Dana Prussian, VP Art Services, Bank of America Private Bank: a focused career path
ON MAY 30, 2018, WEALTH MANAGEMENT.COM FEATURED AN ARTICLE ON THE NOW ESTABLISHED INCLUSION OF ART AS AN ASSET CLASS.
AT CHRISTIE’S, THE COLLECTION OF PEGGY AND DAVID ROCKEFELLER SET A RECORD HIGH FOR THE MOST VALUABLE PRIVATE COLLECTION SOLD AT AUCTION AT $833 MILLION.
n.b. Gathered over a lifetime and handed down from previous generations, the collection reflects the Rockefeller family’s deep, life long passion for Impressionist works of Art, American paintings, English and European furniture, Asian works of art, European ceramics and Chinese porcelain, silver, and American decorative arts and furniture. What was a passion for collecting for pure aesthetic joy has been transformed into a philanthropic legacy. The proceeds from the Estate sale at Christie’s have gone to support selected charities in which the Rockefellers believed.
“THE VIGOROUS BUYING THIS WEEK FOR EVERYTHING FROM A MONET TO A MONEY CLIP … SURPRISED MANY ART EXPERTS,” ACCORDING TO A NEW YORK TIMES REPORT ON THE AUCTION.
INDEED, A CONVERGENCE OF FACTORS IN RECENT YEARS HAS GENERATED HIGHER INTEREST IN ART AS AN ASSET THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO APPRECIATE: INTEREST RATES AT HISTORIC LOWS, STOCK MARKET VOLATILITY, TECHNOLOGY CREATING INCREASED TRANSPARENCY IN THE ART MARKET AND INCREASED INTEREST IN ART GLOBALLY, AMONG OTHERS.
ALTHOUGH DEMAND FOR ART FLUCTUATES, WITH DIFFERENT AREAS OF THE ART MARKET EXPERIENCING VARYING LEVELS OF DEMAND, THE GROWING TREND OF VIEWING ART AS AN ASSET CLASS HAS MEANT INCREASED INTEREST AMONG WEALTH MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONALS. NEARLY 90 PERCENT OF WEALTH MANAGERS SAID THEY THINK ART AND COLLECTIBLES SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN WEALTH MANAGEMENT OFFERINGS, ACCORDING TO THE DELOITTE 2017 ART & FINANCE REPORT.
IN TODAY’S LRFA BLOG POST, WE ARE FASCINATED TO FOLLOW DANA’S ASTUTE ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY REFLECTING BOTH HER PASSION AND HER COMMITMENT TO MASTERING THE ART OF FINANCE. IN TODAY’S WORLD, MANY PRIVATE AND PUBLIC BANKS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS HAVE DIVISIONS SPECIALIZING IN OFFERING LOANS AND ADVISE ON COLLECTING, THE BANK OF AMERICA BEING ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING. MANY UNIVERSITIES AND AUCTION HOUSES OFFER CLASSES AND DEGREES. CHRISTIE’S, FOR EXAMPLE, OFFERS A GRADUATE DEGREE: MASTERS IN ART, LAW AND BUSINESS.
A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN DANA WAS STILL IN SCHOOL, SHE WAS A PIONEER AND CARVED OUT HER OWN ACADEMIC PATH TO GAIN RECOGNITION AS A FINANCIAL ADVISOR TO INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES OF HIGH NET WORTH.
DANA, THE LRFA BLOG WARMLY WELCOMES YOU BACK.
WERE YOU COMMITTED TO THE IDEA OF COMBINING ART AND FINANCE FROM THE BEGINNING OR DID THE IDEA EVOLVE AS YOU PROGRESSED IN SCHOOL AND PROFESSIONALLY?
Yes, pretty much. That said, when I graduated, the idea of “Art as an Asset Class” was only just taking shape. It certainly was not institutionalized like it is now. I knew that I wanted to jump onto that track as soon as possible, but was not sure how long it would take.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST POSITION AND DID IT COMBINE YOUR TWO AREAS OF EXPERTISE?
It had nothing to do with the art world! I had just come out of a Christie’s internship when I graduated, and I knew that if I wanted to work in the Art Finance sphere, I needed the Finance component. I knew nothing about finance! Like one Columbia Econ class, nothing. So I got into a two-year rotational analyst program at Barclays, which gave me a necessary understanding of financial products.
A SELF-MADE MAN, HENRY PHIPPS UNDERSTOOD THE CHALLENGES INVOLVED IN CREATING WEALTH. AS A FOUNDING PARTNER AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER OF CARNEGIE STEEL, HIS INNOVATIONS MATCHED HIS WORK ETHIC. HE ALSO UNDERSTOOD THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN COMMUNICATING AND SUSTAINING VALUES, AND GROWING AND PRESERVING WEALTH FOR HIS FAMILY. PHIPPS FOUNDED BESSEMER TRUST WITH THIS CONNECTION IN MIND. HE COMMUNICATED HIS INTENTIONS AND GUIDANCE TO EACH OF HIS CHILDREN, URGING THEM TO SPEND WISELY AND WORK COLLABORATIVELY TO PRESERVE AND MAINTAIN THE FAMILY’S WEALTH AND VALUES FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.
YOU WERE AT BESSEMER TRUST FOR OVER THREE YEARS. HOW DID THEY GROOM YOU FOR YOUR CURRENT POSITION?
Bessemer was the perfect intermediary step to my transitioning into Art Services. The advisors and culture are truly crème de la crème, and I was fortunate enough to be part of an incredibly motivated team. Working as a Client Advisor there taught me three invaluable skills: how to hustle and grow a book of business, what it looks like to provide exceptional client service, and how to look at a balance sheet holistically. I worked with several art collectors who were part of our book, and by the end of my time at Bessemer, I knew that I had the skill set to serve a super sophisticated group of collectors and focus solely on the art on their balance sheets. I ultimately left Bessemer because, in the time I was there, the concept of “Art as an Asset Class” took shape more formally and there was a new spot open at Bank of America Private Bank.
WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE ART SERVICES DIVISION AT BANK OF AMERICA PRIVATE BANK?
I’m one of two VPs of Art Services on the team. The two of us have divided the country in half and lead Art Lending and Consignment efforts for our markets. I focus on our NYC market in addition to Miami, Palm Beach, Dallas, Houston, DC, and Long Island. You can imagine, that’s a lot of art collectors and internal advisors to cover!
HOW DID THE PROGRAM DEVELOP? WHEN WAS IT INITIATED AND HOW HAS IT GROWN AND CHANGED SINCE ITS ONSET?
In 2015, the Private Bank (formerly US Trust) hired Deloitte to implement a strategy that would serve our clients and their art collections. The head of that consulting project came on board as our National Arts Services Executive, and he built out the program from there. In the last four years, our team has grown our Art Lending book from $2 billion to $8 billion. We’re now the largest art lenders in the country.
WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF SERVICES THAT YOU OFFER COLLECTORS AND INSTITUTIONS?
We are obviously highly focused on art lending, but we have expanded our services beyond lines of credit. We offer the only Consignment Services platform at a private bank, so we can act as agent for a client who wishes to sell at auction. We negotiate everything from enhanced financial packages to sales and marketing strategies.
IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, DANA PRUSSIAN WILL SHARE WITH US THE WORKING OF THE ART SERVICES DIVISION AT BANK OF AMERICA PRIVATE BANKING. THANK YOU, DANA, AND THANK ALL THE FOLLOWERS OF THE BLOG FOR YOUR CONTINUED INTEREST!