Real estate, alternative real assets and other diversions

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A life in real estate, part II: French disconnection

In the second of 12 episodes, Oliver Ash recalls how Parisian geography got him all hot and bothered on the way to a job interview Sometime around the middle of 1983, I picked up a copy of Chartered Surveyor Weekly and opened it at random somewhere near the back, where the jobs were advertised. There it was, staring at me: a plain advertisement in a small, rectangular box with no frills, no extras, no colour. “Hampton and Sons”, it read, “seek a commercial property negotiator for their... Read More >

Recent Articles:

The diary of an alternative assets dealer
Suddenly the alternative assets world has become much more difficult. Three fund management companies, GAM, Woodford and H20, have scared the little cotton socks off investment committees, prompting an outbreak of extreme caution. These three Read More >
Stroll your troubles away
A good walk is a tonic, but it must meet certain criteria – and here’s one that ticks all the boxes There’s plenty of evidence linking walking with wellbeing. It’s partly about giving the lungs a good workout and unleashing those Read More >
How to value football club businesses
(Oliver is joint-owner of Maidstone Utd FC, Director of Brive Rugby Club in French Top 14 and recent Board Member of The National League.) Right now there is a heated debate on social media about the ill-health of many football clubs in the Read More >
Rise of the second-hand book market
How going online has restored the value of second-hand books As a book dealer, I would like to respond to an article published on the BBC website on 28 December 2018, ‘The booming trade in second-hand books’. The business reporter, Lucy Read More >
Buying Banksy
Challenging the opinion that only the wealthiest can buy Banksy art Banksy’s art hit the headlines in October 2018 when a piece of artwork self-destructed in the midst of an auction. Since then, demand for the anonymous artist’s work has Read More >
Reflecting on the magical sporting drama – 2019 Cricket World Cup
Never in my life. Will I again witness such moments of utterly magical sporting drama. If a scriptwriter had penned the conclusion to the 2019 Cricket World Cup, they would have been laughed out of court. And told to pull themselves together. Read More >
Work worries: get walking
When I stepped out of the lift and onto the trading floor at Hoare Govett in Heron House 35 years ago, I am certain that employee wellbeing was not at the top of the senior partner’s agenda.  Whilst the stresses and strains of the Read More >
Classic cars – the state of the market
During 2018, classic car values as a whole rose by 5.9% (source Classic Cars). However, within the 1500 models used as an index there were losers as well as winners. Broadly speaking the affordable embryonic classics showed significant gains in Read More >
Cheltenham Festival 2019 – George marks your card
Shortly after 1.30pm next Tuesday afternoon, "The Roar" will signal the start of four days of compelling sport. 60,000 voices greeting the start of the Cheltenham Festival as the runners are sent on their way for the meeting's opening contest, Read More >
In maritime investments it pays to cast your network wide
In our last article we looked at how Ship Owners were attracting financial investments through innovating their product offering and slowly catching up with the digital age. This commentary will now focus on the softer skills required in dealing Read More >
A View of the Sales Ground Bloodstock sales in Bordeaux in the eyes of a trainer
I had spotted them earlier, walking the sales ground at the Hippodrome de Bequet, La Teste-de-Buch. Two elegantly dressed men – swept back white hair, jerseys knotted around their necks and hanging off the shoulders. One pink, one yellow. They Read More >
Invest today in tomorrow’s classic cars Future classics that could make for attractive investments
There is no guaranteed profit in investing in classic cars and there can be substantial medium-term losses if the purchase takes place at the particular model’s apex of desirability, as we have seen at the classic car auctions over the last Read More >
On Commission The returns on most investments are purely financial.  But some investments have other rewards.
The returns on most investments are purely financial.But some investments have other rewards. Buying art, for instance, offers the chance not only to anticipate what is going to do well, but to exercise your taste, look for something you Read More >
Engagement Rings Part 1 How an ad campaign changed everything
Today, one cannot mention an engagement without a clamour of requests to see “the ring”. A purchase many grooms-to-be find formidable and confusing.  There’s the cut, colour, clarity and carats to consider: the famous 4 C’s. The Read More >
‘X’ marks the spot – Where to find today’s gold to fund our ships The influx of new money created a surge in new orders for vessels being placed
There is a natural interest in the maritime industry. As children we enjoyed the adventures of walking the plank, playing battle ships and imagining the gold to be found from sunken treasure. This childhood passion of risk and reward still holds Read More >
Vintage watches: cashing in on time The success of the automatic watch is largely attributed to its ease of use
Since the rotating of shadows around rudimentary sticks planted in the ground, man has had an affinity for plotting the course of time. Different mechanisms, from sundials to pendulums and grandfather clocks, had their day before a quantum leap Read More >
Royal Ascot 2018 Five days of compelling action on the Ascot Racecourse as told by a racehorse trainer
Rolling and rushing and careering and smiling and pushing and shoving a little. The helter skelter tumble off the top of the stands to greet a winner. To secure that spot beside the Winner's Enclosure. To raise a hat or doff a cap. To applaud and Read More >
The Epsom Derby The ultimate test of the Classic generation.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century, some wise folk wandered to the top of a Surrey hill and surveyed a helter skelter landscape of downland turf. There are quite a lot of flat bits across this gilded island of ours, but the wise and worthy Read More >
Books as Investments Buying books you admire is a form of investing in your own enjoyment
Investing is usually a matter of judgment as well as calculation. What will do well, and what will do best over the period you envisage?  Investing in books -- or art of any kind -- includes this element, but it also includes intrinsic interest, Read More >
The brutal unpredictability of sport Horse racing is not about petty politics and in-fighting, but is actually about sport
Sport. The very fine margins. The difference between winning and losing. The moments that define a career. The moments that define a life. There has been an awful lot of talk recently about FOBT's. About levels of prize money. About fighting Read More >
An offer you cannot refuse Investing in art deco
In today’s fluctuating markets, investors scour for low risk, high return opportunities. These are few and far between, the most reliable being natural resources and bricks and mortar, which themselves can be subject to uncertainty. For the Read More >
The Iroquois Steeplechase Ascot is caviar and champagne, Nashville is southern fried chicken, coleslaw and Jack D
The second Saturday of May. Percy Warner Park. First race due off at 1.00pm. By which time a huge crowd will have assembled. The infield strewn with vast pick up trucks, parties of young men and Southern Belles dressed to impress, seersucker Read More >
The 2000 Guineas experience George Baker recalls his Newmarket experience ahead of the first Classic of the season
I have never done it before. I doubt I will ever do it again. I hope I might. But I have seen many 2000 Guineas fields stream towards me up the Rowley Mile, and this was the only time. So far. The only time that I have found myself applauding the Read More >
The trials and tribulations of owning horses A personal narrative of man and equine through the seasons
Dawn no more than a sliver of grey light on the distant horizon. Darkness not going down without a fight. Shadows flickering hither and thither across the stable yard. Feeding done. Water buckets to fill. Ice on the ground. Puddles picked out in Read More >
The Grand National Experience A personal look back at the Grand National over the years
Grand National morning. Christmas, Easter, the first day of the summer holidays. All rolled into one for me. Butterflies. Many a time have I been at Aintree shortly after dawn on National morning. Dew on the ground. Horses pulling out for a Read More >
The finance of football A commercial look at The Premier League
Welcome to my sport column – An occasional look at various commercial sides of the sports industry which ultimately deliver the live events we enjoy. The Premier League is the single most valuable cog in the sports industry in the UK and it Read More >
What Will be the First $1 Billion Painting? Picasso, Cézanne, Pollock, Rothko or Basquiat?
The answer is none of them... or for that matter, any of the other big names that have been filling the front pages of The Art Newspaper, The Telegraph or the New York Times for the last generation or two. Any art buyer or investor would be Read More >
An investment of the heart Advice for investing in a classic car
One of the first questions we are always asked by new bidders at an auction is, ‘will it make me money?’ Our answer? The infuriatingly mercurial, ‘perhaps.’ Choosing a classic or collectors’ car is a deeply personal process, and for Read More >
Horses jumping over fence Towcester: a charming but challenged racecourse What might the future hold for this independent racecourse?
This is the last in a series of four articles on the history of British racecourses and their struggle for economic prosperity. It focuses on Towcester - an independent, and a prime example of the diversity of British racecourses which add Read More >
Horseracing Newmarket: the headquarters of British racing How the growth of commercial joint ventures is promoting the sport's financial well-being
This is the third in a series of four articles on the history of British racecourses and their struggle for economic prosperity. It focuses on Newmarket – the headquarters of British racing – and the growth of commercial joint ventures in Read More >
Horseracing Lingfield Park and the struggle for modern economic prosperity The second in a series of articles on the history of British racecourses
This is the second in a series of articles on the history of British racecourses and their struggle for modern economic prosperity. It focuses on one of Arena Leisure’s premier dual surface courses. Lingfield Park, a 450 acre estate set in a Read More >
Horseracing The history and economics of British racecourses David Hill begins his series on the status of the horseracing industry
This is the first in a series of four articles on the history of British racecourses providing a context for the existing economic status of the industry. The recent legislation that all betting operators including online companies based Read More >


Investor's Notebook

Smart people from around the world share their thoughts

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The Macro View

Recent financial news and how it connects across all asset classes

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Fintech, proptech and what it all means

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A sideways look at the world of wine

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The Architect

Some of the profession's best minds

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The Auctioneer

What's going on in the auction world

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Residential Investor

Making money from residential property investment

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The Professor

Analysis and opinion from the academic sphere

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Face to Face

In-depth interviews with leading figures in the property world

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The Headhunter

Recruitment and career moves

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The Analyst

Investment themes and trends

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The History Man

A look back at previous cycles, events, characters

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The Economist

Money, rates and prices

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Political Insider

The inside scoop on Washington, Westminster and Whitehall

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The Agent

Reflections on estate agency, today and in past times

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Alternative assets

Investing in tangible assets

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