Trader sees profit in violinists playing beyond their means
Trader sees profit in violinists playing beyond their means (extract). Fine Violins Fund – alternative investment syndicate. (Simon Bowers, The Guardian, 25th March 2008)
One of London’s most successful violin restorers and traders, Florian Leonhard, is hoping to attract investors to his alternative investment syndicate as more conventional assets look increasingly vulnerable to the economic slowdown.
The Fine Violins Fund, which counts cellist Julian Lloyd Webber among its directors, has so far raised €16m (£12.5m) towards what it hopes will be a €60m syndicate investing in the most precious pre-19th-century violins, mainly from Italy.
Leonhard intends to invest in 50 violins valued at about $1.5m each – many of them beyond the means of the musicians who play them. The instruments will not be locked away in a bank vault; they are to be loaned out, without charge, to promising musicians, 30 of whom have already been identified.
The syndicate claims to benefit not only because the instruments’ quality is maintained by regular use, but also because violins that are linked to the early career of performers who grow in reputation can soar in value.
Former Lazards banker François Mann-Quirici, who is the fund’s business development director, said: “Prices [for top-end violins] have steadily increased for 300 years. There is a scarcity value, with an average return of about 11% but with very low risk – the risk is, we say, half the level of the public equity market.”
- Guardian-article-25-03-08001324 K