As glamorous as it sounds, investor Michael Teh's relationship with gold art has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions from the start. Teh is the founder of private investment firm Saged Assets and the co-founder of Aureo Gallery, the only art gallery in Southeast Asia to sell the famed 24K gold art paintings of South Korean artist Kim Il Tae.
Graduating among the top of his class in mechanical engineering at RMIT University, Teh's growing interest in the stock market led him to read up any resources he could find about investments, including the Australian Financial Review. After years of hard work, perseverance and a series of successful investments which yielded multibagger returns, Teh's investment portfolio grew considerably.
Around this time, Teh was heavily influenced by Jim Rickards' book, The Death Of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System. Inspired to diversify a portion of his portfolio into fine art and gold rather than conventional paper assets like stocks and bonds, Teh's decision to invest in gold art was realised in November 2016 at a private banking event in KL, where the Kim's works were first displayed.
"I knew I was taking a lot of risks by co-founding Aureo Gallery and investing in gold art back then, as I had no prior experience in art investments nor in the business of art," shares Teh, who experienced a great deal of anxiety and stress when first opening the gallery. "Art collection and art investment in this region still aren't very widely understood today. Ultimately, it was my innate conviction towards Kim Il Tae’s gold art that gave me the boost I needed to commit to this venture."
Drawing from his unique experience as a fine art investor, Teh shares some pointers to know before investing in gold art.
Gold art versus paper assets
The more Teh read about events like the global financial crisis of 2009, the more convinced he became about investing in tangible assets like gold and fine art over "paper assets" like stocks and bonds.
"I thought to myself, given the behaviour of central banks printing paper money as a means of 'quantitative easing', there was a need to diversify a portion of my investment portfolio from paper assets to tangible assets, such as real estate, fine art and gold to preserve wealth and to avoid value destruction," says Teh, who admits that fine art investments aren't as popular here in Southeast Asia compared to countries like the US or UK.
"Given my investment background and my eye for portfolio diversification, I became very interested in gold art as an asset for wealth preservation and value appreciation."