KB Gold Review: European based gold investment
KB Gold (which stands for “Karat Bars Gold”) is purportedly a German company and as such I had a bit of a difficult time conducting research into the company.
The company’s official website appears to solely exist in German and contains no information about the company itself.
From what little I was able to glen from affiliate owned sites however (I always take information on affiliate owned websites with a grain of salt), it appears KB Gold is a division of “KB Kapital & Business GMBH”, who
are a 16-year old company that has its own gold mines, production, refinery and storage facilities.
In their first 14 years, their main products were wealth management, insurance and pension plans.
In May 2008 KB launched the gold purchase plan into their portfolio. This quickly became a huge success and since some 30.000+ customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have made gold purchase plans with KB.
Again with this all being sourced from German sources, I haven’t been able to independently verify the information.
Management wise I’ve read that a “Mike Koschine” is running things, with no other executive position holders publicly named.
Koschine himself appears to be a real person, but once again I wasn’t able to verify any past history in MLM (he apparently launched KB’s operations back in 1994.
Read on for a full review of the KB Gold MLM business opportunity.
The KB Gold Product Line
As the name suggests, KB Gold market gold itself to “investors”. Investors hand over money to KB Gold and the company converts this into gold (which they themselves purportedly produce). KB Gold market this as a “savings plan”.
Payment is made monthly and gold is stored with KB Gold in Switzerland. Obviously this raises the question of whether or not the gold really exists, however the company claims
gold valued at € 3,000 or more can be delivered directly to your front door, free of charge.
In 2010 several investigations were opened by German authorities after suspicions into whether or not KB Gold were producing the gold they claimed they were with these investigations closed upon authorities verifying the gold actually existed.
By all accounts there appears to be legitimacy on the gold manufacturing side of the business.
The KB Gold Compensation Plan
Dubbed the “KB Franchise System”, KB Gold’s compensation plan revolves around the purchase of gold (investment), with each 100 EUR invested equating to 100 points for the KB Gold affiliate who referred the customer.
KB Gold Membership Ranks
Within the KB Gold compensation plan there are nine membership ranks and, along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Consultant in training – entry level affiliate position
- Consultant – 300 points generated cumulatively
- Junior Consultant – 800 points generated cumulatively
- Senior Consultant – generate a minimum of 500 points monthly
- Supervisor – generate a minimum of 1250 points monthly
- Manager – generate a minimum of 2500 points monthly
- Area Manager – generate a minimum of 4000 points monthly
- Country Manager – generate a minimum of 6000 points monthly
- Executive Manager – generate a minimum of 9000 points monthly
Note that points are tallied using a unilevel compensation structure, meaning that an affiliate’s downline’s efforts also count toward their monthly point total (down infinite levels).
KB Gold affiliates are paid recruitment commissions, paid out per new customer/affiliate signed up who invest a minimum of 1,500 EUR.
How much of a commission is paid out depends on an affiliate’s membership rank:
- Consultant in training – 100 EUR
- Consultant – 200 EUR
- Junior Consultant – 280 EUR
- Senior Consultant – 350 EUR
- Supervisor – 420 EUR
- Manager – 500 EUR
- Area Manager – 575 EUR
- Country and Executive Managers – 650 EUR
Note that these are the maximum pay outs available, subject to a signed up customer investing 1,500 EUR in gold. If a customer has invested less (100 EUR minimum), payouts are still made but are based calculated pro-rata, based on how much of a percentage of 1,500 EUR has been invested.
Eg. If a customer has invests 750 EUR initially, the affiliate will receive half their membership rank bonus (with the other half paid out incrementally until the customer has invested 1,500 EUR total).
Residual commissions are paid out monthly on the continued investment in gold by recruited customers/affiliates.
Residual commissions are paid out on the amount of gold invested in during any given month, with how much of a commission paid out dependant on an affiliate’s membership rank:
- Consultant – 1%
- Junior Consultant – 1.5%
- Senior Consultant – 2%
- Supervisor – 2.5%
- Manager – 3%
- Area Manager – 4%
- Country and Executive Managers – 5%
The KB Gold compensation material makes mention of “KB Global Funds” and “GMI Bonus” pools, however no further information is provided.
Joining KB Gold
Membership to KB Gold is free, there is no distinction between KB Gold customers and affiliates.
On the gold manufacturing side of things, I don’t really see any problems with the KB Gold business model. Quite obviously it’s an investment with affiliates only purchasing the gold with an expectation of receiving an increased return as the gold value increases, however gold itself is a tangible product.
Should KB Gold not be actually purchasing gold with the money sent to them, there’d obviously be a problem but as per the German authorities investigations this appears to not be the case, in that dollar for dollar gold is being matched to the money coming in.
MLM wise there’s a big issue however with no differentiation between customers and affiliates. KB Gold is free to sign up to (as either customer or affiliate) with all customers able to recruit affiliates and participate in the compensation plan.
The minimum 100 EUR investment in gold cited frequently throughout the compensation plan could easily be construed as the minimum required to participate, and therefore it would be possible to join KB Gold and treat it as a pyramid scheme with a 100 EUR minimum buy in.
Naturally real gold or not, that would obviously not be sustainable as eventually KB Gold’s affiliates would run out of new members to recruit. Why, when gold itself is a tangible product, KB Gold have set up their compensation plan this way I have no idea.
And on that note, for a company that claims to have been in business since 1994, I do think it’s worth pointing out that the complete lack of information on the KB Gold website is pretty underwhelming.
A lot of the affiliate sites I visited (for lack of a better reference point) mentioned KB Gold wanting to or already having expanded in the US and much of the rest of the world. If they’re doing so with the shell of a website they’ve got now best of luck to them.
Until that’s sorted out I’d be thinking long and hard about joining KB Gold and working this business. These days due diligence via the internet is a given and the last thing you want are non-German members finding themselves at a German language only website that explains nothing to them about the company (and looks as if it was coded using Frontpage and 90s era HTML coding standards).
All in all I think KB Gold is a bit hit and miss but ultimately I think the lack of differentiation between customers and affiliates drags the opportunity into “be cautious” territory.
A lack of differentiation means a lack of true retail sales and with the company storing your bought gold for you (with no way of seeing it until you’ve invested 3000 EUR minimum), that’s not exactly confidence inspiring (despite the fact that I’m sure there are KB Gold members out there who could attest they’ve received gold via delivery from the company).
Definitely approach this one with caution folks.