Barclays opened precious metals vault in London

British bank Barclays opened its first precious metals vault on the outskirts of London that caters to institutional investors, sovereign-wealth funds, central banks and commercial banks.

The vault, which houses gold, silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium and began operating earlier this month, is one of Europe’s largest.

In an interview with Reuters, Jonathan Spall, product manager for metals at Barclays, said the decision stemmed mainly from its customers' wishes to have all aspects of their investment in precious metals handled by one firm.

While the bank already has extensive trading and clearing capabilities, this is the first time that Barclays offers its own precious metals storage facility. Until now it has relied on third parties.

The Bank of England, HSBC and JP Morgan Chase are the only other banks with their own precious metal vaults in London, the centre of the global bullion market. Deutsche Bank also plans to open a new precious metals vault in London in 2013.

Image of bankers moving dollars out to make room gold bars.