Indian art: Sound investment, but not a liquid asset

Rajan Sehgal, the managing director of private banking for the Indian subcontinent and non-resident Indians at Credit Suisse, talks about art as an investment.

Dubai-based Rajan Sehgal is the managing director of private banking for the Indian subcontinent and non-resident Indians at Credit Suisse. He talks about art as an investment.

What kind of general advice do you offer to those looking to invest in art?

It is a good investment but it is not as liquid as investments in stock, where one can buy and sell them within minutes. To sell the investments in art one has to wait for an auction. At Credit Suisse, we advise our clients that it should form a small part of their portfolios. One cannot display stocks and bonds in a drawing room.

Are a lot of NRIs (non-resident Indians) interested in investing in Indian art?

NRIs have done very well in terms of wealth creation and building their careers and have gone a big way in buying Indian art, as it helps to identify their homes as an Indian family living outside India.

Did the global economic crisis have any impact?

A global crisis impacts the lower strata of the society a lot more compared to the upper strata. While the art market was affected, it was not completely eliminated. The investment in art continued at a slower pace in 2009 and 2010 then bounced back aggressively.

What growth trends are you seeing in India’s art market?

The art market in India has gone beyond the niche segments of society, to the middle strata as well. The reason for this change is because now it’s considered as a good investment. A larger section of society collect art for their homes, and they love to own it since they are now aware that they can sell these masterpieces through an art auction or through an organised market. The fact is that the Indian art industry is extremely diverse and beautiful and has had a huge upswing in the last five to seven years.

Do you collect art?

I have been collecting art for many years. I own art pieces by Indian artists such as M F Husain and Tyeb Mehta.

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Published: December 20, 2014 04:00 AM

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