29 December 2009

Know your customer

Interesting experience by Market Skeptics with GoldMoney. Leaving aside the way it was handled or the time taken, but it does not surprise me with what happened.

The ability to transfer balances between GoldMoney accounts means that operation really is more akin to a bank than a custodian. As a result I can see that they are more diligent about knowing their customer and what the account will be used for, otherwise they could get shut down by regulators. Just see what happened to e-gold and the changes they have had to make in this DGC Magazine article.

The money laundering/terrorism rules these days puts the onus on the business to know their customer, make assessments about the potential for their customers to be engaging in illegal activities and if the risk is considered high, either declining the account, reporting it, or seeking further information from the customer to establish whether their use of the account appears legitimate.

There would be no doubt that GoldMoney would not want to go through the e-gold experience, hence the rigorous due diligence. This tells me they are serious about becoming a real "gold bank", which is something true gold money advocates would have to support. Yes, this means they become part of the regulatory "system" and will thus not appeal to those buying gold for privacy reasons, but I think GoldMoney's objectives are to target the wider market and it will be interesting to see how this develops.

24 December 2009

Fat Prophets

Fat Prophets have been gold bulls for a long time and I give them kudos for that. However, in a recent article The Silent Gold Rush Is On they make the following faulty analysis:

The Australian newspaper reported over the weekend that the Perth Mint is not taking any more orders for gold until January. Our guess is that the Mint does not want to expose itself to higher future prices given that it does not have the inventory to meet the demand for bullion.

I sent the response below to them a couple of weeks ago, no response as yet:

Your guess that we do not want to be exposed to higher future prices is incorrect and is based on a misunderstanding of how the gold markets work. If we take an order and fix a metal price (it is also possible to take an order and agree to fix a price at the time the bullion is ready for delivery) then we immediately buy the raw gold that will be used to make the bars/coins for the client. There is therefore never any exposure the future prices. I discuss this is more detail in my blog on the value chain.

I really wish commentators would just call us up and ask us questions, rather than just guessing or making stuff up.

13 December 2009


Yes I am still alive. My break from blogging started with a trip to Canberra for the http://www.goldstandardinstitute.com/ conference. It was great to catch up with the attendees from last year and meet some new gold investors. The weekend after it was a short drive up to the Southern Highlands of New South Wales for the Highland Fling - a 100km mountain bike race. Six plus hours is physically tough, but it was harder mentally.

The plan was to get back to blogging on my return but the new Treasury system project I've been working on (in addition to the revamp of the Perth Mint's retail shop) kicked in with at lot of work required to meet deadlines. The new system will give us some efficiencies and thus help with customer service but we have decided to NOT go online for trading.

It is a bit old school, but the Treasury system will be standalone from our other computer systems and with no online ability means your account is just not hackable. I'm interested in any feedback on that decision - we feel if you want the ease of online then you can trade our ASX product (code ZAUWBA) or GoldMoney or BullionVault.

This Treasury system is going to take up some time so my blogging will be less frequent over the next few months but I'll keep any eye on any big issues that come up.