Dorset magazine interview

Jennie Fraser, Senior Private Client Manager at Stackhouse Poland, was recently interviewed by Dorset magazine. The interview appears in the January issue of the magazine, and Jennie talks about the changes in the Private Client marketplace and reveals some of the more unusual items that she has been asked to arrange insurance for.

Jennie is based in our Poole office, and we are pleased to feature the interview, courtesy of Dorset magazine.


What are the changes that you have seen in the insurance market in terms of personal client acquisitions and their collections?

We are finding in the current economic climate that many of our clients are giving their finances an overhaul and choosing really interesting, new and alternative ways in which to invest their money. Many clients are acquiring unusual collection items that they are amassing not just for their own enjoyment but as an investment. This is obviously impacting on the conversations that we are having with our clients, making sure that their insurance cover is adequate, appropriate and relevant to their personal investment collections.

As a team we’re highly adaptable and with diverse knowledge and experience this enables us to find an insurance solution  for any quirky insurance needs that arise. We take time to research the background of the unusual items, allowing us to have an understanding of the market values for collectables.

We always recommend a valuation from a professional source to ensure cover is on the correct basis and that sums insured are adequate. Whilst getting valuations can prove to be costly, they provide not only proof of ownership, but also evidence the true value of your treasured item, so there is no disappointment in the event of a claim.


Tell us about some of the collections that you are coming across

Diamonds are still forever and are the smallest, lightest and most concentrated form of wealth in the world today. Their values keep going up too!  On average diamond prices have increased by more than 14 per cent per annum for over 50 years.

If you have had a diamond or gold piece of jewellery for ten years or more it will certainly have increased in value, probably quite significantly. With rising values it is really important to check not just your total sum insured for your valuables, but also the single item limit for unspecified jewellery which can vary considerably from Insurer to Insurer.

A Professional valuation ensures that the origin of a diamond is verified and its grade, in terms of the colour and clarity of the stone, and weight is noted.  We would also recommend taking photos of yourself wearing the item of jewellery, again, good proof of ownership.


Fine Wine collections

Fine wine collections are becoming increasingly popular amongst our discerning clients, who are acquiring a broad collection of vintage wines and champagnes. They have experienced some astonishing increases in the value of their collections over the last few years. According to Knight Frank’s 2018 Wealth Report, the strong demand from Asia and the fall in the value of sterling has helped fuel 192% increases in the value of wine over the last 10 years, thus making it one of the best performing alternative investments of the last decade.

A fine wine investment is very tax efficient as it’s not liable for capital gains tax which goes some way to explaining this phenomenal growth. There’s also the actual enjoyment of collecting the bottles, along with the pleasure of sampling bottles in the  collection, we’ve been told! The costs for correct storage, temperature and light do need to be borne in mind.

Guns are growing in popularity as clients recognise that they are a good investment and becoming very collectable. Some models and brands can be incredibly attractive and some clients like to keep their guns on display.  The landscapes of Dorset and Devon are ideal locations for organised shoots and hence our client base with gun collections is now quite significant. Multiple gun collections are becoming more common as shooting as a hobby/sport becomes more popular.

British guns in particular continue to hold their value and some of the ‘Purdy’ vintage shot guns are particularly sought after. We currently insure a pair of Boss & Co Shotguns for £200,000.  We heard that an Elvis Presley Smith & Wesson model recently sold at an auction for $195,000!  Experts would say that a cohesive collection can be a much better investment than a handful of individual guns.


Classic cars

Classic cars have seen even more impressive returns on investment in recent times with this hobby bringing great pleasure to our ‘petrol head’ client base! Knight Frank’s 2018 Wealth Report reports how values over the past 10 years have increased by an impressive 334%, making classic cars one of the highest performing luxury assets.

The growth of classic cars as collectable items is reflected in the popularity of events such as Goodwood Revival and classic car rallies.  At Stackhouse we work closely with specialist insurers who update us regularly on which particular models have increased in value. We’re geared up to support the classic car market. My own husband has invested in a 1961 left hand drive, soft-top original Fiat 500.


Fine art

We’re certainly seeing the trend with our younger clientele for acquiring contemporary art by artists such as Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Lichtenstein as their values soar. The old masters are still popular though. Black and white photos by Terry O’ Neil have also accrued value in the last few years.  We encourage our clients to list their items and regularly update with professional valuations.


Victorian long case clocks

We come across lots of clock devotees who often have a genuine joy for long case clocks! It’s a very niche market but many people adore them and their values have increased in recent years.

In 2009 at a Bonhams Sale room, Ahasuerus Fromanteel long case clock fetched a staggering £340,000!



Being based in Dorset, we have a significant marine client base at Coleman Marine Insurance (part of the Stackhouse Poland Group). Approximately 30 years ago the purchase of certain new yacht vessels would be seen as an investment.  However, we are not seeing clients purchasing boats as an investment nowadays but more as a life style choice.  It’s a choice that more and more people are making as boating continues to grow in popularity. Dorset and Hampshire have stunning coastlines and we naturally attract people living and visiting here who love being out on the water.

We have a huge natural harbour at Poole and many local marinas providing excellent services to the local boating communities. It is becoming increasingly easy to become a boat owner – one of the growing trends that we are seeing is fractional ownership, whereby a share in a boat is bought and other couples/individuals buy in and set allocations of use are made throughout the year.

Roderick Harris and Jennie Fraser - Dorset magazine

Roderick Harris, Why Jewellers and Jennie Fraser, Stackhouse Poland

The January issue is out now – for more information on Dorset magazine, please visit their website.