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Emirates NBD to provide art advisory service

By Staff

Dubai-based Emirates NBD bank has tied up with the Fine Art Fund Group (FAFG) to launch Art Advisory services in the UAE.

According to the agreement, experts from the FAFG will work closely with Emirates NBD Private Banking to provide advisory services to the bank's High Net Worth clients who wish to invest in art as an asset class. Emirates NBD Private Banking clients will also gain privileged access to art events regionally and globally.

"Art as a tangible asset continues to attract international investor attention in the post-recession world and the market for art has remained strong in 2010," said Gary Dugan, Acting General Manager and Chief Investment Officer, Private Banking, Emirates NBD. "Middle East investors are also expressing greater interest in art, and recent estimates show that last year, approximately 25% by value of the 100,000 plus works of art sold went to buyers from Russia, Asia and the Middle East."

The international art market is worth more than $3 trillion and has an annual turnover of $50bn.

"Emirates NBD Private Bank is committed to offering clients a wide range of unique and attractive products and services. This partnership with the FAFG will enable us to provide value-added advisory services to our clients, who wish to include art as a percentage of their investment portfolios. We look forward to working closely with the art professionals at FAFG, which is renowned for developing and managing investment vehicles that invest in fine art," added Dugan.

Philip Hoffman, Chief Executive Officer, The Fine Art Fund Group, said, "In addition to the opportunity for portfolio diversification, art has traditionally yielded high returns and shown a low correlation to other asset classes, thus proving to be a remarkable store of value. It is however, critical to evaluate and assess the art objects effectively in order to guarantee, high returns on investment. The in-house expertise at the FAFG is pleased to work with a leading bank like Emirates NBD to offer our services to their high net worth clients and investors."

Emirates NBD's decision to launch art advisory services is timely given the results of the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Art and Antiques Survey, which states that in the last quarter of 2010, prices of art objects in the £50,000 price bracket rose rather sharply from 20% in the previous quarter. The figure (the highest since the second quarter of 2008) highlights the number of wealthy buyers investing in art and antiques as a tangible asset, rather than other forms of investment, says the report.

An international investment partnership, the London-headquartered Fine Art Fund Group was established in 2001 with the objective to capitalise on its art market expertise to build long-term capital growth for investors. The Group develops and manages investment vehicles that invest in fine art, and offers a rare opportunity to invest in art with the added benefits of diverse professional expertise.

The Fine Art Fund was the first fund of its type to invest in art as a worldwide asset class, and continues to be the only one to do so on this scale. The FAFG team consists of 35 art and financial professionals with representatives in London, New York, Miami, Lugano, Athens and Dubai.