INGOT, Hausler, safe deposit boxes: rent, prices and benefits

Swxbt - 11 de Marzo de 2020

New players emerge in the rental market of the securities protection service, given the distrust of savers in the financial system
The demand for safe deposit boxes by savers is such that private companies landed in the country to fight traditional banks.
One of them is Ingot, which with an investment of 100 million pesos offers this service and incorporates advanced technology. Its CEO, Juan Piantoni, is former director of Hausler, a firm he had founded 6 years ago and now seeks to dispute leadership.
Argentines’ fear of the economic future is very great, and this is reflected in the way they seek to protect their assets. In this sense, the activity of the stock market experiences a real boom and turns its back on the deep crisis that almost all sectors echoed.
The bank has 800,000 safe deposit boxes in the country, but that amount is insufficient to meet the requirements. Signing up in the queue is common and in some entities you have to wait six months to have the service. Not for less, Argentines withdrew more than $ 13,000 million from the system and dollar deposits fell by about 40% since PASO.
Business that transcends crisis
On Corrientes Avenue, a few blocks from the Obelisk, in a building similar to any other in downtown Buenos Aires, is the central house of Ingot, which covers an area of 1,000 square meters. There is four vaults.
– Two of those vaults are intended for guard of various values: one for private customers and one for companies (they house 2,000 safe deposit boxes and there is enough space to expand that figure to 6,000)
– The remaining two are pioneers, for their use, in the Argentine market: one is used to save artworks (up to 300); and another for investors to digital currencies can deposit physical wallets there (they have the format of a pendrive)
“This is a business that goes beyond local crises. Now there is a greater demand for economic fluctuations, but the need is sustained over time,” Piantoni confides to iProUP from his office, also located in the central house.
Although the arrival in Argentina of companies that provide this benefit is novel, in the world it is very common. In England, there are 77 firms dedicated to providing this benefit. Meanwhile, in the United States half of the safe deposit boxes are outside the banking system.
There are several differences between the traditional service and that of a private company:
– Office hours: from 9.30 to 18:30 and also on Saturdays, while in traditional entities that time slot is from 10 to 15 hours, from Monday to Friday
– Contract Term: its use can be agreed for a few days, while in banks the contracts usually have a minimum year of duration
– Security level: It is, perhaps, the most substantial difference. Up to nine instances (bars, metal detectors, infrared barriers, security personnel, windlass restriction, alias identification and biometric recognition) must be raffled, while in banks there are only two (vault and chest door)
“These differences exist because safe deposit boxes are not the central business for banks, so they do not give the right attention,” says Piantoni, who knows the system closely for having worked ten years as a financial advisor at Citi.
In addition, he notes that the firm was almost overwhelmed at this time before the demand of hundreds of savers who approached to request a chest. And it indicates that the only way not to be on the waiting list was to hire a service, such as surety insurance or the request for another credit card.
To differentiate from traditional banking, firms that provide “4.0” safes aim to improve certain aspects: customers can attend on weekends, have large meeting rooms for writing or transactions and access an app with a traffic light that indicates if there is a delay to access the vaults.
“Many are impacted by touring the building and the question that most resonates has to do with the cost,” says Piantoni, who specifies that the smallest box (10x15cm) can be rented for $ 17,700 per year ($ 1,500 per month), while the largest reach $ 130,000 annually ($ 11,000 per month).
The reserves per day or a few weeks have a proportionally greater value and in the company they believe that the demand will increase even more when the real estate sector recovers its dynamism.
These values are below that of the banks: in one of the leading entities, a box of the same size costs $ 3,300 per month, and will go to almost $ 5,000 in December or January, which is equivalent to a 47% rise. This increase is part of the recent increases in bank fees, this service being one of the most climbed.
The mattress, the main competition
Ingot started operations on October 21 and in its first two weeks suffered a flood of people in search of spaces to leave their money protected. With regard to the vaults of tables and the purses of bitcoins, it indicates that the amount of consultations is in frank increase.
For the hiring, those interested should approach the offices and present the document and a service in their name. The data is checked on a public basis to rule out links to terrorism or drug trafficking.
As in the bank, they receive a key (the other is in the hands of the institution). Unlike banking entities, user data is deleted from the system and people are handled with an alias.
“Our biggest competitor is not banks or direct competition, but the mattress,” says Piantoni, referring to the culture of many Argentines of treasuring greenback bills at home, a product of the distrust they still have in the banking system.
The reason does not have so much to do with the price of sheltering the money (about $ 250,000 enters the smallest and cheapest box). The Argentine has no culture of protection. For example, homeowners insurance is cheap and yet many do not care about having them, “says the former banker.
Ingot’s plans are ambitious: it aims to open a branch per semester, not only in the City but also in several provinces, and does not rule out other countries, such as Uruguay, where they will soon open the doors in Montevideo and Punta del Este. In this last location, under the STROM INGOT brand with a unique robotic service in the region located in the Enjoy hotel (former Conrad).
In each new unit, he expects to add 100 clients per month. If expectations are met, by the end of 2020 it will count three branches and more than 3,500 rented safe deposit boxes.
However, these subsidiaries will not be like the central house (that is, a multi-storey building, administrative offices and four vaults). Instead of 1,000 square meters, they will have 100. The first one will be released in January, in the Comega building, on Corrientes and Alem Avenue, in the center of Buenos Aires. The second, in Parque Leloir, west of Greater Buenos Aires.
These branches will have “robotic vaults” and can be thought of as an ATM inside a building. These are automated subsidiaries that allow operating at any day and time and to which you enter with a PIN. Obviously, to have access to the chest, the biometric data check is required.
“There is a tendency in the world to self-service to operate when and how you want,” says Piantoni.
Physical vault for virtual money
The company’s landing comes with innovation: the first device vault crypto wallet from the country. It is a space for the storage of virtual purses in the form of pen drives acquired by those who invest in digital currencies to keep their public keys (similar to the bank CBU) and private (such as the ATM PIN).
As they are not connected to the Internet, they cannot be penetrated by hackers. In addition, these facilities could be used to protect hard drives, tokens, pen drives and other devices. In the case of virtual currency purses, they have special value since it is the only way to access digital currencies. These crypto wallets It will be located in a box-shaped vault, surrounded by aluminum and inside a Faraday cage to prevent the activation of magnetic fields.
“For me, these currencies are the currency of the future and more and more people are betting on them. I wanted to combine a virtual business model with a physical place, because beyond everything can be left in the cloud or in a blockchain code , we have already seen that technology is not free from failures, “says Piantoni.
Individual access is carried out under the same security standards as to enter the vaults of companies, boxes for individuals and art. The company also offers an application that works as a “digital vault”, where customers can save their passwords instead of in insecure places, such as cell phone notebook.