The investment management firm JM Finn & Co have enjoyed a five year long partnership with London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA), every year their serene financial offices and meeting rooms in the City are decorated with artworks by students at the Royal Academy Schools. As the RA is not government supported, art lover and Chief Executive Steven Sussman decided to make the Schools a philanthropic project, hence JM Finn have developed a series of exhibitions, in association with the RA Schools, which aim to support the students during their three-year postgraduate course.
The exhibition is selected by Eliza Bonham Carter, curator and head of the Schools; JM FINN & Co host an opening event to which clients and students are invited; this gives students vital commercial experience in talking to potential buyers, learning how to price their work and understanding different audiences. This year’s exhibition brings JM Finn’s walls to life with 80 contemporary pieces and some of their15,000 clients spend a little of the £8.6billion invested in buying the work of an aspiring artist, this year the 20 exhibiting students benefitted from £10,200 raised in sales.
Unique to JM Finn there is also permanent collection by RA students in the JM Finn offices selected by Sussman and Oliver Tregoning, Head of Marketting, and a member of the management committee.
The RA Schools offer the only free, three-year postgraduate fine art programme in Europe, it is regarded as a global centre of excellence for art education. The Schools have been an integral part of the Royal Academy since its foundation in 1768. A key principle of the RA Schools is that the programme is free; allowing them to select students on merit, not on the ability to pay. Competition to get into the RA Schools’ three-year postgraduate course is fierce, only 17 students are admitted annually from around 800 applicants - so the standard of exhibited work is high. Although the Royal Academy Schools are steeped in the atmosphere of history and tradition, they are a school of contemporary art. JM Finn are regularly invited to the Schools so they get a chance to get to know some of the students.
Unique to JM Finn there is also permanent collection by RA students in the JM Finn offices selected by Sussman and Oliver Tregoning, Head of Marketting, and a member of the management committee. As a corporate partner JM Finn pay an annual subscription and offer bursaries to specific students to help them through their studies.
This quality partnership is mutually beneficial to JM Finn & to their clients; JM Finn are able to host clients exclusively, at the C17th mansion of Burlington House in Piccadilly, to private views of RA shows, including the world-famous RA Summer Exhibition. The prestige of this association is not lost on clients, who enjoy meeting each other socially in the historical surroundings, Sussman says: “The firm benefits from the association with an important national institution, and the events offer an excellent way to allow clients to meet each other — and we discovered that they liked this. When we started inviting clients to the Summer Exhibition in 2012 we initially assumed that we should make it relatively exclusive and invited only 400. They liked it, but when we increased the number to 750, we discovered they liked it even more.”