01.04.2015 Some very serious article on April Fools’ Days : “Prettier than a share certificate” (The Economist)

PG de trois quarts

“IT MAY be modern art going under the hammer at one of Christie’s auction halls in London, but most of the prospective purchasers look downright antique: tweed jackets and threadbare twinsets abound. No matter: when it comes to the big pieces of the day, the serious cash comes in via the internet or phones manned by sleek women with bright lipstick and thick-rimmed glasses. A painting that once belonged to Noël Coward causes a bidding war between telephone buyers. It was expected to go for no more than £20,000 ($30,000), but ends up selling for …

Institutional investors first entered the art market in the 1970s as a hedge against inflation: the pension fund of British Rail, for instance, put £40m, or about 3% of its holdings, into oil and canvas. (Although returns were not bad, it sold its last piece in 2003.) Art is also billed as a useful form of diversification, although like many other supposedly “uncorrelated” assets, it did not live up to that billing during the financial crisis. Another selling point is that it is tangible—a popular attribute since the crisis, when lots of abstract and incomprehensible financial instruments proved huge liabilities… “

The complete article on line

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