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Atul Tiwari, CEO of Cult Wines Canada, on April 8.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Former Vanguard Canada chief executive officer Atul Tiwari is expanding his new joint venture with British-based Cult Wine Ltd. to become head of Cult Wine Americas.

Mr. Tiwari, along with former Vanguard executive Carrie Tuck, launched Cult Wines Canada earlier this year. The joint venture provides retail investors direct access to fine-wine investing, an alternative investment class that has typically catered to high-net-worth investors.

Now, Mr. Tiwari has been appointed as CEO of Cult Wine Americas, and has launched a series of wine investment portfolios in both Canada and the United States.

“Historically, the wine investment category has been perceived as only for the wealthy, or those with considerable wine knowledge,” Mr. Tiwari said. “We know that is not the case and are enabling more people to invest effectively.”

Fine-wine investing is often referred to as real assets or “passion assets,” bucketed in with vintage-car enthusiasts and art collectors. For many, it consists of purchasing cases of wine to store in personal cellars, or consume with family and friends. For those who look to resell their collection, access to private auction houses can come with hefty fees – sometimes as much as 40 per cent of the sale price.

One of Canada’s ETF pioneers, Mr. Tiwari is known for launching Vanguard Canada in 2011, which held more than $30-billion in assets under management by the time of his departure in 2018.

Earlier this year, he launched a wine portfolio for investors with a minimum of $45,000.

Now, Canadian investors with as little as $12,500 (or US$10,000 for U.S. investors) can access a customized wine portfolio depending on their time horizon and risk level that is automatically rebalanced. Management fees range from 2.25 per cent to 2.95 per cent, depending on portfolio size.

With more than $330-million in assets, Cult Wines already operates in London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai in addition to its North American offices.

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