Art investment cold calling - sounds like artistic fraud to me


I got some (sadly, not enough to name the company involved) info from a forex trader friend in Hong Kong.

He was called on his private number. The caller knew his name and knew to start the conversation in English. He suspects that a health insurance company in Hong Kong that he'd contacted for a quote sold his info.

The caller was trying to get him to invest in Chinese artworks and went on and on about how these are gaining value faster than any other art. Irrelevant references to non-Chinese artists were used to reinforce what a great investment this was.

My friend ended the call before getting the company name or learning if this was some sort of investment pool or if it was direct purchase of works of art.

Either way, I'll suggest this is a scam for the following reasons:

1. If it's such a great money making opportunity, cold calling would be 100% unnecessary.
2. If it's a pooled investment, there's no easy way to assess how much money is being spent on art and how much is being spent to pay the cold callers, company execs, etc. Can you say PONZI?
3. If it's direct purchase of art, and, even if the Chinese art market is exploding, there are plenty of artists who's work will never be worth anything. If a dealer knew something was a great investment, why the hell would he call total strangers instead of taking the deal himself or referring it to good friends and established clients?

My advice to anyone who gets calls like this - string the person along just long enough to get the company name or have some literature sent to you. Then post the information here at the FPA as a warning to others to avoid the scheme at all costs.


I've got an update on this one. Now they've started spamming my friend's email address.

The company is and the spam came from They are so desperate to find clients to buy art that they are buying contact information from other companies to do cold calls and spam.

Of course, if they get enough people buying overpriced art from an artist, that may be enough to make other people take notice and drive the value up. On the other hand, it's quite possible that the so-called valuable items being pushed so aggressively will end up being worth a fraction of what clients paid for them.

If there's any sort of significant economic downturn, items like art are unlikely to perform well as investments. In my opinion, art is not an good investment vehicle for the vast majority of people. In this case, I'm willing to wager that The Art Futures Group will make a lot more money than any of their clients.

As always, I strongly recommend against getting involved investing with any company that does cold calling or that engages in spamming.