Private And Safe In This Panama Vault

Feb. 11, 2011, Panama City, Panama: For anyone looking for a practical option for where and how to store valuables safely offshore, a private vault company is a good alternative to a bank, where, increasingly, you’re not likely to be able to get a box anyway.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

It's more difficult all the time to obtain a safe deposit box overseas. Many banks are getting out of the business and simply not renewing box-holders' contracts.

And, while more and more people are looking for safe options for storing valuables overseas (gold, cash, stock certificates, jewelry, etc.), some don't want a safe deposit box in a bank. It's not the most private option, as banks must keep records of their safe deposit box owners that could be disclosed as part of an inquiry into the bank's account holders.

For these reasons, the private bank vault business seems to be booming. In Panama, for example, I know of two vaults that have opened in the last year. These private companies aren't banks (although they have the appropriate permits to run a safe deposit box business) and therefore don't come with the same potential risks that a bank can have.

In addition, private vaults offer options not typically available at a bank. For example, if you just want a place to store your own safe, many private vaults offer that as an option. The safe is secured inside the vault and only you know the combination or have the keys.

I visited one of the two new private vault companies in Panama City last week to see the operation. Located in the heart of Panama City's international banking district, Private Bank Vaults offers secure, private, anonymous, and guarded safety deposit boxes inside a former bank vault.

Security is high, with an armed guard at the front of the building and one inside the vault company's front door, as well. You must pass through two steel doors before arriving at the front of the vault.

Inside, it's a typical safe deposit box set up, with walls of boxes of various sizes (including some oversized) and a table for you to use while you have your box out. The investment has been made in security, not fancy finishings.

All of the boxes are 2 feet deep and range from 3 inches by 10 inches to 15 inches by 10 inches. Prices can be quoted by the month or by the year. The smallest box is US$255 for one month and US$695 for a year. The 15 X 10 box is US$595 per month and US$1,595 a year. These rates, certainly the annual rates, are competitive for this service in Panama.

In addition to the vault services, Private Bank Vaults can have an armed guard pick you up from the airport or your hotel to bring you to the facility. If you arrive on your own, you have access to their private, guarded parking facility.

For anyone looking for a practical option for where and how to store valuables safely, this kind of private company is a good alternative to a bank, where, increasingly, you're not likely to be able to get a box anyway.

For more information on Private Bank Vaults' services, you can get in touch here.

Lief Simon

P.S. The owner of Private Bank Vaults here in Panama City is looking for investors to help expand his operation. If you're interested in the idea (I see this as a growth industry), you should speak with him directly about his business plan, etc. You can reach him here.Continue Reading:

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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

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