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HK firm taps Phl gold market

AJ Bajo

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Hong Kong-based boutique firm J. Rotbart & Co. has entered the local gold investment market in a bid to introduce a viable investment portfolio diversification option against market uncertainty.

The private, family-run company specializes in physical precious metals and other tangible assets such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium bars and coins. It offers services such as procurement and liquidation, storing and transportation of the precious metals.

“It’s a global currency. (For example), if you need money, you can take these gold coins here in Manila. You can go to Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe or America and you can exchange this for government money,” J. Rotbart & Co. founder and managing partner Joshua Rotbart said during a briefing on Tuesday.

J. Rotbart & Co. established its Manila office in January this year and has so far accommodated less than a percent of the 25,000 families in the Philippines that meets their clientele threshold.

Rotbart said that already around 20 percent of their total transactions in the first quarter this year originated from their Philippine operations.

“We’re going to keep this 20 percent ratio for this year. If we get 2 percent of the (local) clients engaged, we would be happy for the first year.”

The company trades precious metals worth around $200 million a year globally.

Rotbart said a majority of their clients during the three-month period engaged with them through their current partnership with BdO Private Bank. The company is looking to sign agreements with other local banks this year as well.

The company is banking on the growing private wealth management sector in the Philippines as well as the growing economy, on top of the demand for investments in gold and other precious metals.

But for the domestic gold market to flourish, Rotbart said the government will have to lend a hand by scrapping the tax and securing the infrastructure for the precious metals’ mobility.

“I don’t see any issue in terms of declaration, clients and us. We don’t have any problem declaring what comes in and out. (But) if you want to allow free trade, you have to scrap the tax and that’s what Singapore did,” Rotbart said.

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