Revealed: The 2017 top alternative assets advisers for HNWs

Spear’s unveils the elite 73 names in the fields of art, wine and classic cars servicing HNW needs today. Olenka Hamilton reports

The authoritative 2017 Spear’s Alternative Assets index is finally here — bringing HNWs the best names in wine, art and classic cars. With 16 new names across the 73-strong power index, this, our second annual guide, is a comprehensive line-up of luminaries and fresh talent, reflecting the dynamic and evolving landscape of the alternative investments.

Among those best placed to help the HNW navigate the art market, we have repeat entries from New York-based art advisory duo Guggenheim Asher as well as independent art consultant and former gallerist Thomas Gibson, who has been in the business for half a century.  Also on the list is former Spear’s award winner Viola Raikhel-Bolot of international advisory firm 1858, as well as art advisers Bettina Von Hase and Emily Tsingou. Among our London gallerists are Philip Mould, Jonathan Green and Joseph Friedman.

A new entry this year is Ariane Belisle, whose focus is on helping new collectors navigate the world of emerging art. The youngest of our art advisers, Belisle already has the ear of some of the world’s most powerful collectors.

Newcomer: Ariane Belisle of AIB Art Advisory

Dimly lit, unregulated and sprawling, the art world can be a minefield for the connoisseur, so our list of top advisers, gallerists, fiduciaries and more, has been carefully curated to cover the needs of every variety of HNW collector and investor through every stage of the process.

‘Everyone has an agenda. Some want to drink it, others are buying for investment,’ says veteran wine portfolio manager Susie de Paolis, and the same goes for all the alternative assets. Whatever your agenda and whichever your asset of choice, our chosen experts can help you get the most out of them, while offering their insight into each market.

So we’ve also gone out in search of the top wine merchants, auctioneers and consultants in Britain to bring you a small selection of the very best. While our pick aims to represent the spectrum of fine wine-related services, from portfolio management to auctions to storage, all our experts agree on one thing: that 2017 has been a good year for fine wine, which owing to a weaker pound after Brexit and the recovery of Bordeaux following the 2011 bubble, has risen 24 per cent in the past 12 months, overtaking cars for the first time in a decade: which is all the more reason to buy.

We have insight and anecdotes from industry veterans and global wine heads MW Richard Harvey from Bonham’s, Jamie Ritchie from Sotheby’s and David Elswood from Christie’s, as well as London’ leading wine merchants Justerini and Brooks’ Hew Blair, Stephen Browett of Bordeaux specialist Farr, Adam Brett-Smith of City-based Corney and Barrow, and Johnny Goedhuis, whose Goedhuis & Co won Decanter Magazine’s Burgundy Specialist Retailer of the Year award for the third year running. A new entry is consultant Douglas Blyde (pictured above) the Evening Standard’s wine columnist, whose clients include media mogul Evgeny Lebedev.

Burgundy guru: Johnny Goedhuis of Goedhuis & Co

Like wine, a classic car can be a solid store of value – and offer a lot of fun. No one understands this better than Spear’s, which is why we’ve also compiled a list of the very best service providers in the industry, from specialist salesmen and brokers to restorers, advisers, auction houses, storage facilities and more.

That demand is consistently high is reflected in the growth in classic car-related facilities and events. One such mecca is Bicester Heritage, on a former RAF bomber site which, founded by Daniel Geoghegan in 2013, has exploded into a ‘one-stop-shop’ classic car complex, with 30 dealers on site, the auction house Brightwells and even a country club hotel. Their events ‘Sunday Scramble’ and ‘Flywheel’ have become fixtures in the classic car calendar. Two new additions to the index are appropriately based at Bicester Heritage: Robert Glover, formerly of Bonham’s motoring department, specializes in the sale of mostly pre-war historic sports, competition and touring motor cars, while James Mitchell’s focus is post-war British sports and racing cars.

A notable return to our index is Max Girardo who, after founding and running the European branch of car auction giant RM Sotheby’s, set up his own dealership in Mayfair in June 2016 focusing on post-war cars up to modern day supercars. Among industry veterans, all of whom have been in the business of selling cars for over three decades and are still expanding their operations include racing driver Gregor Fisken, Adrian Hamilton of Duncan Hamilton, and Paul Michaels of Hexagon.

As with any asset, alternative investments are subject to market fluctuations, which is all the more reason to employ the services of someone with the inside track.  One overriding trend across wine and art is China’s dominance in the market, which has sent prices soaring over past decade, while in classic cars, advisers including Bonham’s auctioneer, Jamie Knight, are relieved that the market has finally cooled: ‘Collectors want stability and the confidence to be able to buy and sell when they want,’ says Knight.  As ever, our experts have been generous enough to offer some of their insight to Spear’s readers.

Pre-war car sales: Robert Glover of Robert Glover Ltd

Olenka Hamilton is staff writer at Spear’s

To see the Index in full, pick up a copy of the November/December edition of Spear’s, available at selected newsagents, or subscribe to Spear’s magazine at https://www.spearswms.com/subscribe/ or click here