* Gold ATMs intended to whet appetite for physical gold
* Private investor inquiries doubling every six weeks
* Plan is for 500 gold ATMs in Germany, Switzerland, Austria
By Peter Starck
FRANKFURT, May 19 Private investors should hold
up to 15 percent of their wealth in physical gold, according to
a German asset management company which plans to set up 500
"Gold-To-Go" ATMs in Germany, Switzerland and Austria this year.
A gold-dispensing automatic teller machine (ATM) was on
display at Frankfurt's main railway station for a one-day
marketing test on Tuesday.
A one-gram (0.0353 ounce) piece of gold, the size of a
child's little fingernail and about as thin, cost 31 euros
($42.25) -- a 30 percent premium to the spot market price
The flat rectangular piece, bearing the imprint of Belgian
metals and speciality materials firm Umicore (UMI.BR), came out
of the cash-only ATM in a tin box, including a certificate of
"This is more than a marketing gimmick," said Thomas
Geissler, chief executive of TG-Gold-Super-Markt.de, the company
planning to set up the 500 gold ATMs at a cost of 20,000 euros
"It is an appetizer for a strategic investment in precious
metals. Gold is an asset everyone should have, between 5 and 15
percent of your liquid assets in physical gold," he told Reuters
in an interview.
Private investor demand for gold is on the rise in Germany
and elsewhere as a result of the financial markets crisis, which
has made many investors wary of holding traditional assets such
as equities, bonds or mutual funds investing in such securities.
"In absolute numbers, the demand for physical gold is still
tiny in Germany," Geissler said. "But in relative terms, the
growth is explosive, inquiries have been doubling every six
weeks," Geissler said of the trend in recent months.
TG-Gold-Super-Mark.de's main precious metals business idea
is based on online commerce.
The gold ATMs to be set up at central locations such as
airports, railway stations and shopping malls are intended to
gradually accustom people to the idea of investing in physical
gold, Geissler said.
The ATMs will dispense 1-gram, 5-gram and 10-gram pieces of
gold as well as Krugerrand gold coins. Each ATM can hold up to
1,500 pieces, he said.
The company's internet website (www.gold-super-mark.de),
through which investors can purchase units between 1 gram and
1,000 grams, is updating precious metals prices every 10
The ATMs will be equipped with technology ensuring that the
prices charged by the ATMs keep pace with those on the website.
TG-Gold-Super-Markt.de is a subsidiary of German online
investment fund company INFOS GmbH founded in 1994. INFOS now
manages 170 million euros worth of assets on behalf of about