Growth in Bridging Loans

Among the many consequences for the loan industry following the 2008 financial downturn was the explosive growth of bridging loans. What was once a niche product has grown to become a multi-billion pound industry in the United Kingdom, with an array of companies beginning to offer bridging products.

Typically used for commercial or residential property, bridging loans have offered an alternative to the mortgage market and it now exists as a robust industry in its own right. In 2011 the West One Bridging Index was launched to collect data about the bridging market in the UK and to track growth in number of loans and loan value.

Bridging Loans in 2015

Bridging Loans Value
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5 Tips for Buying Diamonds Online

sapphire engagement ring

Ideally, a diamond should be purchased after viewing it in person to see how it interacts with the light around it. Because no two diamonds are the same, the viewing experience for each will be unique. Since more and more consumers are taking advantage of the convenience that shopping online offers, the diamond industry has been working on gaining consumer confidence to make buying diamonds online a common and trustworthy practice.

If you are considering purchasing a diamond this holiday season and want to take advantage of sales online, here are some tips to help you in your search:

Figure out your budget beforehand – Knowing what you are willing to spend on a diamond will keep you focused from the very start of the search

Do your research – Educate yourself on the 4 C’s of diamonds (Carat, Cut, Color, Clarity) and determine which of these variables is most important to you.  What shape are you looking for? Are you willing to sacrifice size for quality, or do you prefer a larger stone with some clarity characteristics, or neither?  Making these decisions will help guide your diamond search.

Get a grading report – Make sure the diamond that you are buying comes with a diamond grading report by an internationally recognized laboratory, like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).  These reports will give you a breakdown of the details of the specific diamond, without giving you a value of the stone.  It is objective, which is what you want.

Investigate the company

  1. Are they reputable?
  2. What are the reviews from previous buyers?
  3. How long have they been in business?
  4. Where are they located?  Are they international, or are they right next door?  Convenience can be handy, especially if you can make a trip to the jeweler to see the stone in person.
  5. What is the return policy for the diamond? You want to stay away from purchases where you cannot return the diamond for a full refund, because you will want to get the stone verified by a certified appraiser after the purchase
  6. What payment methods do they accept?
  7. How will the diamond be shipped, and is there insurance coverage?
  8. Do they have a Customer Service department where you can speak to a live person, should you have questions?

Once you feel comfortable with the purchase, bring the diamond to a reputable an independent appraiser to have them verify that the diamond matches the certificate and was purchased at a fair price. They will also provide you with a written insurance appraisal.  

How to Start a Wine Collection

A wine collection can be one of the most rewarding avenues of investing. It can be both personally enriching as well as financially rewarding. Since 2005, the most investment-worthy wines have increased in value at roughly twice the rate of the S&P 500.

Live-ex Fine Wine Investables Index: Ten Years

Live-ex Fine Wine Investables Index: Ten Years.

This pool of the most investment worthy wines shows a 134% increase between 10/31/05 and 10/31/2015. The S&P 500 increased 72% in the same period while the FTSE 100 rose 20%.

Preferred Wines    

In order to have a good result in wine investing, the first step is to be very selective about the wines purchased, as most wines do not appreciate over time. In the past, the wines that have appreciated the most have been the wines that are already at the top of the quality pyramid and from the best vintages. These are:

  • Bordeaux
  • Burgundy
  • California Cult Wines

Sources for Purchasing

The best source for purchasing any wine is always from the winery itself. Most California wineries have ‘wine clubs’ that will ship the wines to consumers in the US and abroad. However, some patience is required as many of the wineries have waiting lists and it can take months or even years to secure a spot in the wine club.

In Europe very few wineries making investment worthy wines sell directly to the public. So the next options are retailers and auction houses. As a general rule, wine auctions tend to offer better prices than retailers. But, more work is required on the part of the buyer and purchasing is typically only available at specific times of the year when the auctions are held. For investment purposes, it is generally better to avoid purchasing wine at charity auctions as the prices are often inflated – all in the name of a good cause, of course.


Fraudulent wine bottles pose a significant risk to the wine collector. For serious investors in older wines, it is best to invoke the opinion of an expert to avoid not just fraudulent bottles but also bottles that are out of condition.


It is very important that the wines be stored properly to preserve their condition and value. Professional wine storage will help the resale value of a wine collection. However, a sophisticated home storage system can be a good alternative.

The Rise of Positive Luxury


Image © Positive Luxury

One of the defining consumerist trends of the 21st Century has been an increased interest in the provenance of the goods we consume. Typically it manifests in a desire for locally-sourced food, organic produce or in more extreme cases ensuring that clothing or electronics are not made in conditions that are dangerous or exploitative to workers.
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Millions of Millionaires

Millions of Millions

Amidst talk of bailouts and austerity measures, it might appear that the economic recovery of the last five years has faced nothing but setbacks. However, according to the Global Wealth Report the annual growth rate of wealth around the world is robust and looks set to grow steadily over the next half-decade. Driven by an expanding middle class in developing countries and by a huge increase in the number of dollar millionaires.
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Evaluating the Current Art Market – Part 5 of 5

Andy Warhol $ Sign 1981

As Oscar Wilde is known to be quoted, “When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money,” but what happens when the two worlds meet? Art Finance, or Art Secured Lending, as it is also known as, is quickly growing as a preferred route to attain liquidity amongst collectors of fine objects, and this is demonstrated with a number of new lenders having entered the market over the last five years. However, the current questions in this area still remain: Do advisors know how to effectively recommend art finance as an alternative liquidity source and do collectors know they can even use such a service?
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Evaluating the Current Art Market – Part 4 of 5

Continuing our art market series, we researched how blue-chip artists are performing in relation to the rest of the Contemporary market and found an interesting fact about Andy Warhol’s sales. Warhol outsold the bottom 46k Contemporary lots at Christie’s in 2014 by £3M.

View our mini graph below to see how Warhol’s superior sales compare to Cristiano Ronaldo’s dominating salary

Andy Warhol Outsells 46K Contemporary Artist Lost Yearly

Related Articles

Evaluating the Current Art Market – Part 1 of 5 - In the first part we explored whether the current art market is in a bubble

Evaluating the Current Art Market – Part 2 of 5 - In the second part we discussed the use of art as an investment

Evaluating the Current Art Market – Part 3 of 5 - In the third part of our art market series, we’ll explore the practises of galleries and private dealers.

Luxury Watches and Women


You would be forgiven for thinking that the world of luxury watches is overwhelmingly male-orientated and in some ways this is true. Through the history of watchmaking, names like Antoni Patek, Adrien Philippe, Louis Cartier and George Daniels have been the icons of horology.

Collecting watches may also be wrongly thought of as a passion for men – wristwatches being “male jewellery” – and certainly the most famous and sought after watches tend to be models for men. Ironically the very first wristwatch was designed by Patek Philippe for a woman – Countess Koscowicz of Hungary.
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Evaluating the Current Art Market – Part 3 of 5

In the third part of our art market series, we’ll explore the practises of galleries and private dealers. We’ll also address how galleries and private dealers guide and finesse the market to benefit their businesses and their stable of artists. Then, we’ll take a look at how the private market compares to the volatility of the auction sector, and if it’s the solution for increasing transparency in the art market.


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Alternative Finance Growth – The Future


The growth of alternative finance and fintech companies has been explosive over the last five years. Since the credit crunch caused a tightening of credit availability, particularly for small businesses and entrepreneurs, hundreds of lenders raced to fill the gap with innovative loan solutions. Borro’s unique approach was to lend against valuable assets such as cars, artwork and watches and this was one of many new ways to borrow that came to the market at the start of the decade.
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