Sotheby’s has appointed Alexander Klabin as Executive Chairman of Sotheby’s Financial Services. In a statement, Sotheby’s said Klabin will be responsible for building and leading a new management team for Sotheby’s art financing branch, while working to modernize its underwriting process and improve its access to capital markets. Klabin notes his role with Sotheby’s in helping “to accelerate the future of authenticated asset-based finance.” Klabin will also take a financial stake in the business, but Sotheby’s did not disclose terms of his investment.
Unleashing the financial power of art as an asset has long been a goal among the substantial number of finance industry executives who are also art collectors. Sotheby’s Financial Services offers financing against art collections. Art collateral in these loans often end up as consignments.
The news follows Klabin’s departure as Co-Chief Investment Officer of the $6.9 billion Senator Investment Group in February, which he founded in 2008 (In 2018, at its peak, the firm was managing $9.5 billion in assets). Last year, Klabin was cited as a potential backer for a counter-offer to Sotheby’s sale when the publicly-traded company was sold to Patrick Drahi for $3.7 billion. In addition to his role with Sotheby’s, Klabin will launch a new company, Ancient, in 2021. Sotheby’s did not specify the company’s focus.