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Bullionvault hires ex Skandia man for physical gold platform push

Bullionvault hires ex Skandia man for physical gold platform push

Bullionvault, a low-cost silver and gold exchange for private investors, has brought on board Skandia Investment Group's former open architecture head Steve Kowal to help it expand its offering to advisers and platforms.

Kowal's appointment as head of global business development comes after gold hit a fresh monthly high. There were also another round of predictions the precious metal's price could ramp up further over the course of the year and jump to $1,600 per ounce by the end of 2011 and to $2,000 by the close of 2012.

'There is growing awareness among financial advisers and investors of the importance of having exposure to gold as an asset class, whether used as a diversifier, an inflation hedge or as portfolio insurance against the next potential crisis,' Bullionvault's new hire Kowal explained.

Bullionvault's CEO and founder Paul Tustain said Kowal's arrival would help continue the firm's expansion and growth, part of which will see the exchange launch physical gold on to platforms for the first time.

Bullionvault, which is backed by the World Gold Council and Augmentum Capital, the tech-growth fund backed by RIT Capital Partners, is already used by 23,000 clients who between them hold £795 million worth of physical gold and silver.

The exchange is looking to expand on this by broadening its service out to advisers and distribution platforms and by making low-cost gold ownership available via banks and brokerages.

As head of open architecture at Skandia Investment Group Kowal has widespread experience of broadening out relationships.  He managed commercial relationships with third party providers, covering £30 billion in assets on behalf of Skandia's global fund distribution platforms, and also held roles at Fidelity FundsNetwork, where he served as director of strategic alliance.

Previously, Kowal served at Fidelity International as director of international business development.

'Steve's arrival marks a new phase in Bulliovault's continued growth and expansion.' Tustain said.  'I am pleased to be adding his wealth of experience to our capabilities.'

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