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Looking for secure, long term investment and something truly unique? SML Gold might be your answer. They have just launched at Dubai Gold Souq, promising to shake up the gold jewellery and bullion market on a global scale.

SML Gold Trading LLC offers a comprehensive suite of services, including secure storage solutions in their 400-vault facility and worldwide door-to-door logistics for customer convenience and peace of mind.

It boasts on-site production of bespoke jewellery, crafting custom designs in gold and diamonds across various carat weights. Their commitment to quality is evident in their team of skilled goldsmiths, dedicated to achieving the highest standards of craftsmanship.

To fuel their creations, SML leverages manufacturing facilities in India and the Middle East, alongside a network of suppliers across Asia.

Leading the charge is Fayçal Lalioui, founder and chairman, at the helm of the Board of Directors. To delve deeper into this exciting new venture, Gulf News spoke with Dharmesh Narendra Sangani, Director of Logistics, Prasanna Muthulingam, Director of Internal Operations, and Patrick Laurent N’dom, In charge of the Financial Division.

Dharmesh Narendra Sangani, Director of Logistics (extreme left), Patrick Laurent N’dom, Incharge of the Financial Division (middle left), Fayçal Lalioui, founder and chairman (middle right), and Prasanna Muthulingam, Director of Internal Operations (extreme right).
Dharmesh Narendra Sangani, Director of Logistics (extreme left), Patrick Laurent N’dom, In charge of the Financial Division (middle left), Fayçal Lalioui, founder and chairman (middle right), and Prasanna Muthulingam, Director of Internal Operations (extreme right).

Question: What is SML Gold and what does it do?

Dharmesh Narendra Sangani: “SML Gold is a company with a vision to make a very strong and safe supply of gold bars as well as jewellery, and revolutionise gold transportation on a global scale.

“Because, gold has many sectors where it comes from. It starts from, let's say, raw material which is in 24 karat and we convert it into jewellery with different variants.

“We do have a lot of different communities with whom we are dealing in Western countries. One of our main markets is the US.

“Our services extend to Canada, the UK, and many European countries. So SML Gold has a vision to provide all their overseas customers with a very transparent and safe delivery for jewellery and gold bars in 24 karat.

“Our next ambitious project is to customise gold and diamond jewellery to our customers' specifications, using gold ingots supplied by them. This innovative approach demonstrates our commitment to innovation and craftsmanship.

“Trust and partnership are at the heart of our relationship with our customers, mainly based in the US, UK, Canada and Europe. They rely on us to transform their raw materials into exquisite creations, which is the foundation of our continued success and growth. We are determined to maintain this tradition of excellence and to continue to expand our influence in the gold transportation and fine jewellery sector.”

Can you explain to us the logistics and operations of SML Gold?

Dharmesh Narendra Sangani: “At SML Gold, we treat every gram of gold with the highest level of care and professionalism, ensuring seamless operational excellence. Safety is our top priority, with strict protocols and constant monitoring to protect every shipment from all potential risks.

“Our global presence extends from the Middle East and Africa to India and the USA, where we offer customised solutions that transcend borders. We are also proud of our team of talented goldsmiths and our strategically located production facilities, which allow us to constantly innovate in our craftsmanship.”

Dharmesh Narendra Sangani, Director of Logistics
Dharmesh Narendra Sangani, Director of Logistics Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

What are the biggest developments you have seen in gold transport logistics, and how has SML Gold adapted its operations to respond to these changes?

Dharmesh Narendra Sangani: “Over the last 25 years, we have seen a major digital transformation. Real-time tracking systems and automation have dramatically improved transparency and efficiency. At SML, we have embraced these technologies to optimise our routes and reduce risk, while ensuring full traceability of our gold shipments.”

Can you tell us about the specific measures SML Gold puts in place to guarantee the safety of cargo throughout its journey?

Dharmesh Narendra Sangani: “Security is paramount at SML Gold. We use secure containers with tamper-proof seals and advanced monitoring systems. In addition, our protocols include regular audits, security training for our staff, and working closely with local authorities to ensure maximum protection throughout the journey.”

SML has a global presence with operations in several key regions. How do you manage the logistical and regulatory challenges that vary from country to country, and what role does your international expertise play in the success of these operations?

Dharmesh Narendra Sangani: “Our global presence enables us to navigate effectively through the various customs and logistics regulations. We have teams of local experts who understand regional specificities, and who work in synergy with our international network to ensure smooth and compliant operations.”

What are the latest technologies or methods that SML has incorporated to improve the efficiency and safety of gold transport, and how has this impacted the customer experience?

Dharmesh Narendra Sangani: “Innovation is indeed at the heart of our strategy. Recently, SML integrated artificial intelligence to optimise routes and blockchain for better traceability. These technological advances have not only enhanced security but also improved the customer experience by offering greater visibility and reliability in the transport of their precious goods.”

What is the business model of SML Gold?

Prasanna Muthulingam: “SML stands for Sangani, Muthulingam, and Laloui. We are three partners, three businessmen who wanted to create this in UAE. Our business model deals, firstly, with jewellery of different carats – 14 karat, 18 karat, 21 karat, and 22 karats, for different communities. Like 14 and 18 karat are popular with the Western customers, 21 karat with Arab customers, and 22 karat, usually with Asian customers.

“Secondly, we also do bullion – it’s a very important segment for us. We have also created SML vaults. We offer over 400 vaults for our clients, offering a secure storage option called 'individual custody'.

“So, let’s say there are 400 customers. They can buy the bullion directly from us and securely put it in our high-security vaults. The UAE is very secure and so are the gold buildings.

“Thirdly, we are doing banking. The banking system will be, on application, like a normal banking system. But, unlike the normal banking system, it will be with gold, instead of cash or other payment methods, you just buy gold and keep it aside. And, gold, obviously, will always take more premium. So, it will always be a winner for any investor.”

Why did you chose to set up SML Gold in the UAE?

Prasanna Muthulingam: “UAE is the hub for the gold market. Earlier, you could have said it was Singapore or other countries, but now, the hub is UAE. We chose to set up in Dubai, and especially in the Gold Souq, because this gold centre is the historical centre of gold jewellery trade in the country. It is also strategically located to leverage our proximity to Africa, India, Asia, and Europe. This prime location was selected to facilitate our operations across these key regions.

“Another reason is that Dubai is 100 per cent safe and secure for our clients. We want our investors to be very happily secure, which is why we have 24 hours monitoring, seven days a week.”

How does SML Gold Trading LLC ensure the quality and diversity of gold jewellery, given the variety of carats and international partners?

Prasanna Muthulingam: “We are dedicated to offering impeccable quality. To achieve this, we work closely with our partners who are experts in their specific carat range. Each piece of jewellery is precision crafted and subjected to rigorous quality controls to ensure that our customers receive exceptional products.”

Prasanna Muthulingam, Director of Internal Operations
Prasanna Muthulingam, Director of Internal Operations Image Credit: Anas Thacharpaddikkal/ Gulf News

What is your process for understanding and meeting the specific needs of each customer?

Prasanna Muthulingam: “Active listening and understanding of our customers' expectations are paramount. We analyse their requests carefully and ensure that we provide personalised advice to meet their needs precisely, whether it's for a detailed or bulk purchase.”

The gold market is notoriously volatile. How do you manage price fluctuations for the benefit of investors at SML Gold?

Prasanna Muthulingam: “Our strategy is to closely monitor market trends and set prices transparently with our clients. We offer expert advice to help them make informed investment decisions, taking into account market fluctuations.”

Can you tell us more about the 'individual custody' service and how it differs from traditional storage options?

Prasanna Muthulingam: “’Individual custody' is a secure storage solution that we offer to meet our customers' need for confidentiality and security. Unlike traditional banking systems, our safes are continuously monitored and offer maximum security for our investors' peace of mind.”

What is the target market for SML Gold?

Patrick Laurent N’dom: “SML Gold will be targeting mainly customers like non-business customer but end-user customer, who wish to purchase gold, but on the geographical point of view, we would say apart from Africa, Sub Saharan Africa, also from India and the UAE.

“There would be a deployment towards North America and Canada, where we have also a part of SML, physically over there.

“SML also has a concept that is unique service that makes us completely different. Just imagine today, you need to remit some funds either in India, or in Africa, or in Europe. But, you can buy gold from us and we will be able to get the gold delivered to the country of your choice. I mean, the country where we have our physical point, and there the gold can be sold. And, the funds will be then credited for you.

“So either you keep the gold as an investment, especially nowadays, you know, in terms of currency, inflation and everything, gold is a very secure way to hold funds or to invest.

“On the other hand, this is the added value – we call it ‘Gift’, which is Gold International Fast Transfer. So, basically, you buy one kilogram or half a kilogram or any amount of gold, and you say, ‘okay, I want this in Dubai’. And in Dubai, we have our storage, or vault facilities, which will be under your name, and then you can give us the instruction to resell it.”

Patrick Laurent N’dom, Incharge of the Financial Division
Patrick Laurent N’dom, Incharge of the Financial Division Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

What are the hopes, dreams and future projections for SML?

Patrick Laurent N’dom: “You know, SML is like a baby. Every parent is happy to see their baby, but we want SML to grow and to get stronger. And to be able to do that, the CEO has a vision.

“The hope is to establish the ‘Gift’ as a very unique way of making the flow of payment, the flow of commodities very smooth, secure, and fast. SML will grow along and we will open more offices in various country. This is what we want to achieve. And of course, we want to have a presence in several markets and make it very sustainable and long term.”