The nation's very first state-owned precious metals depository is officially open for business and it's right here in Austin. The Texas Bullion Depository will store gold, silver and other valuable metals for people who want state oversight.
People who want to store metals at the depository can do one of two things, buy bullion from a dealer and have it shipped directly to the depository or send precious metals already in their possession.
“Now you have options, a new option that didn't exist before,” said Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar.
Three years after Texas lawmakers approved a plan to start a state-owned depository for precious metals, the Texas Bullion Depository is taking customers.
“It has never been done before. All the depositories that are out there now are owned either by private organizations, they're managed privately, or there are the operations run by the federal government which individual citizens can't use,” Hegar said.
The Texas Comptroller’s Office is overseeing the depository. Hegar was the first one to create an account. “There's been a lot of interest. Now, we'll see from here forward whether people actually want to deposit and I think there will be a lot more than you think there will be, not just in Texas, but anyone, anywhere around the world can take advantage of this opportunity,” said Hegar.
Lone Star Tangible Assets is operating the depository in North Austin.
“They've got a Class 3 vault today, so, therefore, today you can store precious metals at their current facility. They have plans to open and operate a new facility come next year,” Hegar said.
Any deposits made are tested, photographed and posted on the customer's account.
“We conduct three verifications on the metal itself. There's a visual, a weight, and a density test done to confirm to the owners that the metals they sent in are actually real,” said Matt Ferris, chairman of Lone Star Tangible Assets.
Depositors will be charged a quarterly fee based on the amount of metal stored, but Hegar said the safety and security of the facility is as good as gold. “It's very unique in this aspect, that you have a lot of depositories around the nation, around the world, but you don't quite have the state, or the federal, or any governmental oversight of a significant level,” said Hegar.
The new depository in Leander is expected to be completed in 2019.