ASA Gold and Precious Metals Limited, originally named American-South African Investment Company, Limited, was founded as a South African corporation in 1958. The Company was the idea of Charles Engelhard, Chairman of Engelhard Industries Inc., which at the time maintained extensive business interests in the United States and South Africa.
The Company was organized to provide Americans with a medium to invest in the common shares of companies engaged in the business of mining gold in South Africa. At the time, Americans were prohibited from owning gold bullion and 80 percent of the world's gold was produced in South Africa. Unlike today, it was difficult for the average investor to purchase shares traded on the Johannesburg stock market.
Originally, ASA's investment policies required it to invest only in South African companies. In 1969, shareholders approved a proposal to allow the Company to invest up to 20 percent of its assets outside of South Africa. Later, as it became evident that gold production in South Africa was declining both absolutely and as a percentage of world production, the Company reached out to find opportunities in other parts of the world.
In 2004 the Company moved its place of incorporation to Bermuda because of a change in tax law in South Africa that would have adversely affected ASA and its shareholders. Shortly thereafter, in 2005, shareholders approved changes to the Company's investment policies to permit the Company to invest its assets worldwide without geographical restrictions.
Today ASA Gold and Precious Metals Limited is a professionally managed, globally diversified precious minerals closed-end investment company. The Company is registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and its shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange