Music to the pockets
(WMS, Spring 2008)
Florian Leonhard Fine Violins, one of the world’s top violin dealerships, is developing a global investment fund dedicated to fine violins. The fund will be led by an all-star team, including classical musicians Julian Lloyd Webber and former deputy speaker of the House of Lords Viscount St Davids.
The new venture looks to raise a minimum of £40 million of committed capital and targets a net annual return of fifteen per cent. Over the last two decades fine violins have outperformed major asset classes, on average yielding eleven per cent per annum. The stock of high-quality violins from 17th and 18th-century Italian masters like Stradivari is fixed or even declining, yet their technique still remains unrivalled by modern violin makers. The rarity of these pieces is boosted by significant demand from professionals longing to play them, individual collectors wishing to invest and own them, and museums that are interested in exhibiting them.
In addition to the pursuit of capital appreciation, the fund intends to loan the violins to young, up-and-coming musicians who are priced out of the market. The goal is to help exceptional musicians reach their full artistic potential and optimise the quality of classical performance at the highest level. This philanthropic enterprise will separate the fund from museums and institutions which kept fine instruments from the marketplace.
Of course, not all charity goes unrewarded. The value of violins increases when lent to top musicians. Furthermore, each investor that has invested a minimum of £1 million will receive a private recital for him and his guests by the artists sponsored. With a fifteen per cent target return, classical music and some well-intentioned philanthropy, we hope the Fine Violins Fund is destined for alpha performance.