This is covered in section 12. TRANSACTION SECURITY of the S.T.A.R. Storage Agreement
What if somebody gets a hold of my account / password and buys or sells bullion on my behalf?
Any S.T.A.R. transaction such as a buy or sell order or modifying personal information will trigger a notification sent to your email. Should you receive such a notification but have not initiated it change your password and contact us immediately. Every buy or sell order is reviewed by a Silver Bullion officer before an order confirmation is sent out or, depending on the situation, we will void the order.
Please note that the system is intentionally designed so that there is very little for a potential hacker to gain even if they were able to access your account.
What if I do not get to read these notification e-mails in time and in the meantime someone instructs you to wire the money into their account?
The S.T.A.R. Bullion Storage system is designed to allow funds to be transferred back only into your own linked bank account. Therefore, the worst case scenario would entail funds being returned to your bank account. Furthermore each transaction is reviewed by a Silver Bullion officer and for some transactions two officers [see section 12.3 of the S.T.A.R. Storage Agreement]. We might contact you to confirm a transaction or changes to your S.T.A.R. profile to make sure that the changes were as per your request.
Is my connection secure?
Once you log into your Silver Bullion account, your connection is encrypted using industry standard encryption (denoted by “https” in the URL) certificates similar to those used by banks to reinforce connection privacy / security.
AUDITS AND INSPECTIONS
This is covered in section 7. OWNERSHIP RECORDS and 8. AUDITS AND PHYSICAL INSPECTIONS within the S.T.A.R. Storage Agreement. Additional questions on the topic:
Besides Silver Bullion, who checks that all invoiced parcels are truly stored at the Vault and that ownership is assigned properly as stated on my tax invoice?
There are 3 independent entities: vault operators, an internal inspection agency, and financial auditors that confirm that the parcel is stored at the specified facility. We also provide you photograph - which you download from our website - of each stored bullion parcel.
Vault Operator(s) perform physical inspections and release parcel inventory reports which are checked against the Parcel Ownership list at least two times per week. Both the S.T.A.R. Parcel Ownership List and vault operators' parcel list are posted online and can be downloaded by S.T.A.R. Bullion Storage customers.
Bullion auditors will perform an independent audit of all parcels, at least once every three months. Silver Bullion has contracted the Bureau Veritas, an inspection company with over 6,000 employees worldwide - 200 of them are stationed in Singapore - to perform these audits and provide a certificate which can be downloaded through your S.T.A.R. Storage Interface online.
- Singapore Statutory Financial Auditors independently check the physical presence of the parcels with the vault operator(s), independently check bank statements and cashflows with the banks and review parcel ownership records as evidenced by tax invoices, purchase orders and delivery orders to their respective monetary receipts and disbursements.
The ownership records are maintained by Silver Bullion Pte Ltd, made available to you online in a very transparent manner and controlled by Independent Accountants and Financial Auditors
Independent Approved Accountants review and control the parcel ownership records and match these to Tax Invoices, Purchase Orders and Delivery Orders to their respective monetary receipts and disbursements. In Singapore a Tax Invoice falsification is a criminal, not civil, matter so this process is taken very seriously by all parties.
Singapore Statutory Financial Auditors independently check the physical presence of the parcels with the Vault Operator(s), independently check bank statements and cash flows with the Banks and review parcel ownership records as evidenced by tax invoices, purchase orders and delivery orders to their respective monetary receipts and disbursements.
If all these entities check bullion holdings, who has access to my personal profile information?
Your profile information is accessible only by a small group of Silver Bullion officers in Singapore, Silver Bullion’s Singapore accountants and the Singapore financial auditors. None of this information is released to third parties unless required by law.
There is no legal obligation on Silver Bullion to any foreign government, including any foreign tax authority, regulator or any foreign public authority to provide information on any customers or any transactions performed under the S.T.A.R. Storage Agreement.
From a regulatory standpoint in Singapore, bullion kept through S.T.A.R. Bullion Storage is not considered a financial product but a physical good and does not fall under the reporting requirements typical for financial products. Vault operators and bullion auditors work exclusively with the anonymous S.T.A.R. Owner ID.
How do I know that the bullion in storage is genuine?
Sealed S.T.A.R. bullion parcels containing silver bullion coins are held in mint sealed “monster boxes”. These boxes come either directly from the mints or through one of the largest North American bullion distributors. In either case the origin of the coins can be traced back to the mint. Furthermore the boxes will be weighed by the Vault Operator on arrival which is an implied density test. X-rays of the shipment will also be done as a security precaution upon entering the storage facility.
Sealed S.T.A.R. parcels containing silver bullion bars are normally 100 troy ounce silver bars or 15 kg bars. These bars come from the foundries in double sealed bullion bags and can be traced back to the foundry. In rare cases, if bars are not coming directly from the mint they would have undergone an assay by the primary distributor. Upon arrival the bars are weighed and repackaged in groups of five (5) into sealed, tamper proof, transparent parcel bags by at least two vault operator officials (S.T.A.R.) or Silver Bullion Officials (S.T.A.R.+) under CCTV surveillance.
Thus genuinity is addressed by:
Source - we only market the most liquid and established brand name bullion.
Traceability - the bullion is arriving either directly from the mint / foundry or in rare cases, the bullion was bought back by dealers and re-assayed by our supplier.
Weight check and thus implicit density check upon arrival
Audit by Bureau Veritas, an international inspection company
for S.T.A.R. + we also do optional DUX Tests. (DUX Testing is mandatory for all transferred in bullion)
Furthermore our primary suppliers (the largest North American bullion supplier) will accept S.T.A.R. Storage Bullion without the usual need for an assay.
Can I visit the vault and see the bullion myself?
Yes, you can. High security vaults are intrinsically not designed to be accessible to the public. Security precautions require an armed guard and two vault operator officers to be present at all times.
The Safe House is a bit more accessible and it is possible for Silver Bullion to organize a visit to the facility and the parcels stored there. An appointment would have to be fixed in advance, and valid photo ID such as a passport should be presented at the vault.
Do I get a “certificate” for the stored parcels?
A tax Invoice functions like a certificate in that it legally documents the transfer of ownership to the specified buyer. A tax invoice is legal document which is created by Silver Bullion officers, controlled by accountants, inspected by financial auditors and regulated by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
Falsifying a commercial invoice is a criminal offense in Singapore, not just a civil offense. Although an invoice might not sound glamorous, this document offers much more protection than a loosely defined “certificate”.
The S.T.A.R. Bullion Storage system offers more layers of protection than a bearer based certificate system, which is intrinsically much more susceptible to fraud as it relies on a single document issued by a single institution instead of having the transparency and multiple party control mechanism of the S.T.A.R. Bullion Storage system.
How do you know the customer parcel holdings are correct, can the records be lost?
The S.T.A.R. Bullion Storage system was designed to minimize manual data entry which typically is the primary source of potential errors. Furthermore, a well designed data structure, sets of redundancies and cross checks make this system robust and transparent. More importantly the system is designed to have a paper backup of all transactions so that we can verify orders or holdings independently from the IT system if necessary.
Tehnical crosschecks: S.T.A.R. Storage uses two separate inventory systems that crosscheck each other. Should an inconsistency occur in one it would be detected by the other system. This design greatly increases transparency which in turn makes the system more reliable. Other technical functions and design features ensure that the risk of errors occuring is minimized.
Non-technical and Vault Operator redundancies: S.T.A.R. parcel lists data are backed up by vault operator inventory lists and all S.T.A.R. transactions are based on invoices and purchase orders. These documents are printed out and archived when issued as part of accounting procedures and auditing requirements.
Customers can view and crosscheck all these documents as well so the system’s transparency implicitly ensures a very high level of accuracy and fast response should any discrepancies occur.
Who designed the S.T.A.R. Storage system?
The founder of the company -- Mr Gregor Gregersen -- has been in business software design and project management for 16 years with the majority of this time working for MNCs and banks. Mr. Gregersen has been architecting and developing software in the areas of business intelligence, banking (including derivative pricing), compliance and commissioning systems. His previous occupation before working full time with Silver Bullion Pte Ltd was that of Data Architect for a major European bank.
Designing redundant and transparent systems that remain consistent over time is a key requirement in this industry. We have developed S.T.A.R. Bullion Storage and are able to offer a reliable service as we understand how to build such systems.
BUSINESS CONTINUITY & ACCESS SAFEGUARDS
See section 7. OWNERSHIP RECORDS and 13. AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE of the S.T.A.R. Storage Agreement. Additional questions on the topic:
What if something happens to me due to unforeseen circumstances. How can my loved ones or my attorney get a hold of the bullion?
The S.T.A.R. System gives you the option to nominate an “Authorized Representative” who can instruct us to liquidate your bullion positions and have the proceeds transferred back to your linked bank account. Due to security reasons we cannot send moneys to other accounts or other beneficiaries. However you can instruct your bank to give access or make a joint account so that your authorized representative can gain access to the funds.
What happens if Silver Bullion Pte Ltd can no longer fulfill its role as my agent?
Silver Bullion is in a very strong financial position and is in one of the safest countries in the world. However any well designed system has to make business continuity provisions to address such eventualities. The S.T.A.R. Storage system is implicitly designed so that your ownership claim is clear no matter what happens. Furthermore we have appointed a liquidator to provide Business Continuity in such an event and established a process to insure the ownership information is safely, correctly and unequivocally transmitted.
The Process: Everyday a heavily encrypted email containing both the Parcel Ownership List (listing the latest parcels and the associated Anonymous S.T.A.R. Storage ID Owner) and the S.T.A.R. Owner List (Listing the latest S.T.A.R. Profile Information) is automatically sent to an independent accountant company for safekeeping.
The encryption serves three important purposes:
It ensures that the source of the document is coming from the S.T.A.R. Storage system as the encryption algorithm, associated salt value and associated password are unique to the S.T.A.R. storage system which generates it.
It ensures that the lists have not been altered by a third party as any change to the encrypted text would invalidate the decryption process.
It ensures that the information remains private as no party can decrypt it unless they obtain the decryption keys.
The decryption keys will be released to the appointed liquidator only if Silver Bullion is no longer operating as specified in section 7.5 within the S.T.A.R. Storage Agreement. Should the names liquidator not be able to perform it’s duties the accounting company will receive access to the decryption key.
The liquidator fallback relies on a liquidator to act. The S.T.A.R. system also implicitly has a more direct built-in safeguard as you legally own the bullion and if Silver Bullion, who acts as your agent vs. Vault Operator, can no longer fulfill this duty and the liquidator system fails then you can claim your property directly under law.
The latest Parcel Ownership List will clearly list the S.T.A.R. account IDs of the owners of each parcel. Although the Vault Operator only knows your S.T.A.R. Storage ID your Tax Invoice or parcel holdings lists your purchased Parcels and S.T.A.R. Storage ID and full name / address, make your legal claim to the bullion parcels clear and unequivocal.
This is covered in section 9. ONGOING STAR STORAGE CHARGES within the S.T.A.R. Storage Agreement. Additional questions on the topic:
How much are the storage charges?
Please see Storage Charges on the "Order Options" page
How is the unused storage balance returned?
The S.T.A.R. system adds or subtracts your storage balance for each parcel when you sell or take delivery of your bullion. For example, if you have 130 SGD in unused storage left for a given parcel and you sell it we will add the 130 SGD to the sell price back to us. The S.T.A.R. interface makes this very transparent.
Will you increase storage charges in the future?
If there should be a storage rate increase in the future this will not affect the storage charges you have paid for in advance.
When should I extend my storage balance?
We strongly encourage our customers to extend their storage two months before their bullion storage expires.
How can I extend my storage balance?
The steps to extend your storage balance are as follows:
- Login to our website with your Username and Password.
- Click on "STORAGE".
- Click on "Extend Storage (All Parcels)".
Please note that the default extension duration is one year, and this is adjustable. Remember to click on 'Submit Req
TAKING DELIVERY OF YOUR BULLION
This is covered briefly in section 10. WITHDRAWAL OF PRECIOUS METALS FROM THE VAULT within the S.T.A.R. Storage Agreement.
S.T.A.R. Storage allows for an easy and timely withdrawal of your bullion. A delivery can be made to any point in Singapore. It is also possible to have bulk shipments (5000 troy ounces of silver or more) delivered to selected major airports such as Hong Kong, Bangkok or Tokyo. We plan to expand the delivery options outside of Singapore in the future.
How do I take delivery of the bullion in Singapore?
You can do this online through the S.T.A.R. storage interface. We will send you a delivery request confirmation document to confirm delivery details.
What is the GST payment based on? (ONLY APPLICABLE TO NON-IPM/TAXABLE PRODUCTS)
The GST will be payable on the latest transacted (purchase) price of your bullion if it is to be delivered in Singapore and is not IPM Bullion. S.T.A.R. + bullion is always IPM bullion and therefore tax free. The last purchased parcel price (in SGD) is documented on a per-parcel basis in the respective S.T.A.R. Tax Invoice(s) and S.T.A.R. Statements. Thus, when requesting delivery, you should select the Parcel Seals with the lowest purchase cost first as your GST due amount will be lower. The S.T.A.R. user interface makes this very transparent and easy to do.
In addition, GST is payable on storage charges.
Can I take delivery of my bullion directly from the vault?
This is possible through S.T.A.R. @ The Safe House. The normal withdrawal process would have to be initiated from Silver Bullion. That is, the customer cannot interact directly with The Safe House vault operator personnel.
Where would a Singapore delivery occur?
The S.T.A.R. system can have the bullion delivered to the address on record in Singapore through secured transport or we can have the bullion delivered to our offices / depository within Certis Cisco. In the latter case you would have to pick the bullion up from our office. Please note that we require you to sign for the bullion delivery. If you cannot be present we require a written release form before delivery, specifying the recipient who will sign on your behalf.
SELLING BULLION THROUGH THE S.T.A.R. INTERFACE
This is covered in the section 9. Buy Back Option within the Policies and Procedures Agreement.
How do I sell the bullion back to you?
You can lock-in a price and submit a sell back request online 24/7 through your S.T.A.R. interface. This interface lists each parcel code you own, the content, each parcel’s respective storage balances as well as your purchase price and the invoice you bought the parcel with. Each Parcel also list our current buyback offer which is the Client Private Buyback price listed in the discount tier box. You can sell back any combinations of parcels. See Order Policies for details.
Does it make a difference which parcel I am selling back?
If you have multiple parcels bought at different price points consider selling back the parcels you bought at a higher price and keep the parcels that have the lower purchase price. This optimizes potential import taxes should you wish to take delivery of your remaining parcels into Singapore (or another country having import duties) as import taxes are based on your parcel purchase price.
When will I receive the proceeds from a sale?
See section 5. Payment Timeframe of the Order Policies and Procedures agreement for details.
Can I request my proceeds to be paid out in currencies other than SGD?
Our base currency is Singapore Dollar. However we can purchase other currencies and wire your funds in other currencies. The S.T.A.R. Interface allows you to lock in a sell price in either SGD or USD. Should you require funds in a different currency please request a SGD sell back and write into the comment box the currency you require. Please take note that all wires can go only to your linked bank account and some currencies might be controlled currencies.
Due to its transaction volume Silver Bullion Pte Ltd receives a much better exchange rate (around 0.5% depending on amount and currency) compared to retail bank exchange spreads (which often are around 1.5%) S.T.A.R. customers can take advantage of this.
What is the minimum order amount so that I can purchase through the S.T.A.R. Bullion Storage program?
You will need to purchase a parcel, which normally contains 500 troy ounces of silver bullion. In November 2012, we had stopped selling 10 pieces 10 oz A-Mark silver bars in a 100 oz parcel. In January 2013, we introduced 5 Perth Mint silver kilobars in a 5 kg parcel. In addition, you can only purchase (and sell back) in parcel units for example, in multiples of 500 ounces.
For purchasing gold bullion, the minimum is a 100 gram gold bar.
Find out more about S.T.A.R. Storage through: