Programmes such as gold buyback schemes allow investors to buy physical gold at "discounted" prices, usually 1.5-2 per cent cheaper. Some entities even allow the customer to take the gold bar or gold coins home. The company then promises to buy the gold back at the original sale price, meaning consumers get to earn the 1.5-2 per cent return when the gold is bought back. There are some companies that even agree to pay consumers a monthly fixed interest. But unlike other investment products, the advertising (or prospectus) for such schemes are not regulated by the Monetary Authority Singapore (MAS). This is set to change with the new rules, which state that sellers will have to register their prospectuses with MAS before they can solicit for potential investors.
Some of the schemes (mentioned in the article) from the past that seem to have gone belly up are:
- Suisse International
- The Gold Guarantee
- Profitable Plots
- Ecohouse Developments
I have always been surprised why such a developed country like Singapore allows so many dodgy investment schemes. At least, now things seem to change for the better.
Hopefully Malaysia will follow suit soon, many investors there have also been hit by pyramid schemes and the likes.