Ever have the urge to own a cow in Iceland or maybe a truffle tree in France? Or how about investing in the career of a rock n' roll artist?

The idea of buying into these and other fanciful "investments" may not be as outlandish as you may think.
Whether one's ownership desires are exotic, unusual or downright conventional, new opportunities are arising for investors to own a piece of just about anything imaginable.

The key to this treasure trove of riches is fractional ownership.

Legal arrangements that allow investors to share in the ownership of everything from a luxurious vacation villa to a pet cat are becoming quite the rage. In a trend that may be partially due to the global recession, the wealthy are looking for ways to spread out the cost and upkeep of their lavish new toys. In response, the market has sprung forth a number of firms that facilitate such arrangements.

Experts in the field say it's becoming important for advisors to know the ins and outs of the fractional ownership market,
particularly those serving a high-end clientele.  

"Fractional ownership of anything makes maximum use of the utilization of goods-own it and use it only when you want," says Piers Brown, founder of Fractional Life, a London-based company that runs an online "superstore" of ownership opportunities at www.fractionallife.com. "It's [also] fun."

Fractional ownership is essentially the shared ownership of an asset by two or more individuals. It basically expands on the time-share concept that has traditionally been used for selling vacation homes and other properties. The big difference, according to experts, is money. Time-shares can typically be had for a few thousand dollars, for an allotment of time that might consist of weeks. Fractional ownership contracts, by contrast, reach into a rarified stratosphere of wealth, covering things such as high-end resort properties, corporate jets, yachts and rare collectibles.

Fractional ownership also has it quirky categories.

Brown says he has found fractional ownership deals that allowed high-end clients to own a piece of truffle trees, emerging musicians' income and pet cats. At least one fractional ownership plan offers partial ownership of Icelandic cows, whose milk can be used for the production of specialized cheese.

Gotham Dream Cars, with locations in New York City and Florida, offers fractional ownership plans that give customers access to a fleet of sports and luxury cars. Customers can drive a different make and model every week, if they choose, without worrying about maintenance and the other headaches of full-time ownership, company officials say.
Transportation is generally considered an ideal market for fractional ownership deals.

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