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Gold traders scramble to diversify business interests   2010-03-18 - Viet Nam News

With 14 days left to the compulsory close of gold-trading floors, their owners are scrambling to find ways to use the existing premises for business.

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Some will try to provide financial consulting, securities and property services.

But "providing financial services is just something to do before finding another suitable business," explained a representative of a Ha Noi-based trader.

"It's not easy to provide securities consulting with just few employees."

Some traders – GGB, Sacombank-SBJ, Viet A, – closed well before the March 31 deadline.

Others, such as Eximbank-SJC or Agribank-Vina, are still waiting for customers to close accounts.

"Several investors are awaiting for the opportunity to trade gold and hopefully minimise their losses, so Eximbank has given them more time," explained its deputy general director Dao Hong Chau.

Eximbank planned to lease its trading-floor premises and sell all the equipment.

It had no plans to shift to another business.

VNS-Wall Street's deputy head of gold training Lu Trong Hai said 95 per cent of investor accounts had been settled and the broker was now trying to cut its losses, sell contracts and close before March 31.

Sacombank Jewellery Co general director Nguyen Ngoc Que Chi said the company was thinking about leasing its floor-trading premises to another Sacombank Group member.

It would continue with its traditional business of bullion and jewellery.

Illegal

But a new pot filled with old wine is on offer.

About five gold-trading floors, which have ostensibly switched to material gold and gold jewellery trading, still buy and sell the precious metal via gold accounts that require a 5-per cent deposit

But customers told Viet Nam News that fear of renewed central bank intervention had dampened their enthusiasm for the illegal products.

Several individual investors are reported to have opened accounts aboard to trade gold.

Their sponsors have advertised widely in Viet Nam and for a minimum fee of US$5,000 offer to use simple procedures to open an account.

State Bank's Governor Nguyen Van Giau warns that his institution together with other agencies will continue to seriously check for illegal trading.

Violators would be punished according to law and investors should be very cautious, he said.



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