IBV International Vaults operates South Africa’s first and only private safety deposit vault. We caught up with their CEO, Ashok Sewnarain to find out more.
LM: What is your background?
AS: I am an accomplished businessman with interests in the property and hotel industry in both South Africa and abroad. I was born in Mayville, an Indian-designated area during the apartheid, and my father ran a small, often struggling, estate agency, which is where I got my resilient spirit from. When I took over the family business, I injected new ideas into it, thus expanding into the hotel and hospitality sectors as the barriers put up by apartheid were dismantled.
LM: What makes you stand out from other safe deposit box vaults?
AS: IBV International Vaults has the most sophisticated vaults in South Africa. Our vaults have security features such as CCTV, fingerprint scanners, seismic detection, dual key systems, as well as SABS & UL listed doors accompanied by armed response, security guards and bulletproof glass. Apart from providing the best services in confidentiality, privacy and security, we sell experiences, ensuring our client’s other luxury and lifestyle needs are met. This is done through an exclusive IBV International Vaults ‘member’s only club” – IBV Society – which provides them with society benefits such as discounts on exclusive IBV Luxury travel packages, exclusive tickets to bespoke events, prestigious online shopping services, and the opportunity to join our IBV Supercar Club, exclusive to qualifying supercars only.
LM: Who is IBV International Vaults partnered with?
AS: We are partnered with numerous international partners to adhere to our clients’ every need with regards to auto care, lifestyle and travel benefits as well as Gold and Diamond Partners. We also have partnerships with some of the luxury car brands. We do assist with new luxury supercar model launches in South Africa as our target market is the same.
LM: Why did you start the business in South Africa?
AS: It was around 2004 when I overheard a bank teller saying that there is a long waiting list of people who wanted to put their valuables in the bank’s vault. I jokingly said that I will open my own vault. After I left the bank I began to seriously think about opening a vault. I did extensive research, which took me to other countries to look at how the vaults are constructed, the finance involved, security features and a host of other things. I found that there is substantial demand for such sophisticated facilities.
LM: Has the recent Hatton Garden robbery in London affected your business and how you go about keeping valuables safe?
AS: As the world’s most exclusive private vaults, we offer the most secure private vault facility in order to offer our high valued clients peace of mind. Our state-of-the-art security systems, and commitment to ongoing customer satisfaction, has made us world leaders in the private vaults industry. We employ international security suppliers and consultants to maintain our high security systems. Our client’s possessions and privacy are of the utmost importance, and it is our mission to maintain an unmatched standard in customer satisfaction, service, security and exclusivity.
LM: Who are your main clients?
AS: Our safety deposit lockers range between R250 per month – R875 per month. We therefore cater for every individual that wishes to store their valuables. However we predominately have a database of clientele who are LSM (Living Standards Measure) 7 – 10++.
LM: How do you guarantee total security in a country which has a high crime level? How tough is the vetting process when hiring employees?
AS: We have strict procedures with regards to staff employment and protocol in order to ensure our clients’ valuables are never at risk. Due to our intensive security measures previously mentioned, and our constant strive for proactivity – we are consistently working on upgraded security measures and employing new technology to ensure this.
LM: What types of items do people store in the boxes?
AS: For security reasons, we are unable to answer this specifically. However our clients are able to store whatever item they deem valuable, whether it be gold, licenced firearms or jewellery. However we do have security measures to ensure these items are not narcotic and so forth.
LM: With premises currently in Durban and Sandton, what are your plans for expanding the company in South Africa and beyond?
AS: We are currently working on the development of our Cape Town Branch, and have plans in the near future to expand our branches internationally within Dubai, Shanghai and Switzerland.
LM: What is your personal luxury?
AS: I have always had a personal love for high performance vehicles – I own a Rolls-Royce.