Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fernwood Suit

In the Maine Antique Digest, Daniel Grant reports that "a group of investors in Fernwood Art Investments, a multimillion-dollar art hedge fund founded in 2004, [has] filed a lawsuit .... against the company’s founder, chairman, and CEO Bruce Taub. The suit claims embezzlement of $8 million."

Taub was also sued for $1 million last year by Roy Disney's Shamrock Holdings Inc.

Grant says that "[j]ust two years ago, art investment hedge funds seemed to be an idea whose time had come. ... Between a dozen and 20 art investment funds around the world have either come into existence within the past two years or were in the process of being launched." But "[o]nly the London-based Fine Art Fund remains as a working art investment program." NYU economist Michael Moses is quoted as saying, "I think what we may be seeing is not less interest in diversifying one’s portfolio to include art but, rather, that individuals who decide to invest in art want to do it on their own. They don’t need a manager for their art investments, and that causes an art fund to have a lot of headwinds to sail into." There is also this.