Photo: FOFA

The significant increase of new family offices setting up shop here in Singapore – from 27 in 2018 to 453 in 2021 – has led a father-daughter team of art collectors to launch Family Office For Art (FOFA) to cater to a growing demand for a one-stop art concierge.

Former investment banker Chong Huai Seng and his daughter Ning Chong are the founders of The Culture Story, a private art space started in 2017 to promote a wide range of art forms, from street art to non-fungible token (NFTs)

But the recent expansion wave of Family Offices – a substantial proportion of which are coming from China, Hong Kong and Macau – prompted the duo to start FOFA to offer other art collectors a broad range of services, from acquiring new artworks and deaccessioning what they already have, to helping them publish a book on their collection, mount a public exhibition, or donate their art to an important museum.

They can also assist collectors with complex financial arrangements, such as borrowing against their artwork to acquire more art, obtaining collateral lending for art assets being stored at Le Freeport Singapore, and creating liquidity from their collections.

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Providing advice on succession, philanthropy, family governance and legacy

Ning says: “In the past few years, we’ve been approached by many individuals asking us for advice on a variety of art-related issues. We’ve also been asked to give talks to private bankers and their clients on topics such as how to start collecting art and where to begin with NFTs. We have also given advice on more complex issues such as succession, philanthropy, family governance and legacy – issues that many family offices are concerned with.”

“Hence, we decided to create FOFA that address these broad range of issues,” says the senior Chong. “We’ve been able to do many things these past few years running The Culture Story. And it is our hope that we can impart this knowledge to these families, so that in time to come, they might also be inspired to start their own version of The Culture Story.”

This article was originally published in The Business Times.