users but they may be less active traders than HAA users?  Some of the HAA traders are big money boys /banks and governments so would they be interested in competitive pricing of indivdual small holdings when things get tight?  Bullionvault is sometimes the buyer on their platform and my impression is that they keep things moving along by participating  - for their legitimate trading profit and/or to keep trading active?

5. If HAA participants want to withdraw their gold, and if for any reason it is not all there, the big players could have first dibs on what is there due to their power  - governments and big banks?

6. Certified purity and weight, and so instant tradeability.  Both platforms seem equally dependable.

7. Bullionvaut requires the hassle of filing the TD F 90-22.1, HAA does not.  Not a big deal for me to complete the form.

Everyone should confirm the accuracy of my online and phone research before making a decision of platforms.  I did the research on the fly.

thanks,

  Phil

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 444
HAA Versus NWTM

I quickly compared Hard Assets Alliance's prices for some random items with my usual dealer, Northwest Territorial Mint.  What I found is below:

                                               NWTM                                                          Hard Assets Alliance

Gold Krugerrand:            $1,635.84 delivered (10 or more coins)             $1,661.68 + shipping costs
                                            $1,640.84 delivered (5-9 coins)
 

Gold philharmonic:          $1,645.89 delivered (10 or more coins)            $1,671.50 + shipping costs
                                             $1,650.89 delivered (5-9 coins)
 

Gold American Eagle:     $1,665.99 delivered (10 or more coins)            $1,683.37 + shipping costs    
                                             $1,670.99 delivered (5-9 coins)
 

Canadian Maple Leaf:     $1,641.20 delivered (10 or more coins)            $1,656.90 + shipping costs
                                             $1,646.27 delivered (5-9 coins)
 

Credit Suisse
10-oz gold bar
                $16,307.80 delivered                                     $16,386.16 + shipping costs
 

These prices do not include HAA's mandatory $35 membership fee which is necessary to "keep your costs...as low as possible."

This is not to criticize: these prices are only for physical delivery.  I'm sure that many of HAA's real benefits probably derive from their flexible physical storage options.  More information on that subject from anybody else would be helpful.

ADD's picture
ADD
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 20 2012
Posts: 1
Apples to Oranges on Bullion Vault

@solarphil, I appreciate all the detailed notes, but are you sure you are comparing them correctly?  The prices you indicate seem to be for 1 oz coins on HAA vs. 400 oz bars on BV.  Also, have you considered that with BV you need to pay a liquidation fee to take possession of your gold?  It's up to a 4% back end load basically -- like a mutual fund in the 1980s or something. 

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 1816
Addressing your questions

Good questions, all - I've spent much of the day in contact with the Hard Assets Alliance team to make sure we best address them.

Ed D'Agostino, the General Manager of the Hard Assets Alliance, will be logging on the site shortly to provide answers himself.

In the meantime, be cautious of the comparative conclusions drawn in some of the comments so far. There are some apples-to-oranges comparisons that don't accurately reflect the true relative values of either service. Ed will clarify.

Also, on Monday, we'll receive and post here the asked-for comparative matrix of HAA/BullionVault/GoldMoney. We're simply waiting for Compliance sign-off before we can do so.

xkguy's picture
xkguy
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 13 2011
Posts: 46
careful...even with allocated gold

Suppose there IS a reset and gold is suddenly MUCH more valuable?!

First it would present a big temptation to try to 'cash' clients out (even though they had allocated gold). This happened already with the MFGlobal collapse....and gold was just priced as it is now.

Second, while government confiscation of individual gold seems unlikely, large piles of gold in corporations would be a very tempting target for the Feds...I'll let you make up your own list of reasons they might give as to how they 'find it necessary, at this time to make this unusual claim on assets'. I got dibs on 'for the children'...but the list is long believe me.

There is no substitution for POSSESSION of your gold. A million dollars worth weighs less than 50 pounds and fits in a small safe. Unless you absolutely cannot keep your own...consider doing it.

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 2743
PM IRAs

I spoke to one of HAAs reps today.  They are not yet set up to handle IRAs.

Doug

searesponse's picture
searesponse
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 3 2011
Posts: 29
conflict of interest?

Thanks for your reply above.

For me, Chris is a beacon of integrity, indepedence and intellectual rigour among gold advocates. I have followed his advice and improved my way of life and my family's prospects. 

Despite never having met him, I trust and like the guy.

However, we have seen all too clearly how incentives change behaviour. Is there a danger that now Chris is 'selling' gold, that his independent, honest voice might be compromised? 

I find many of the famous gold advocates genuinely creepy and intellectually dishonest. Although they may be technically right, their arguments are more like sales pitches, as they 'talk their books'.

As the world economy goes through many twists and turns, what will happen if, say, the price of gold peaks, and Chris' business interests no longer align with the site-members' interests? 

searesponse's picture
searesponse
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 3 2011
Posts: 29
request

Also, please add a vault in the South part of Scandinavia!!

Thanks s

Alliance's picture
Alliance
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 21 2012
Posts: 3
Thank you for your comments

Thank you for your comments regarding the Hard Assets Alliance.  I'm Ed D'Agostino, the General Manager.  As Adam said earlier, we are working on a detailed comparison that will be available next week.  In the meantime, I'll try to highlight a few key differences.

First, GoldBullion and some of the other companies I've seen mentioned are great companies that provide excellent services.  They may be a good fit for your needs, but everyone's needs are different.  That's why we offer a different option.  BullionVault and GoldMoney both provide investors with an efficient way to own metals.  They do this by offering fractional ownership in large bars.  This is a great way to maintain very low per ounce cost of ownership. 

Our approach to precious metals ownership is different.  We believe the best we to own gold, silver, platinum, and palladium is to own the physical asset (as opposed to owning "paper" in an ETF).  Furthermore, we believe the best way to own physical metal is to own an undivided interest.  So, we offer bars and sovereign coins in a wide range of sizes.  As you are aware, the cost of producing a 1 oz coin is greater than producing a 400 oz bar.  The cost per ounce will always be higher when comparing smaller, individually owned bars or coins to fractional ownership of large bars.  The same goes for storage.  It cots more per ounce for a vault to store a wide variety of coins and bars, in various weights, than to store large bars. 

Other features of the Alliance: we offer an online trading platform that (during NYSE trading hours) bids your purchase out to a network of wholesale dealers and refiners.  The platform fills your order with the best price available at that moment.  From there, you have the option of taking delivery or placing your metals in storage at a US or international vault.  You may take delivery whenever you want, for as much or as little of your holdings as you choose, and delivery will be made to your address of record.  We do not charge a redemption fee, surcharge, recasting fee, etc.  The only fee you pay is the direct cost associated with the delivery. 

I hope I've addressed some of your concerns while remaining respectful to the companies mentioned.  Our service are unique and, in my opinion, unrivaled when you take into account the full range of services and products offered.  Our prices are available on our website, with discounts available for larger orders.  Please take a moment to compare to similar services.  I think you'll be pleased. 

Thank you for letting me post!

-Ed

slash2's picture
slash2
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 20 2010
Posts: 2
IRAs

Ed, when do you anticipate being set up to handle IRAs?

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 1816
Rationale

searesponse (and others wondering the same thing) -

I understand the concern about conflict of interest. And while the best measure for judgment will be to watch how we act in the future, I'll offer the following:

1. There is no real 'book' to talk here. Chris has been advocating owning gold & silver, based on a core position of physical holdings (i.e. in your hands), for many years. That advice is not changed in any way by this announcement.

2. Due to the wide spectrum of choices (vendors, forms, storage options, etc) for owning precious metals, we receive a HUGE number of requests each month from readers pleading for us to cut through the clutter and recommend the "best" one. Because we think it offers the most attractive overall package of benefits to the widest audience of customer types, we have decided to officially endorse the HAA in order to meet this request from our readership.

3. In NO way are we discouraging folks from considering the other bullion vendors we have favorably reviewed in the past. For certain customers, it may make better sense to transact through them. We will continue to list them as options for consideration on our Where to Buy Gold & Silver page and our Guide to Buying Gold & Silver.

I hope the above helps set some minds at ease  - but as I said, the best way for us to keep your confidence in our integtrity is to continue earning it each day by our actions. We'll be doing our best to do so.

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
Adam Taggart

Adam Taggart wrote:

searesponse (and others wondering the same thing) -

I understand the concern about conflict of interest. And while the best measure for judgment will be to watch how we act in the future, I'll offer the following:

1. There is no real 'book' to talk here. Chris has been advocating owning gold & silver, based on a core position of physical holdings (i.e. in your hands), for many years. That advice is not changed in any way by this announcement.

2. Due to the wide spectrum of choices (vendors, forms, storage options, etc) for owning precious metals, we receive a HUGE number of requests each month from readers pleading for us to cut through the clutter and recommend the "best" one. Because we think it offers the most attractive overall package of benefits to the widest audience of customer types, we have decided to officially endorse the HAA in order to meet this request from our readership.

3. In NO way are we discouraging folks from considering the other bullion vendors we have favorably reviewed in the past. For certain customers, it may make better sense to transact through them. We will continue to list them as options for consideration on our Where to Buy Gold & Silver page and our Guide to Buying Gold & Silver.

I hope the above helps set some minds at ease  - but as I said, the best way for us to keep your confidence in our integtrity is to continue earning it each day by our actions. We'll be doing our best to do so.

Adam,

Is there a financial and/or contractual relationship between CM/PP and HAA?

Estatesavr's picture
Estatesavr
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 12 2009
Posts: 77
cui bono

To me, this presents as an appearance of conflict of interest

& in today's world chancing that seems risky for you all (in my opinion)

You have worked hard to build up a resevoir of trust amongst your readers.  You have a legion of volunteers that believe you are 'different' than the talking heads on CNBC.

I agree with others post (above) that the question now presents itself 'will they continue to sell this if they see the market going a different direction?'

I subscribe (and I suspect so do many others) not for the deals on water purifiers, food storage & now gold/silver - No, I subscribe for unbiased advice and insight.

I emailed you all, before, when I was worried about conflict of interest.  I suspended my account for a while.  I came back for the insight but am considering stopping the subscription for good.

For me - I do not want an insight/advice service that receives commission for 'preferred vendors'.  I already feel like a tax-mule, medical-mule, etc. ... I do not want to pay for the priveledge of being a subscription mule.

Based on the posts above & my own research I see no tangible benefit to this for the PP members.  

This saddens me as I fear CM/PP are going down the slippery slope.

Oliveoilguy's picture
Oliveoilguy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 29 2012
Posts: 359
Relationship between CM/PP and HAA

Adam,

I have the same question. Is there a financial relationship?

jkuryan's picture
jkuryan
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 17 2008
Posts: 4
pricing....

HAA prices (Gold- 1oz ) seem to higher than at Bullion Vault and other sites?

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 1816
Yes

Ao -

Yes. As disclosed in the original article above:

The members of the Hard Assets Alliance, including Peak Prosperity, receive a portion of the proceeds transacted through the platform. Because the low-cost structure is a major feature of the program, such commissions are very modest and do not affect the prices paid by clients.

Just as PP receives a small fee for transactions made through the affiliate links on our site to BullionVault, GoldMoney, etc.

It's important to be aware that bullion is about as pure a "commodity" as something can be. Therefore, the margins are razor-thin.

To put this into perspective, I've just tallied the total affiliate fees received to our organization from BullionVault and GoldMoney for all of 2011. The total comes to ~5% of the amount Chris and I have funded out of our own pockets to launch this upgraded website along with its new features & improvements. Assuming similar transaction volumes in future years, it would take us 20 years to recoup the nominal cost of our investment from these annual fees. While every bit of revenue helps us continue our operations -- these small fees from bullion sales are no incentive to adulterate the impartial & empirical insights Chris and the staff here work so hard to bring to you. 

estatesavr (and others concerend about conflict of interest) -

Beyond continuing to consistently produce & source the unbiased analysis & commentary you value, I'm not sure what else we can say at this point that will make a difference for you.

As Chris often says about our corporate and government leaders: pay attention less to what they say and more to what they do. We remain committed to producing the highest-quality, data-driven insights about our collective global Three E predicament & how you can prudently position yourself accordingly. But don't simply take our word for it: watch us in our continued pursuit of this mission and judge for yourself.

We hate to see any reader leave in disappointment. But if you judge this site does not deliver what you value, we urge you to follow your convictions. Individuals taking the best action for their interests is at the heart of what we're about.

jkuryan (and others with questions about price)  -

I refer you to comment #13 by "Alliance" below. Ed is the General Manager of the HAA and the best one to clarify how its pricing matches up to BullionVault and GoldMoney. It's extremely important to be aware of what the $/oz quoted by each vendor represents (e.g. in some cases it might be for a 1oz coin held in your name, in another it might be for 1oz fractional ownership of a 400oz bar in a pooled account). Also, some vendors charge a 'withdrawal fee' which is not included in the quoted $/oz.

We realize the heterogeneity of the different vendor options is confusing. So, we've put together a matrix that will make it much easier to compare the HAA vs others like GoldMoney and BullionVault. It's in Compliance review right now and should be posted here on the site on Monday.

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 444
Physical delivery from HAA

I trust the depth and completeness of any analysis done by Chris - his skills as a researcher are truly second to none. 

Chris has always said a person's core position in precious metals should be in physical bullion under their personal control.  He emphasizes this above.

cmartenson wrote:
This new platform and storage opportunity fits right into our larger strategy for owning gold and silver, which, I will remind everyone, has at its core physical that you have at your immediate disposal.

I assume that most purchasers here will probably want to take delivery.  Pricing is prominently mentioned as an advantage of HAA, as "the low-cost structure is a major feature of the program..."  I noted earlier:

jrf29 wrote:

I quickly compared Hard Assets Alliance's prices for some random items with my usual dealer, Northwest Territorial Mint.  What I found is below:

                                              NWTM                                                             Hard Assets Alliance

Gold Krugerrand:            $1,635.84 delivered (10 or more coins)           $1,661.68 + shipping
                                            $1,640.84 delivered (5-9 coins)
 

Gold philharmonic:          $1,645.89 delivered (10 or more coins)          $1,671.50 + shipping
                                             $1,650.89 delivered (5-9 coins)
 

Gold American Eagle:     $1,665.99 delivered (10 or more coins)          $1,683.37 + shipping
                                             $1,670.99 delivered (5-9 coins)
 

Canadian Maple Leaf:     $1,641.20 delivered (10 or more coins)          $1,656.90 + shipping
                                             $1,646.27 delivered (5-9 coins)
 

Credit Suisse
10-oz gold bar
                $16,307.80 delivered                                      $16,386.16 + shipping
 

These prices do not include HAA's mandatory $35 membership fee.

I want to emphasize that I am not "throwing rocks" here - I know the depth of research which Chris usually puts into every recommendation that he makes.  I'm wondering if additional factors were taken into consideration that might help us to understand the particular advantages this service offers.  Is it the flexible storage options which make this service the better pick?  Or are there also advantages for people taking delivery?  I would greatly appreciate further information that anybody could offer on the advantages of using HAA for physical delivery, including perhaps from Mr. D'Agostino.

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
avoidable conflict of interest

Adam,

I appreciate your candor and I hear you.  In the past few years, EVERY single expense in running my business and practice has gone up, many by a considerable margin.  We just found out that the building where we have my practice, which we already pay $9500/yr. taxes on, may very well be reassessed because of new siding and a new roof we had put on ... a reassessment that will no doubt be higher.

That being said, we still eschew what is called an "avoidable conflict of interest".  An avoidable conflict of interest is the reason why a physician can't own a pharmacy (although some physicians are worming their ways around these legal and ethical constraints by owning other "profit centers", ranging from MRI centers to blood labs to physical therapy clinics to gyms).  The physician would profit from his own referral which is a situation of questionable ethics.  I often have patients ask me why I don't sell nutritional supplements or other supplies.  I reply that it is an avoidable conflict of interest and I want my recommendation to be unimpeachable in its truthfulness.  Also, if I were selling products, it would add to the cost of the products to them with me being another middleman.  I refer them to an independent supplier where they can get the best quality product at the lowest price.  I want there to be absolutely no question of my motivation, credibility, or integrity.

Similarly, every time PMs are recommended as a holding, either here or from other sources (such as newsletters like as Lee Bellingers'), the (legitimate) question which should come to the potential customer's mind, is "Is this recommendation being made for pure reasons or could a profit motive be involved"?  Completely removing that avoidable conflict of interest from the equation completely eliminates all questioning and raises the person who takes that ethical stand to a higher ethical position, in my estimation.

If jrf29's pricing information is correct, the pricing can't be said to be "excellent".  From what I pay for storage costs, I can assure you, the stated storage costs are not "low".  Perhaps these areas can be restated in terms that more accurately reflect the reality of the situation.  People trust CM, and rightfully so from what I've seen, but when these types of situations are introduced, the opportunity for some abuse of that trust, no matter how small, starts to arise.  Eliminating an avoidable conflict of interest can eliminate that opportunity altogether.

Furthermore, with regards to recommendations of gold bars, with any bars of larger size (let's say kilo bars or larger), at least two problems arise if the individual has those bars in his personal possession, especially a person of average means, and plans on selling them.  First is the problem of finding a party to insure a shipment of that cost.  When I looked, I could find none.  Perhaps you have different information.  Second, a bulk quantity of gold that large has definitely liquidity issues.  Compare the relative ease with which one may sell a 1 ounce gold coin to another private party versus the difficulty of finding a private party who can come up with the funds (and have the trust in that situation) to buy a kilo or larger bar.  When it comes time to sell, and sell quickly, these are major issues.  That smaller premium for a gold bar will likely expand to a larger buy/sell spread when it comes down to the crunch time of selling.  These issues should be considered.

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Look at it from this angle

I think some questioners here are missing the forest for the trees, and some are comparing apples to oranges.  I’m sure you can get lower prices elsewhere if you just want to buy some coins and take delivery.  That’s not the point.  HAA offers a comprehensive package, to cover a wide variety of needs, with simplicity and flexibility, from one source.  They are unique.

Based on my preliminary reading of their web site I can see several advantages to HAA.  I’m sure there are more that I have missed.

*  With HAA I can fully own smaller size bars or even coins.  BullionVault (BV) and GoldMoney (GM) only offer a fractional share of the largest size bars.  There is no unique piece of metal that is mine.

*  HAA will securely store the bullion I buy from them.  I don’t have the hassles of arranging separately for a professional vault, and the delay of having my purchases shipped there.

*  I can easily sell them electronically.  Since they stay within the Good Delivery system there is no question of their authenticity. 

*  With HAA I can easily have a portion of my holding shipped directly to me instead of having to sell for cash.  Yes, I know that GM will redeem in SIZE bars, but the cost is outrageous.  I’m not familiar with BV’s policy but I don’t expect it would be much better.

*  Since HAA accounts are based in the USA you don’t have to file FBAR reports with the IRS, yet they offer professional vaults outside of the USA.

If you just want to buy a some coins and keep them in a safe deposit box then this is probably not for you.  But if you want larger amounts of bullion, that you can buy or sell electronically at competitive prices, HAA lets you totally own your choice of bars and coins, safely store them, or have any portion of them shipped directly to you whenever you want.  You can do all this with one company and account, and save a lot of time and hassle in research, maintenance, and transactions.  Can you name anyone else that matches this?  I find HAA very appealing.

Travlin

Oliveoilguy's picture
Oliveoilguy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 29 2012
Posts: 359
ao wrote: Adam, That being

ao wrote:

Adam,

That being said, we still eschew what is called an "avoidable conflict of interest".  An avoidable conflict of interest is the reason why a physician can't own a pharmacy (although some physicians are worming their ways around these legal and ethical constraints by owning other "profit centers", ranging from MRI centers to blood labs to physical therapy clinics to gyms).  The physician would profit from his own referral which is a situation of questionable ethics.  often have patients ask me why I don't sell nutritional supplements or other supplies.  I reply that it is an avoidable conflict of interest and I want my recommendation to be unimpeachable in its truthfulness.  Also, if I were selling products, it would add to the cost of the products to them with me being another middleman.  I refer them to an independent supplier where they can get the best quality product at the lowest price.  I want there to be absolutely no question of my motivation, credibility, or integrity.

Well stated AO. This is definatly an "avoidable conflict of interest". I hope that Chris and Adam give this careful thought, they have an opportunity to do the right thing.

I joined Peak Prosperity recently because I thought that Chris was one of the most transparent guys in this field.  Peddling products, like dehydrated foods, or ammo or Gold will dilute the stregnth of his message.

The seminars and membership are different. I am contracting to pay for information. I believe that is a good way to get unbiased, truthful information and guidance. 

The stregnth of this forum is it's honesty.

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Let’s not go overboard here

I am a born skeptic and question everything, especially when money is involved.  But I don’t see how PeakProsperity’s endorsement of HAA is anything new or dangerous.

As long as I’ve been here we frequently see threads from new and old members asking for advice on investing.  This is particularly true regarding gold and silver.  Members have often asked Chris in particular who could guide them, and who could they trust.  I’m sure there are many more requests we don’t see publically.

When Chris finally endorsed an investment advisory firm the member response was favorable.  Endorsing HAA completes the response to that need.  The important word here is endorse.  I have no doubt that Chris and Adam did thorough due diligence, at a much deeper level than we could achieve.  They are staking their reputations and their livelihoods on the reliability of those they recommend.  I put a very high value on their endorsement.

This site has been operated as a personal mission for a long time.  But Chris and Adam have families to support.  If they can’t make a living at it this site will go away.  That’s just simple math.  The vast majority of information here is given away free.  But the bills still have to be paid.  A PeakProsperity endorsement means a lot to me, and the selected partner should pay something for that if I do business with them.  I trust Chris and Adam.  Their actions demonstrate integrity to me.  They are picking partners that align with their values and assessment of the future.  They didn’t rush this to make a buck.  They took a good long time to make their selection, despite insistent requests from members.

There is no endeavor in this world that is not ultimately supported by money.  We must be realistic about our standards of purity.

Travlin

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Addendum

Travlin wrote:

*  With HAA I can easily have a portion of my holding shipped directly to me instead of having to sell for cash.  Yes, I know that GM will redeem in SIZE bars, but the cost is outrageous

I meant to say

Yes, I know that GM will redeem in 100 gram or 1,000 gram bars, but the cost is outrageous.

Travlin 

Denny Johnson's picture
Denny Johnson
Status: Gold Member (Online)
Joined: Aug 13 2008
Posts: 324
Re: Let’s not go overboard here

Well said, Travlin.

hucklejohn's picture
hucklejohn
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2008
Posts: 281
Conflict of Interest

I'm with Travlin regarding the conflict of interest discussion.  I note that this site continues to recommend this new source as well as the two existing major sources of precious metals purchase & storage facilities.  Even if there were a conflict of interest issue it would appear to me to be diminimis -- insignificant.

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 444
Re: look at it from this angle

Travlin wrote:
If you just want to buy some coins and keep them in a safe deposit box then [HAA] is probably not for you.  But if you want larger amounts of bullion, that you can buy or sell electronically at competitive prices . . .

That would seem to be the obvious conclusion on the surface of it.  But I wouldn't be so quick to cede ground on Chris' behalf.  That was not my intent when I posted the price comparison.  This is the first time that CM has put his endorsement behind a PM dealer, and he probably would not have done so without having put a significant amount of time and effort into making the recommendation.  Chris did specifically say that this service is right for people who want to build their core positions by taking physical delivery. 

I honestly and truly think it would be better to wait until we hear more about the various factors which went into making this choice before we start qualifying or discounting his recommendation.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 3393
My Reasoning

jrf29 wrote:

(...) I'm wondering if additional factors were taken into consideration that might help us to understand the particular advantages this service offers.  Is it the flexible storage options which make this service the better pick?  Or are there also advantages for people taking delivery?  I would greatly appreciate further information that anybody could offer on the advantages of using HAA for physical delivery, including perhaps from Mr. D'Agostino.

There are a lot of good reasons for offering different solutions towards asset management including gold storage and purchasing.

In agreement with Travlin's piece above, for the person who wants simply to get a few ounces and store them at home, our main advice has not changed or wavered in years.  Find a good dealer and get a few ounces and store them somewhere safe.  None of the third party solutions (BV, HAA or GM) are right for you.  Over the course of the years I have promoted a few websites or dealers that I personally have dealt with and/or heard very good things about.  There was never any compensation or arrangement for sending business to these dealers and brokers.  Like a lot of the content and ideas here, this advice was free.

However some people wish to have their gold held somewhere else and electronic access to the purchase and sale of that gold.  As we've disclosed from the beginning, and quite openly too, we also have a financial arrangement with Bullion Vault and Gold Money  (two organizations that we researched well and know the founders) whereby our promotion of their services results in some funds flowing back towards our operations.  For these firms, this is just a normal part of business (marketing) and it is an arrangement they have with lot and lots of firms and websites.

An alternative to selecting preferred and endorsed parters is to simply run whatever ads come our way through an ad server but I strongly prefer to let you know, cleanly and clearly, which outfits we endorse and why because I can, at any time, change that advice if we receive troubling feedback from anyone about the service.  This has already happened and it is an expression of the true power of having so many intelligent and thoughtful people testing things out and then providing feedback.

If at any time we feel that any operation that we have endorsed is not living up to our standards, we will drop that relationship and do so quite publicly.  So far, all the reports we've received back say that people are quite happy with the firms we endorse.  I hear now that some people think that money will somehow color my view of which firms to endorse.  These people do not know me very well.  I am a quality nut.  If at any time some organization or operation is not living up to our standards (which are very high) we will drop them.  If we find a better one, we will gravitate towards that one.

Continuing along the spectrum of investors there are individuals that have significant assets under management that wish to own fully allocated, insured gold and wish to control for jurisdictional risk and the potential for capital controls by having their gold in vaults that are interconnected and with the opportunity to store the bulk of their assets in their home country.  HAA fits right in here and uniquely meets those needs for a number of individuals.

I have counseled a number of people that placed the bulk of their gold in Swiss storage to consider what will happen if SWI suddenly declares capital controls or changes their tax laws on foreign ownership and disposition of gold, or the US suddenly decides that all foreign assets have to be repatriated with a tax...or new and more onerous tax and account reporting laws applying to foreign accounts continue to pile up...etc, and so forth.

HAA is the first multi-country option we've run across with a vault in the US allowing these concerns to be hedged.  For US clients, keeping the bulk of your gold in your home country has a number of arguments in its favor with 'a bird in the hand' being the most important of all.

Finally,in response to a number of comments seeking the tightest bid/ask spread, I personally do not trade into and out of gold and if you are looking for the best bid/ask spread and are constantly hopping into and out of gold then none of the listed firms are the right ones to use.  There I would recommend either trading the GLD ETF or have a futures account (preferred) because the bid ask is so tight to spot and, in the case of futures, the gains accrue as ordinary short and long term gains rather than under the collectibles rule.

As always, we strongly encourage everyone to go out and due their own due diligence and use whatever platform they feel is best for them.  

As always...trust yourself.

Estatesavr's picture
Estatesavr
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 12 2009
Posts: 77
what business are you in?

Chris & Adam,

I have read subsequent posts to my own.  AO's comments are excellent and spot on.

As I read, re-read and ponder this decision of yours I want to ask:

What business are you in?

Are you an information scout?

Or are you in the business of marketing gold & silver bullion, storage foods, etc.?

So far I do not feel you all have made a good case for this decision besides more income for PP.  

To me, your unique proposition is the value you created with the Crash Course.  That is why most of us came here.  That kind of continued analysis is why most of us would stay.

For everyone of us that seems abrased by this there are probably 10 that feel uncomfortable about this.

Like AO's comparison above:  I would be upset if I found out a Physician was directing me towards a diagnostic test  that he stands to profit by.  I want objective, conflict free, advice.

To me, you are not 'sticking to the knitting.'

What business are you in?

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1840
Simplify The Equation

Look, it's like this:

Chris needs to make money to build wealth and support his family and employees.

You don't have to sign on. If you want to sign on, at least you know that he is willing to put his reputation on the line to endorse it.

Caveat emptor. Move on.

That's all.

Poet

jkuryan's picture
jkuryan
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 17 2008
Posts: 4
HAA pricing

Adam,

Thanks for the clarification. I understand why the prices can be different. I think the matrix will resolve most, if not all, questions regarding this topic.

I think it is great that Chris and you continue to bring us these these recommendations...I have used others that you have recommended in the past and have been very pleased.

jkuryan's picture
jkuryan
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 17 2008
Posts: 4
HAA pricing

" I think it is great that Chris and you continue to bring us these these recommendations...I have used others that you have recommended in the past and have been very pleased."

Correction- I meant to say " endorsements" as opposed to "recommendation"

RJE's picture
RJE
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 31 2008
Posts: 1369
I have absolute and complete

I have absolute and complete trust into the character of Adam and Chris. I have no issues whatsoever in paying for that piece of mind. Frankly, you get what you pay for and Peak Prosperity has paid so many dividends already that it has frankly changed my life, and not just monetarily either. In saying all of this my style is see gold, buy gold, take gold home.

Adam, I wish you didn't have to explain a darn thing and as per usual, class was presented with your thoughtful response even though I have no clue to the meaning of a few of the words you used! I will have to look them up as part of my continuing education.

Thank you

Go Tigers *1st place Baby*cool

Bob

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 444
Thank you for the detailed explanation

Chris, thanks for the detailed explanation of HAA's particular benefits.  In its element, HAA seems to offer significant advantages for flexibility in the allocated storage of PM's.  I can see why you recommended it for that purpose.  Thanks again for taking time to further clarify your recommendation.

Pioneer's picture
Pioneer
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 1 2009
Posts: 60
bullion bars vs coins on BV

ADD, my considerations were for trading gold and silver bullion.  My understanding is you don't trade bars on BV, just allocated ounces in bullion  - no serial numbers, no specific bars.   I haven't looked much into taking possession but do know there is some cost in taking smaller amounts of bullion requiring shaving of bars.   the cost for buy and sell transactions is hardly negligible as you can see by the numbers in my last comment.  I don't see the need at the moment to take possession of my PMs since at this time at least I can sell at the push of a button and have cash in hand the next day.  Then if I want to buy and store metals here I can get them pretty cheap and certified quality from a vendor like Tulving.

Pioneer's picture
Pioneer
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 1 2009
Posts: 60
conflict of interest - no; spreading a good thing - yes

I see Estatesavr's point, in general, but the proven service of Chris and staff, in my mind, leaves no doubt about objectivity and spirit of selfless service to humanity.  So that Peak Prosperity receives some benefit from referrals to the  Alliance in no way prejudices their objectivity even in recommended PM sales platforms, and itt also helps to support their critical work to us, humanity and the earth.  It's a little like NGOs offering credit cards with some benefit to the NGO, or the Girl and Boy Scouts selling popcorn, cookies, etc of a third party vendor with some benefit to those organizations, except in this case Peak  Prosperity's PM platform evaluation they are selecting the best "cookies' and "popcorn" with their usual comprehensive understanding and vision.  And they are also recommending other products.  Peak Prosperity was above board  - how could it be otherwise -  by stating thier benefit from referrals the Alliance up front.  Chris Martenson is NOT personally getting a benefit by the referral, but Peak Prosperity  - the engine of great service to all. It seems to me there is no conflict of interest here but enhancement of all our interests, the individual investors and the organization that is serving these interests and the interests of others who will be reached by their services in the future.   It's simply a win, win, win situation devoid of prejudiced advice or selfish interest. 

Pioneer's picture
Pioneer
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 1 2009
Posts: 60
Yes!

Well put Travin. I heartily endorse your view!   thanks Chris and Adam et al for your critical service, including this HAA endorsement, and I am glad it may bring in some revenues to keep this service going and relieve financial pressures on you and your families which no doubt are being sacrificed to some extent by this great labor or care.

RJE's picture
RJE
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 31 2008
Posts: 1369
Adam

Speaking of Gold, what is going on with the best podcast around, Mish and Chris? Two weeks now and no explaination that I have seen as to why I/we didn't get our Thursday fix. Soon to be 3! Yikes! Is this not a feature any more?

Thank you

BOB 

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 1816
Chris and Mish

Robert -

Not to worry: the series is still very much alive & kicking. Given travel schedules, we couldn't get Chris and Mish connected over the past two weeks - but this week is looking good :)

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 1816
comparative matrix

Below is the comparative matrix delivered by the HAA today. A more detailed comparative analysis will be released on the HAA website later this week and we will link to it from this thread.

Brak's picture
Brak
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 10 2008
Posts: 33
good move

Chris's explanation of when HAA does and does not make sense for investors makes all the difference as far as making a responsible endorsement. Thanks for that. It's often too much to ask, but with any endorsement or positive review, it's helpful to hear about the limitations of the product or service. As your advisees, we then don't feel shoehorned into something that doesn't fit for many of us.

I make my living off a website that sells information, and it's a tough row to hoe in a world that expects content to be free. Hats off to Chris and Adam for putting such great information out there, and investing in such a high-caliber site supporting that information, to boot! I hope you make some money off it through this kind of arrangement, as well as others—besides making the service possible, it provides a model.

RJE's picture
RJE
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 31 2008
Posts: 1369
Thank you Adam, I am

Thank you Adam, I am thrilled.

BOB

JAG's picture
JAG
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2008
Posts: 2490
It's Just A Business, Not A Conspiracy

I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but this conversation is a perfect example of why I sold my gold holdings. I've never seen a market so supercharged with emotion and subjectivity. This is not going to end well for most players and I fear that many here are going to unfairly blame Dr. M when it's over.

Wake up people. Nearly everything that you read in the financial blogosphere is just marketing, and everyone is "talking their book". If Dr. M (or anyone else) personally owns gold and recommends others do the same, then he stands to potentially profit from convincing you to join him: 

  • First, he profits from building traffic to his site (through on-site advertising).
  • Second, he theoretically profits by you joining his side of the trade.
  • Third, he profits if you use the services and companies that he recommends.
  • Fourth, he profits if you buy information from him (a subscription).

If you think there is something wrong with this then I have to ask "Do you work for free?" It's just a viable business model, not a conspiracy. Be your own man and take responsibility for your own decisions.

tricky rick's picture
tricky rick
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 9 2011
Posts: 74
right on JAG!

Nobody works for free but many many many expect so... to their benefit hopefully.  To me it's understandable.  It's scary out here...  who knows what's next...  leaders (not charlatans) are hard to find.

the blogsphere is rife (there, I told my wife I'd use that word today!  ha) with potential  fraud and all manners of false prophet.

to expect all to have the werewithal (a bonus for you Paula HAHAHA) to do their own diligence (which most wouldn't know how to do anyway - how can you with no expertise in this environment?) is a pipedream.

face it... the herd is doomed and the fringes are the only ones in the know (and more of a target) - and probably guessing for reassurance.

Physical gold, silver, bullets, and planning - that's the ticket!!

searesponse's picture
searesponse
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 3 2011
Posts: 29
trust

Didn't realise till now that John Maudlin was part of HAA. 

Can you imagine Chris, Ricards etc. boasting about how much the earn in speaking fees? 

[www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSOGwthC_JQ&t=13m10s]

Just one example of many, but I do not trust that guy one inch. 

mammamia's picture
mammamia
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 9 2011
Posts: 31
sending versus withdrawl

Thanks, this is very interesting. 

BV requires 4% value of gold for anything below 400oz is really a lot. Which is why I am now looking at HAA. But with BV you can go and take the gold, while with HAA you need to have it shipped to you, which sounds dangerous and very costly. Plus if you want not to have it all in one go, it might result in rising the price much more. Is there are option with HAA to go somewhere in Europe (maybe in Switzerland) and take the gold?

Thanks.

jbariz's picture
jbariz
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 27 2009
Posts: 3
Prices

My price comparison this morning shows HAA to be 2 percent higher on American Eagles 1 oz.

a1911guy's picture
a1911guy
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 24 2009
Posts: 7
Should we trust paid storage of P.M.?

I am near retirement age, and much to my surprise I lost a large bundle of my retirement savings over the last six years.  Fear colored my investment moves too often.  But, on the other hand, we have seen monumental failures like MF Global where little guys like me did not get their hard assets returned.  Since the coming crash has been so long delayed, I fear that it could be so large as to bring down many reputable companies.  Does that mean I should store my metals in a local bank safe deposit box?  Any reasoned guidance would be appreciated.  Thanks.

searesponse's picture
searesponse
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 3 2011
Posts: 29
HAA vs BV vs GM

Hi Adam

Have you got a link to the more detailed comparative analysis of HAA, BV and GM ? I cannot find it on the HAA website. 

Thx

CC

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