Even as details of the Labor Department’s Fiduciary Rule are still being debated and its implementation may be delayed for another 18 months, the writing’s on the wall. Investors want financial advisors who act in their best interest, and understandably so.
There is a lesson to be learnt here. As some recent high-profile court cases have shown, there is much potential for misunderstanding in the relationship between collector and art advisor, particularly if potential conflicts of interest or remuneration are not discussed in advance of any collaboration.
The art advisory profession has changed tremendously over the past decade or so: from a somewhat informal occupation to a bona fide profession. In addition to knowing their art, these days an art advisor is expected to be financially savvy and to have a working knowledge of areas such as art law and taxes, conservation and art lending, to name a few examples. “Unfortunately, unlike the legal profession, art advisors don’t require certificates or licenses to operate. This means that anyone can call themselves an art advisor, which is exactly what happens” says Julia Wehkamp, Co-Founder of One Art Nation, an online international art community educating collectors and art professionals.