Understanding Luxury Investment Indices: An In-Depth Discussion with Andrew Shirley Head of Rural Research and Luxury Investments at Knight Frank

Understanding Luxury Investment Indices: An In-Depth Discussion with Andrew Shirley Head of Rural Research and Luxury Investments at Knight Frank

In the intricate landscape of luxury investment and collectables, indices play a quintessential role. Their capacity to encapsulate the ebb and flow of such a market is under constant scrutiny. Andrew, Head of Rural Research and Luxury Investments at Knight Frank, grants us an enlightening perspective on the indices' intricacies, their pitfalls, and their potential.

Do Current Indices Accurately Represent the Luxury Investment/Collectables Market?

Andrew believes that the enormous spectrum of collectables makes it challenging for indices to capture the entire luxury investment market accurately. They often provide just a broad overview where you can look at markets on a macro level.

Are There Any Significant Gaps or Blind Spots in These Indices?

Andrew emphasizes the prevalent limitation of many indices: their heavy reliance on public data. This means they often overlook private transactions, thereby portraying an incomplete picture. "Luxury collectables indices can never accurately track an entire market, they can only focus on small slices of genres or price points," states Andrew.

What Methodologies Are Employed to Ensure Data's Accuracy and Reliability?

The methodology varies by the index provider. For instance, the HAGI index for classic cars adopts intricate algorithms, while Art Market Research deploys statistical smoothing methods to filter out outlier sales.

How Can Investors Effectively Use These Indices?

Indices can serve as valuable preliminary guides. However, Andrew underscores their role as the starting point of the due diligence process, not its entirety. "Remember, luxury investments are known as 'investments of passion'. Recognizing the allure of these assets is paramount," he adds.

For those keen on a comprehensive view, Andrew suggests the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index as a foundational resource. For a deeper dive, platforms like Art Market Research, HAGI, Rare Whisky 101, and Wine Owner are invaluable.

Are There Plans for New Indices or Refinement of Existing Ones?

While there is a continuous effort by index providers to refine methodologies, Andrew isn't aware of any brand-new indices launching in the near future.

Impact of Emerging Technologies on Luxury Investment Indices?

With the advent of blockchain and other digital technologies, there's speculation on their potential role. Andrew notes, "Platforms like Block Bar are hopeful about blockchain and NFTs revolutionizing the collectables market, but volumes are too low at the moment to provide meaningful pricing data."

Challenges in Maintaining and Updating Luxury Investment Indices?

Keeping pace with vast amounts of data, especially from budding markets in places like Asia, poses a significant challenge, according to Andrew.

Have There Been Any Criticisms or Controversies?

Misuse of data stands out as a key concern. Andrew references an instance where whisky investment funds misused data from the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, necessitating legal interventions to safeguard data integrity. “Our whisky data tracks the performance of some of the world’s rarest and most sought after bottles of Scottish malt whisky, whereas the funds were selling very young casks, often of new-make spirit, with no provenance at all.”

Resources or Courses for Those New to Luxury Investments?

Andrew's advice for newcomers is comprehensive immersion. This includes attending auctions, networking with experienced collectors, reading niche publications, and fostering individual tastes. The golden rule? "Invest in what truly resonates with you."


Andrew's insights into the world of luxury investment indices offer a rare glimpse into the complexities and opportunities in this unique market. For professionals in the sector, understanding these dynamics is crucial for making informed and passion-driven decisions.

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