Politics & Government

Gold depository could soon be on its way to Texas

Tarek Saab has a golden vision for Texas.

Well, for a Texas Bullion Depository anyway.

So he, and his company — Texas Precious Metals — set up a booth at the Republican Party of Texas state convention in Dallas to tell Texans about it.

“Texans as a group are some of the largest gold buyers in the world,” said Saab, chief operating officer of the company. “The only options they have to store it right now are in a bank or their home.”

Saab’s company, one of many interested in being involved with the state’s plan to create a depository, proposes building a potentially $20 million facility — with no Texas tax dollars — on 40 acres of land it has in Shiner, about 250 miles south of Fort Worth.

Plans for such a depository, where Texans could store their gold and precious metals, have been in the works since state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, asked lawmakers to create the facility last year.

Under the new Texas law, the comptroller’s office is working to create the state’s first bullion depository — which could hold deposits of gold and other precious metals from financial institutions, cities, school districts, businesses, individuals and countries — at a location yet to be determined.

Storage fees will be charged, perhaps generating revenue for the state. For instance, Texas pays about $1 million a year to store its gold in New York, and that revenue instead could come to Texas, state officials have said.

Capriglione and others say they want to bring home around $650 million owned by the University of Texas Investment Management Company that is stored at the HSBC Bank in New York. The company pays about $650,000 a year to store the gold in New York.

“I am optimistic that the depository will be up and running at the end of this year or the beginning of next year,” Capriglione said. “The most important factor is making sure that the process is completed with considerable thought and care.”

At the depository, Texans will be able to open accounts similar to checking or savings accounts at traditional banks — and monitor them online.

For now, interested companies and Texans alike must wait for the comptroller’s office to put out a request for proposals to gain more information.

Officials have long said a depository could be in one location, or many, in Texas.

“I think the attitude here is like ‘measure twice, cut once,’” said Chris Bryan, a spokesman with the comptroller’s office. “If you don’t do it right, it has the potential to be catastrophic.

“There’s a sense that when we feel we are comfortable with all the elements — transportation, security [and more] — then we can put this thing in place.”

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley