Choosing a Bullion Dealer


Bullion Dealer Ranking

Once you’ve decided to invest in precious metals, how do you decide who to deal with? It’s a question worthy of consideration as the bullion industry is generally unregulated so it doesn’t offer the disclosure and transparency you may find with other investment institutions. It’s the reason we established Bullion Biz; to give you clear, objective information to help you confidently select and transact with bullion dealers. 


The good news is there are a number of highly reputable providers. As you’ll find, this section highlights the more clinical criteria you should consider when settling on one that’s right for you. That said, you can’t ignore the importance of a relationship that ‘feels’ right. Compatibility, knowledge, credibility and trust are great criteria upon which to build a mutually rewarding relationship. And should you find more than one that satisfies your needs, you might like to establish accounts with them too. Doing so can allow you to access different price offers, help you accumulate more metals and provide more options when you wish to sell.


In this section: 


Identifying Suitable Dealers

Dealer Selection CollageIt’s difficult to find a dealer who’s right for you if you don’t know much about precious metals. If you feel unprepared, the best thing you can do is to revisit some of the previous educational sections of this site. Having done so, you’ll appreciate the key factors to consider in finding a dealer that meets your needs. After all, it’s important to find someone that’s right for you rather than end up being sold something that’s right for them.


Armed with your information ask yourself:


  • What types of bullion products do you wish to invest in?
    • Physical bullion, allocated or unallocated accounts
    • Physical bullion types e.g. metal types, refined forms etc such as coins or bars
    • Refinery brands


  • What trading options do you need? For example, in-store, online sales, phone, email, after hours and so on?


  • What is your bullion storage strategy and what delivery services do you need? For example:
    • Do you need dealer storage?
    • Do you require free transfers to a private vault?
    • What type of delivery service do you require?


Having clarified these questions you can begin to cull your list of dealers. The Bullion Biz Dealer Comparison allows you to filter dealers by location, product brands and main services offered. 


Armed with your list of potential dealers, there are now a number of questions you can ask to find a partner you’re most comfortable working with.


Bullion Dealer Questions & Considerations

As mentioned, the unregulated nature of the bullion industry means there is little consistency of information disclosed by bullion dealers so comparisons can be difficult. Often you’re dealing with private organisations so you may not enjoy the transparency or protection offered by other financial institutions. Neverthless be patient; take your time and do your due diligence as it’s the only way you’ll find people you are comfortable dealing with.


Having found organisations that have the key products and services you’re looking for, what other factors do you need to consider? Here are a few suggestions:


1. Who are you dealing with?


Who is the organisation and who are the people you’ll be dealing with? 

  • Is it a registered company which means it will provide some form of regulatory discipline? 
  • Is there a physical address for the organisation? For example, is it a serviced office or actual premises?
  • How long has the business been established?  Does it have a track record?
  • Do they have distributor arrangements with reputable organisations?


The better dealers will be more transparent, so you should be able to ascertain the above information from their website. If you can’t find much information, this could be a warning sign. That said, some dealers may omit information online for security reasons so ask the questions.


2. What is the dealer’s price positioning? In other words, are they offering good value?


Premiums can vary considerably across dealers, products and times. In the How to Purchase Bullion section we indicate some of these premium variations. Take a look at a few of the products you are interested in. This will show whether the dealer is competitive but be careful not to be influenced by short term specials or loss leaders. After all, you’re probably looking for a long-term relationship.


3. What are the add-on costs and are they competitive?


  • Payment surcharges – credit cards and Paypal transactions
  • Delivery and insurance costs
  • Storage fees

Not all dealers disclose these prices on their websites and they can vary considerably. Better to ask upfront rather than find out when you are confirming your order.


4. Does the Dealer offer volume breaks (discounts for larger quantities) and are they relevant to your purchase plans? If not disclosed online, ask the question. 


5. Does they dealer buy back precious metals?


  • If so, what sort of premium is charged on repurchase? If this is not disclosed ask.
  • What, if any, are the buy-back constraints? For example, what are minimum quantities, do they only repurchase bullion products purchased from them and so on?
  • Does the dealer have the financial resources to repurchase larger quantities of metals? After all, it’s not just your sell order they could be dealing with.
  • Does the dealer have assaying facilities to verify purity and authenticity if needed?


6. Advice & Education


Does the dealer have a good knowledge of the industry? Are they proactive in offering educational material and advice? The dealer’s website should indicate their history and how good they are with added value services.


7. Physical Security


If you’re dealing in person for bullion transactions, what are the dealer’s security features? 

  • How public / secure are their premises?
  • How nearby is secure parking?
  • Do they have security protocols for visitor access? For example, can you only visit by appointment? Is there access security, video surveillance and private meeting rooms?


8. Information Security


Keep in mind you’ll be sharing personal information about yourself and your bullion transactions with your dealer. So make sure you’re comfortable your information is secure.

  • Does the dealer website have secure encryption when exchanging information online? (You can tell by the https: or padlock icon in the web browser bar)
  • Does the dealer’s website have a clearly stated privacy policy?
  • Does the dealer explain their information security protocols? For example, how do they keep your information secure? Do they conduct police checks of all staff etc?


9. Convenience considerations


What other convenience considerations should you think about?

  • Account opening – what are the procedures? Some dealers provide this process online while others have involved paper processes with personal visits and document certifications required.
  • Trading times and channels supported. For example, do they operate during the weekend or after hours? And what about online and phone?
  • Which payment options are supported such as credit card, EFT, Paypal and Bpay
  • Order and settlement procedures. Can you lock in orders online with a deposit and then settle next day or is full up-front payment required?


10. Value added services


Does the dealer offer any additional services that add value to your relationship? 

  • An online bullion trading exchange
  • Integrated transport, custodial handling and private vaulting facilities?
  • Self Managed Superannuation Fund related services?
  • Portfolio management tools?
  • Affiliated financial planning services?
  • Market information?
  • Education?


To get started check out the Compare Dealers listing to find the right partner for you.


To continue to the next education section "Selling Your Bullion" click here.