Art as investment

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 April, 2011, 12:00am


Recent record-breaking sales at Asian branches of Sotheby's and Christie's suggest art - more so than wine - has become hot property when it comes to alternative investments. And for those who want to get in on the action but are unsure of where to start, there is Hong Kong-based Art Futures Group - the first end-to-end art investment service in Asia.

'People can buy their art from us, we have a process where we use keen indicators - we have a selection panel to choose our artist - to make sure of the best investments,' says Jon Reade, managing director of the Art Futures Group. 'We also have a rental programme, where we can rent the artwork out and pay our clients a 6 per cent return per year. We can also help the clients sell their artwork in the secondary market, when it's a good time to sell.'

Reade (below) gained his expertise working with Australian art investment company Galleries Direct. Together with Jonathan Macey, an auctioneer and art valuer and trader, who spent 15 years at British auction house Bonhams in London, he is aiming, through Art Futures Group, to make art investment - especially in the emerging Chinese contemporary market - more accessible.

'It's mainly mid-career Chinese contemporary artists we're looking for. Two reasons: one is the entry level is around HK$150,000, which is doable for most people; and it's the biggest growth area of the market,' says Reade. 'We source our art directly from artists in the mainland. We add on our margin and offer all our services from that margin. Because we don't have a gallery space - and don't have the overheads of a gallery we can offer our artworks at between 5 and 10 per cent below market value.'

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