Gurr Johns is launching Gurr Johns Capital, a specialty finance house that promises “innovative and flexible financial solutions for clients in the high-value global art, luxury and collectibles market”, according to a statement.
The global art appraisal and advisory group already offers loans, but the new finance house aims to enhance this service significantly on a scalable basis as it develops new products to capitalise on the brand’s standing and influence, while expanding services to its network of high net worth clients.
Gurr Johns co-chief executive, Ben Clark, is working alongside Alessandro Fiorotto, the managing director of the new business, who says they will create “bespoke financial loans for individuals, galleries, companies and institutions—whether their goal is to release liquidity, make new acquisitions or simply bridge a cash flow need”.
Leverage has increasingly become a part of art finance over the past few years, boosting the loans market.
“The art lending market is now worth over $24bn, having tripled in size in eight years as it continues to grow,” Clark says. “With Gurr Johns Capital, we are further extending our advisory services to private, trade and institutional clients. Our long-standing knowledge of the international art market puts us in an unparalleled position to combine tailor-made financing solutions with world-leading appraisal experience and independent specialist expertise.”
He is positioning Gurr Johns Capital as a hybrid of the purely asset-backed lenders and credit focused banks: “Being neither an auction house nor a main street bank allows us to provide more flexible loans whilst also offering strategic specialist advice.”
Fiorotto hinted at the development almost a year ago, saying: “We will soon be coming to market with an approach that merges our historic and reputable art advisory expertise with a financial solutions and client-orientated philosophy… Instead of expensive inflexible loans, we will work with clients to put together tailored and flexible solutions and create better opportunities for them to diversify and increase their collections.”
In certain cases borrowers will be able to retain possession of art acting as collateral—a highly popular feature among other lenders—while the company expects to offer deals in a loan-to-value range of 40-70%.
External expertise will be brought in, where required, to assist the in-house team in broadening the reach of assets covered by the service, to include all genres of fine art, sculpture, jewellery, watches, well-cellared wine, high-value furniture, vintage cars, and other collectibles.
While other art finance businesses have acquired art and collectables in lieu of payment and then consigned them for sale, Gurr Johns, which owns both Forum and Dreweatts* auction businesses, will not do this. “All deals will be assessed and structured individually by Gurr Johns Capital. Any further sales or consignments will be considered on an individual basis in consultation with the borrower,” they said.