Rich Caring More For Their Art - Stonehage

Ainhoa Barcelona Reporter London 9 May 2013

Rich Caring More For Their Art - Stonehage

Wealthy individuals have increased the level of insurance cover for high-end art assets as works have soared in value over the past two years, according to Stonehage Group, the European multi-family office group.

Some 30 per cent of the value of all assets Stonehage insures for its clients now comprises art, the equivalent of almost $1 billion in insured art assets. The number of clients with these assets managed by the group has more than doubled in the last two years.

Compared to other asset classes, long-term returns on art, particularly at the high end of the market, continue to perform well. One sale returned 23 per cent over 13 years, while another returned 18 per cent over 21 years, to give examples from the firm.

Commenting on the make-up of the group’s clients, Steven Kettle, executive director at Stonehage said: “Demand for high-end art is increasingly being driven by overseas and non-domiciled investors, including Asian, European, and Russian buyers, who are prepared to outbid each other for trophy works.”

“In the past, the vast bulk of art buyers would be highly knowledgeable about the market, but we are seeing a newer type of client who is often younger than the traditional art buyer, and who may not have such in-depth knowledge. These younger buyers often don’t have very established collections and are looking for guidance,” he said.

Stonehage has noted it is spending more time undertaking due diligence for clients looking to acquire art, and that clients themselves are devoting more time to actively managing their collections.

“Buyers are becoming much more aware of the need to manage art assets properly to protect and increase their value. This can involve ensuring the art is hung and lit properly, with comprehensive insurance and regular condition checks," said Georgina Hepburne Scott, responsible for Stonehage’s art management division.

"Increasingly, we are also advising buyers when to loan work out to museums and galleries, which can be useful in terms of raising its profile,” she added.

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