The Singapore Vault Where Deutsche Bank Will Store $9 Billion of Gold

By Zachary M. Seward

Deutsche Bank, one of the world's largest dealers of gold, has begun storing bullion in Singapore, reflecting the nation-state's growing importance as a financial haven. "Gold has traditionally been stored in London, Zurich, and New York, but there is a serious shift in dynamics going on as the global financial crisis continues to evolve," Mark Smallwood, Deutsche's head of wealth management in the region, told the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

The bank will hold up to 200 metric tons of gold, which would be worth $8.9 billion today, in a vault at the Singapore FreePort, a high-security facility adjacent to the city-state's main airport that opened in 2010. With the promise of legally avoiding taxes and customs inspections, the FreePort has quickly become Southeast Asia's hub for storage of art, jewels, wine, and other expensive goods. Christie's rents more than a third of the space for its art storage service.

Singapore FreePort exterior

Unlike the staid warehouses in Switzerland that provide similar tax shelter for valuables, the Singapore FreePort is a flashy facility-"part bunker, part gallery" (paywall). The steel doors that barricade the vaults may weigh seven tons but still look stylish. The lobby is filled with an enormous sculpture by Israeli designer Ron Arad fittingly titled "Cage Sans Frontières," or "Cage Without Borders." You can see it in this over-the-top video tour produced by the FreePort:

Singapore has quickly established itself as an alternative tax haven by requiring its banks not to reveal their clients and looking the other way as assets enter and leave the country. It has also benefited from newly rich Asians who prefer to keep their money closer to home than more traditional tax havens in Europe.

The irony of the Singapore FreePort is that it was designed by Swiss architects and security experts, but competes directly with Switzerland for off-shore accounts. "We offer more confidentiality than Geneva," promised Alain Vandenborre (paywall), president of the Freeport, when the facility opened.

Deutsche's move to store gold there for its clients comes a year after Singapore dropped its 7% goods-and-services tax on gold, silver, and platinum. The bank also has gold vaults in Hong Kong, London, and Zurich.

Singapore FreePort hallway

Exclusive video of the Singapore FreePort from Videos on Vimeo.

More from Quartz: Gold is the worst investment of 2013

Photo Credit: FreePort via Vimeo

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Hmm, so this is one of the places the 1%ers are avoiding paying their taxes and helping to continue the world wide economic woes to their advantage by not paying taxes, eh? Well, if one were an enterprising borrower of capital, the obvious place to hit this giant shipment is at the airport like those guys ( we assume they were guys ) did earlier this year or in transit because otherwise they would have a tough time with these walls without a ship's phaser or disruptor beam or a few photon torpedoes.

June 11 2013 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While studying Germany the past five years or so I realized that in 80 years the Germans have been on the world stage 3 times, WW One started when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated which if a US president was killed by another country back then it probably would have been an act of war too, the Germans surrendered and were victims of the horrible treaty of Versailles that stripped them of nearly everything and left them broke and powerless, one loaf of bread costs $1 million mark, in less than 15 years they were back on top as a super power, 21 years after the treaty of Versailles WW Two started. Sad as it was and all the horrors that came from it thankfully Hitler had total power, Hitler was a corporal who had enough power to over rule his admirals and field marshals and it cost him the war, while Hitler was a political genius he was a military fool which was good for the allies and the world. Thankfully Hitler siezed enough power to make military decisions and thought he knew better than his military leaders how to fight and win battles. Many military historians have written about the two key mistakes Hitler made that cost him the war, both were brought to his attention by his military staff and both were over ruled by Hitler. After WW 2 Germany was bombed into oblivion and divided up by the allies yet within 20 years they were a financial power house, 20+ years after that they were reunited and soon became leader of the European union, if Germany ever shut down or went broke today the whole world would be thrown into total financial chaos. For one country to been through what Germany went through in less than 100 years and to built back up so quickly to be a super power after each defeat is really amazing, hopefully for the world they don't crumble anytime soon.

June 11 2013 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ANTON's comment

Hopefully for the world they don't start another war.

June 11 2013 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The rich realize a threat to their wealth and are taking precautions to ensure it's safty by changing
locations. Wonder who is the new threat to those rich people / families? Better yet, who are these
rich people / families?

June 11 2013 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The architecture of that place is really nice. I wonder what it looks like when it's in use.

June 11 2013 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why doesn't somebody build one HERE, so we don't have to go over there?

June 11 2013 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Buckingham's's comment

hey dip ****, ever hear of fort knocks??

June 11 2013 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is called Fort Knox. ( there are rumors that it is only has a fraction of the gold it is supposed to have).

June 15 2013 at 12:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And by all means lets show the ins and outs of the vault...why not just post the floor plans on the internet..that will save time for those who have a "deep" interest in where it is and what it actually looks like.....:)

June 11 2013 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Worth 9 billions huh? Wait a couple of months and it will be worth 8.5 billion. The gold bugs never learn do they?

June 11 2013 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rick Schoenherr

Remarkable, a vault that contains valuables. Running out of material to write about? Where's a good scandal when you need one.

June 11 2013 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Rothchilds are behind this project as well (The richest [tinted with human blood] family in the world).

June 11 2013 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No, Steve, how about "Ocean's 14"

June 11 2013 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply