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Smart metalsinvestorkit


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Smart metalsinvestorkit

  1. 1. “This service [SmartMetals™ ] provides an alternative to the cumbersome and expensive options historically available to retail investors who often had to pay large premiums relative to the spot market price.” – Bloomberg SmartMetals ACTION KIT ™
  2. 2. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Dear Reader, Thank you for requesting a SmartMetalsTM Action Kit from the Hard Assets Alliance. Inside you will find a number of resources to help you find the right solution for buying, selling, and storing precious metals. First, your kit includes The Best Ways to Buy, Store, and Sell Precious Metals: A Comparative Analysis outlining the relative merits of different ways to buy, store, and sell precious metals. There are many options in the market to­ ay to hold gold, silver, and other metals, and we encourage you to take the time to consider which d one is right for your situation. We are confident that in most cases a SmartMetalsTM account will provide you with the most options at the best price: delivery or storage, global options, and liquidity. But learn for yourself just how they stack up before you make your decision. Second, we’ve included a handy guide to the most frequently asked questions we receive about a SmartMetalsTM account. Last, we point you in the direction of important resources on our website, contact information for customer service to an­ wer any additional questions you may have, and all the forms you need to open an account if you s choose to do so. The Hard Assets Alliance is committed to providing you with the most versatile, convenient, and secure precious metals ownership experience possible. SIGN UP NOW! WWW.HARDASSETSALLIANCE.COM Sincerely, Olivier Garret CEO, Hard Assets Alliance 2
  3. 3. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Table of Contents The Best Ways to Buy, Store, and Sell Precious Metals: A Comparative Analysis 4 Owning Gold When You Want To—Not Have To 4 A Crash Course in Gold Ownership 5 Paper vs. Physical Metal 5 How to Buy Physical Gold 8 Storage Options 8 Internationalization 9 Offshore Storage Facilities 10 Top Recommendation: The Hard Assets Alliance 11 Your Questions Answered 15 FAQs on Selling 25 Shipping 27 Storage Facilities 28 My Account 30 Other 31 Get Started Today! 32 Important Resources 3 33
  4. 4. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT The Best Ways to Buy, Store, and Sell Precious Metals: A Comparative Analysis As an astute investor, you already understand that the need to own gold and silver becomes more pressing with each passing day. At first, a small stash of gold is held as a value-dense, portable, and easy to conceal hedge against any number of crisis scenarios: currency controls, bank “holidays,” civil uprisings, or a rapid spike in consumer prices. But as confidence in central banks, paper currencies, and government debt continues to erode, upping one’s gold holding seems wise. Easy enough decision, yet questions about what to buy, and where and how to store it, soon become pressing as your hoard expands. The number of options is daunting and growing, so how does the precious metals investor know which are best? That’s an important question. Lacking skillful planning, you could find yourself with a coin menagerie that doesn’t meet your particular needs... or selecting a storage facility with questionable integrity or poor oversight. You might overpay... or be stuck without an easy or cost-effective exit strategy. This special report is devoted to answering these questions. By the time you’ve finished reading it, you’ll be familiar with the options best suited to your circumstances, and know the steps you can – and should – take right away. Owning Gold When You Want To – Not Have To Gold preserves wealth. It has served as money for thousands of years. It has been history’s premier life raft. If you can carry your wealth with you when you must, you may survive where others perish. Moreover, gold is the ultimate insurance policy against the ravages of inflation. As more and more citizens wise up to the irresponsible and reckless US (and worldwide) monetary and fiscal policies, they will increasingly turn to gold, which will make it much harder to acquire. That’s what happens during periods of strain, such as the financial sector meltdown in 2007-’08. At that time, gold buyers were forced to pay between a 9%-15% premium over the spot price to buy coins… when they could find them. Shipping delays of 30-60 days were the norm and lags up to four months were not uncommon. There were days when suppliers simply advised dealers not to sell, because no one could promise when, or even if, orders would be filled. 4
  5. 5. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT When the next crisis hits – and globally, national governments’ actions virtually guarantee one – it’s possible that gold will be unavailable at any price. At that point, it will be too late to add sufficient precious metals to your portfolio to protect your wealth and your standard of living. You can’t buy flood insurance to recover after the deluge has hit. Hold at least 10% of investable assets in physical gold and silver. A Crash Course in Gold Ownership Gold is not spandex. One size of ownership will not fit all buyers. There are various options to holding the metal, and each will meet differing objectives and personal circumstances, including: • ow much to own, and where and how to store it H • se as a speculation and hedge against currency devaluation U • As a way to hold wealth in tangible assets • As a means of wealth preservation • o achieve international asset diversification T • s money for family emergencies or in times of crisis A Or all of the above. Each goal will be met by selecting the appropriately structured gold-ownership vehicle. Let’s take a look at the options. Paper vs. Physical Metal The first decision is whether to own physical gold or “paper” gold. PHYSICAL Physical gold is where everyone should start. After all, coins and bars have been the store of wealth for millennia – not paper receipts fraught with counterparty risk. Bullion is “real money,” and every investor should own a meaningful amount of gold and silver bullion regardless of portfolio size. 5
  6. 6. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Coin selection is largely a matter of personal appeal, though we recommend each investor start with the most popular bullion coins: the Australian Nugget (Kangaroo), Austrian Philharmonic, Canadian Maple Leaf, South African Krugerrand, and the US Gold Eagle. The Canadian, Austrian, and Australian coins are all pure gold (.9999 fine); the Krugerrand and Eagle (both .9166 fine) are alloyed with copper and silver/copper respectively. The Krugerrand tends to sell at a lower premium than the others and the Eagle higher, but all five contain the same full ounce of gold. One-ounce bars are another option and typically have lower premiums than coins. However, only buy bars that bear a universally recognized hallmark. Bars fabricated by little-known refineries might be hard to resell, and the buyer must also contend with counterfeit risk. A future buyer will want to see the stamp of a reputable refiner, such as AGR Matthey, Argor-Heraeus, Credit Suisse, Emirates Gold, Heraeus, PAMP, UBS, Umicore, or Valcambi. Several of the above coins are minted in half-, quarter-, and tenth-ounce versions. Fractional-ounce coins generally sell for higher premiums than their one-ounce siblings, and some buyers avoid them for that reason. But smaller weight coins could be very handy for transactions that don’t require a full ounce of gold. In a strong bull market and with a reputable dealer, you’ll likely get a good chunk of that premium back when you sell. We would avoid commemorative, rare, collectible, and numismatic coins, as dealers can ask indefensible premiums. Unless you are willing to learn about coin collecting, buyer beware. Large bullion bars are the choice for those with deep pockets; they also sell for the lowest premium per ounce. Due to their high value, they are almost always stored in a secure vault. The top three weights are 1 kilogram (32.15 troy ounces), 100 ounces, and 400 ounces. (Precious metal is measured in troy ounces that are different than the avoirdupois ounces used to measure things like food; 16 ounces of butter equal 14.58 troy ounces.) PAPER, NON-REDEEMABLE Paper forms of gold are abundant these days, broadly divided into those that are redeemable for physical metal and those that aren’t. Among the latter are exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. By far the largest and best known of these is the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE.GLD). Each GLD share “represents” approximately one-tenth of an ounce of gold held in the company’s London vault and is priced accordingly. GLD offers easy exposure to the gold price through your equities broker, and the commissions will likely be lower than the purchase premiums for physical metal. If you simply want to play the trend and book some paper profits, this is a convenient way to do it. However, there are caveats. Theoretically, shares can be converted into physical metal, but the conditions attached make that all but impossible for the individual investor, and the company reserves the right to settle requests for physical delivery in cash. In addition, the rather opaque wording in the company’s prospectus has critics questioning whether some of the trust’s underlying assets might be paper gold instead of bullion (the company denies this). And finally, the company’s operating expenses are paid by selling bullion, so the gold 6
  7. 7. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT value of a share is declining slightly every day. A popular second option is closed-end funds (CEFs), the best known being the Central Fund of Canada (NYSE. CEF). Like ETFs, these are traded on major exchanges, are backed by vaulted bullion, and should not be considered a substitute for physical ownership. CEFs are another paper way to ride the precious metal trend. The main difference between closed-end and exchanged traded funds is that ETFs move gold into and out of its vaults as shares are created and redeemed in tandem with rising or falling demand. CEFs buy physical metal and keep it; hence the number of shares outstanding remains constant. Accordingly, shares don’t necessarily mimic the price of gold. Instead, the share price responds to demand and thus can trade at a premium or discount to the net asset value (NAV) of the underlying precious metal holdings. A gold CEF will outperform physical gold in a strong bull market, as mounting investor demand collides with a static number of available shares and causes a premium to emerge, but it can fare poorly in a bear market, as demand falls away. Gold funds can be part of a precious metal investment strategy. However, they are not substitutes for physical ownership. PAPER, REDEEMABLE Many gold dealers offer gold held in a pooled account, and two ownership structures are available: allocated and unallocated. Both offer delivery of the physical metal. An unallocated account means you don’t have title to any specific coins or bars, but instead have fractional ownership of the total pool of metal together with other investors. Allocated accounts mean you own specific coins and bars within the total pool of metal. If you intend to regularly trade in and out of gold and never plan to take delivery, pooled accounts might make sense for part of your portfolio. The metal is purchased for a smaller premium than for physical, and most vendors offer guaranteed buyback that makes selling your metal quick and easy. Unallocated accounts tend to be the cheapest purchase option and often come with low or zero storage fees. Vendor reputation is critical, as the relationship is based on trust that the metal will be there should you opt for delivery, and that’s not a certainty since you have no clear title to specific property (here, too, contract terms may permit the dealer to elect a cash payout in certain circumstances). Also, opting for delivery from a pooled account requires a fabrication fee. The fee and fabrication delays can be substantial depending on market conditions. A third option is a fully segregated account where specific lots of coins and/or bars are held in your name. No fractional ownership. No pooling. A segregated account does not incur delivery fabrication fees, but storage charges are typically very high. 7
  8. 8. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT How to Buy Physical Gold Your local coin shop is a convenient place to buy physical gold anonymously, but that’s also where you will pay the highest premiums. The US Mint makes a few coins (mainly Buffaloes) available for direct purchase, though they’re usually “proof” sets that carry a much higher premium. You could buy on eBay, where you’ll save some premium cost and tax, but it comes with all the usual eBay caveats of seller integrity and product authenticity. For large coin purchases, you will want someone who specializes in precious metals and who has built a strong track record of honesty and reliability. You can conduct your own due diligence on dealer selection, or you can consider this list of dealers that we have found to be trustworthy. Although price should not be your only consideration, you can certainly shop around for the lowest commissions or special offers. For multiple purchases over time, it pays to establish a personal relationship with someone at the firm who will call you if an especially good buy crops up: • Miles Franklin • The Coin Agent • Border Gold • These dealers can also arrange the purchase of large bullion bars. If the purchase is made with the intent to store the bar, it’s advisable not to take physical delivery yourself (for safety’s sake if nothing else). Instead, choose one of our bullion storage options to maintain an unbroken chain of custody and avoid the cost of an assay down the road. Storage Options IN HOME One option is back yard burial (properly sealed – PVC pipe is a popular choice). Subterranean gold is fairly secure, and it keeps your metal close at hand for fast access. Drawbacks include amnesia – don’t forget where “X” marks the spot – and nosy neighbors. Best that you do some regular digging in the yard so the neighbors don’t think twice about your new gardening hobby. And don’t forget to tell one trusted person the location of your cache. A home safe is another option. One that’s built into your house and concealed is best. Otherwise, get something too heavy for a burglar to carry off. You can also create hidey holes out of ordinary household objects and hope 8
  9. 9. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT that your burglar hasn’t been watching a lot of YouTube videos that would blow your cover. Keep in mind that all in-home options are vulnerable to a determined intruder. We recommend you keep a few coins at home for an emergency, but more than that and your next step is going offsite for storage. OFFSITE A bank safe deposit box is the traditional storage solution for people whose holdings stop short of 400-ounce bars. They’re usually close, relatively convenient, and generally safe from thieves. But as with every option, they’re not risk-free. Safe deposit box contents are not insured against fire, theft, or natural disasters like tornadoes and floods; if your gold is stolen or borne aloft on a high wind, you’re out of luck. If the bank goes belly up, or a bank “holiday” is declared, it may be difficult or entail long delays to regain access to your box. In the event of a new government confiscation (such as happened in 1933), safe deposit boxes could be frozen. Once your gold holding outgrows your safe deposit box or the amount you hold signals it’s time to diversify, the next step is to consider the most secure storage of all: a private, precious-metals vaulting facility. There are a number of private vaults in the US. Occasionally, bullion dealers will offer storage for metal purchased through them at one of the vaults, relieving you of the necessity of physically handling the goods. These are all viable options, and you can research them to determine if they’re a good fit for you. But eventually, anyone with a significant amount of gold will come to realize that keeping it all in one place means assuming serious risks. When that day comes for you, we recommend diversifying your holdings by moving a portion of them outside your political jurisdiction. Internationalization First off, under no circumstance do we advise that you attempt to carry gold coins or bullion across a border. While it could go smoothly – and it is legal – the risks are too high. We know of numerous stories of travelers whose gold or silver was confiscated by an aggressive or ignorant customs agent. US federal government rules and regulations are murky, to say the least – and far too complicated to go into here. Don’t forget that the destination country will have its own set of regulations that control the importation of gold, too. And, of course, if anyone sees your metal, you become a prime theft target. No personal physical transport is your best bet. There are a host of reasons to consider holding precious metal in a foreign location. First among them is to achieve jurisdictional diversification. Keeping your assets in one country, subject to the whims of a single government, poses the greatest threat to your wealth today. Going global now with your assets helps mitigate four serious risks to your financial health: 9
  10. 10. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT • onfiscation or Outlawing of personal gold ownership. C • Capital Controls – the government limits or denies a citizen’s right to carry or send any form of money abroad. • dministrative Actions – seizure of property by a government agency without notice or due process. A Becoming enmeshed in a frivolous civil lawsuit. • urrency debasement/inflation that will lower one’s standard of living and destroy wealth not adC equately protected. Understand, however, that these risks can be reduced, not eliminated. There is no perfect solution. Nonetheless, political diversity is an essential element of an overall protection strategy against an uncertain future. Be aware, though, that foreign-held assets require greater awareness and planning: • ccess to your metal may not be quick and easy. Foreign-held bullion is for those with sufficient gold A and silver already stored at or near home. Storing all your precious metals overseas defeats one of its purposes – to have it handy for an emergency. • he receipt of proceeds after a sale will take time. The delay between selling your foreign-held gold and T receiving the funds can be days. Offshore gold should not be considered as ready cash. • hile the US may pose the greatest threat, a foreign government could move to control certain assets as W well. The risk varies by country and is generally greater within the banking system than with a private vaulting facility. Evaluate a country before making a selection. Choose a location with a history of strong depositor protection, governed by the rule of law, and solid property rights – and select a vault with the highest reputation. • nderstanding and complying with reporting requirements is essential. More below. U The bottom line: gold stored abroad is all about minimizing risks and maximizing options. As your metal holdings grow and governments become increasingly desperate, diversification becomes increasingly important. Move A Portion of Your Gold Offshore. Offshore Storage Facilities There are an increasing number of international storage programs from which to choose, but some are better than others. Here are the important criteria to consider: • afety. A highly secure, fully insured and audited vault is paramount. S • on-bank, vaulted storage. Private vaulting facilities are not subject to bankers’ hours, the sudden decN 10
  11. 11. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT laration of a bank “holiday,” or systemic risks within the financial sector. • egregated/allocated storage. No commingled holdings with other customers. S • ompetitive fees. The lowest-cost program is not always the best solution. You shouldn’t make tradeoffs C between cost and safety. However, do look for comparable solutions and try not to overpay. • onvenience. A straightforward, unencumbered program that offers the ability to liquidate and/or take C delivery of your holdings at any time. Among offshore vaulting options, Switzerland is home to several and is arguably the world’s best storage jurisdiction, owing to its long, unbroken history of respect for private property. But locations like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia are also attracting growing numbers of depositors. Finding the alternative that’s best for you requires that you do substantial due diligence. It may mean considerable work to arrange for the transport of the metal to your chosen storage facility. Taking delivery can be costly and involve your presence at certain stages. And you could be responsible for filing the requisite paperwork with the government or face serious penalties. But is there one storage option that stands above the crowd, combining the benefits of foreign storage without the drawbacks…? Yes. Top Recommendation: The Hard Assets Alliance Historically, there have been difficulties in owning and storing bullion, and not just outside the country. A lot of people want to own gold without having to handle it. Thus, many investors have opted out of physical metal and embraced ETFs like GLD as bullion proxies, due to the sheer ease of trading. But there, you don’t own the real thing, and you gain none of the international diversification that is becoming critical. Others would like to escape paper holdings, but find their choices to be daunting, complex, expensive, or opaque. The optimal solution is one that: • ets you buy and sell as easily as with paper gold l • ives ownership in real bullion in an allocated account g • comes with full transparency and safety • tores gold internationally but offers domestic delivery s • has access to competitive prices • xempts the owner from US government reporting requirements e 11
  12. 12. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT The Hard Assets Alliance (HAA) fills the bill on all counts. Here’s how… The Alliance employs Gold Bullion International (GBI). GBI is an institutional precious metals dealer that enables its clients to conveniently and directly buy, store, and sell gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. The program has already caught the attention of some big names in the financial industry. A Forbes article states: “From its Manhattan headquarters, three-year-old GBI aims to bring liquidity and transparency to a market where buying and selling, by the small investors, are [sic]dominated by ‘Cash for Gold’ merchants and sketchy coin dealers. GBI is not a broker-dealer, nor is it a bank, but like other startups it is using technology to disrupt an inefficient niche in financial services.” Fully allocated, divided interest registered in your name. Simply select a bullion product and place your order online. In minutes the physical metal is yours and yours alone. Purchase premiums among the best in the industry. GBI uses a group of 14 leading wholesale dealers and recognized refiners to purchase metal. GBI bids your order to this basket of dealers, and they compete for your business, ensuring that you get the very best available price. World-class storage. GBI has partnered with non-bank, commercial vaults for storage, insurance, and transportation services to its customers. All precious metal transportation and storage is fully insured through Lloyd’s of London. The allocated private accounts are verified by an independent accounting firm, with holdings and valuations reported daily. Highly meticulous auditing protocol. Holdings are audited internally on a daily basis. An audit report containing bar lists is sent to GBI by each of the vaulting partners, confirming precious metal holdings on an aggregate basis. GBI then matches the storage facility reports with its own internal reports to verify customer inventory. Customers’ can view their individual holdings online at any time. In addition, KPMG, an internationally recognized accounting firm, reviews precious metal holdings quarterly. GBI’s Advisory Board has a who’s-who of big names: Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC); General Wesley Clark, former four-star general of the US Army and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander; John Hathaway, senior managing director of the Tocqueville Funds; and Dan Tapiero, cofounder of AgCoa, the first US farmland REIT. No risky business. Because GBI is not a broker/dealer, it does not engage in any derivative, hedging, nor other paper trading activities. All trades are executed immediately in cash. Take delivery with one phone call. Request delivery by logging into your account on the Hard Assets Alliance website. Shipping will occur in 24-48 hours. Deliveries over $200,000 need to be done verbally via phone because these are sent by armored car rather than UPS/FedEx. Note: if you take delivery of a bullion bar, once it leaves the depository, the chain of custody is broken and an assay may be necessary when you sell. Exempt from US reporting requirements. As a domestic institution, GBI’s US customers are exempt from 12
  13. 13. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT both the FBAR and Form 8938 filing requirements if offshore metal storage is elected. One caveat: HAA does not hold the advantage that use of a foreign supplier would – i.e., your account could become subject to seizure by a US court or agency, whereas that process is much more difficult if your metal is held by a native company in a foreign country. However, if your asset-protection priorities change, you can take delivery at a foreign location of your choice. Here’s a breakdown of the available metals, storage locations and fees, transaction costs, and delivery options: THE HARD ASSETS ALLIANCE Website Metals Available Gold, silver, platinum, palladium (currently only gold and silver are available at non-US locations) Storage Locations New York, Salt Lake City, Melbourne, London, Zurich, Singapore Minimum for Purchase and Delivery within the US US$5,000 Minimum for Purchase and Delivery if International US$10,000 Buy Fees Gold 1.7-3%; silver 3.5% or less Sell Fees Same as buy fees Shipping Fees FedEx or UPS fees, no surcharge added Physical International Delivery? Yes Storage Fees (annual) Up to $100,000 in assets: 0.70% gold, palladium, platinum; 0.80% silver $100,001-$500,000 in assets: 0.65% gold, palladium, platinum; 0.75% silver $500,001-$1,000,000 in assets: 0.60% gold, palladium, platinum; 0.70% silver   $1,000,001+ in assets: 0.50% gold, palladium, platinum; 0.60% silver The Hard Assets Alliance offers real bullion ownership, with the ease of online buying, selling, and delivery capabilities. A comprehensive checklist of HAA advantages: • imple to buy and sell – everything can be done online S • pen an account in a few hours – no need to submit notarized copies of multiple documents O • asy to fund with a check, bank wire or ACH transfer (incoming only) E • ighly liquid – transactions accomplished with the click of a mouse H • ransportation and storage are handled for you (charges apply) T • Accurately assayed • nencumbered ownership – investors retain full title of the bullion U • ully insured – all bullion stored by GBI is 100% insured through Lloyd’s of London F 13
  14. 14. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT • hysical audits – GBI uses a Big Four accounting firm (KPMG) for P physical verification of every bar stored • eographic diversification – store gold outside one’s home country G • o US reporting of foreign financial assets (FBAR and Form 8938) N • hysical delivery – elect physical delivery of bullion at any time, P usually within 48 hours, and sent to most countries around the world (charges apply) • ost effective – precious metals are acquired from up to 14 competC ing dealers and refiners, ensuring some of the lowest prices available in the market • Very competitive fees • ow minimum investment ($5,000 for delivery and storage in the US, L $10,000 for storage outside the US, on a “per item” basis) Limited regulatory risk – Gold bullion is not subject to changes in regulatory oversight by the CFTC • xcellent storage locations – New York, Salt Lake City, Melbourne E (Australia), London, Zurich, and Singapore A note about storage fees: As with many depositories, storage fees are based on the value of the stored metal. This means that the storage bill will rise or fall alongside the price of the metal. While other vendors may calculate charges based on the number of ounces stored, this is a temporary advantage. As bullion prices rise, these facilities will be forced to increase their insurance coverage. In turn, the higher insurance costs will be passed to customers with higher storage costs. The Hard Assets Alliance is a far more attractive alternative than GLD and other paper forms of precious metals. It’s just as easy to trade, yet you have the security of knowing you own specific physical metal, stored at a location of your choice (including internationally!), and you can take possession of your metal at any time. Set up an account by visiting With ballooning government debts, runaway fiscal deficits, and myriad stimulus and money-printing schemes worldwide, the need to own gold becomes more pressing with each passing day. Take the easy step of using this exciting new service to protect your family’s finances. 14
  15. 15. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Your Questions Answered About the Hard Assets Alliance Q What is the Hard Assets Alliance? The Hard Assets Alliance is an industry association of well-known and trusted economic and investment research firms that have as a core mandate to help clients and readers better understand prevailing economic trends and how to invest. After doing their own due diligence on SmartMetals™ and concluding that it truly is a breakthrough in how investors should buy, sell, and store precious metals, they agreed to participate in an alliance that has been formed for the specific purpose of spreading the word about this innovation. At this moment, there are 34 members in the Alliance, including Casey Research, Sovereign Society, Peak Prosperity, International Publishers, Agora Financial, Mauldin Economics, Kung Fu Finance, Eagle Publishing, Oxford Club, StreetWise Reports,, Cambridge House, Street Authority and International Man - and the list is literally growing every day. In exchange for specific services rendered as members of the Alliance, these firms receive variable compensation from the Hard Assets Alliance, LLC, the company that owns the SmartMetals™ trading platform, but because its low-cost structure is a major feature of the program, such commissions are very modest and do not affect the prices paid by clients. Q Okay, let’s talk price. How is the pricing of my purchases or sales established? When you create an order, we communicate electronically with our supplier network to get real-time pricing for the metal, quantity, and selection you’ve chosen. We have no fewer than four suppliers in each region in which we offer storage/sales, and their offers are compared against each other to provide you with the best price available in that region. Your actual buy price is determined upon execution of your order, which typically happens shortly after you place your trade. SIGN UP NOW! WWW.HARDASSETSALLIANCE.COM 15
  16. 16. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q How competitive are the prices available through the SmartMetals™ account? Extremely. When you take into account the flexibility… the international storage and delivery options… that your SmartMetals™ account is allocated and not a pool or “paper gold”… the convenience… and competitive bidding on your metals orders (both on the buy and sell side), the value can’t be beat. Of course, you may see a bullion coin offering advertised by others that is even less expensive – but these are invariably “loss leaders” offered by high-pressure, high-priced coin dealers who will subsequently inundate you with offers for “semi-numismatic” coins or other “modern rarities,” a misnomer if there ever was one. With a SmartMetals™ account, you can count on consistently getting the best possible execution and very competitive pricing for your purchases, sales, and storage. Q How often do you update your pricing? All prices are updated continuously in real time during market hours. Orders placed outside market hours are automatically converted to an “under” order. This ensures your order will not be executed for a dollar amount greater than you intended, in the event market prices move during off-hours. Q What is the cost of storage? Storage rates depend on the quantity of metals you wish to store – the larger the amount of metals, the lower the fees. Regardless, at any level they are very competitive, ranging from 0.5% to 0.7% per year for gold, and 0.6% to 0.8% for silver. Storage costs are the same in all of our vaults. Q How does the storage fee work? Annual fees are billed quarterly and automatically withdrawn from your cash account. If no cash is present, you will be notified. If you subsequently fail to respond to requests to pay your storage fees in a timely matter (and 16
  17. 17. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT don’t worry, there’s a 30-day grace period), then, as you would expect, the Hard Assets Alliance retains the right to redeem the amount of your holdings required to pay for storage. Q What metals do you offer? With your SmartMetals™ account, you can buy gold, silver, platinum, or palladium in a variety of weights, either in the form of bars or sovereign coins (subject to product availability at each location). Please note, however, that due to local market considerations, certain purchase/storage locations may not offer coins. For example, by tradition, in Singapore almost all holdings of precious metals are in the form of bars ranging in size from one ounce to 400 ounces, and coins are currently not offered. In the streamlined ordering process, you will be shown which metals and purchase options are available to you in each of our international locations. Currently coins are available in New York, Salt Lake City, Melbourne, and Singapore. Q Are all metals available at all locations? All metals are available in New York and Salt Lake City. Mainly gold is available outside of the US, but silver can be obtained in Melbourne and Singapore. The primary reason for this is due to demand. We are working on increasing availability of metals to all locations and are evaluating demonstrated demand for our dealer networks. Q What types of accounts does the Hard Assets Alliance offer? We offer individual, joint, corporate, partnership, sole proprietorship, LLC, trust, IRAs and UTMA accounts. Q How do I create a UTMA account? UTMA (Uniform Transfers to Minors Act), available in 48 US states*, is a provision whereby an adult can transfer wealth to minors. In most states, the minor doesn’t come into possession of the assets until the age of 21. 17
  18. 18. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT In some states, the minor must take possession of the assets at age 18. Check with your tax advisor to learn the UTMA regulations in your state of residence. With Hard Assets Alliance, UTMA accounts are free and easy to set up. Applying for an account takes approximately ten minutes. After providing basic account information, you can be ready to buy precious metals in about two business days. If you already have an account with the Hard Assets Alliance, you may use your existing username and password to set up the UTMA account. As a custodian of that account in the minor’s name, you may buy on their behalf, but you cannot take possession of the metals. The metals are, after all, being bought for someone other than you. *UTMA regulations have not been adopted by Vermont and South Carolina. Q What are the UTMA per-purchase minimums? You can open an UTMA account for free and fund it when you choose with whatever amount you like. Our full range of products and storage locations are available for UTMA accounts, and our standard minimums apply ($5,000 for US storage and $10,000 for storage outside the US). Or, you may apply MetalStream™ to your UTMA account and contribute as little as $100 each month (see our MetalStream™ section above for additional information). Q Do I need an been adopted by Vermont and South Carolina. *UTMA regulations have not account to purchase metals through Hard Assets Alliance? the Yes, to purchase from the Hard Assets Alliance, all customers must first sign up for and fund a SmartMetals™ account. Like an online brokerage account, your available cash balance, which you can add to or withdraw from at any time, allows you to place orders online 24 hours a day, in multiple markets around the world. Once you open your account and it is funded, there is no rush to buy metals. You can leave the funds in your account as long as you wish, for example, until the opportunity knocks with the next pullback in metals prices, then execute your order immediately at that time. 18
  19. 19. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q How quickly can I begin trading with the Hard Assets Alliance? Opening an account is fast and convenient through the Hard Assets Alliance’s secure online system. Once your application is approved – usually within 48 hours, and typically much less – you can remit funds and begin trading. Q What forms of payment do you accept to fund my account? You can fund your account by check, bank wire or ACH transfer. Funding information will be sent to you with the email notifying you that your account is open. If you fund your account with a check, please be sure to write your Hard Assets Alliance account number on the check. Q Is there a minimum investment? To help keep your costs low by keeping our operating expenses down, each order to buy metals must meet the minimum requirement of $5,000 for delivery or $5,000 for storage. You may establish a SmartMetals™ account with any size minimum deposit, and add funds over time if you choose until your cash balance meets the minimum purchase requirements. Q What if I want to invest but don’t have enough money to buy an ounce of gold right now? There is no minimum deposit required to establish your account with the Hard Assets Alliance, only for purchases. Therefore, you can open your account and fund it over time if you’d like, such as with a monthly direct deposit from another account. You can also choose to use the MetalStream™ service with your account. MetalStream™ allows you to designate a specific purchase of gold or silver each month. MetalStream is 100% free to set up. The low monthly minimum contribution is $250 (or $100 for UTMA accounts). If you choose to designate more each month, you can do so, and you may turn the feature on and off at will. 19
  20. 20. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT When you open an account with the Hard Assets Alliance, you can choose to apply the MetalStream™ service to your account and quickly and easily fund your account via the same ACH (automated clearinghouse) that is used for millions of bill-paying functions on the Internet each month. On the 16th of each month, the amount you designate for your Hard Assets Alliance account will automatically be withdrawn from your chosen bank or brokerage account (the same as auto-bill paying for your phone or cable bill, for example). Then, on the 23rd of each month, your purchase of gold or silver will be made. You can log in to your account at any time and watch your gold and silver build up. MetalStream™-purchased gold and silver is stored in either Salt Lake City or Singapore, the two most popular Hard Assets Alliance storage locations. Your monthly purchases build toward either 1-oz. gold bars or 100-oz silver bars, or a combination of both. The exact allocation to gold and silver in your account is completely up to you. Once you reach the point where you’ve bought an equivalent amount of metal, you may convert your position to a fully allocated bar in your account. From there, you may leave the bar in storage or take delivery at any time. Whenever you buy or sell precious metals using MetalStream™, also know you’re leveraging the full power of the entire Hard Assets Alliance network. Over 60 financial research and publishing companies and thousands of account holders like you working together means you get the excellent buy and sell prices from a global network of dealers and refiners, and the low-cost non-bank storage costs. Q What is MetalStream™ and how does it work? MetalStream™ is a Hard Assets Alliance service that allows you to designate a specific purchase of gold or silver each month. MetalStream™ is 100% free to set up. The low monthly minimum contribution is $250 (or $100 for UTMA accounts). If you choose to designate more each month, you can do so, and you may turn the feature on and off at will. When you open an account with the Hard Assets Alliance, you can choose to apply the MetalStream™ service to your account and quickly and easily fund your account via the same ACH (automated clearinghouse) that is used for millions of bill-paying functions on the Internet each month. 20
  21. 21. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT On the 16th of each month, the amount you designate for your Hard Assets Alliance account will automatically be withdrawn from your chosen bank or brokerage account (the same as auto-bill paying for your phone or cable bill, for example). Then, on the 23rd of each month, your purchase of gold or silver will be made. You can log in to your account at any time and watch your gold and silver build up. MetalStream™-purchased gold and silver is stored in either Salt Lake City or Singapore, the two most popular Hard Assets Alliance storage locations. Your monthly purchases build toward either 1-oz. gold bars or 100-oz silver bars, or a combination of both. The exact allocation to gold and silver in your account is completely up to you. Once you reach the point where you’ve bought an equivalent amount of metal, you may convert your position to a fully allocated bar in your account. From there, you may leave the bar in storage or take delivery at any time. Whenever you buy or sell precious metals using MetalStream™, also know you’re leveraging the full power of the entire Hard Assets Alliance network. Over 60 financial research and publishing companies and thousands of account holders like you working together means you get the excellent buy and sell prices from a global network of dealers and refiners, and the low-cost non-bank storage costs. Q Do you charge sales tax? We do not charge sales tax. However, if you are a United States citizen, it is your obligation to report purchases and pay sales tax in at least 21 states - but only if you take delivery. You may also be responsible for taxes on any realized gains made in your positions, depending on the type of account you’ve chosen. You should consult your tax professional to understand your specific tax situation. Q Do you charge VAT? No. VAT is not applicable for metal going into storage or delivered to a US address. However, if you have your metals delivered to an overseas address, VAT may apply, depending on local laws and the storage location your order was sent from. Be sure to consult local tax laws before taking delivery. 21
  22. 22. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q What is the settlement process for a trade? Your transactions will be posted to your account immediately upon placing an order. In most cases, orders are settled within two business days with the final price posted to your account upon execution by the dealer network. Q What if I buy today and the price goes up or down before my metal is shipped? With a SmartMetals™ account, once your trade has been executed, your price has been locked in, regardless of price movement between trade execution and subsequent delivery of your order. Q What if I place an order after hours? If you place your order outside normal trading hours, your order will be entered as a “dollar value” order (as opposed to quantity) and will be filled as soon as possible upon opening of the market. For example, if at 10 p.m. you place an order for one-ounce gold bars worth $50,000, the order will be filled the next morning upon market open with the maximum numbers of bars possible, not to exceed $50,000. Q How long from the time I buy until the bar is stored in the vault of my choice? Typically, it’s in the vault one business day after your trade is settled. Q Where does the Hard Assets Alliance purchase its precious metals? When you buy metals for delivery or storage, you’ll be asked to choose a region in which to purchase them. Before you choose a region for a purchase, you can review product availability and current indicative prices for all regions, side-by-side, to help ensure you are making the most informed decision. These prices are sourced from at least four wholesale dealers and refiners in that local region, and the price shown is the average of current prices. 22
  23. 23. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q Can I buy metals in one region and ship them to another? Metals purchased in one region can only be stored in that region; however, you can take delivery from any region with minimal restrictions. For example, if you buy gold bars for storage in Zurich, you must store them in Zurich. Then you can have them shipped to your address of record. You cannot buy bars in Zurich and have them shipped to London for storage. Q How long will an inactive account stay open? Funded accounts with the Hard Assets Alliance do not expire. So long as the account is in good standing, with a cash balance or metals in storage, your account remains open and ready for your immediate use, whether it’s been two weeks, two months, or two years since your last trade. Q Can I fund my account by sending in metals I already own? We do not currently accept in-kind funding (funding with precious metals) in our IRAs, but our custodian, Entrust, allows in-kind funding for all their other clients. We are now accepting metal from outside the network usually in one-off situations that we determine. Contact customer service for more information. Q What makes Hard Assets Alliance different from other precious metals venues? There are several ways the Hard Assets Alliance is different (and better) than other precious metals buying, storing, and selling venues. To start, the Hard Assets Alliance’s online user interface is intuitive, easy to use, and extremely reliable. And it’s backed by a trained team of support staff (not sales people) available by phone at 877-727-7387. The Hard Assets Alliance offers a broad range of storage options for your precious metals through our relationships with large, non-bank vaults throughout the world. We store on your behalf in the capacity of a steward, nothing more. Your metal is your metal. It is yours and yours alone. 23
  24. 24. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Selling your metal is just as easy as buying it. Our system gives you “one-stop” power to buy, store, sell, and take delivery of precious metals quickly and efficiently. Current metal prices are available on our website at all times before you buy, with discounts for volume. When you sell your metals, your cash is deposited directly into your Hard Assets Alliance account, fully available for withdrawal or a new purchase. Q I am interested in internationalizing my precious metals assets, but I see that my Hard Assets Alliance account is technically based in the US. Should that concern me? The seamless, highly secure platform used by the Hard Assets Alliance currently requires that accounts be technically domiciled in the United States, though your precious metals can be stored in insured vaults either inside or outside of the US – including New York, Salt Lake City, Zurich, London, Melbourne, or Singapore. While we are currently working through the considerable technical and regulatory challenges of also offering non-US accounts, the current US account requirement should be of little or no concern to anyone. If you are a US citizen or resident, the fact that it is a US account will save you a huge amount of time and hassle complying with the latest US government regulations that require detailed reporting on foreign-held assets. However, if you ever become at all concerned about your US account registration – for example, in the unlikely event that the US government began signaling it might again want to nationalize gold holdings – a quick call or a couple of clicks from you will set in motion the transfer of your metals, or the proceeds from the sale of your metals, to the destination of your choice, including one outside of the US. All transfers, either in physical metals or the proceeds from a sale of those metals, will take place within two business days. If you were really concerned that gold was going to be targeted, you could also log on to sell your gold holdings and replace them with another metal (platinum or palladium). Realistically, if you are worried that transferring your funds or metals would ever have to take place more urgently than two business days, then the Hard Assets Alliance is probably not right for you. But for most people, two business days should be more than sufficient for any conceivable scenario. Do I have to be a US citizen to open a SmartMetals™ account? SIGN UP NOW! WWW.HARDASSETSALLIANCE.COM 24
  25. 25. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q Do I have to be a US citizen to open a SmartMetals™ account? If you are not a citizen or resident of the United States, no problem. US regulations require that we establish the identity of all account holders, whether or not they are US citizens. Q How easy is it to use the online trading platform? It’s simple and intuitive. If you can trade using an online broker or place an order on Amazon, you’ll have absolutely no problem buying and selling metals with the Hard Assets Alliance. Q I’d rather place my orders by telephone. Is that possible? Absolutely. We have traders available by telephone from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST from Monday through Thursday, and 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 pm EST on Friday, excluding market holidays, and they will gladly take your buy or sell order. Call toll free at 1-877-727-7387 (international calls: 1-602-626-3022). There is no fee for this service. Selling Q When I sell, how is my money delivered? Check or direct deposit? By default, the proceeds of any sale are deposited in your core account. From there, you may use the funds to purchase other assets or have them sent to you via check, wire or, in the very near future, ACH electronic transfer to another bank account of your choosing. Q How long does it take to get my money when I sell? Trades can take up to two full business days to settle. Once your trade has settled, you can then wire money out of your account or request a check sent to an account at a different institution. ACH transfers will be available soon. 25
  26. 26. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q If I am selling, when is my price locked in? Your final price is determined upon execution by our dealer network. Q If I store outside the US and I sell, what currency will I be paid in? All trades are settled in US dollars, regardless of the region your gold is stored in. If you prefer to settle in a different currency, you have the option to take delivery of your gold and sell it to a local dealer who can provide that service. Q I am a US citizen. If I make a purchase and store it outside the US, when I sell, can I have the proceeds deposited into an offshore bank—and in the currency of my choice? Payments are made to customers in US dollars. If you have an existing foreign bank account, we can wire the funds to that bank. That account should be set up in advance in the standing wire instructions for your account. Q Is the bullion I buy really mine? When you buy from the Hard Assets Alliance, whether it’s coins or bars, gold, silver, platinum, or palladium, the exact amount you ordered is bought on your behalf, attributed to your account, and placed in the vault at the location you chose when you ordered. If you bought serial-numbered bars, you’ll be given the serial numbers of those bars. The metals you buy and store with us are no less yours than if we had shipped them to you. Q Does HAA offer pool accounts? No. All of your assets are fully accounted for in the vaults, and the Hard Assets Alliance and its partners do not use pooling, margin, or any other method to leverage the value of your holdings. 26
  27. 27. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q Do you sell mint-condition or proof coins, or limited editions? No. We only provide widely recognized sovereign bullion coins. Currently coins are available at our US and Australian locations. Q How can I be sure of the purity of the products I purchase? We only purchase bars from the industry’s top wholesalers and dealers. Our widely recognized sovereign coins are sourced from the world’s largest bullion dealers. Shipping Q Can I store my products now and get delivery later? Yes. You can request that any or all of your stored holdings be shipped to you at any time. Q How much does shipping to my address cost? Shipping costs vary depending on the value and weight of the requested delivery, along with its origin region and destination. Quotes for shipping are provided prior to confirming. Q Can you ship to my P.O. box? No. For your protection, delivery requires a signature. SIGN UP NOW! WWW.HARDASSETSALLIANCE.COM 27
  28. 28. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q What happens if the gold or silver being shipped to me is lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised during shipment? Does shipping cost include insurance? All shipments are insured for their full transactional value (shipping and insurance is included in the price if you selected delivery at the time of purchase). If your shipment is damaged in any way or does not arrive, contact customer service immediately and a replacement shipment will be arranged as soon as possible. Q How are large orders shipped? Special arrangements may be made for armored delivery for large or high-value shipments. Please contact customer service to inquire about custom delivery options. Q Can I take delivery at an address other than my address of record? We deliver only to the address of record on your account, so you would need to change the address of record in order to take delivery at another location. You can change this address by calling customer service. Storage Facilities Q Where are your facilities located? Currently, we offer storage facilities owned and operated by the world’s largest and most respected vaulting organizations in two locations in the US (New York City and Salt Lake City regions) as well as in the UK, Switzerland, Australia, and Singapore. We are in the process of establishing additional vault locations and will notify you when they are available. SIGN UP NOW! WWW.HARDASSETSALLIANCE.COM 28
  29. 29. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q How do I know my bullion is really in the vault? Our internal records are reconciled with the vaults on a daily basis. Once every quarter, the contents belonging to HAA customers at each vault are verified by one of the Big Four international accounting firms. Q Are the contents of the vaults secure—and insured? The vaults we use are run by some of the world’s most highly respected security professionals. These vaults house gold for international banks, governments, and others who require absolute security and complete auditability, as we do. All have round-the-clock armed physical security and state-of-the-art electronic protection. In addition, all vaults are insured for the full value of their contents stored on your behalf. You can sleep well knowing your wealth is absolutely safe, insured and, if you choose, outside the United States. Q Can I store my existing coins and bullion with HAA? We only allow storage of outside metals in one-off situations. Call customer service for full details. Q Can I transfer my holdings from one location to another? Not at this time. Instead, you would simply sell in one location and buy in another. Q If I buy coins and bars, how will you know which ones are mine? If you purchase bars that have serial numbers, you will be provided with the serial numbers of those in your account. Bullion is managed in shared storage and not tracked by individual coins. However, the full balance of all accounts is kept in the vault at all times. Your full holdings are completely accounted for at all times. 29
  30. 30. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q Can I have bullion at multiple facilities? Yes, you can have gold stored in any of the vault locations we provide. You will have a choice each time you make a purchase. Q Can I stop by and see my metal holdings? For security reasons, no one except authorized representatives who have been thoroughly screened are allowed into the facilities. This includes only facility operations personnel and independent auditors who meet the security requirements of the facility operators. My Account Q Are customers’ cash accounts FDIC insured? Cash in your account is not FDIC insured, and it does not bear interest. Your metal holdings, however, are insured for their full value. Cash in your account is held by a major bank in a Hard Assets Alliance subaccount of Gold Bullion International. Q Can I make monthly payments on my gold? You may make regular deposits into your account via check or, coming soon, ACH transfer. However, minimum order requirements exist – $5,000 for metals you wish delivered directly, and $5,000 for metals you wish vaulted by us. Only once the full value of the purchase is cleared in your core account will you be able to make your purchase. SIGN UP NOW! WWW.HARDASSETSALLIANCE.COM 30
  31. 31. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q Can I cancel a delivery? Your order is processed and shipped so quickly (it’s put out to bid almost instantly) that canceling an order is not possible after it has been placed. Q I am a US citizen. Are buy-and-sell transactions reported to the IRS? If you sell, the IRS requires us to report the gross proceeds on Form 1099. Other Frequently Asked Questions Q Can I take a loan or line of credit out on my stored gold? No. Q Can I trade the silver in my account for gold and vice versa? In order to exchange one metal for another, you must sell the first holding and allow the transaction to settle, and then purchase the other holding. At this time, there is no direct swap available. Q Should I choose bars or coins? In general, we suggest you purchase the denomination that sells best in your chosen market. All markets offer gold bars, which are generally considered to have the best liquidity internationally. SIGN UP NOW! WWW.HARDASSETSALLIANCE.COM 31
  32. 32. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Q Could my metals be worth more in one region than another depending on the local economy? Prices do vary by product from region to region. Q Can I put in a stop loss to sell if the price moves downward? Not at this time. Do you offer any way to short the price of gold and silver? Q Do you offer any way to short the price of gold and silver? No. The Hard Assets Alliance only supplies physical metals, not futures or options contracts. There is no leverage, margin, pooling, or other risk to your physical metal holdings. Get Started Today! Sign Up At WWW.HARDASSETSALLIANCE.COM We hope we have answered all your questions about this exciting new breakthrough in buying, selling, and storing precious metals. If not, please don’t hesitate to call us toll free at 1-877-727-7387 today. If you are ready to open your SmartMetals™ account, you can do so right now with no funding required until after your account has been opened (within 48 hours of approval). To get started now, simply click the button above to access our ultra-secure application form. In no time at all, you’ll be on your way to using the single most efficient, cost-effective way to own precious metals available today. We look forward to welcoming you to the Hard Assets Alliance! 32
  33. 33. SmartMetals™ ACTION KIT Important Resources Us Our Customer Service Support Center is staffed by knowledgeable representatives who can answer your questions, help you open an account, fix a problem, or connect you with a bonded broker to take your order. Toll free: 1-877-727-7387 International: 1-602-626-3022 Email: Sign Up Now Toll free: 1-877-727-7387 International: 1-602-626-3022 Account Applications If you prefer to print the enrollment forms to review and/or submit via mail, you can download the appropriate forms at Mail Application to: Hard Assets Alliance 118A Fulton Street, #231 New York, NY 10038 FAX: 1-646-219-1615 33