- 23 Aug 2021
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Hard Assets Alliance is one of many competitors involved in the precious metals industry. But the precious metals industry is littered with companies that do poor business or straight-up scam people. Is this particular company a scam? Are they worth the prices they charge for their metals?
The bottom line is: Hard Assets Alliance does not appear to be a scam. They are a legitimate company that works in the precious metals industry. However, they also have enough consumer complaints that you're probably better off working with a more reputable dealer.
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About Hard Assets Alliance
These days, people are interested in investing in precious metals like gold and silver because of their protection. The cost of gold and silver tends to go up when the stock market and real estate market crash. That's because people like to invest in secure things during periods of economic uncertainty.
In addition, gold and silver increase in value as the dollar inflates. That gives you protection against inflation. A dollar that you saved in 1980 will be worth only a fraction today of what it originally was. Gold, on the other hand, will have more or less the same value.
Many people have turned to precious metals because of the multiple economic crashes we've seen in the past two decades. They aren't sure that their retirements are going to be secure with traditional investments alone.
That's where Hard Assets Alliance comes in. They are a group of investment research and economic advisory firms that provide precious metals to clients. Their materials are available through a SmartMetals online market, which makes buying and selling much easier than it used to be.
The goal of the group is to give people precious metals at close to market price. They also have a more unique online marketplace than the majority of the competition.
As a full-service company, they also include international delivery and storage options. You can open investment accounts like self-directed IRAs and regular investment accounts. All of the purchasing, storing, and selling of your metals can be done through the HAA platform.
Finding information on the company can be a little confusing. There are more than sixty different advisory and economic companies that make up the group. At the same time, the entity functions as a corporation with its own marketplace.
Because there are so many smaller companies making up the organization, it's difficult to find out who specifically runs the market. There's very little information about the person who had the idea to found the corporation. You have to do a lot of digging to get the names of the involved companies, and from there, to get the names of the personnel involved.
If the company had a good reputation with customers, that wouldn't be cause for concern. It makes sense for them to prioritize the business entities first. Those are the names that have established reputations in the financial services and precious metals industry.
However, they have a reputation for offering subpar customer service. People have mentioned being dissatisfied with company policies regarding both purchases and selling. In light of this fact, it seems suspicious that there's no one head of the company. Maybe that's a purposeful maneuver so that people don't have anyone to complain to.
Some of the members of the alliance include:
The website also states that it is powered using Gold Bullion International. This company allows people to buy and sell their precious metals by integrating a state-of-the-art platform with their existing trades. Investment advisory firms might be using the marketplace to supplement their stock options.
It is a little confusing to try to understand what role different members of the alliance play. It's possible that each member of the alliance simply takes a share of the group's dealings with GBI.
That isn't necessarily a drawback, though. GBI has a good platform and is an established company with a solid reputation.
Benefits of Trading with HAA
This is one of many companies that buys, sells, and stores precious metals for clients. They claim to specialize in investment stability and security for their clients, allowing people to diversify their portfolios inexpensively.
It's true that precious metals are a good choice when diversifying your investments. Because of how they behave in relation to the economy, they're a good safeguard against economic disaster.
However, HAA does not offer the cheapest prices on the market, despite what they say. And even though they leverage the expertise of many different investment advisors, there are companies that offer better customer service for less money.
Their entire company is built off of their reputation. They need you to believe that they're the foremost expert in the business. And that would be believable, if there weren't so many complaints against them. We recommend working with one of our more reputably reviewed companies instead.
The marketplace has all four types of precious metal available: palladium, platinum, silver, and gold. You'll find the most diverse offerings in the silver and gold area.
You can choose from a variety of gold bars that range in weight from one ounce to one kilogram.
There are also multiple gold coins available in one ounce proofs. Rather than being collectibles, these coins are certified as meeting exceptional purity standards.
You can purchase coins in several different currencies. There are American Eagles, American Buffalo nickels, Canadian coins, South African coins, Austrian coins, and coins from the UK.
The silver bars are much larger, with weights that range from 100 to 1,000 ounces. Since the value of silver fluctuates more than the value of gold, these are good investments for people who want to take a little risk with their precious metals investment.
Silver is expected to rise in value because it is an important component of electronics manufacturing. Many different phone, automobile, and smart technology manufacturers need silver. As silver becomes more scarce, the price will get higher.
There are one ounce proof coins available in the same styles as the gold coins. In addition, you can order a box of 500 one-ounce American Eagle coins if you want. For those who want to buy silver in bulk, that's a lucrative option.
❑ Platinum and Palladium
There aren't any coins available in platinum and palladium.
If you want to invest in either of these precious metals, your only option through the HAA marketplace is to purchase a one ounce bar.
HAA doesn't function as a dealer by itself. The structuring is a little different. The different groups and companies making up the alliance have come together to create a marketplace. This allows you to access reputable dealers, banks, and refiners.
Whenever someone places an order for precious metals, the existing dealers in the marketplace compete to win the sale. They do this by bidding the lowest price in the market so that the customer will work with them.
But that begs the question of just how competitive the prices are.
Gold dealers still need to make their bottom line. They may mark up their gold to do so. Since they're only competing against other dealers in the HAA marketplace, they aren't guaranteed to offer the lowest prices in the industry. In fact, there's a lot of incentive for dealers to keep the lowest price above the average.
Researchers have compared the lowest prices to the actual market value of gold. There is some markup, though not as much as scam brokerages charge. The exact markup also shifts because of how quickly the competing bids change.
However, you can expect the average markup for different quantities to be:
Now, this is certainly better than a lot of the competition. But you won't be paying the exact market value for your precious metals. That means that you need to be confident their value will increase if you want to make returns on the investment.
If you're just purchasing to secure your finances, you'll need to be okay with the fact that you'll lose some money when you liquidate these assets. Depending on the type of account you have, you might also need to pay ongoing storage and maintenance fees.
You can find more inexpensive precious metals through other brokerages. But this marketplace does make it easy to compare different dealers. For this reason, it might be a good choice for those who want to see multiple offerings at once.
Types of Account
When you sign up, you'll go through a short process to verify your identity. After this, you can fund the SmartMetals account so you can access the marketplace. Precious metals dealers in the US are required by law to verify the identity of consumers. That said, you can open your account no matter where you are internationally.
There are multiple different types of account that you can open. Some of these include:
The company has done its best to provide all the account types you could need for precious metals investment. Most people will be using a personal account for their current investment portfolio, or they'll be opening an IRA to save retirement assets for the future.
If you work with an IRA, you will need to adhere to IRS regulations regarding the storage of your items. That means paying an ongoing storage fee to house your items in insured, IRS-approved facilities.
Another unique aspect of the alliance is the MetalSTREAM feature.
MetalSTREAM is an investment feature that can't be found anywhere else. It automatically invests your money in precious metals each month. To use the service, you pay a monthly fee of 25 dollars. Then you connect your bank account and specify how much you'd like to invest each month.
For people who want to keep a proportion of their investments in precious metals, this is a helpful feature. It automates the process so that you don't need to worry about choosing your own investments every paycheck. Your money will be kept in the account until it accumulates enough to purchase a full bar or ounce.
Though this is a convenient service, it's not necessarily worth 25 dollars per month. You're purchasing metals through the HAA marketplace, which means that the alliance is already making money. There's no need to pay them extra money for the privilege of spending money.
Unfortunately, several complaints have been lodged with the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot. Consumers who use the company's services have run into a lot of problems.
One of the biggest problems is a lack of transparency. There isn't any information about who runs the alliance, who takes care of the marketplace, and who handles complaints. This makes it difficult to know where to turn when you have problems. In addition, that lack of transparency makes it difficult to trust the company.
Another problem is that the company has a lot going on. Their marketplace is powered using GBI, but there's no information about how they choose the dealers in their network. It's also difficult to differentiate between the different groups making up the alliance.
Instead of taking care of things themselves, the company hires third parties to handle their services. At the same time, people have lodged complaints about how they charge hidden fees and unnecessary costs.
There are also multiple complaints about how terrible the customer service is. It's common for people to wait multiple days to get a response to their inquiries, even when they haven't lodged a complaint.
That paints a picture of a company that just wants to charge people extra fees for work that they don't even do themselves. It's not a good look.
Hard Assets Alliance is a group that's supposed to leverage industry expertise. But instead, their practice is littered with complaints. In addition, their marketplace isn't the cheapest in the industry.
Overall, we'd recommend investing with a different company. Whether you're diversifying your personal portfolio or saving for retirement, it's important to work with a company that actually cares about your needs.
Although we do think that Hard Assets Alliance is a somewhat decent company, we believe that there are better companies out there to make your investment with.
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