2016/05/29: As the price of art has skyrocketed, perhaps nothing illustrates the art-as-bullion approach to contemporary collecting habits more than the proliferation of warehouses like this one, where masterpieces are increasingly being tucked away by owners more interested in seeing them appreciate than hanging on walls.
With their controlled climates, confidential record keeping and enormous potential for tax savings, free ports have become the parking lot of choice for high-net-worth buyers looking to round out investment portfolios with art.
“For some collectors, art is being treated as a capital asset in their portfolio,” said Evan Beard, who advises clients on art and finance at U.S. Trust. “They are becoming more financially savvy, and free ports have become a pillar of all of this.”
From left, a Etruscan sarcophagus that was locked in a free port for decades under a shell company’s name and returned to Italy earlier this year along with other antiquities stolen from burial sites; Picasso’s “Petit Pierrot aux Fleurs,” a portrait of his son Paolo in a harlequin costume, one of about 4,500 works the Nahmad family of London art dealers is said to have tucked away in the Geneva Free Port; and Leonardo da Vinci’s oil-on-panel “Christ as Salvator Mundi,” which emerged publicly for the first time in 2004 and was consigned to a free port when it was purchased in 2013.Credit2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The trend is prompting concerns about the use of these storage spaces for illegal activities. It is also causing worries within the art world about the effect such wholesale storage has on art itself. “Treating art as a commodity and just hiding it in storage is something that to me is not really moral,” said Eli Broad, a major contemporary art collector who last year opened his own Los Angeles museum.
Free ports originated in the 19th century for the temporary storage of goods like grain, tea and industrial goods. In the last few decades, however, a handful of them — including Geneva’s — have increasingly come to operate as storage lockers for the superrich. Located in tax-friendly countries and cities, free ports offer savings and security that collectors and dealers find almost irresistible. (Someone who buys a $50 million painting at auction in New York, for example, is staring at a $4.4 million sales tax bill. Ship it to a free port, and the bill disappears, at least until you decide to bring it back to New York.)
At least four major free ports in Switzerland specialize in storing art and other luxury goods like wine and jewelry, and there are four more — most newly minted — around the world: Singapore (2010); Monaco (2012); Luxembourg (2014); and Newark, Del., (2015).
From next year, developers will be charged a tax for unsold units that haven't been occupied for over a year, Nidhi Adlakha writes
In an exclusive interview with WIRED, Yanis Varoufakis discusses Bitcoin's bubble, the fantasy of apolitical money and the opportunities for the blockchain to reform Europe
A $1 billion valuation is a bet on the future, not an actual measure of the company's worth. And that leaves tech workers with a lot to lose.
Fortune 500 Daily & Breaking Business News
2014-12-02: A major threat to fossil fuel companies has suddenly moved from the fringe to center stage with a dramatic announcement by Germany’s biggest power company and an intriguing letter from the Bank of England.
A growing minority of investors and regulators are probing the possibility that untapped deposits of oil, gas and coal -- valued at trillions of dollars globally -- could become stranded assets as governments adopt stricter climate change policies.
The concept gaining traction from Wall Street to the City of London is simple. Limits on emissions of carbon dioxide will be necessary to hold temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius, the maximum climate scientists say is advisable. Without technologies to capture the waste gases from combusting fossil fuels, a majority of known oil, gas and coal deposits would have to stay underground. Once that point is reached, they become stranded.
Dropping shares in fossil fuel companies might not make a huge difference on its own, but it can help lay the groundwork for other types of climate progress.
When respected venture capitalist Bill Gurley said that tech startup investors were taking on a level of risk not seen since the dotcom bubble days, the reaction in Silicon Valley was a collective sigh of relief: finally, someone was saying what everyone was thinking.
Something strange is afoot in the Office of National Statistics. Every time the Chancellor of the Exchequer takes a bow for his outstanding economic management, the ONS dumps cold water on him. The ONS
Newsmax.com reports todays news headlines, live news stream, news videos from Americans and global readers seeking the latest in current events, politics, U.S., world news, health, finance, science, technology reports, republican, democrat, libertarian
China's building boom has created a ton of abandoned cities and massive ruins - most of which are brand new, and have never had people living in them. Here are the deserted Chinese cities, mostly built in the last 10 years, which could be sets for your next dystopian movie.
The Crash of 2008 has infused our societies with enormous scepticism on the role of the authorities, both government and Central Banks. It is quite natural that many dream of a currency that politi
Yes, the Dow Jones industrial average has been setting new records this week, but the message from the markets is actually not a happy one.
At 83, John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, says he's never seen a market as treacherous as this one. But he still sees buying and holding index funds as the best option.
New banking regulations now being discussed are not likely to be tough enough, increasing the likelihood of another banking meltdown, an economist warns.
Policy makers generally assume that high food prices hurt the global poor, because they increasingly live in cities and have to buy their food. New research suggests that view could be wrong.
China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday. Summit seeks a future for tigers