Phillips launches fiduciary services to help clients navigate the art market

Phillips started a branch of fiduciary services.

Courtesy of Phillips

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Phillips launched a fiduciary services arm in response to demand from collectors and their advisers to navigate the increasingly complex issues of the art market.

The international team will be led by Phillips’ three general counsel, Martin Wilson and Mathilde Heaton, based in the UK; and New York-based Hartley Waltman, the auction house announced Monday.

“We have each worked as senior attorneys for major international auction houses for over 20 years and have the capabilities to speak on issues globally,” Wilson said.

Wilson, Chief Legal Counsel and Head of Fiduciary at Phillips, is the author of the 2019 Handbook, Art law and art trade, which provides a comprehensive and practical guide to UK law relating to transactions and disputes in the art world.

Waltman moved to Phillips in 2019 after 20 years at Christie’s. Heaton, who ran legal departments in Asia, France and Switzerland for more than 20 years, brought his art, intellectual property and e-commerce expertise to Philips in 2018.

Key services the international team will provide include titles, authenticity, valuations and financial arrangements, such as advances, loans, minimum price guarantees, risk-sharing agreements and taxes, said Wilson.

Phillips is the world’s third-largest auction house by annual sales, after Sotheby’s and Christie’s. In 2021, it achieved a total of $1.2 billion in global sales, up 32% from 2019, the auction house said in its annual report released in December.

Phillips continued to have a banner year in Asia in 2021, with auctions in Hong Kong totaling more than HK$2.1 billion (US$270 million), nearly double the year’s results. former. The auction house plans to open its new Asia headquarters in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon cultural district this fall, with a purpose-built permanent exhibition space and auction room.

“We often find ourselves more useful when important advisers to wealthy clients don’t have a lot of experience in the art world,” Wilson says.

The service is particularly needed in Hong Kong, a growing art hub where there are fewer art lawyers than in London and New York, he says.

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