Rich are Rattled and Seeking Old-Fashioned Security Mayfair is one of the most elegant areas of London, and there you’ll find 46 Park Lane, a Victorian-era building that looks like a private gentleman’s club.
Go downstairs and you’ll find one of the most impenetrable rooms in all of the city – a vault built for billionaires who want to keep their most priceless treasure safe. Aside from an apartment-sized space, there are also 550 safe-deposit boxes on site.
This is the sixth such “safe room” built by IBV International Vaults, as the obscenely wealthy look for hidey-holes to stash precious metals, cash and cryptocurrency keys. Some fear a recession, while others have lost interest in bank deposits due to negative interest rates. Fears of natural disasters have also contributed to nerves.
Just last month, master of the universe and hedge fund manager Ray Dalio instilled fear by warning that the global economy faces threats from a powerful mix of ineffective monetary policy, the wealth gap, and climate changes. A survey of clients by UBS Global Wealth Management anticipates a significant drop in the market by the end of 2020.
Other safe-deposit box companies have also reported significant interest in secure vaults, with their customers universally saying that they are planning for economic downturns. Safe-deposit boxes range in size from a few inches in height to the size of kitchen cabinets. Art storage facilities are also seeing increased interest. Many banks, however, have stopped offering safe-deposit boxes as the space required is prohibitive. In the US, banks are closing branches and not installing them in newly built branch locations. Two of the country’s largest banks, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America, cite waning demand.
Interest may be reviving though, as fears of natural disasters and wildfires have made people nervous about keeping valuables at home. Cannabis businesses, which are excluded from the banking system due to federal laws that have not caught up with state law on cannabis, also avail themselves of secure storage for cash.
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World’s Rich Are Rattled and Seeking Old-Fashioned Security | Wealth Management