Art Law Foundation ‘Risk, Rules and Opportunities in Art Investment’ Conference


The Finance Panel from left, Li Jun Xian, Partner at Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance, Anna Dempster, panel moderator and Associate Professor at Sotheby's Institute of Art London, Sebastian Fahey, Director of Sotheby's Financial Services, Tim Hunter, Vice President of Art Financing at Falcon Fine Art, Paul Aitken, Founder and CEO of borro and Amanda Gray, Associate at Mischon de Reya

At the end of November the Genevan Art Law Foundation, Foundation Pour Le Droit De L’Art, ran it’s first in a series of conferences focussing on ‘Risks, Rules and Opportunities in Art Investment’.

Held in London at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the event attracted a wide mix of industry professionals and students. Sponsored by borro, Falcon Fine Art, Oblyon, LALive and Sotheby’s the conference was attended by around 60 people.

Melanie Gerlis author of ‘Art as an investment?’ and Art Market Editor at The Art Newspaper opened the conference by chairing a panel on the risks of art as an asset class. This panel included a mix of industry professionals and focussed on whether it would be possible to fairly regulate the art market.

Representatives of Oblyon Art Business Intelligence also spoke, bringing to light the strict regulations on importing and exporting art from Italy and Spain. Marco Mercanti Founder and CEO, spoke of Italy’s surprisingly low 1% share of the art market in 2013 as reported in Clare McAndrews TEFAF report. The lack of growth in Italy’s art market contrasts with its reputation for being a leading figure for arts and culture.

In the afternoon the focus shifted on to finance, and securing lending for art investment. Another panel saw Sotheby’s Financial Services, Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance, borro and Falcon Fine art discuss their own formats of funding with Amanda Gray an Associate in Mishcon de Reya’s art department.

Anna Dempster Associate Professor at Sotheby’s institute of Art and Author of ‘Risk & uncertainty in the art world’ moderated the afternoon’s discussions after giving a detailed introduction to art risk. Dempster began by discussing the differences between uncertainty and risk and moving on to talk about using diversification to counterbalance risk.

The key themes that reoccurred throughout the day’s discussions were those of regulation and reputation. Karen Sanig, Partner and Head of Art Law at Mishcon de Reya said early on “Reputation drives the art world” arguing that it is what keeps the market going. Sanig was also key in the discussion of regulation, with over 20 years in the industry she said that too much regulation would stifle the art market and that “the market has begun to regulate itself”.

The second and final conference in the series will be held in Geneva on January 26th and sessions will be given in both English and French.