All the talk of the risks involved in professionally managed art funds in the US, Europe and Gulf States pales in comparison to what Australians are doing all on their own. There a system of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs), comparable to IRAs in the US, allows investors to hold some of their assets directly in art. Those provisions were challenged recently by a government report:
According to a regular ATO report on the funds, as of December, $573 million was tied up in artwork, collectables, metal and jewels. Although a review into the super system chaired by Jeremy Cooper recommended stopping SMSFs investing in art and collectables, and for funds already holding such assets to divest themselves, the federal government has decided the market should continue, with some restrictions.
But the Sydney Morning Herald’s story on the failure of art dealership catering to SMSFs who wanted their assets stored, insured and even producing revenue through a rental scheme, shows just how hard it can be to treat the art market as an asset for small investors.
Gilt-edged art market deals blow to super investors (Sydney Morning Herald)