The value of all luxury goods worldwide is estimated at around $4 trillion, whereas the British magazine The Economist estimated that goods, worth several hundreds of billion dollars, are kept in duty-free warehouses (ZFL, Zollfreilager) worldwide. The model duty-free warehouse (ZFL) experiences a worldwide boom. Wealthy people increasingly invest part of their money into valuables, first and foremost precious metals. Duty-free warehouses are so popular because, after the demise of banking secrecy, they are one of the last places where one can park assets safely and anonymously. The confidence in the banking and financial system is more than badly damaged and an improvement is not in sight, on the contrary. In addition to duty-free and tax-free trading and safekeeping, duty-free warehouses also offer customers similar discretion as banks once did with the Swiss banking secrecy. Duty-free warehouses enjoy an extraterritorial status, that is, the goods are virtually in no man's land. Customs duties and value added taxes are only incurred when the goods are intended for sale in a country or are taken out from the warehouse. Duty-free zones are created for all types of goods in transit.


Duty-free warehouses have a long tradition in Switzerland. The country plays a pioneering role in this business, which grows at an annual rate of around 10%, and remains the most important hub for duty-free warehouses. The difference between a duty-free warehouse (ZFL) and an OZL (Offenes Zollfreilager; "Open Duty-Free Warehouse") is that the customs is not on-site at the OZL, but only sporadically carries out random sampling. The advantage is obvious: Since OZL do not rely on the presence of customs, a customer can inspect and/or pick up his goods in an OZL at any time (365 days a year). If the precious metals are in a ZFL, the customer must follow the opening hours of the customs. 


Elementum offers its clients to store precious metals in one of the safest OZLs worldwide: Inside the St. Gotthard mountain massif in central Switzerland – a state-of-the-art security system in a former military bunker, which was also used by the Swiss National Bank until the 1990s. Elementum's clients can store their precious metals in a safe and anonymous location, visit them personally at any time or pick them up. Only with the physical removal of the precious metals from the vaulting facility, the client must pay duty on the goods, however the client can sell its precious metals also at any time to a precious metal dealer (eg. Elementum Deutschland GmbH) or exchange it into gold (because contrary to silver, no VAT must be paid with gold).


Precious metals are purchased primarily for asset accumulation, optimization and protection, especially as a long-term value preservation in turbulent times of financial and political uncertainty. Therefore, the decision on the location of storage should be well considered, as precious metals should be kept in the safest jurisdictions in the world. In recent years, the trend has been heard in many places that precious metals from the Western world are being relocated to Asia, with Switzerland also experiencing enormous imports. For decades, Switzerland has been one of the most preferred locations for the storage of valuables by international private and institutional investors. There is a belief among them that safekeeping in Switzerland is more secure than in the EU, UK and US. In history, gold and silver flowed mainly to where they were treated and viewed most favorably. The trend is clearly one-way: Precious metals are leaving the exorbitantly over-indebted and vulnerable banking system. Switzerland traditionally enjoys the reputation of being one of the safest countries for storing precious metals, if not the safest location ever. The advantages at a glance: