Andy Schectman, the President and Co-Founder of ‘Miles Franklin‘ sits down with Maurice Jackson of ‘Proven & Probable’. Today’s show is dedicated to precious metals investors, specifically, those that wish to have a better understanding of how the spot price of gold and silver is being misdirected and manipulated, we will also uncover the fundamentals between physical demand versus supply, which products investors should own and avoid, finally we will discuss diversification and retirement!
Speakers: Maurice Jackson and Andrew Schectman
Maurice: Welcome to Proven and Probable. I’m your host, Maurice Jackson. Today’s show is dedicated to precious metals investors specifically those that wish to have a better understanding of how the spot price of gold and silver is being manipulated and misdirected. We will also uncover the fundamentals between physical demand versus supply, which products investors should own and avoid, and finally we will discuss diversification and retirement.
Joining me today to discuss these very important topics is the president and co-founder of Miles Franklin, which is dedicated to precious metals and global investment strategies, Mr. Andy Schectman. Thank you for joining us today, sir.
Andrew: It’s my pleasure, Maurice. Thanks for having me.
Maurice: You know, Andy, we are delighted to have you on today’s show. For listeners that are new to precious metals, please share the vital services you offer investors?
Andrew: Well, our predominant service is servicing clients who wish to accumulate and store precious metals whether it be domestically or internationally. We also write a free daily newsletter that we’re very proud of and Andy Hoffman and Bill Holter and my father contribute to the newsletter and put it out 5 days a week and it’s full of information and no cost to people who would like to check it out.
Maurice: Well, thank you for sharing that. You know, for the investors that had been considering owning precious metals but still may not have committed, Andy would you please discuss the value proposition before beginning with how investors have been and are being misdirected and manipulated?
Andrew: Yeah. Well, I think, Maurice, that’s really one of the key things to understand about what’s going on with precious metals and I guess you could even take it further than that into most commodities. I think that when you look at sports as an example or chess or war, anything where there’s an opponent, typically there’s a form of misdirection involved whether you’re talking about the point guard who throws the no-look pass or the fake hand-off to the left and the screen pass to the right or flanking the pawn up one side and bringing your queen around the other side to call checkmate.
The whole idea is to misdirect your opponent, to not be transparent in your movements and I think those types of misdirectionss become accentuated when the stakes are as high as they are for precious metals, and really all of the world’s commodities. What I succinctly believe has been happening really since 2007 and 2008 and this isn’t just a gut feeling. I mean I have what I think to be information at least as far as supply is concerned in this industry to back that up and we can talk about that too, but my gut feeling has been that really since 2007, 2008, Big Money has been using the price of commodities, the misdirected price of commodities to create the perception of reality that allows them to accumulate the world’s commodities without any competition really at subsidized prices.
The world uses most of the world in terms of gauging financial direction, uses technical analysis. And Big Money—when I say Big Money, I’m talking China’s sovereign wealth funds, commercial banks. They have enough money through levered futures contracts to create a perception of reality. They lever the price down dramatically on all of the world’s commodities through resistance levels and moving averages which signals sell signals in the world of technical analysis.
You get the Harry Dents of the world chiming in and saying, “Yes, technicals look bad. The markets are heading south” and cite all sorts of historical technical analysis examples as to why this would be the case. And it creates a reality, a perception of reality in any case that commodities are bad and equities are good.
So, the proceeds of these short sales whether it be in precious metals or fossil fuels or base metals, the Big Money then comes in at subsidized prices and without competition and gobbles up all of the world’s product at pennies on the dollar without anyone looking and seeing what they’re doing. It’s classic misdirection.
If I want to buy a 100-ounce gold contract, Maurice, these days, it doesn’t cost me much more than $3000. So for a little over $3000, I can control 130 and if you’re a commercial bank with untold hundreds of millions of dollars and a whole lot more in that, by shorting the markets in all of these commodities and suppressing their prices and creating an environment where technicals look bad and fundamentals look bad, the Big Money can come in and pick up the real product at pennies on the dollar without anyone noticing it. There’s still one piece of the puzzle left and that is how do they clear themselves out of these short positions and I believe it’s through more paper or probably more likely through the selling of treasuries.
If you’re the Chinese, you use your dollars to short all of the world’s commodities to pick-pocket all of the physical product that the world has to offer at pennies on the dollar, and then you slowly sell your treasuries to cover your shorts. And when you’re out, when you’re all out, when everything is said and done, you have accumulated the lion’s share of everything from copper to platinum and everything in between—aluminum, steel, fossil fuels, you name it. They’re all subsidized right now. They’re all inordinately cheap and they come in and they pick up all of these things without any competition at tremendously subsidized prices and then paper cover their shorts, and they all own all of the world’s commodities. They’ll be out of dollars. They wouldn’t let interest rates spike to kill them and the dollar retains value through all of this.
And so I think whether you’re talking to Chinese or you’re talking JP Morgan who by Ted Butler’s analysis has amassed over 600 million ounces of physical silver in their house account over the last 3 years, the largest physical possession of silver in the world, the world has ever seen as the price has been moving down or the large bullion banks also like Goldman Sachs who recently have purchased at least 3 tons of physical gold into their house account.
Big Money is using the misdirection of price to create a perception of reality that allows them to accumulate all of the world’s physical product at pennies on the dollar while the rest of us who listened to or follow technical analysis are being misdirected. And I do believe that a very high stakes game like this, Maurice, all the punches will be pulled. All the stops will be pulled out and Big Money is doing all they can and you can—your mind’s eye can wonder as to who Big Money really is. But I do believe Big Money is shrewd enough to realize that you can’t just accumulate all of the world’s commodities and dump dollars to reposition yourself. You have to be much more shrewd than that and that involves misdirection of price.
And so really, the only way that you win in this is to look at fundamentals. Don’t look at price. Look at the fundamentals that are backing up the reasoning for buying gold and silver. Focus on the fundamentals, on the mathematics, on the economics and do not focus on the price because if you do, you’ll be misdirected.
Maurice: On behalf of all of the listeners, Andrew, thank you so much for that clarification. You know, I can see that at the micro-level because we tend to have —we term it strong hands on weekends and when someone comes new into precious metals, they see that the price goes down but all the fundamentals say it should go up, the first thing they do is they liquidate their possessions as if they’re trading stocks and I think you hit the nail right on the head there by giving us the macro picture of what really goes on.
You know, here on Proven and Probable, we are concerned about currency devaluation, manipulation and wealth preservation. Andy, for years, you’ve advocated for investors not to be misled on the current price of gold and silver. Is that because there’s a bifurcation between the physical demand versus the actual supply?
Andrew: Yeah. And it’s really the most unusual thing, Maurice. In any other market that I’ve ever studied, when the price of something is falling precipitously, that is typically associated with a falling demand. In other words, the demand falls so does the price. And in Economics 101, if all you ever did is open your book to the first day of Economics 101 in high school or college, page 1 would be the law of supply and demand. And that says, as the price of something falls or the demand falls, the supply should increase. They move inverse of each other. And that’s pretty much true of any market. You could think of a housing market. If all of the homes in your neighborhood were falling in price dramatically, you wouldn’t assume that there’s great demand for those houses. Quite the opposite.
Well, in my market, Maurice, and it’s a head-scratcher and it’s really what led me to think along the lines that I do of what we just mentioned about price manipulation, is that in this market, every single cotton pickin in time, the price falls big. The product in this industry disappears. Now that’s contrary to the laws of supply and demand. So either the laws of supply and demand have been rewritten in my industry specifically or something more nefarious is at play and that is exactly why I would say to you, yes, there’s a great disconnection between the price of physical metals and their availability.
And the most unusual part about it all is that as the price goes up, the product seems to be flush. When the price goes down and gets hammered down, it disappears. And in 2008, it was the best example I can give you of this. The price of gold went from $1000 to $700 and the price of silver went from $21 to $9 within a 1-week period. A 65% drop in silver and a 35% drop in gold in 1 week and under those circumstances when the prices are cascading, one has to assume that there’s no demand. In fact, that everyone is dumping everything they have like you’ve mentioned. The price goes down and the traders freak and they sell.
Well, as it pertains to that particular example, within 1 week of that happening, Maurice, every major mint in the world was sold out a product for weeks on end. All of the 5 major mints, the U.S., the Canadian, the Australian, the Austrian and the South African mint were all either completely backordered anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks or shut down completely and totally accepting no business. And, you know, that says the prices are getting clubbed.
So, I guess I would say to you simply this, Big Money uses the manipulated price to go in and accumulate anything and everything they can. And Big Money doesn’t have to be a commercial bank. It can be someone in the know who goes and buys a million dollars’ worth of Silver Eagles when they know the price is getting smashed. Is there a fine line between conspiracy and reality? Absolutely, there is. But all I can tell you, Maurice, is that over the past 5 to 6 years, it keeps on happening. The price falls. The mints run out of supply. The distributors go backordered. The premiums go to the moon. And it should be the complete and total opposite of that.
As the price is dropping, there should be nothing but supply at super low premiums and no delivery delay and that’s really kind of the piece of the puzzle that led me to believe that the price is being manipulated right out from underneath us so that physical product can be pickpocketed at subsidized prices.
Maurice: You know, I couldn’t agree with you more. It seems to me that when you have empirical evidence, but whenever regards subject matter of precious metals, this seems to be fringe on conspiracy and I think you hit the nail again right on the head. There’s empirical evidence that really supports what you’re saying here.
Andrew: Yeah. And it’s disconcerting that there is always the tin foil hat conspiratorialist attitude towards this industry and I guess, you know, maybe I’m becoming cynical but the more empirical evidence that I see, the more conviction I have that indeed what I am saying is true that really as Chris Powell who, you know, as the chairman of GATA who by the way—I’ll just make a plug on their behalf, the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for their tireless work at exposing this manipulation. And as Chris says, there are no free markets anymore, just manipulations. And, you know what? I’m really beginning to believe him.
Maurice: Well, you know, thank you for sharing that. And kudos to GATA. They’ve done a tremendous amount of work in this industry in shedding light on a number of situations that—not just precious metals investors need to be worried but all investors. You know, just out of curiosity, how many investors would you speculate own gold and/or silver?
Andrew: I would say 1/100 if that has ever held a gold or silver coin. I think that gold and silver are things—it’s funny, you know, our constitution says it’s a violation of constitutional law to use money or to call the paper that we call money the currency that we use. It’s illegal. It’s supposed to be gold and silver. It’s in our constitution. It goes all the way back. It’s supposed to be part of the DNA of the United States and really it’s forgotten. And so, I would say a very, very, very small, small minority of the investors in the United States have gold even on their radar screen.
But I will tell you this. You know, sometimes you hear people say, “Well, this time, it’s different.” What’s unusual about the last year or so is that as a firm we’re seeing not as much interest by the mainstream public as we saw in 2011 when gold was near $2000 and silver near $50. A fraction of that interest, in fact. But much more interest from financial advisers with large clients. And I think Big Money clients are going to their advisers and with a sense of being, you know, disconcerted about where we’re heading and maybe not even able to articulate it and they’re asking about precious metals. In fact, it’s really becoming shockingly evident that that’s happening as almost every day we’re getting phone calls from independent advisory firms and large advisers who say, “Listen, you know, our clients are looking to buy gold. Can you help?’’
So, I think it’s growing on the radar screen and—but really, Maurice, you know, as—when you study investing, you’ll learn something about called the little man rule which basically says the little man never wins because he always is too late. He follows the Big Money after the Big Money has positioned themselves. And so, you know, very much true to form, what we see right now are large orders from established clients or people trying to position themselves. In 2011, we were getting 200 phone calls a day as the price of silver and gold were, you know, going to the moon, small orders. Now we’re getting very large orders for new clients and established clients, people who are looking to position themselves into—I guess to protect themselves, Maurice, from what appears to be a scary time ahead.
Maurice: Agreed. You know, you alluded to money and the constitution. I just want to share for all investors that are new to precious metals, you were referring to Article 1 Section 10 of the Constitution and as well as if a lot of people aren’t aware of this that the 1792 Coinage Act defines a dollar as 371.25 grains of silver. So, thank you for sharing that because, again, most financial planners, the world of academia, they don’t mention that and that tends to follow the investment philosophy that most of us have is we go into derivatives of money, which is currency and then we get into paper assets, but we don’t actually own money.
And I always share with someone who’s new into the precious metals investing is if you can’t do in quantity what we call the 1%, at least do in quality which is owning the precious metals, and we’ll get to that here shortly. You know, Andy, there’s a number of options, marketing and sales pitches made to precious metals investors. What are some of the pitfalls you see investors make time and time again?
Andrew: I think that the biggest pitfall that I see in this industry really revolves around modern minted certified coins. The modern minted certified coins to me is akin to lipstick on a pig and I think that—you know, if you’re looking to protect yourself, I guess the first thing you need to do really, Maurice, is define your motivation. And if your motivation is to protect yourself and your family from whatever it is you see coming—politically, geopolitically, socially, morally, economically, you name it. I think if it is to protect, then it is about number of ounces that matter. And you typically—you stick with American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leaf, 1 ounce gold and silver bars. You stick with gold and silver bullion items from the primary major mints of the world and you stay from the modern minted certified coins.
Now, when I talk about numismatics—Numismatics to me are coins minted in the United States prior to 1933. And there are room—there is room for numismatics in any portfolio. The brand-new stuff that’s certified, you’ll never get your money out of it. 98% out of the time, you will never, ever, ever get your money out of buying MS70 Gold Eagles or MS69 First Strike Gold Buffalos. It’s just a marketing ploy. It’s a total, total scam 100%.
And, you know, I look around me and a lot of the competitors, the online competitors sell that stuff at big premiums and you think, well, in a world of—we’re in a bullion industry where markups are razor thin and you need to do couple hundred million in sales a year just to, you know, to make it, it’s enticing to do that, to sell those coins. But I do not believe in drinking my own bath water and I think that in selling those coins that you’re giving your clients—really, you’re pretty much tying both of their arms and one leg behind their back and telling them to go walk 10 miles. It’s not easy.
And I think that if you’re talking numismatics, yeah, the pre-‘33 numismatics if you get them at a good price, there’s room for that. But to me, that’s the hot fudge on top a vanilla sundae. You start with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and that’s called bullion and silver bullion. If you want some cherries and some hot fudge, that’s fine but you don’t want to start with a bowl of hot fudge or a bowl of cherries. You start with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and that’s just simply sticking with the bullion. And at all costs, if it were me, I would avoid any modern minted certified coins. It’s just not worth it.
Maurice: Thank you for sharing that and great analogies. You know, one of the things that I tend to notice from someone who doesn’t know too much about precious metals investing, they’ll go to the proxies such as some of the ETFs and that is not the same as owning the precious metal. There’s nothing like it. So please, investors, be aware that owning an ETF is not the same. There are some exclusions to that and those are some of the Sprott trusts but those are different in how they’re composed as far as their setup because there actually is—the metals actually retain there, but I’m referring to GLD and SLV. For those investors that believe that if they own those proxies that they own precious metals, they do not.
Andrew: Well, Maurice, I’m glad you said that. If you have listeners out there who own those two funds, I implore them to read pages 6 through 12 of the prospectus titled Risk Factors, and read it again and again slowly, and you’ll be blown away by what you read. It’s absolutely—it’s startling and I did a presentation once where I’ve—it was called GLD or The Real Thing, and in preparation, I read the prospectus. And when I got to pages 6 through 12, I had to read it maybe 20 times I couldn’t believe what I was reading. And if you really took the time to read it, anyone who owned it would sell it immediately after reading those 6 pages because what you’ll see is a tremendous, tremendous drive of the custodian to distance themselves from any and all liability and it’s startling the things that you’ll read in there. I’ll just give you a couple quick points for example and I’m doing this from memory.
One example is that the custodian has the right to use sub-custodians to hold the gold, but they’re not responsible for the errors and/or omissions of said sub-custodians. The custodian does not reserve the right to visit the premises of the sub-custodian where the gold is stored. And/or if the gold does not meet—that the sub-custodian is holding, if that gold does not meet London Good Delivery Standards, which is a 400-ounce gold bar, then they’re not responsible for that either. So, in other words, if they had lead bars painted gold in their basement which you can come and see, it doesn’t matter because the custodian is not responsible for it. So—
In any case, it’s one of these deals where I think that it’s something well worth staying away from and—yeah, you’re right. If you’re going to buy paper anything in the land of paper, there is no comparison to the Sprott PHYS or PSLV. Absolutely.
Maurice: Thank you again. You know, switching gears here. Let’s discuss diversification. You know, whenever I hear financial planners talk about diversification, I get upset because to me they mislead investors with sophisms sharing that mutual funds are diversification. You know, as investors we have 3 columns to which we can invest—paper, which is stocks, bonds, mutual funds, tax liens. That falls under the column of paper. And then you have real estate and then you have commodities, i.e., precious metals. Being diversified is being in a minimum of 2 of the 3 of the aforementioned. Share with listeners who they can accomplish diversification by owning precious metals through Miles Franklin?
Andrew: Well, there’s lots of different ways that we can help diversify a portfolio in precious metals. We can diversify it certainly through location. We have storage facilities in Montreal and in Vancouver. We have storage options in the United States as well in North Dakota. We can help clients be diversified through different types of metal and, of course, we can also talk about the wisdom of owning mining shares in this industry and, you know, that’s something you need to talk to a professional and I would recommend wholeheartedly the brokers at Global Sprott in Carlsbad. They are the best in the business and can help anyone who’s looking to buy mining shares add a little bit of diversification to their portfolio.
You know, and as a side note to that, Maurice, when I talk about diversification and I would just like to mention this real quick, I think that broad diversification is more or less a tool invented out of fiduciary responsibility by financial advisers. I think that the key to investing—I may be so, I don’t know, blunt or—that’s not the right word. There really is no one key to investing, but for me the key to invest is to identify the primary trend of the market, not to broadly diversify but to first and foremost identify the primary trend of the market. And to me, the primary trend is ultimately of a falling dollar. So if that is my inclination to believe the primary trend is of a falling dollar, then rather than be broadly diversified into asset classes that typically do not move in harmony, I would say you take a very large position within the primary trend and broadly diversify within it.
So for me, it would be gold, silver, platinum, palladium, maybe a tiny bit of numismatics, mining shares, oil and gas stocks, agricultural, ETFs, paid off real estate, things like that to me are broadly diversifying within the primary trend, but to simply broadly diversify and to give that responsibility to a financial advisor is a cop out as far as I’m concerned. So, we can help clients diversify their metals holding, but in terms of, you know, diversification in and of itself, yeah, I think it’s something to take a strong look at and take a look at your portfolio and see if you are diversified within the primary trend. Or just simply broadly diversified into a sampling of asset classes that probably aren’t going to do so well in terms of all of them moving in harmony as things unfold.
Maurice: You know, we talked and we’re sticking with the theme of diversification. So, as an investor, I can purchase my bullion from you, which is gold, silver, platinum and palladium, but you’re also stating here that I can geographically diversify by having you store the metals. Is that correct?
Andrew: Yes, absolutely. We have storage facilities with Brink’s in Montreal and in Vancouver. And then, of course, we have the Dakota depository in Fargo, North Dakota. All three of the facilities, of course, are fully insured by Lloyd’s of London, are segregated or allocated or audited, the whole nine yards. And so, yes, for those people who are concerned about, you know, holding gold under their own roof, we do provide storage and we can also assist people with ideas as to how to store stuff securely at home as well.
Maurice: Well, thank you for sharing that. And finally, just walk us through these steps here as well. So, if I wanted to purchase bullion, you will store it for me. And if I wanted to sell it, do you send it back to me or can I just sell it directly to you and I get a check in the mail?
Andrew: Yeah, either one. Absolutely. So, you know, typically when people take possession of metal, they’ll ship it back to us and we’ll assist them with that. And in 27 years, Maurice, and over 5 billion dollars in sales, I’ve never seen a lost package, ever. If we use the proper insurance methods through United States postal, I’ve never seen a lost registered package ever. So—but if it’s stored, yeah, they just fill out the proper paperwork and scan it back, email it back and wires in your account the next day. Typically that’s how it works.
Maurice: Well, thank you for sharing that as well. Finally, let’s discuss retirement. What is a self-directed IRA?
Andrew: Well, a self-directed IRA is an individual retirement account where the client self-directs the investment choice similar to a 401(k). Most people who work in corporate America have a 401(k) and that is where you have a basket of choices. But that’s it, you can’t go outside those choices. A self-directed IRA gives you really the ability to invest in just about anything that you would like in securities even in real estate, in precious metals, etc. So, that being the main difference between a 401(k) and a self-directed IRA, just a vehicle to pretax, put money away for retirement.
Maurice: Now, if I wanted to have precious metals in my retirement, are you saying that I can open up a self-directed IRA in essence?
Andrew: Yes, absolutely, you can. And you could either transfer an existing IRA, a portion of it, roll over the entire IRA or open up a brand new one. Have physical precious metals held in a depository in your name and really the very neat thing about the precious metals IRA, Maurice, is the what’s called the in-kind distribution option. And so, when you take money out of an IRA, there’s 2 ways. There’s liquidation where you close it out, pay the taxes and applicable penalties if any. Or distribution, and distribution is, you know, you have a pie, you cut it into pieces and you take a piece here and you take a piece there. Typically, distributions are made annually type of thing.
And when you’re talking about investments, you know, it’s kind of neat I think to be able to take that investment that you believe enough in to put it in your IRA to be able to actually physically take it through distribution or liquidation. As an example, you own an oil stock. You can’t take distribution on barrels of oil. But you own physical precious metals in an IRA, you can take an in kind distribution where you request the custodian send you the metals you are holding in lieu of the cash value. And taxes are the same. You pay the same type of taxes on the gain, but it’s a neat way for people to be able to make a bigger splash in the gold pool without writing out a bigger check.
Maurice: Andy, let me ask you this, if I have a 401(k), can I turn it into a self-directed IRA?
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely, you can. If you’re no longer with that employer for whatever reason, absolutely and you would be I think making a large mistake to not roll a 401(k) from a previous employer into a self-directed IRA. You know, the whole reason for being less flexible in a 401(k) typically is because the employer is matching some sort of your investment, giving you an incentive stay in that account. But when you’re no longer with that employer for whatever reason, good or bad, I think it’s a mistake to stay with that 401(k) plan if for nothing else lack of flexibility and the ability to move it at your discretion.
Maurice: Okay. Now, in reference to the precious metals, am I limited to just gold and silver? Can I also add platinum and palladium?
Andrew: You’re good absolutely all four of those items.
Maurice: Great. And just to clarify, you’re also storing the metals. So I’m geographically diversified. I have precious metals and it’s in a self-directed IRA. Is that correct?
Andrew: Well, now, me personally, our firm does not store the precious metals for the IRA custodian. There is a separation there, if you will. So the metals would be held by a preapproved IRA custodian. The depository that I happen to do an awful lot of work with is our favorite choice and that’s the Dakota Depository in Fargo. So, as an example, client would contact a company like Entrust as an example. And they would open up a self-directed IRA with the intent for purchase in precious metals and they would have it stored at the Dakota Depository in Fargo, North Dakota, in a segregated account.
And then in terms of—from that point forward, it’s just like any other IRA that they have with the exception of now they’re paying a very nominal amount in storage fees. And when it comes time to liquidation whether it be a voluntary prior to 59-1/2 or a mandatory after 70-1/2. And for those who don’t know, you have to start taking distributions when you’re 70-1/2 years old or the IRS gives you a huge penalty.
So, anytime you decide you want to take the distribution of your metals, you can actually take possession of them but it would come from a third party depository, so it’s always better to keep a little bit of separation between the people selling you the metal and the people storing it. And, Maurice, that’s why with our personal storage facilities, we decided to partner with Brink’s. Not only are they a name synonymous with quality and integrity, but it’s third party and it removes any suspicion or anything. You just don’t want to store metal directly with the people you bought it from in their own vault. I think that’s a big mistake.
Maurice: Well, you know, thank you for sharing that. That speaks volumes about your veracity as well. You know, last question, Andy, what did I forget to ask?
Andrew: I don’t really think you forgot to ask much about anything, Maurice. Maybe just for your listeners, let me just solidify who we are. By the way, you know, I know that you usually like that link to websites of people that you’re interviewing and my website right now really is something I’m not quite proud of. Our new website is really very, very, very close to being done and it’ll be something to be proud of with online purchasing capabilities, what-have-you.
But as far as who we are, so maybe your listeners will be able to take a little bit of what I said with a little bit of authority is that we’ve been doing this 27 years. I have personally. My company is just south of 6 billion dollars in sales and we’ve never had a customer complaint, ever. We maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. We’ve never had a complaint on their complaint page ever. In 27 years and 6 billion in sales, we haven’t aggravated anyone enough to write a nasty comment online. We’re very proud of that, something we take darn seriously. We’re one of only 27 companies in the world on the US website as an authorized reseller of their product. We were nominated by one of the primary distributors 7 years ago.
So, in an industry, Maurice, that is federally non-regulated, federally non-regulated, we are very, very proud of our reputation and never having a customer complaint in 27 years and north of 5 billion in sales. And Minnesota, my home state as of last July, is now the only state in America that has regulated this industry and most of the big companies, many of the big companies in the United States will no longer sell in the Minnesota because they themselves—and I think it’s telling actually because then they themselves would have to be subservient to the same somewhat onerous regulations that we are namely a very large surety bond that is a guarantee that if anything that was misappropriated, the funds or we disappeared or went bankrupt, there’s a large surety bond to in place to renumerate people. There’s also background checks annually of every employee in my office including the principals annually. And the state of Minnesota would say if there’s any type of felony related to financial services, you are ineligible immediately from working in this industry. And all sorts of compliance things that no one else in America has to abide by.
So you put it all together, Maurice. In 27 years and a lot of business, we’ve seen a lot and we’ve never had a customer complaint and we’re well-respected in the industry. And in an industry that has seen a lot of companies go under the last 3 years, coincidentally 3 of the most inexpensive online retailers—Tulving 3 years ago, Bullion Direct last year, and just a couple of weeks ago, Northwest Territorial Mint. In that environment where there seems a lot of things happening that aren’t so great for the customer, state of Minnesota has gone out of their way to protect and make sure that the clients are protected and doing business with the company in Minnesota is well worth your time and effort in what is somewhat like the wild, wild west in this industry.
Maurice: You know, Andy, for all the various reasons you just mentioned, that’s the very reason why Miles Franklin is officially endorsed by Proven and Probable. You’re on our homepage, so again, thank you for joining us. In closing, what is the best way for investors to contact Miles Franklin?
Andrew: You’re very kind, Maurice, for that. I appreciate that very much. So, of course, there is our website www.milesfranklin.com & 800-822-8080. And, of course, you can always email me directly at [email protected]. I’m very good at returning emails and getting back to people as promptly as possible.
Maurice: Well, thank you, again for sharing that. Andy Schectman of Miles Franklin. Thank you so much for joining us today on Proven and Probable.
Andrew: You’re a gentleman, Maurice. Thanks for having me. I’d love to come back anytime.
Maurice: All the best to you.
Andrew: You too. Thank you.
[End of transcript]
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