Herculis Partners, the Swiss asset management and family office has always targets high net worth families (HNWI) with its offers of family offices services, with asset management, alternative investments and private equities deals.
"Originally created for wealthy Russian families, Herculis group has since diversified into an international clientele from the republics of the former Soviet Union, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Africa. In response to the erosion of margins in wealth management, we are also diversifying our offer and have thus been able to increase our assets under management," explains Nikolay Karpenko, partner at Herculis Partners, based in Zurich, in charge of trust activities (domiciliation, administration and trustees services).
“Firms are beginning to see clearer lines of differentiation; with smaller, local firms seeing a great opportunity in offering a more tailored and targeted service.”
Herculis Trustees, active in Trusts and Foundations for its clients, offers fiduciary and relocation services. It has its office is in Zurich. Herculis Guardians, the third star in the Herculis galaxy, launched in 2016, is located at the Porrentruy headquarters in the Canton du Jura.
Once again tailoring its offer to the needs of its clients, the company proposes a specific service of rental of individual safe-boxes and large vaults for the storage of various items such as works of art, wine and precious stones. More than just security, Herculis Guardians offers confidentiality in a discreet and highly secure environment.
"Our company Herculis Guardians, which is not subject to the FINMA supervisory authorities, is the only non-bank institution to offer safe deposit boxes for individuals or legal entities on presentation of an identity document and the signature of a rental contract. Within banks, the customer can only have a safe deposit box linked to a bank account," explains Jean-Paul Periat, President of Herculis Guardians.
FREEPORT: a gem in the Swiss landscape
Near the Basel Area, Herculis Guardians EDO -FREEPORT- intends to attract potential investors from the global art world to Porrentruy, as well as gem traders, and notable financial professionals such as private bankers, insurance companies, and family offices. Herculis Guardians is a key centre of interest for artists, high net- worth collectors, galleries, corporate collections and museums lacking space. By bringing so many players in the art world together, it facilitates exchanges between galleries and art collectors from all over the world.
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Herculis Guardians has an EDO-FREEPORT area - an open customs warehouse - within its highly secure vault chambers area in Porrentruy. The company offers its international customers a tax-free storage area for precious goods (such as metals and precious stones, art, or wines).
“The global risk evaluation assessment is a true accomplishment that speaks to our commitment to offer only the highest level of security, service, and experience every day, to every client," said Nikolay Karpenko of Herculis Guardians SA. "Our clients expect nothing less than perfection and know they can count on us for unequalled security and privacy to protect their most precious assets."
Following a spate of scandals, the Swiss government tightened anti-money-laundering controls. The Federal Customs Administration (AFD), requires systematic identification of the goods, as well as strict authentication of the objects deposited in these warehouses and a monitor of the identity of the item owners.
"In order to ensure traceability, we are subject to regular monitoring and control by the Federal Custom Administration. We also offer our international customers precious metals buying and selling activities (on request). These alternative investments are in high demand both at home and worldwide," adds Jean-Paul Periat.
The draw for the clients is not having to pay import taxes, VAT or capital gains tax on anything stored or sold within its confines.
Freeports might simply defer the point when taxes are paid, as goods still need to reach final customers across the world, but in the meantime, they are kept safe. Clients benefit from lower insurance premiums and easy access to the nearest airport.
Herculis Guardians has also been granted the right to issue negotiable receipt certificates for goods (gold, precious stones, etc.) against which the customer may obtain a credit/loan or to transfer ownership of the goods stored at Herculis Guardians.
How to care for your collection
Regardless of the monetary value of your artwork, if it is personally meaningful, you should consider how to preserve it. It is very important to have trained professionals do the job. According to the most recent Art Basel report, there were 55 international art fairs taking place in 2000. By 2017, there were over 260, with dealers making 46 % of their annual sales at the fairs. Nowadays, many market professionals feel like they are constantly on the road. But they're not the only ones travelling all the time - the art has to be transported around the world too. It's a cause of growing concern about the state of the works as they make the rounds. After all, accidents happen!
At Herculis Guardians, we propose a dedicated showroom, within the highly secure perimeter, at our clients' disposal to save the art the risk of travelling as well as ensuring privacy. The interior is luxurious, with chic rooms to arrange sales or simply contemplate the treasures within the confines of the thick walls.
“It is more akin to a contemporary art museum than a warehouse,” says Claude Gaudin, Director.
Our clients can benefit from our large network of professionals providing art valuation, art advisory, insurance brokerage, tax and customs advisory, and art monetisation services down to the online auction company.
Working with our online auction partner, we have streamlined buying and selling experiences, combining the excitement and expertise of an auction house with intuitive technology of the 21st century. Our clients can connect to the most covetable art and objects, sourced from a worldwide network and evaluated by connoisseurs, in an elegant format that is as enticing as the works themselves.
Although less famous that its giant brother, the Geneva Freeport - Switzerland's largest example, Herculis Guardians EDO-FREEPORT in the heart of Europe, provides easy access to the main Swiss airports and is less than three hours from Paris. These impressive logistics hubs are the epitome of Swiss savoir-faire.
Among future developments, Herculis Partners plans to launch a fund management activity, based in Liechtenstein and the launch of a wallet corner (digital portfolio) at the beginning of next year, enabling customers to manage their crypto-currencies based on blockchain technology with a private-public key, in partnership with a producer in Switzerland.
- Rental of showroom for demonstrations and inspections.
- The expertise of precious stones or paintings in a safe and controlled environment.
- The test and inspection can carry out without moving the goods outside the EDO.
- Paintings and precious stones are stored in a safe place, which excludes logistics, transport and insurance costs.
- Trade deals within the showroom between the different players in the art and gemstone market.
- Gems can be easily moved around the world, to all major gemstone-trading centres or to other Free Ports.
- One can use securely stored gold or stones for financing with our warehouse warrants.
- Deferring the payment of VAT allows customers to improve their cash flow.