Citibank Courts Young Heirs of Wealthy Clients to buy art;Art market returns to West Vancouver

In the past, wealth managers at banks haven’t been incredibly successful in retaining relationships with the children of existing clients. Citigroup Inc. is looking to reverse this trend. According to a 2014 study by the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, around $36 trillion is expected to transfer to heirs in U.S households from 2007 to 2061.

One method the bank is trying is to teach young wealthy heirs how to invest in art—a rapidly growing asset class in any elite player’s financial portfolio. Last year, record prices for art hit a new high.

Citi Private Bank invites the children of wealthy clients—most of whom are in their twenties but some are as young as 13—to attend an educational week-long event to educate heirs about sustainable investing, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship, reports Bloomberg Business. One seminar included a class on how to review quality, rarity, condition, and history of ownership of art. The seminar conducted in partnership with Christie’s auction house, consisted, in part, in doling out $100,000 in fake money to the participants grouped into teams for use in a mock auction.


First, experts from Christie’s helped members review a mock catalogue to determine the value of the work. Inside the catalogue real works of art that had been at past auctions were featured, including a Warhol Polaroid print of Giorgio Armani and a pair of earrings by Seaman Schepps once owned by Duchess of Windsor. After the mock auction was over, Senior Vice President of Christie’s Tash Perrin divulged what the work really sold for.

One example, reported by Bloomberg Business, included a team that bid $95,000 on a portrait of Kate Moss by Andy Warhol, which failed to sell in reality.

Citibank is not the only private bank to organize such events, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, and UBS Group AG all have jumped on the bandwagon for “training camps” for heirs.

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The 25th annual Harmony Arts Festival kicks off today in Ambleside and that means more than 50 artists and craftspeople will be selling their wares along Argyle Avenue on West Vancouver’s waterfront.

The Fresh St. Art Market is open to the public both weekends of the 10-day festival – July 31 to Aug. 3 and Aug. 7 to 9. Visitors can browse and buy photography, textiles, jewelry, glass and woodwork, paintings, ceramics, mixed media, sculpture and metal work created by North Shore and Lower Mainland artists.

Participating exhibitors this year include jeweller Anat Basanta, whose works can be seen in the collections of New York City’s Museum of Art and Design, the Ontario Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery as well as Circle Craft on Granville Island; Dihedral Designs, made up of Whistler-based mother-son team Sue Pratt and Mack Rankin, who design and fabricate bags, briefcases and soft goods from Merino wool felt, leather and waxed canvas; and Peg Steley, who will be selling her jewelry designs in addition to new travel dresses she recently developed.

The open-air market is open 2 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and B.C. Day.

For more details about which artists will be in attendance, visit

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