For the risk-averse investors who are looking for diversification can explore alternative assets as some of them such as art, wines and high-end watches are less volatile than mainstream investments. And those with deep pockets can opt for coloured diamonds as well. This may not appeal to everyone, but some are ardent proponents of alternative assets. Dillon Bhatt, Head of International Business Development, Millwood Kane International, in an interview with MintGenie, says that he views watches as pieces of artworks which he can wear. Watches have given outstanding returns in the past five years, and in some cases rising over 300 percent. Dhillon also says that rare and vintage cars have become one of the fastest growing assets over the last decade.
What is the role played by alternative assets in overall portfolio of retail investors?
I believe alternative assets provide a good diversification strategy for retail investors. Typically, alternative investments such as art, fine spirits and wines and high-end watches are less volatile than mainstream investments due to their scarcity. However, the returns haven’t always been as lucrative. They are a longer-term play.
Apart from equities, debt instruments and mutual funds, what are the other alternative assets in which small retail investors can, and should, invest?
Over the past 10 years high end spirits and wines have done phenomenally well especially certain whiskeys and champagnes. Additionally rare and vintage cars have been one of the fastest-growing asset classes over the last decade due to their scarcity and high demand. Additionally, high end stones such as large coloured diamonds, have been great investments due to their extreme rarity, people are willing to pay high amounts to obtain these rare gems.
As you have been investing in watches for quite some time, can you tell us something about the returns they offer. Some investors prefer to buy them because they are watch enthusiasts, should they be seen as a good investment option too?
I personally only buy watches as pieces of artwork that I can wear, first and foremost. As an enthusiast I have been lucky enough to tie a passion with a good investment strategy. Watches have provided outstanding returns over the past five years in some cases appreciating over 300 percent. If you are able to buy what you love and it appreciated in value, I believe that’s the best strategy.
When there are a number of start-ups entering unicorn club in India with 20 start-ups becoming billion-dollar enterprises this year alone, do you have plans to make investments in India besides London and Cyprus?
We do not recommend that you invest only in real estate. Investment should include other assets, including stocks and shares in Indian companies. One should build a comprehensive and balanced portfolio. This is subject to your risk appetite and should make informed decisions and not just gamble on a company becoming a unicorn.
Tell us something about your expectations from cryptocurrencies and their future in India and elsewhere? Do you think they can get the status of alternative currencies anytime future?
I believe cryptocurrencies will become mainstream globally. However, the time of adoption will differ from country to country. Digital currencies are the future, it may be a digital rupee or some other form. Understand the RBI is working on its on digital currency. The current basket of offerings may not be the answer but the future is yet to be written.