FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

At SMH Panama S.A., we are happy to answer any questions you have, at any time. Just click the button below to be taken to our contact page and fill out the contact form with your inquiry.
However, sometimes, you just want a quick answer, and don’t need to talk to anyone right away. For that reason, we have included a list of common questions below, along with answers, to potentially save you some time.
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To some extent, inside China where most of these metals are created from refining base ores, yes. Outside of China, no.
In Obarrio, the financial district of Panama City, PANAMA.
We accept US domestic wire transfers or international wire transfers, certified cheques, and Bitcoin.
If a client asks us to help them liquidate their assets before we have approached them first (when the metal values are peaking in 5 to 7 years), we can try to help them match their baskets up with a new client interested in those baskets.
US$ 10,000 with SMH Panama S.A. in 99.9% pure precious metals is the minimum investment at this time.
Yes. On a case by case basis we can assist you in this. You will be responsible for all shipping and handling costs and we will charge a service fee.
Yes. Ask us about our IRA and offshore LLC packages for holding rare strategic and precious metals.
SMH Panama S.A. can help you acquire 0.999 pure silver, gold, platinum, palladium and rhodium with a minimum order of at least US$25,000.
On a case by case basis we can assist you in the acquisition of one type of metal, rather than in our basket packages. The minimum investment amount in these cases is US$ 25,000.00.
Yes, metal baskets can be stored at a place of residency or other individually designated location, given certain regulatory specifications are met, regarding proper storage and handling. It’s also good to keep in mind, if you chose to take your metals home, costly and detailed analyses will be required prior to selling your metals in the future. In addition, you will also be held responsible for any duties, taxes, shipping expenses, insurance and the full costs of any other requirements. The total costs will also vary depending on your citizenship and the country where the metals will be housed. Furthermore, as with any valuable asset kept in a lower security residential setting (as compared to the Bank Level 1, high security vaults in Switzerland and Panama), there is the risk of loss by theft.
Yes, definitely; you can visit at any time upon making prior arrangements with the vault. You will require picture identification and your original Deed of Ownership.
We have doubly insured the metal baskets during their transport and storage on behalf of our clients, using two distinct and separate insurance companies, adding an extra layer of protection to our standard safeguarding policies. The storage fees paid to the vault also include full insurance coverage of the metals baskets for the duration of the storage period.
There are numerous reasons why we have selected Switzerland and Panama as our warehousing base. One reason is that Schweizerische Metallhandel, A.G., the trading partner of SMHPA is headquartered in Switzerland and SMH Panama S.A. services the Americas. Secondly, for tax, political and other reasons, investors the world over believe it is strategically important to warehouse physical assets outside of the U.S., the European Union or Canada. As Switzerland has enjoyed a very high level of economic and political stability for over 500 years, it has long been regarded as being the most secure country in the world to store valuables. Panama´s central location to the rest of the world, and it´s professional Customs Agency makes it the best location on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
You will receive a Deed of Ownership legally designating you as the owner of these metals and for Panama a separate certificate of storage. Your deed of ownership acts very much like a vehicle registration certificate or land deed, where the document legally confirms the ownership of a physical asset (real estate, automobile, etc.) and is accepted as valid proof of ownership.
We are a conglomerate of registered companies (SMH Panama S.A. and Schweizerische Metallhandel, A.G.) that have a combined and verifiable total of over 60 years in business, with physical offices in Zurich, Frankfurt and Panama City, Panama. Additionally, the movement of the metals to and from either bonded storage facility are monitored by the respective customs authorities.
The Deed of Ownership you receive contains your ownership registration number or “charge” number. That number serves as a tracking number to quickly and easily locate your metals within the vault in Switzerland or Panama.
Each metal is packaged by weight, and stored in packaging sanctioned by Swiss Customs. As a customer of SMH Panama S.A. you receive a Deed of Ownership which includes your ownership registration or “charge” number.
There are an additional 6 inspections and verifications made on the metals’ trip to the vault in Switzerland. In Germany, German Customs Authorities randomly check the contents, purity and amount of the metals being shipped. After passing through German Customs, the forwarding agent will check the contents again as they are required to sign-off on the shipping documents, and thus are also responsible for the shipment description’s accuracy. Upon reaching the German border, en-route to Switzerland, another transport check is made to verify the contents of the baskets. For example, the Hafnium in both the A and B baskets require an additional check as it cannot be exported outside the E.U. without proper verification and documentation. On the Swiss border side, the metals will be checked again by the Swiss Customs Authorities, since these metals are subject to import duties and customs fees in Switzerland. Thereafter, upon arriving at the customs warehouse, the metals will undergo their sixth check before being approved by Swiss Customs for unloading. Finally, prior to storing the metals in the underground vault, the baskets will be verified for the seventh and final time by the Zürcher Freilager, the operators of the vault in Switzerland.
For the Panama Vault the procedure is similar.
The Panamanian value-added-tax of 7% will be imposed only if you have the metals removed from the warehouse and delivered to another destination. Tax legislation in your own legal jurisdiction is a matter for the owner of the metals to comply with, independently of SMH Panama S.A.. There is no tax on re-sales or capital gains in Switzerland for the owners. For any taxes in your home country, please speak to a tax adviser.
The metals continue to be the property of the purchaser as confirmed through your Certificate of Ownership. All the metals are stored separately and exclusively marked as customer property in the storage vaults in Switzerland or Panama. Therefore, it is not legally possible for any creditors of SMH Panama S.A. to have access to your metals, ensuring they remain totally secure and under your sole ownership. Additionally, the metals cannot be moved by anyone without the owner’s written approval, the owner’s original Certificate of Ownership (with full identification) and the supervision of up to three authorized personnel at the vault.
These metals are not considered financial products and are physically real, tangible commercial goods. They are owned 100% by you on a fully allocated basis. Therefore, you do not take on the risk of the issuing institution, as you would when investing in financial products such as fixed-interest securities, certificates, stocks, bonds and so forth. Additionally, you don’t have to shoulder the business risk of insolvency or bankruptcy, as you own the metal baskets 100% yourself, and may sell them through any industrial metals dealer worldwide, without the involvement of SMH Panama S.A.
Before we pioneered this program 7 years ago, even if you knew about rare strategic metals at that time and thought owning them was a good idea, you would have had to start with 100’s of thousands of dollars (at least) to buy in; you would have to find a reputable and reliable broker, deal with shipping, storage, assay values, customs fees, import and export duties and taxes, paying all the expenses at each stage of your acquisition process – additionally tens of thousands of dollars. Not only is “going it alone“ very expensive and well above and beyond the cost of the raw metals, it is also well above and beyond the skills and abilities of most individuals with no experience in this marketplace.
In the U.S. and other developed nations, rare strategic metals are vital to the financial well-being of our industries and have become synonymous with the quality of life we enjoy. They are involved in the manufacturing of hundreds of thousands of products we use every day. It would be hard to imagine how our modern lives would be the same without them. Presently, without these metals, many high-tech products, and technological breakthroughs we benefit from today such as the sleek flat screen TVs and laptop monitors, microchips, smaller, faster and more powerful smart phone’s, and so forth, would not be possible. These metals are needed by industry to continue to develop the newer and more technologically advanced products of tomorrow.

The free enterprise system—prominent throughout the world—with its inherent competitive nature and its drive towards modernity, efficiency and innovation, will ensure the need and demand for these metals in the future, as it has in the past. Across the developing world, these metals are extremely critical to the continued growth and development of nations such as China, Russia, Brazil and India, whose massive industrial, infrastructure and developmental expansion requires vast amounts of metallic raw materials to sustain their current growth levels. Industry authorities worldwide, such as the United Nation’s Energy Program (UNEP), the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the European Economic Commission, among others, report that the present global shortage of industrial metals, the long lead times and environmental difficulties of developing additional sources, combined with the unreliable and costly recyclability of these metals and the monopolistic predominance of the global supply chain by China, combine in a “perfect storm” of micro-economic conditions that will result in significant price increases for these metals over the next 20-30 years, or longer.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, hundreds of millions of souls are emerging from poverty in developing countries and they want all of the amenities that other people have taken for granted for the past few years, and they will have them, and rare and strategic metals will be in these products.

For numerous reasons, the value of rare and strategic metals are expected to continue to increase, over time. Industrial buyers are quickly trying to gain control of the supply chain as prices increase and supplies decline. Governments are also involved in this “control of supply” issue. Korea, in June 2011, placed Indium, a metal in our A and B baskets, on their critical substances list to protect Samsung and LG, 2 very large electronics manufacturers. The USA, through Congressman Mike Coffman, has very recently passed the RESTART ACT 2011 to stockpile rare metals to protect US industry and the military from shortages. China, of course, restricted supply of these metals significantly in late 2010 and intends to continue decreasing its exports of these metals in 2011 and 2012, hoarding them for their own use and using their monopoly of these metals as a political and economic weapon internationally. Given that these are strategic metals are used across 80% of industry worldwide, the demand is constant and increasing. There may be fewer homes being built in the USA lately, but if you watch the sales of Apple and the millions of technology devices being produced worldwide, all with these metals inside, you will quickly realize the huge upside profit potential over time.
There are 4 fundamental reasons why you should own these metals:
1. First, Rare, Critical and Strategic metals are VALUABLE. They are relatively finite each year and are under increasing demand from manufacturing whose products are trying to meet the needs of almost a billion new consumers emerging from poverty at this time around the world. This has caused exponential increases in the value of these metals that are now in over 90% of all products. Today, owning these valuable metals instead of currency is a great hedge against inflation.
2. The second is DEFENSIVE By owning baskets of these rare strategic metals, you can insulate your liquid assets from inflation and Economic volatility. Hard assets that have instrinsic value or are in short supply, coupled with increasing demand, offer people protection that they can not get from paper currency or paper promises.
3. The third is SAFETY. With some of your cash in rare and strategic metals you will be able to sleep at night. You will have some cash out of currency and into hard assets with real value.. Additionally, you will own hard assets that are very safely stored offshore in a secure vault in Switzerland or Panama, in the event something catastrophic happens in your home environment. All of your assets are insured. (assets out of dodge in case you want to leave)
4. The fourth is OFFENSIVE. This is a defensive posture by nature, and if by holding these metals you defeat inflation, you have won the battle. There is the added bonus that these metals will exceed this expectation and give you a nice capital gain. This story is just beginning and the Chinese, who control the export of 97% of the refined end product, are looking at this resource today in the same way that OPEC looked at their oil in the 1970´s. Combined with a limited and diminishing supply, these “scarce“ strategic metals are expected to continue to gain in value over the next 3-7 years. The average increase in market value of our baskets over the last 4 years was is about 12%.
We charge a 5% surcharge that covers our operational costs and commissions. Our third party storage company in Switzerland & Panama charges an additional 1.5% of the total value of the metals being stored, annually, including insurance, based on the original value of your metals, and is not increased if the metals go up in value.
You can track our basket prices daily on our webpage. The prices are primarily determined by supply and demand factors and x-works costs like packing, shipping, insurance, handling and tariffs from the mines to the vaults in Panama and Switzerland.
We primarily focus on offering twelve commonly used but scarce rare and strategic metals packaged in 4 distinct “baskets” and industrial gold and silver granulates. The gold and silver granulates are sold separately as an add-on option to the baskets.
Basket A “Key Industries” contains six industrial metals: Indium (2 kg), Gallium (2 kg), Hafnium (3 kg), Tantalum (8 kg), Tellurium (7 kg), and Bismuth (47.4 kg).
Basket C “Construction and Engineering” contains six industrial metals: Tantalum (4 kg) and 20 kg each of Molybdenum, Chromium, Cobalt, Zirconium and Tungsten.
Basket D “ Defense & Aviation “ contains 5 strategic metals: Rhenium (1Kg), Tantalum (5Kg), Indium (5Kg), Gallium (5Kg), Tungsten (20Kg)
Basket E “Emerging Technologies“ contains 5 strategic metals: Dysprosium (5Kg), Germanium (7Kg), Niobium (10 Kg), Rhenium (6Kg), Silver (15KG)
SMH Panama S.A. assists in the acquisition, shipping, and storage of rare and strategic metals. Basically, we provide our clients the opportunity to convert their devaluing cash into the physical ownership of twelve of the most globally sought after rare strategic metals. The metals are stored privately in ultra-secure vaults in the tax-free zones outside Zurich, Switzerland and Panama City, Panama.