a photo of old watches

Diversify Your Portfolio with Collectibles?

The Center for Financial Services at Lehigh College of Business focuses on alternative investments at its annual conference.

Scholars and professionals from a diverse network of organizations came together in March to discuss alternative investments—specifically collectibles, like watches, wine and spirits, art and cars—at the annual conference of the Center for Financial Services at Lehigh College of Business.

The experts provided an overview of how collectibles are defined as well as discussed the market for collectibles and how to start purchasing them. Areas of discussion included the advantages and disadvantages of investing in collectibles and how these unusual investments may fit into a broader portfolio strategy.

“Attendees heard about the state of the various collectible markets … and fascinating war stories including how Paul Newman’s watch got on the set of the movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ and the provenance of lace used to gussy up George Washington,” said Kathleen Hanley, CFS director and Bolton-Perella Chair in Finance at Lehigh College of Business.

Seth Finkel

Seth Finkel, managing director, Neuberger Berman Private Wealth Management, chairs the Center for Financial Services Advisory Council at Lehigh College of Business.

This conference on “Investing in Collectibles” was moderated by Robert Frank, wealth editor, CNBC, and included panelists Yves de Launay, senior vice president and head of wine, Sotheby's; Elizabeth Haynie Wainstein, owner, The Potomack Company, a Washington, D.C., auction house; and Eric Wind, owner, Wind Vintage, which sells vintage watches.

Held since 2017, the conference has featured panelists who discussed a host of timely financial topics. Panelists have discussed the finer points of financial service reform; asset management challenges; blockchain technologies; environmental, social, and governance investing; special-purpose acquisition companies; and climate change mandates.

Past speakers such as former SEC Chair Jay Clayton are noted experts and hail from a range of well-known organizations and institutions including Sotheby’s, MIT, CNBC, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Neuberger Berman, BlackRock, and IBM.

The panel is just one event hosted by the CFS that seeks to bridge theory and practice to promote a collaborative exchange of ideas on critical issues affecting the financial services field.

CFS leverages Lehigh faculty and alumni as well as industry participants, academics, and regulators to unite research and practice.

CFS also hosts a two-day event, the Conference on Financial Market Regulation, which, in its 10th year, solicits paper submissions for presentations, offers a keynote, and draws attendees from around the globe.

In addition to events, CFS oversees the Financial Services Laboratory, a vehicle for understanding, creating, and employing financial data and software on the Lehigh University campus, and the Blockchain Lab, which promotes interdisciplinary research on the potential uses of blockchain technology in financial services.

Centers like CFS provide rich opportunities for students at the College of Business to learn beyond the classroom and move knowledge forward for all. Other centers include Center for Supply Chain Research at Lehigh, Center for Digital Marketing Strategy and Analytics, Murray H. Goodman Center for Real Estate, and Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise.

Within these centers, students and faculty collaborate on real-world, relevant business issues, accessing and contributing to a body of research that complement the scholarly activities of academic departments.

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