Laith Alsarraf is the founder and owner of the Birch Gold Group. Like visionaries of his caliber, he established the company to empower its customers through education and wise investment decisions.
Since its founding, Laith has made the Birch Gold Group one of the leading precious metals dealers in the United States. Because of its decades-long commitment to quality service and continued education, the company garnered praise and respect from its customers, business partners, and endorsers.
The Birch Gold Group is a legitimate business entity with an exemplary track record of quality service. However, it's not to say that this precious metals dealer is without its issues. Suppose you need to look for something other than Birch Gold to help you with your investing objectives. In that case, you may also consider Augusta Precious Metals—another titan of the precious metals industry.
This article will provide a summarized preview of Birch Gold Group's founder, Laith Alsaraff, and help you decide whether it's worth your business.
Laith: The Man Behind the Birch Gold Group
By background and history, Laith was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1969. His parents are both doctors, and following the family tradition, he became a pre-med student at UCLA.
While studying, he worked as a contract programmer and website designer. After realizing the unprecedented success of his programming work, he pushed his formal education on the sidelines and founded several corporations. Their lead company is Cybernet Ventures, Inc., which operates Adult Check, an online age verification service.
Cybernet aimed to curtail minors' access to websites containing indecent or harmful content. On the other hand, verified adults can access these sites through a personal identification number (PIN) for an affordable fee. At the time of his written testimony before the Commission on Online Child Protection (COPA), Laith mentioned that over 200,000 websites use Adult Check.
In 2003, he established the Birch Gold Group. Since then, the company has become a reliable dealer of precious metals in the United States.
Headquartered in Burbank, California, the company comprises financial advisors, former wealth managers, commodity brokers, and experienced experts. The primary goal of these professionals is to help their clients in asset diversification and retirement preparation by investing in their precious metal products: gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.
Today, you'll notice that Laith distanced himself from online presence and media exposure. So it's unclear how he transitioned from managing Cybernet to founding a precious metals company.
What's clear, however, is that Birch Gold appointed Phillip Patrick, one of its seasoned precious metals specialist, to handle media engagements. Phillip discusses financial and economic issues on various media programs like the Ben Shapiro Show.
Perception of the Management
Despite the owner's background and history, most of Birch Gold's employees perceive the management as responsible for administering good training programs and fostering a competitive environment. Online employee review sites Glassdoor and Indeed reported having overall satisfactory ratings from former employees, with an overarching theme of 'recommend to a friend' from Glassdoor.
However, like most other companies, some also felt they had an unpleasant time in their Birch Gold Group jobs. Still, regardless of any internal issues they may have, it's apparent that they can provide quality service to most of their prospective clients.
The Public's Opinion About Birch Gold
Birch Gold Group's former employees voiced positive feedback about how the management runs the company, and its customers resonated with similar sentiments about the services and products they provide. Overall, the customers of Birch Gold share exemplary remarks about the company. Most of them are satisfied with the overall value of services they receive, including industry awareness and education, goal discussions, investment guidance, and product solutions.
Their clients are happy, and it's reflected on different online review channels. Here's a brief list:
Business Consumer Alliance
The Birch Gold Group Products
The Birch Gold Group offers precious metal products, including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. They have a decent range of products for physical possession or precious metals IRA storage.
Here are some of the precious metals they offer:
American Gold Eagle
American Gold Eagle
Australian 1/4 oz. Gold Florin (2021)
Canadian Gold Maple Leaf
Gold Twin Maples
Gold Bars and Rounds
American Silver Eagle
American Silver Eagle
America the Beautiful Silver Series
Australian 2 oz. Silver Florin (2021)
Canadian Silver Maple Leaf
Silver Twin Maples
St. Helena 1.25 oz. Silver Standing Lion Guinea
Silver Bars and Rounds
American Platinum Eagle
Australian 1/4 oz. Platinum Florin
Platinum Bars and Rounds
Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf
Palladium Bars and Rounds
Regardless of some of these coins' face value, their market value is closely tied to market spot prices. Specifically, Birch gold prices will vary from time to time; therefore, it's best to consult and discuss this concern with your specialist.
Gold IRA Custodians of Birch Gold Group
A part of opening a gold or silver IRA is selecting an IRS-approved custodian. They are an institution eligible to handle your account and its paperwork, ensure tax compliance, and execute account transactions. Their services vary depending on the type of IRA. For precious metals IRA, you need a custodian specializing in this field.
Equity Trust Company and STRATA Trust Company are Birch Gold Group's custodians of choice. They are IRS-approved entities compliant with all the IRS requirements to handle IRAs and have extensive experience in the industry. They maintain A+ ratings on BBB and continue to produce an exemplary track record of quality service and reliability.
To help you make an informed decision, your Birch Gold precious metals specialist will brief you about their partner custodians whom they work with regularly.
Precious Metal Depositories of Birch Gold Group
Besides choosing a reputable custodian who can manage your gold IRA, you also need a reliable storage facility to transport and store your precious metal assets.
Partnering with Birch Gold Group means that you're also given the option to select and partner with the industry's leading depositories.
Here are the two storage options recommended by the Birch Gold Group:
The Delaware Depository
The Delaware Depository is an approved facility that gives world-class physical precious metal storage services to individuals and financial institutions. They also comply with IRS requirements, meaning that the customers of Birch Gold Group can take full advantage of their storage services.
Aside from storing your precious metals in high-security vaults, another privilege of choosing the Delaware Depository as your storage facility of choice is its insurance package. The offer includes a $1 billion 'all-risk' coverage from Lloyd's of London and a $100,000 per package of transportation coverage.
You also have the option to choose between two of their secure facilities: Wilmington, Delaware, or Boulder City, Nevada.
Brink's Global Services
Brink's Global Services (BGS) is an international company that provides security solutions and risk management. Their global network spans around 1,000 facilities spread across 120 countries. Customers of Brink's are entitled to certain privileges, including consultancy services, customs clearing support, trade show services, and access to varying storage accounts.
The Birch Gold Group partners with BGS to provide secure logistics and storage of precious metals, including the ones intended for precious metal IRA. Similar to the Delaware Depository, this IRS-approved storage facility will accept any IRA-eligible metals that meet minimum standards for fineness.
Visiting Your Metals
You have visitation privilege when you store your Birch gold coins, bars, and other precious metals in one of Birch Gold's recommended depositories. Remember that this is how things work when you decide on a visitation. However, visitation policies may vary across custodians.
Here are the things you need to do when visiting your physical precious metals:
- 1Contact your custodian and request an in-person depository visitation.
- 2Your custodian will contact your chosen depository regarding your request.
- 3A depository staff member will contact you and set up the visitation schedule. Please prepare your identification credentials for identity verification before and after your visit.
Expectations During Your Visit
- 1A depository staff member will greet you upon arrival at the facility and lead you to an empty conference room.
- 2Another staff member will retrieve your assets. These precious metals are usually stored in a metal container for security and convenience.
- 3You can perform your audits and take pictures upon receiving your precious metals.
- 4After you're satisfied with your stay and asset inspection, your depository assistant will assist you courteously to the exit. Another employee will take your precious metals back to the vault.
- 5For security reasons, there are a few exemptions. You're NOT allowed to:
Photos shared by Birch Gold's customers
Do note that not all depositories allow visitation. Instead, some depositories will take pictures of your precious metals for you. Some storage facilities have this strict policy for security.
What Is the Minimum Investment for Birch Gold Group Gold Precious Metals IRA?
To start a precious metals IRA with Birch Gold Group, you must meet their minimum investment of $10,000. While this figure might look hefty to upcoming investors, it pales compared to its competitor, Augusta Precious Metals, which requires a minimum of $50,000 as its initial investment amount.
You can start a rollover process if you have an existing account such as a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, and eligible 401(k). What's best is you can do so without incurring tax penalties.
By partnering with Birch Gold, you won't have to worry about remembering all the intricate details. An assigned precious metal specialist will guide and help you through the entire process.
Pending Lawsuits and Customer Complaints
At the time of creating this Birch Gold Group review, there's no pending lawsuit against the business. However, like any gold IRA company, they have several customer complaints across different online review sites.
Here are some of their customer complaints:
Business Consumer Alliance
In summary, complaints were filed against Birch Gold Group. However, the company was quick to investigate and devise a resolution to the satisfaction of the parties involved.
Birch Gold Group vs. Competitors
The competitive nature of the precious metals industry enabled steep competition between Birch Group and its closest rivals. Among them are Patriot Gold Group and Augusta Precious Metals. These three companies have unique identities, strengths, and areas to improve.
Here's a summarized comparison between the three companies:
Gold IRA Company
Accommodates Precious Metals IRA
Google Reviews Rating
Birch Gold Group
Patriot Gold Group
Augusta Precious Metals
$200 after first year
The polarizing difference between these companies is their minimum investment thresholds. Birch Gold Group leads the competition by having the most economical point among the three with $10,000. It makes Birch Gold an affordable option for small investors or those with limited capital. On the other hand, Augusta Precious Metals has the highest investment minimum of $50,000.
While their investment minimums are different, all three companies justify these figures by sharing the reputation of having an exemplary record of providing good customer service.
How Much of My Investment Portfolio Should I Put Into Gold?
The answer to this depends on your risk tolerance, personal circumstances, and investment goals. The general idea suggests a 10-15% allocation on precious metals. However, some highly conservative investors may go as high as 60-100% allocation on gold and silver for asset protection. In this matter, it's best to do a risk tolerance assessment and research these commodities.
Physical or Paper Gold: Which Is Better?
Paper golds are a physical gold derivative that effectively exists as a promise of gold. Three popular examples are gold ETFs, mining stocks, and gold certificates.
Gold ETFs are shares of a fund used to buy gold. Investors buy gold ETFs to track gold's performance without paying a premium to purchase physical gold.
Mining stocks are shares of companies that mine commodities like silver and gold. They benefit from spot price appreciation but are also affected by company debt, infrastructure, and foreign government policies.
Gold certificates are pieces of paper redeemable for physical gold.
These paper assets carry some risks that are absent when you invest in physical gold. These risks include a lack of insurance coverage, liability loss, market risk, diminishing share value, and fewer product options.
On the other hand, investing in physical gold entitles you to physical ownership, owning a tangible asset with intrinsic value, asset diversification, and hedging against economic downturns. It's a liquid investment that can trade for or serve as a currency worldwide.
Between the two options, it's best to invest in physical gold.
Conclusion: Is Birch Gold Legit?
Birch Gold is a legitimate precious metals dealer established by Laith Alsarraf in 2003. They aim to empower individuals through proper education, good customer service, and investment planning. Since the beginning of their business, they've helped 14,000 customers with their investment and asset diversification needs.
They've also partnered with reputable endorsers like Ben Shapiro and Ron Paul, who share the same values of building awareness about proper retirement planning, asset allocation, and diversification.
They've built a solid track record in the precious metals industry. Its exemplary reputation is reflected in its client's reviews, handling customer complaints, and how they help prospective clients achieve their lifelong investment goals.
If you're seeking a reliable precious metals company, the Birch Gold Group is a legit company worth your consideration.