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Walking the walk: Why we love art as much as our clients do

Walking the walk: Why we love art as much as our clients do

Emily Woolard (pictured), strategy and marketing manager at Hottinger Group lets us in as to why they are so involved with art as a family office. 

'As a family office, if we truly want to be authentic in our advice and understand the perspective of those whose interests we look after, we have to love what they love. Luckily for us, that’s easy when it comes to subjects such as art.

The Hottinger family has been inextricably linked to political, commercial, economic and cultural life in Europe as far back as the fifteenth century. As custodians of the brand, we’re excited to be developing Hottinger’s involvement with the art world even further.

Hottinger Art Collections was founded by clients and staff to give emerging artists the recognition they deserve, to develop an interesting and high-quality collection to display in our offices and (hopefully) to make a sound investment. Complementing our ad hoc acquisitions, the Hottinger Prize for Excellence is awarded annually to graduates featured in the FBA Futures exhibition. In 2018, we selected Glasgow School of Art graduate Hannah Mooney, while the 2019 prize recognised Mohammed Sami - originally from Baghdad and a recent graduate of Goldsmiths - and Tomi Olopade of Leeds College of Art. We’ve been privileged to watch the development of some of the artists we’ve supported so far, and we’re excited to see what our recent prize winners do next!

While Deliotte’s 2017 Art & Finance Report found that 88% of wealth managers felt that art and collectables should form part of a standard offering, very few family offices offer full in-house art consultancy. In this respect, we’re proud to be different. In 2018, we welcomed Mélanie Damani on board to launch Hottinger Art. An art market expert, Mélanie is also a qualified lawyer who was formerly Head of Art Advisory at Edmond de Rothschild Group. Mélanie applies her expertise across a range of consultancy services, including curation, collection management and logistics, art lending, sales, valuation, authentication, and philanthropy.

Art investment can evoke passionate responses and tap into personal preferences in a way that investments in stocks and bonds seldom manage, but it’s not without its challenges. To do it well, one ideally needs expertise in the appreciation of aesthetics and a thorough understanding of legal issues - two things that rarely coincide. With Mélanie’s arrival, our clients have this unusual and valuable combination at their disposal to guide them in the management of their art collections and their planning for the future.

The valuation of works of art is notoriously challenging and lacks standardisation – it’s an ‘art’ rather than a science! Consistent measurement of art market investment returns can also prove elusive, although Sotheby’s Mei Moses has built a tool resembling other financial market indices. Factors outside the investor’s control can significantly affect the resale value of a piece, particularly the popularity of the artist’s future works and alignment with prevailing trends. As with any other asset class, macroeconomic and political developments can have an impact on the art market. Finally, works of art require specialist knowledge, equipment and storage once acquired - it’s easy to erode or erase completely the potential resale value if any of these elements is missing. 

By combining art expertise and extensive, multi-jurisdictional legal knowledge, we’re optimally positioned to help our clients successfully navigate this notoriously tricky asset class. We provide them with a safe, confidential and straightforward place to deal with art, which we know can be a source of both joy and financial return for many generations to come.'


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