Interview with Dr. Anne-Laure Bandle, Responsible Art Market (RAM)

Thank you for taking the time to chat to us. Let’s start with a bit of background information on the initiative. How did Responsible Art Market come to be and what are some of the main aims behind the company?

Dr. Anne Laure Bandle (ALB): In light of the growing risks art businesses and collectors are exposed to and increased art market regulation, a group of art market businesses and specialists came together in Geneva to form the Responsible Art Market Initiative (RAM). It is a not for profit initiative created by the art market, for the art market. Its mission is to raise awareness amongst art businesses of risks they might be exposed to and share existing industry best practices to address those risks. To date RAM has developed guidelines on countering money laundering and terrorist financing threats and an “art transaction due diligence toolkit”. These provide practical guidance and share best practices on addressing these risks. We can be said to be a “think tank” addressing issues which the market faces in a practical way in the spirit of cooperation and self-regulation.

What are your thoughts on the current art market? Is there anything we should be keeping an eye on right now?

ALB: The due diligence required from buyers and art businesses has a tendency to increase since more information on provenance and authenticity of artworks is documented and made accessible notably thanks to online databases and catalogues.

Responsible Art Market Anne Laure Bandle
Dr. Anne-Laure Bandle, The Responsible Art Market (RAM)

Where do you source your information from? Can you tell us a bit about your collaborations?

ALB: We consult widely with stakeholders from within the art market and other sectors. For each project we work on, we conduct a public consultation. In this way we get the widest possible input and feedback from the entire spectrum of the art market and beyond. This enables us to consider the market’s specific needs and practices and take into account feedback we receive.

You’ve hosted a number of fantastic events and conferences in the past. What is the aim behind these?

ALB: The primary aim of these conferences is to share the group’s work (being to date the AML/CFT guidelines and the art transaction due diligence toolkit) and to explore topical issues such as money laundering and terrorist financing threats and how due diligence, and new technologies can assist with due diligence measures and with tracing artworks. Most importantly, the conferences create a platform for discussion and the exchange of best practices among art market players.

What are some of the risks involved in the financial art world and how can these potentially be deterred?

ALB: As mentioned above, countering money laundering and terrorist financing threats is a key concern in the art market. Proper due diligence can play an important role in countering these risks and in art transactions it is helpful to examine three areas: the client, the artwork and the transaction itself. The Art Transaction Due Diligence Toolkit, which includes checklists and explanatory notes covering each of these areas and which can be accessed and downloaded from our website contains practical guidance on undertaking such due diligence.

Finally, what are some of the future plans for RAM. What’s next?

ALB: Positive feedback from art market players demonstrates an interest in continuing to develop practical guidelines and find solutions to issues of concern to the art market. As last year’s mission and conference has just ended, RAM is presently in the process of planning the year ahead. It will likely involve a case-based analysis of some of the most pressing issues in the art market.



The Responsible Art Market (“RAM”) Initiative is the first of its kind, non-profit, cross market initiative formed in Geneva in 2015. RAM aims to raise awareness amongst Art Businesses of risks faced by the art industry in Switzerland and abroad and to provide practical guidance and a platform for the sharing of best practices to address those risks.

Cover picture shows the “task force” behind the toolkit and guidelines: Mme Sandrine Giroud, Mme Mathilde Heaton and Dr. Anne-Laure Bandle.

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