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Navigating Volatility: Why Family Offices Are Turning to Passion Assets

Published by Paul
Edited: 4 weeks ago
Published: June 26, 2024

Navigating Volatility: Why Family Offices Are Turning to Passion Assets Family offices, the private wealth management entities for high-net-worth individuals and their descendants, have long relied on traditional investment vehicles like stocks, bonds, real estate, and hedge funds to build and preserve their wealth. However, as markets become increasingly volatile

Navigating Volatility: Why Family Offices Are Turning to Passion Assets

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Navigating Volatility: Why Family Offices Are Turning to Passion Assets

Family offices, the private wealth management entities for high-net-worth individuals and their descendants, have long relied on traditional investment vehicles like stocks, bonds, real estate, and hedge funds to build and preserve their wealth. However, as markets become increasingly volatile and complex, these institutions are seeking new ways to diversify their portfolios and mitigate risk.

One such alternative investment class that has gained significant traction among family offices is

passion assets

. Passion assets, also known as collectibles or alternative investments, include items that are collected for their intrinsic value and emotional appeal rather than their financial returns. Examples of passion assets range from art, wine, vintage cars, luxury watches, coins, stamps, and even rare baseball cards.

The allure of passion assets lies in their potential to offer diversification benefits, low correlation with traditional financial markets, and the possibility of generating attractive returns. Furthermore, these investments can serve as tangible assets that family members can enjoy and pass down through generations.

Diversification Benefits

One of the primary reasons why family offices are turning to passion assets is their ability to diversify portfolios beyond traditional asset classes. Passion assets typically have low or negative correlation with conventional investment vehicles, which can help reduce overall portfolio risk and volatility.

For instance, a study conducted by UBS and ArtTactic revealed that between 2000 and 2017, the top performing art index returned an average annual return of 6.5%, while the MSCI World Equity Index returned an average annual return of only 3.1%. Additionally, the study found that during periods of financial market stress, art often outperformed traditional assets, as collectors continued to invest in desirable pieces regardless of economic conditions.

Emotional Appeal and Family Engagement

Another compelling reason for family offices to consider passion assets is their emotional appeal and potential for family engagement. Passion assets can serve as a source of enjoyment, entertainment, and education for generations of a family. Moreover, these investments can foster a sense of shared history and values among family members.

For example, a family may have a passion for classic cars or fine wine. By investing in these assets, not only are they potentially generating returns, but they can also enjoy the experience of collecting, restoring, and sharing their passion with future generations. Additionally, these assets can be used as conversation starters at family gatherings or as a source of pride and identity within the family.

Professional Management

To effectively invest in passion assets, family offices are increasingly relying on the expertise of professional advisors and managers. These specialists can provide guidance on market trends, valuation, authentication, storage, and insurance for these unique investments.

By partnering with experienced professionals, family offices can ensure that their passion assets are not only generating desirable returns but also being managed and preserved properly. Additionally, these advisors can help families navigate the complex world of passion asset investing, which can include significant transaction costs, authentication challenges, and market illiquidity.

In conclusion, as markets become increasingly volatile and complex, family offices are turning to passion assets as a means to diversify their portfolios, mitigate risk, and engage their families in the wealth management process. By working with professional advisors and managers, these institutions can effectively navigate the passion asset marketplace and unlock the unique benefits that these investments offer.

Navigating Volatility: Why Family Offices Are Turning to Passion Assets

Family Offices: Key Players in Wealth Management

Family offices are private wealth management advisory firms that serve wealthy families and individuals. Their role includes managing financial assets, overseeing administrative tasks, and providing strategic planning for generational wealth preservation. With the increasing


in financial markets, family offices have become indispensable to their clients due to their expertise and ability to navigate complex economic environments.

The Need for Alternative Investment Strategies: Passion Assets

In the face of market uncertainties and potential losses, family offices have turned to alternative investment strategies. One such approach is investing in

passion assets

, also known as non-traditional or alternative investments. These assets are typically those that align with the personal interests, values, and hobbies of wealthy families.

Art, Wine, and Collectibles: Tangible Passion Assets

Tangible passion assets include art, wine, classic cars, jewelry, and collectibles. These investments offer several benefits for family offices, such as:

  • Diversification from traditional financial assets
  • Potential appreciation in value over time
  • Emotional attachment and enjoyment for the family
Impact Investments: Intangible Passion Assets

Intangible passion assets include investments in causes, businesses, or organizations that families care deeply about. Impact investing provides opportunities for family offices to:

  • Generate social and environmental impact
  • Create positive change through their investments
  • Foster a sense of purpose and engagement for the family

By incorporating passion assets into their wealth management strategies, family offices can help their clients mitigate risks, diversify portfolios, and foster personal connections that extend beyond financial gains.

Understanding Passion Assets

Passion assets, also known as collectibles or alternative investments, are unique items that people collect and value beyond their basic utility.

Definition and Explanation

These assets may include art, classic cars, coins, stamps, wine, antiques, or even comic books. The value of passion assets is not only determined by their intrinsic worth but also by the emotional connection they evoke and their perceived scarcity in the market. Unlike traditional investments such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, passion assets are not typically bought with the primary intention of generating income. Instead, they serve as expressions of personal interests and hobbies.

Difference from Traditional Investments

Traditional investments focus on financial returns and portfolio diversification, whereas passion assets provide their owners with a deeper sense of satisfaction. The former is guided by rational decision-making based on market trends and economic indicators, while the latter stems from emotional attachment and personal enjoyment.

Emotional Connection

The emotional connection to passion assets creates a unique bond that goes beyond monetary gains. For collectors, the thrill of acquiring rare pieces, the joy of researching their history, and the pride in sharing their collection with others are all significant aspects of their hobby. The emotional connection to passion assets can also serve as a source of comfort and inspiration, providing an escape from daily stressors and offering a sense of accomplishment.

Potential Benefits

Although passion assets may not yield immediate financial returns, they can provide several long-term benefits. First and foremost, owning a passion asset can serve as an excellent conversation starter, allowing individuals to connect with like-minded people and form lasting relationships. Furthermore, the appreciation in value of certain passion assets over time can result in significant returns when it comes time to sell. Lastly, the act of collecting can serve as a therapeutic and enriching experience for both individuals and families.


In conclusion, passion assets offer a unique investment opportunity that goes beyond financial gains. By understanding the definition, differences, emotional connection, and potential benefits of collecting passion assets, individuals can make informed decisions about pursuing this alternative form of investing. Ultimately, whether it’s a rare painting, a classic car, or an extensive comic book collection, passion assets serve as a testament to personal interests and provide their owners with a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction that transcends monetary value.
Navigating Volatility: Why Family Offices Are Turning to Passion Assets

I The Shift towards Passion Assets in Family Offices

Family offices, which manage the financial and personal affairs of wealthy families, have traditionally focused on investment assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and private equity. However, a growing trend is emerging among family offices to allocate resources towards passion assets. Passion assets are those that provide personal fulfillment, enjoyment, or hobbyistic value to the family members.

Why the Shift?

The primary reasons behind this shift include:

  • Diversification: Family offices are recognizing that passion assets can offer a unique diversification benefit to their overall investment portfolio. These assets can provide non-correlated returns and act as a hedge against market volatility.
  • Personal Fulfillment: Passion assets provide families with a sense of enjoyment and personal satisfaction. They can serve as a source of entertainment, relaxation, and education for family members.
  • Legacy Building: Passion assets can also serve as a way to build family legacies. By investing in and preserving passion assets, families are able to pass down their interests and values to future generations.

Recent Statistics and Case Studies

According to a link, 35% of family offices now have a dedicated passion asset program. Furthermore, a link reports that family offices have increased their allocation to passion assets from 5% to 10% in recent years.

One notable example of this trend is the Waltons, the owners of Walmart, who have invested extensively in passion assets such as art and wine. Another example is the Ambani Family of India, who have a private jet dedicated to transporting their valuable collection of classic cars.


In conclusion, the shift towards passion assets in family offices is a response to the desire for diversification, personal fulfillment, and legacy building. With increasing numbers of family offices allocating resources to these assets, it is clear that this trend is here to stay.

Navigating Volatility: Why Family Offices Are Turning to Passion Assets

The Role of Expert Advisors in Passion Asset Investments

Expert advisors have become indispensable partners for family offices in navigating the complex and often volatile world of passion asset investments. With their deep domain knowledge, extensive networks, and proven track records, these specialized professionals help families make informed decisions, manage risks, and optimize returns in this unique investment landscape.

Navigating the Complex Passion Asset Market

Expert advisors bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table when it comes to passion asset investments. They help family offices identify potential opportunities in various categories, such as art, wine, classic cars, jewelry, and collectibles. By leveraging their networks within the industry, expert advisors can provide valuable insights into market trends, pricing data, and proven investment strategies.

Due Diligence: Crucial for Success

One of the most critical aspects of passion asset investments is thorough due diligence. Expert advisors play a vital role in ensuring that family offices have all the necessary information to make informed decisions. This may include authenticating an artwork, appraising a vintage car, or assessing the provenance of a rare collectible. By conducting rigorous research and providing detailed reports, expert advisors help families avoid potential pitfalls and make sound investment choices.

Valuation: Determining Fair Market Price

Another essential function that expert advisors perform is valuation. Properly determining the fair market value of a passion asset is crucial for setting an appropriate investment budget and understanding potential returns. Expert advisors use various methods, such as comparable sales analysis, market trends, and condition assessments, to arrive at accurate valuations that help families make informed decisions.

Risk Management: Minimizing Exposure

Managing risk is a crucial aspect of any investment strategy, and it’s especially important in the passion asset market. Expert advisors help family offices mitigate risks by providing advice on insurance coverage, storage solutions, transportation logistics, and regulatory compliance. By developing tailored risk management strategies and implementing best practices, expert advisors help families protect their investments and minimize potential losses.

Successful Collaborations: Examples of Family Office – Expert Advisor Partnerships

Several high-profile family office – expert advisor collaborations demonstrate the value of this partnership model. For instance, the Rothschild family’s art collection, managed by Sotheby’s, is a prime example of successful stewardship through expert advisory services. Similarly, the Agnelli family’s investment in classic cars, guided by RM Sotheby’s, has yielded impressive returns over the years. These collaborations underscore the importance of expert advisors in helping family offices navigate the passion asset market with confidence and success.

Navigating Volatility: Why Family Offices Are Turning to Passion Assets

Potential Challenges and Risks in Passion Asset Investments

Passion asset investments, which include art, wine, collectibles, and other unique items, have gained popularity among high net worth individuals and family offices due to their potential for appreciation and enjoyment. However, these investments come with unique challenges and risks that require careful consideration.

Identification of Challenges and Risks:

  • Authenticity: One of the primary risks in passion asset investments is authenticity. Fake or misrepresented items can significantly impact the value and integrity of a collection. Due diligence, including provenance research and expert appraisals, is crucial.
  • Market Volatility: Passion asset markets can be volatile and unpredictable. Prices for certain items can fluctuate dramatically, making it important to have a long-term perspective and diversify a collection.
  • Storage and Preservation: Proper storage and preservation are essential to maintain the value and integrity of passion assets. Climate control, security, and insurance are critical considerations.
  • Liquidity: Passion assets can be illiquid, making it difficult to quickly sell an item if necessary. This lack of liquidity can create challenges in managing cash flow and meeting financial obligations.

Mitigating Risks:

Family offices have various strategies to mitigate the risks associated with passion asset investments. For instance, they employ dedicated staff or external experts to manage and appraise collections, ensure authenticity through provenance research and expert opinions, and provide climate-controlled storage facilities. Additionally, they diversify their portfolios across various passion assets and regions to minimize market volatility risk.

Case Studies:

The Elmyr de Hory Scandal: In the late 1950s and 1960s, Hungarian painter Elmyr de Hory produced and sold forged paintings, many of which he passed off as works by famous artists such as Picasso, Matisse, and Modigliani. Collectors, dealers, and institutions unknowingly purchased these fake pieces, leading to significant financial losses. The incident underscores the importance of due diligence in passion asset investments.

Lessons Learned:

The Elmyr de Hory scandal serves as a reminder that passion asset investments require thorough research and expertise. Family offices can mitigate risks by employing knowledgeable staff or external experts to authenticate their collections, as well as conducting extensive provenance research and utilizing reputable appraisers. By taking a proactive approach to managing the challenges associated with passion asset investments, family offices can reap the rewards while minimizing potential risks.


Passion asset investments offer unique opportunities for enjoyment, diversification, and appreciation, but they also come with various challenges and risks. Family offices must be diligent in identifying these issues and implementing strategies to mitigate them. By focusing on authenticity, market volatility, storage, preservation, and liquidity, family offices can successfully build and manage their passion asset portfolios.
Navigating Volatility: Why Family Offices Are Turning to Passion Assets

VI. Conclusion

In this article, we’ve explored the emerging trend of passion asset investments within family offices. We began by defining what passion assets are and why they matter to high net worth individuals. Next, we delved into the various categories of passion assets, ranging from fine art to classic cars, and discussed the unique challenges and benefits associated with investing in these non-traditional assets. We then examined the role of family offices in managing passion asset investments, providing insights into their growing importance as advisors, managers, and protectors of these valuable collections.

Recap of Key Points

  • Passion assets: Non-traditional investments that reflect an individual’s personal interests and values.
  • Categories: Fine art, classic cars, collectibles, luxury real estate, and others.
  • Challenges: Valuation, authenticity, storage, transportation, insurance, and liquidity.
  • Benefits: Diversification, enjoyment, emotional connection, potential appreciation, and legacy preservation.
  • Family offices: Provide expertise, resources, and customized solutions for managing passion asset investments.

Future Outlook for Passion Asset Investments in Family Offices

Looking ahead, the future outlook for passion asset investments within family offices is promising. With the increasing number of high net worth individuals seeking alternative investment opportunities and the growing expertise and resources offered by family offices, we can expect a continued rise in passion asset investments. Furthermore, advancements in technology will enable more efficient valuation, storage, and liquidity of these assets, making them even more attractive to investors.

Final Thoughts

Why it Matters:

The trend towards passion asset investments represents a significant shift in the world of wealth management. It signifies a growing recognition that financial success is not only about accumulating wealth, but also about enjoying and preserving it for future generations. By embracing passion assets as part of their investment portfolios, high net worth individuals are not only diversifying their holdings but also engaging with their personal interests and values in a deeper way.

What it Means for the Wider World

For the wider world of wealth management, this trend has several implications. First, it highlights the importance of customized solutions and expertise for managing non-traditional assets. Family offices that can effectively advise, manage, and protect passion assets will continue to be in high demand. Second, it underscores the need for continued innovation and technology advancements in the valuation, storage, and liquidity of passion assets. Finally, it sets the stage for a more holistic approach to wealth management that prioritizes both financial success and personal enjoyment.

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June 26, 2024