New York apartments, art top gold as stores of wealth, says top asset manager

SINGAPORE (Bloomberg) - Gold's traditional role as a store of wealth has been usurped by contemporary art and apartments in cities such as New York and London, according to Laurence D. Fink, head of the world's biggest asset manager.

"Historically gold was a great instrument for storing of wealth," the chairman of BlackRock Inc. said at a conference in Singapore on Tuesday. "Gold has lost its luster and there's other mechanisms in which you can store wealth that are inflation-adjusted."

Over the centuries, bullion traditionally lured demand as a protection of wealth during crises, including conflicts and periods of inflation. Prices posted the first back-to-back annual drop last year since 2000 as investor holdings in exchange-traded products contracted, global equities rallied and the dollar climbed on prospects for higher US interest rates.

Since peaking in 2011, it has dropped about 38 percent.

"The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today is contemporary art….. and I don't mean that as a joke, I mean that as a serious asset class," said Fink.

"And two, the other store of wealth today is apartments in Manhattan, apartments in Vancouver, in London."

Bullion for immediate delivery traded at US$1,196.51 (S$1,617.92) an ounce at 1:20pm in Singapore, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. It has risen about 1 percent this year after losing 1.4 percent in 2014 and 28 percent in 2013.