In depth: Equiom Malta’s yachting and aviation experts

Wednesday 04 October 2017

Some of the key members of our Malta yachting and aviation team talk about their experiences and views on the sector.

Edward Leigh, Director – Yachting and Aviation

What is your role at Equiom?

I am responsible for leading Equiom’s yachting and aviation services business and oversee our 30-strong team across the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey and Malta.

How have the services you offer evolved over the years?

Having been in the industry for more than 20 years, I have seen a lot of changes in the way the sector is regulated. For one thing, there is more complexity around VAT, which has more recently come to the fore following new local regulations surrounding yachts and specific requirements for aircraft of a certain weight. As far is safety is concerned, regulations have become increasingly tight with new management systems put in place. The regulations governing yacht and aircraft vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and, as Equiom has entered new markets, we have built up a multi-jurisdictional approach which gives us an advantage in determining the optimal solutions for our clients.

What jurisdictions do you cover?

The majority of our yachting and aviation services are offered through our teams in the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey and Malta but we are expanding our aviation services in Asia and, more recently, in the USA for both yachting and aviation. With our recent acquisition of a Guernsey-based trust company giving us a presence in the US, we are now able to move forward with building a framework for offering licensing and registration of yachts and aircraft in this jurisdiction.

What have you got coming up?

The next 12 months will be interesting given our expansion into new regions and plans for further development of our yachting offering in Europe. Our team will also be gearing up for several key industry events throughout the year including the annual Monaco Yacht Show, the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) and its European counterpart, EBACE.

Speak to Edward Leigh, Director – Yachting and Aviation

Chris Cini, Legal Counsel

What is your role at Equiom?

I am responsible for providing legal support to Equiom Malta, focusing primarily on the yachting, shipping and aviation sectors. I am also actively involved in promoting the yachting and aviation services offered by Equiom Malta.

How did you end up working in the sector?

Ever since my university days, I have been interested in the maritime and aviation law sectors mainly because of their dynamic and ever-evolving character. I also owe my growing interest in the sector to a few people that I have met throughout my working years who have cultivated in me the skills required to work in the sector.

What should owners and potential buyers of yachts and aircraft look out for?

There are a number of issues. The VAT situation of the asset is always important to consider, and coupled with the necessary import/export obligations, it would be best for owners and potential buyers to check their position properly before effecting any transaction related to the asset.

Where does the majority of your business come from?

Most of our business comes from owners or their representative offices, vessel brokers, agents, managers and captains. The geographic location of our clients was historically Europe, but requests from outside the EU are on the rise. Equiom is an all-encompassing provider offering everything from VAT and customs advisory and compliance for yacht and aircraft owners to management of payroll and benefits for crew members. Our global nature means that we are able to provide services to clients around the world, irrespective of their location.  

Speak to Chris Cini, Legal Counsel

Mark Young, Senior Manager - Yachting & Aviation

What is your role at Equiom?

I am responsible for the formation and day-to-day management of niche ownership structures for clients’ yachts and aircraft.

What are you working on at the moment?

One of my main projects is the import and subsequent VAT leasing and ongoing management of a superyacht valued at €85 million for a high-net-worth individual.

What sets Equiom apart from its competitors?

With the focus very much shifting towards Brexit and potential tax ramifications on UK high-net-worth individuals and their assets, the Maltese VAT leasing structure has never been so popular.  Equiom is ideally placed within the EU to deal with complex transactions and the ongoing management of ownership structures for individuals wishing to ensure protection of their assets while mitigating their tax liabilities.

You recently reached a milestone of USD4 billion in assets under administration. What does this mean for your team?

The milestone demonstrates the trustworthiness of Equiom as a yachting and aviation services provider. We are one of the largest yachting and aviation departments in the corporate service sector globally and manage transactions for some of the highest valued yachts and aircrafts in the world, including helicopters, other types of aircraft, motor and sailing yachts. The new milestone for assets under administration reflects our strong team and robust service offering. With an expanding team of professionals worldwide, I believe we can only grow stronger from here.

Speak to Mark Young, Senior Manager – Yachting and Aviation

Daniel Gatt, Senior Administrator - Yachting & Aviation

What is your role at Equiom?

I am responsible for administering a number of structures for clients across several jurisdictions, dealing with a diverse portfolio of assets including some of the world’s most prestigious yachts and aircraft.

What are the most important qualities for a person working in your sector?

The yachting and aviation sector is a dynamic one and requires individuals who take a proactive approach to client service. Our clients are at the heart of everything we do, so it is important to be timely in our responses and keep focused on the finer details.

What attracted you to a career in yachting and aviation?

I have been working in the financial services sector throughout my career and was offered the opportunity to take a more specialised role in yachting and aviation. I am glad I did because I enjoy the variety of the work and the fast pace of the sector.

What is your approach to client service?

I think it is important to take the time to understand clients’ needs. For me, the key is to spend your efforts building lasting relationships with clients so you have a mutual understanding for each other. Equally important is communication; communicating in an efficient and timely manner ensures the highest quality of client service.


For further information about Equiom's yachting and aviation services, please contact Edward Leigh