The Bank of England has one of the world’s largest gold vaults. The Bank of England is the second-largest custodian of gold in the world, after the New York Federal Reserve.
We provide safe custody for the United Kingdom’s gold reserves, and for other central banks. This supports financial stability by providing central banks with access to the liquidity of the London gold market. We also provide gold accounts to certain commercial firms that facilitate access for central banks to the London gold market.
Can I buy gold from the Bank of England?
In the past you could exchange banknotes for the equivalent value in gold at the Bank of England, but this has not been possible since the early 1930s.
You can, however, hold a real gold bar in the Bank of England Museum.
Who owns the gold at the Bank of England?
We only own two gold bars. Both of these are on display in our museum. Instead, we store the UK’s gold reserves on behalf of HM Treasury, and we also store gold bars on behalf of other central banks and certain commercial firms.
Why does the Bank of England store gold?
Gold is an important asset of foreign exchange reserves. By providing safe gold custody we are supporting central bank reserve management and thus international financial stability.
London is the global centre for gold trading. We support financial stability by providing central banks with access to the liquidity of the London gold market. We also provide gold accounts to certain commercial firms that facilitate access for central banks to the London gold market.
Gold that we hold on behalf of our customers does not appear on our balance sheet. This is because we provide gold storage on an allocated basis, meaning that the customer retains the title to specific gold bars in our vaults, rather than a claim on the Bank for a certain weight of gold.
Access to gold accounts
The Bank primarily offers gold accounts to central bank customers. This is to support financial stability by providing central banks with secure custody for their gold reserves and access to the liquidity of the London gold market (particularly given the Bank’s location).
To facilitate, either directly or indirectly, access for central banks to the liquidity of the London gold market, the Bank will also consider providing gold accounts to certain commercial firms. In deciding whether to provide an account, the Bank will be guided by the following criteria.
- The firm’s day to day activities must support the liquidity of the London gold market.
- Specifically, the Bank may have regard to a number of factors including but not limited to: evidence of active or prospective trading with a central bank customer; or whether the firm has committed to honour buy and sell prices.
Access to a gold account remains at the sole discretion of the Bank.
The Bank will review the above periodically.
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(Bank of England)