THE HUMBLE SAFE DEPOSIT BOX IN CONTEXT
Launching MySafe at Platinum Towers in Dubai has brought me into contact with so many different people from many different cultures all of whom have a different perspective on the humble safe deposit box. Did you know the safe deposit box has been around for over 150 years and in fact the first private safe deposit box service was advertised in the New York Times on May 1st 1865 when they offered five hundred safe boxes of iron each having its own lock. Its surreal to find that to this very day, the concept has changed little, it’s still offered by most of the industry as a steel box with its own lock.
SO HOW WIDELY USED IS THE SAFE DEPOSIT BOX
What may surprise many readers in the UAE is the prevalence of the safe deposit box as an integral component of society across many different countries across the world. In Sweden for example, it is estimated that there is one safe deposit box for every three people? In central Europe the safe deposit box is also a common feature with one in every five French citizens renting a safe deposit box, in the USA, it’s an astonishing estimated 25 million safe deposit boxes in circulation.
These figures of private safe deposit boxes in circulation are increasing constantly not least because of a strategic decision taken by the global banking sector to gradually withdraw from the provision of such branch counter services. In many countries across the world you will find a significant number of the major banks have withdrawn completely from the industry. This demand is further impacted over recent decades by the emigration of Asian communities to urban cities across the world and with that a corresponding demand for secure personal storage, a concept embedded in the Asian way of life. Across the world, the private safe deposit box sector responded as rapidly as they could but the pace has never caught up with demand and so to this very day, across the world, obtaining a safe deposit box can be a difficult challenge.
OBTAINING A SAFE DEPOSIT BOX IN THE UAE
Not surprisingly, the UAE is no different from other global markets and obtaining a safe deposit box in the UAE has been described as almost impossible for most. Banks who provide a nominal service, do so somewhat reluctantly. Indeed, some of the main retail banks in the UAE do not provide any service at all. The media have published stories on how an estimated 8,000 clients remain on the banks waiting list and for some that wait can be anything up to 4 years. The real demand, in circumstances where you had an accommodating supply, is many multiples of that figure.
DEMAND IN PERSPECTIVE
To put the real demand into perspective and using some very primitive analysis, assume that the cultural mix in the UAE drove a perceived requirement whereby just one in twenty saw a benefit in renting a Safe Deposit Box.
Remember the figure in the USA is one in ten, it is one in five in France and one in three in Sweden. No similar statistics exist in Asia but for sure there is an exceptionally strong demand and so to use a base line of one in twenty is not unreasonable, some might say Ultra conservative. Based on that logic, you might expect to find a capacity of 400,000 + boxes in circulation in the UAE.
When you realise the estimated number of private safe deposit boxes in the UAE is less than 10,000 you have some understanding of the suppressed demand and the very real challenges associated with obtaining a service that many consider to be a prudent and convenient.
TRADITIONAL VAULT ORIENTATED SAFE DEPOSIT BOX CENTRES
The traditional image of a safe deposit box is premised on the I that has by and large delivered an identical service for many decades. Their commercial model is capital intensive expenditure, it takes a significant period to find a suitable site, to obtain the necessary planning permissions required to build a vault to global insurance standards, there is a large working capital costs and so the project requires a significant catchment area to ensure there is an appropriate Return on Investment. The net result is that by and large, even when the industry can respond, it can be challenging to say the least to pull all this together. The last vault opened in Europe a few months ago had to build a facility storing 15,000 boxes and that is in one single vault in a relatively small city in UK. If you live locally then perhaps indeed an optimum solution but it is very difficult to provide customised solutions to multiple diverse communities across a geographical footprint and seek to do that with one facility.
Please don’t misunderstand. The comments made in no way impinge on the standards of the “traditional vault orientated safe deposit box centres, they provide a service that is incredibly secure, it meets the demand of their client base and it is to be commended. That is especially so in the UAE where traditional vaults are amongst the most secure in the world. That said, there is an argument made by one new entry to the market that has a real resonance and in this regard I am slightly biased but more on that later. !
PROVIDING SOLUTIONS IN THE UAE
The focus on convenience and innovation across the UAE is such that it seems a natural progression to offer corporate, residents and non- residents alike an option to avail of a service that has been historically very difficult to obtain but equally in huge demand in so many other countries.
The issue is not so much one of “Security” but one of convenience and Innovation.
When you set out to buy or rent a new home here in the UAE and effectively decide to stay in the UAE whether temporary of long term, is it an “added value” to know you can avail of a safe, insured, convenient safe deposit box service is you perceive that to be an added value option. It’s nice to have the option of a new car thrown in, or indeed that gold bar as a nice promotional gift but would it not be just as much a “Value Add” to know you can avail of a service that for years has been almost impossible to find?. Many estate agents think so and that is why a company called MYSAFE is working with partners to create such an added value option.
I get asked all the time, is it not best to buy my own home safe. There is no simple answer, for some it’s an option, a preferred choice and if you can find the correct kind of safe that reflects your needs, for some it is a good alternative but here is the thing. Can I cheat a little and ask our digitally empowered readers to try something?
Please search “You Tube” for a you tube video on “Hotel Room Safe and Potato”. I could provide the link but the message is significantly greater when you search yourself and then you can come to your own conclusions on how difficult it can be to get the correct safe, one that fits your exact needs and exactly how comfortable can you be with such a solution.
It’s against that background, MySafe Vaults DMCC was established as a premier, customised solution to providing services that best reflected the needs of the UAE market.
It was designed to provide a solution to an existing challenge in the UAE (those clients on the existing bank waiting lists) but significantly more important, the concept was designed to create a convenient service that over time could service the requirements of the many tens of thousands of clients who would avail of a secure, insured, convenient service in their local community.
MYSAFE is a concept that drag’s the humble Safe Deposit Box into the 21st century.
Support by global industry leaders such as the owners of the ChubbSafe brand and Lloyd’s insurance market and using advanced safe robotics, MySafe is a fully automated, fully insured, convenient safe deposit box service available to corporate, resident and non- resident alike. Imagine if you will, one hundred individual safe deposit boxes stacked one on top of another and you “vacuum pack” the most advanced safe of its kind in the world around that to create a ATM like structure. Position that in a retail ground floor environment and you have created a convenient, state of the art, insured, safe deposit box service that is unique. Bring those retail units into the heart of different communities and you have delivered a convenience network of personal secure storage facilities.
MySafe plans to do for the safe deposit box industry what the humble “convenience ATM”, that we find in our shopping malls today, did to help us manage our cash. It’s about a concept that automates, innovates and creates a convenience that empowers communities to utilise secure personal storage capacity in a SMART way. If any reader would like to know more or see the concept live at our testimonial site at Platinum Towers, JLT, please feel free to pass by or make contact at firstname.lastname@example.org