Editor’s note: the following is an extract from this weekend’s Q Bytes newsletter. If you would like a free, no-obligation, no-spam subscription to Q Bytes, please click here.
This morning I got up bright and early to write Q Bytes, only to be hit by computer problems and spend the next two hours trying in vain to fix a video driver issue. Of course I have my secure laptop – mainly used for e-mail – as backup, but when writing I like to use my big monitor, the one on which I cannot now fix the resolution.
This problem reinforced the extent to which we rely on technology in our day-to-day lives. The vulnerability. The world we live in is all interconnected, at many levels… We all know that technology is not foolproof. And even more ominously, we all know that technology includes an on-off switch that somebody controls.
For example: What if the networks used for ATM machines and credit/debit card payments went down, even for a day or two? Can you imagine the panic? I think the chances of this actually happening sometime in the not too distant future are pretty high, all things considered. It may be due to technical problems, or a cyber attack… or it may simply be a conscious decision by those with access to the on-off button.
I remember a few years ago when Northern Rock Bank collapsed in the UK, millions of pounds were transferred out via internet banking during the night by desperate account holders until the system ‘mysteriously collapsed.’ This was one bank, very small in the global scheme of things. I wonder how that would pan out on a bigger scale… like a run on the dollar, if China decided to stop supporting Bernanke’s printing press?
Financial markets are particularly at risk. After the events of September 11, 2001, financial markets were shut down for several days. If a catastrophe of similar proportions, natural or man made, were to hit the USA, it’s a safe bet that the same thing would happen again – a so-called ‘bank holiday.’ Even a purely electronic catastrophe could hit the financial markets. Brokerage accounts would of course be blocked. Where would that leave all those people who have bought gold through the stock markets as a ‘safe haven’?
And for those who worry about how to avoid gold confiscation, similar to what happened in the 1930s… if you were the government, would it be easier to go round door-to-door hunting down physical gold for confiscation… or would you just switch off the stock exchange and seize something like the SPDR GLD ETF? There’s $58 billion dollars right there in just one company…
A seizure of financial assets would be politically unpopular. An “emergency equities sales tax,” however, presented as a windfall tax on evil speculators who have brought the country to its knees, might be more palatable for the masses. Forcing people to put their retirement funds into government bonds or state pension plans (empty promises) for ‘security reasons’ would be seen as protection for the masses. We’ve already seen this exact technique used in France, Hungary and Argentina.
Going back to the technology, our systems are so delicate these days because they rely on the internet. Even a decade ago this was not the case. Now, everything from your TV and home heating system, to the checkout at your local store could stop functioning if there was no internet. I consider all this interconnection a huge risk. The world is getting more fragile all the time. We are living in strange times where anything could happen.
You might think I am very pessimistic. But that’s not the case. I just like to analyze risks, do my best to minimize them, then carry on with enjoying the good things in life. That is where we at Q Wealth differ from conspiracy theorists, survivalists or ‘preppers.’
Preppers might want to build a backup internet system using ham radio data transmissions. They might fill up their basements with canned and dried foods. That’s a perfectly valid option, but I would be more inclined to make sure if there was a major catastrophe, I could be sure of getting quickly to a second home in another country with a well-stocked wine cellar, from where I could safely manage my investments in farmland and physical precious metals that don’t depend on stock markets or internet.
Knowing that I have my family taken care of, enough assets protected in the best offshore banks, the right residencies and second citizenships in place, rather than leaving any of this to chance or conventional wisdom, allows me to sleep soundly at night.
Beyond that, and more excitingly, we are investors and speculators at heart – we know how to manage risk. That is what we do best. And all this uncertainty going on in the world is actually a fantastic opportunity – probably a once-in-lifetime chance to generate real, long term wealth. As long as you understand the risks, you can not only prepare for them, but turn things around to your financial benefit.
This is our philosophy at Q Wealth. Security – with an investing and financial focus. If you’d like to hear more, the first thing to do is become a full member. The second thing you should do, once you are a member, is interact with our office. We have some great people who have access to little-known practical solutions to protect and grow your wealth in a secure offshore environment. A lot of it’s written up, but even more is in our heads, and everyone at Q Wealth can point you in the right directions.
HONG KONG EVENT EARLY BIRD SIGN-UP
This leads me right in to our next point, the Q Wealth Symposium, taking place in Hong Kong this October. We had a couple of very successful conference calls on this topic this past week, and many astute readers have already signed up, taking advantage of our early bird bonus.
However, if you missed the calls for any reason, don’t worry, you still have a chance…
You should plan to be in Hong Kong for three days: October 21 and 22 will be ‘classroom’ style presentations and discussions, whereas on the 23rd the presenters and others will be available for informal meetings. For example, we will have bank representatives from our best offshore banks on the spot, so if you bring the right documents with you you’ll be able to get your offshore bank account number then and there. This will be your opportunity to open a multi currency account or a non-dollar-denominated private bank account. You will be able to meet international private bankers at the event.
We’ll be covering topics like banking and secure investing, gold and silver purchase and storage (including gold storage in the Singapore free zone), and second residencies and passports, in a lot of detail. You’ll have a chance to meet the presenters as well as other like-minded individuals to exchange ideas. You can expect to leave this event having joined the dots… in other words, with a detailed road-map of where you want to get to and the specific practical steps you need to take to get there.
If you’re looking for information on how to protect assets in your retirement nest-egg, pass on value using trusts and foundations to the next generation, start a new international business, or take advantage of offshore investment opportunities in the new economy, this event is for you.
There’s a good reason why we have chosen to hold this event in Hong Kong, the obvious platform for investing in China. You’ll learn about how to buy or invest in Chinese currency, yuan renminbi, for example. But it’s not a Hong Kong centric event. We’ll also be talking about practical banking, investing and residence opportunities in places like Switzerland and Singapore, Panama and Latin America.
Until the end of May we are offering a substantial early bird discount, and I would encourage you to sign up now as places are limited. If you have any specific questions, please email Fredrick on [email protected] – or to sign up go to our Events Page.