By Brandon Green
Feature Writer for Strategic Wealth Preservation
It is not uncommon for many people to get a little, ok VERY, excited when word of a television show focusing on their industry surfaces. In my case, the industry is investment markets and the show is ’Billions’. I can remember just over a year ago being out with industry colleagues and everyone on the street knew it was coming.
Once the show started, it really did live up to many of our hopes for what we thought it could be, including capturing the unique lingo, such as:
If you’re short and it goes up, don’t let it shake you out! Stay in if you know you’re right…
Wire 3 sticks… [$3 million]
No bids in sight…
I think it’s going to pop on the news…
I could go on for pages…
Axelrod, the likeable villain billionaire, is a typical “one-percenter”, funds, stocks, all paper and criticizing gold. These are common beliefs that we in the precious metals industry are so used to by now. This hits right at home in episode two, with his original dismissal of a gold play during a call with a broker. Axelrod says, “No Pete, the gold standard is never coming back, and if it did, this world would be so f–ked I’d buy space travel and not gold”, and then slams down the phone.
Fast forward to the season finale, for those that paid close attention, Axelrod fundamentally contradicts this original statement. (SPOILER) At this point things have gotten so heated with the Feds that he and his wife are arranging to leave the country for an undisclosed remote island. The scene is set in their home basement, inside their own private vault. Mrs. Axelrod has been packing up their valued assets to take with them. Particularly, cash and gold. The show actually makes a point of a one second close up of multiple 10 bar sheets of Royal Canadian Mint 1 oz Gold Bars. It is quite interesting that they choose to single out the gold.
There are two things that I take away:
1) Axelrod’s gold should have already been outside of the country, specifically in a private vault outside of the banking system which significantly reduces the risk of seizure or robbery. Having the assets outside of the country would have been the right way to best protect him and his family during hard times. Let me be clear, I am not condoning criminal activity like his, but I am condoning needing protection from outsiders, 3rd parties, governments, or perhaps other criminals that you may not be able to control. This gold could be sold at a small spread in any country they desired much faster than any other hard asset/investment available. One or more slip-ups and his family would be left with nothing as their home and assets would be seized. If the gold were already outside the country and the system, they would have insurance to rely on.
2) How many “one-percenter”, paper pusher out front and hard asset buyer behind the scenes, clients do you think invest just like this? The answer is a lot more than you might think. The key here is that they, and you, don’t tell anyone about your own private assets. So, when you see the big shots, or smart money, on TV talking about their latest stock picks and wins remember they are not telling you about what they do when truly in private. For that I say, “When in Rome, do as the romans do” and invest and protect like the smart money does.
Season two is halfway through – I suggest you catch up.