BBVA Compass Gives Clients Rare Look at Impressionists

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BBVA Compass is offering its private-bank clients a glimpse of rare works of art through a new partnership with Christie's auction house.

At an event in Dallas last week, affluent clients of BBVA Compass got a chance to view privately held, rarely seen works by impressionists Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot, which were flown in from New York for the occasion. Christie's plans to auction the works next month, after which they may enter private collections and again disappear from public view.

Officials of BBVA Compass — the Birmingham, Ala., subsidiary of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) in Spain — say the partnership will give private-bank clients access to Christie's experts on art, antiques, jewelry, fine wine and other collectibles.

"We discovered that a lot of our upper-level clients want help managing these assets, which now make up approximately 10% of high-net-worth individuals' wealth," said Steve Sanak, director of private banking at BBVA Compass, citing a recent Deloitte report. "It's really like an alternative asset class."

Christie's will provide experts in appraisal, insurance documentation and estate planning, among other services. It is also collaborating with BBVA units in Latin America to provide similar services.

BBVA Compass plans to hold events similar to the one in Dallas in each of its major U.S. markets, as well as in Mexico.

"The benefit is really twofold — we'll invite our clients and prospects, and Christie's will invite their clients and prospects," Sanak said.

BBVA Compass considered several auction houses before deciding to partner with Christie's.

"We determined that Christie's was uniquely qualified, with a unique cadre of experts and very high standards of client service," Sanak said.

BBVA Compass has 25 private-banking offices throughout the United States. It also has more than 700 retail branches throughout Texas, Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Colorado and New Mexico.

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