In depth: Equiom's Channel Islands' yachting and aviation team

Monday 11 September 2017

Some of the key members of our Channel Islands' 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 our 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

Andy Limbrick, Manager – Yachting and Aviation

What is your role at Equiom?

I am responsible for the day-to-day operational and administration aspects of Equiom’s yachting and aviation services in Jersey.

What changes are currently impacting on the sector in Jersey?

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and what it may do to the respective markets the world’s wealthy individuals do not seem to be slowing down with the purchase of luxury assets like yachts and aircraft. Jersey Ship Registry has indicated that it had its best month in June in relation to yacht registrations and that the momentum doesn’t show signs of decreasing, which is a good sign for the registry and related marine businesses.

What sets Equiom apart from its competitors?

We are 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. We have a range of experts in tax, legal matters and marine services all in-house which means that we do not have to outsource work to other providers. Our strong team has the experience and knowledge to ensure that clients benefit from the optimal solution for their yacht or aircraft.

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. This new milestone for assets under administration reflects our strong team and robust service offering. With an expanding team of professionals worldwide, I believe we will only grow stronger from here.

Speak to Andy Limbrick, Manager – Yachting and Aviation

Scott Le Cornu, Manager – Crewing

What is your role at Equiom?

I am responsible for managing Equiom’s crewing services. The team provides crewing employment solutions to owners, operators and vessel managers, ensuring full compliance with maritime legislation and applicable flag and domestic legislation.

How did you end up working in crewing?

I worked for a number of years in the marine industry both in the offshore oil and cruise sectors. Having begun my career as a hydrographic surveyor, I spent the earlier years performing seismic surveys and positions for rigs, pipelines and cables, mainly in Asia. After completing a Masters in Shipping, Trade and Finance I worked in the cruise sector initially drafting and implementing safety management system before taking on a wider quality control and assurance position. My varied specialist experience in the marine sector gave me the ideal foundation for delivering informed advice to Equiom’s discerning clients.

What are the current challenges affecting crewing?

The main driver of change in the sector is likely to be domestic legislation around social security charges. In France, a number of potential requirements will be introduced for French resident seafarers. This not only affects seafarers who are physically resident but also crew on board a vessel with France as their home port. We have been working to prepare clients for these changes, which are likely to have a significant impact on the sector.

Where does the majority of your business come from?

Most of our business comes from individual seafarers, captains, vessel managers, representative offices or owners and we serve a number of sectors including yacht, cruise, commercial, shipping and sail training, and offshore. The geographic location of our clients was historically Europe, especially in the Mediterranean, but we are increasingly seeing yachts operating on worldwide itineraries.

Speak to Scott Le Cornu, Manager – Crewing

Tony Sarre, Assistant Manager – Yachting and Aviation

What is your role at Equiom?

I am responsible for managing Equiom’s yachting and aviation services in Guernsey. I also liaise regularly with our yachting and aviation teams in other jurisdictions. I have worked for Equiom, previously Ardel Trust Company and prior to that Bachmann Trust Company for more than 14 years and have a further 30 years’ experience in engineering, which adds an extra dimension to my skillset.

What about Equiom’s yachting and aviation services is unique in Guernsey?

We are looking to boost our aviation services in Guernsey as we find that clients who are based here are looking for a local solution to registering and managing their aircraft. We are fortunate to have access to the 2-Reg which is renowned for its cost-effective and experienced status as an internationally certified aircraft register.

How has the landscape changed over the past decade?

Equiom Guernsey has been offering marine services to clients for more than 40 years throughout which we have managed hundreds of yachts. There have been many changes in the sector since our earliest days including tighter regulations and more complex client structures. Clients expect more and require a well-rounded, bespoke service. Delivery of high quality service while striving to meet clients’ expectations is of great importance to us. Building on relationships is key in this industry and our years of experience give us a good foundation for expanding our network.

What type of services are most popular in Guernsey?

While other jurisdictions do a lot of work with charter clients, the majority of our structures are for pleasure yachts. Historically, we have also undertaken payroll for yachting clients, but we now focus more on registration and the ongoing management of vessels. We have an international reputation due to our involvement in the marine industry for many years and our expertise enables us to offer a range of services.

Speak to Tony Sarre, Assistant Manager – Yachting and Aviation

Dominika Thomas, Assistant Manager – Crewing

What is your role at Equiom?

I am responsible for maintaining operational accounts, reconciliation of bank accounts and banking relationships but also for managing my portfolio of clients including payroll, contracting and general marine compliance. I also assist Scott in a more operational role.

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

I would say attention to detail, ability to work to tight deadlines and to prioritise workload as at times it can get extremely busy during the charter season. Ultimately each member of the team must take responsibility for ensuring all crew are qualified and contracted for their position on board and get paid in accordance with their employment agreement.

What attracted you to a career in crewing?

Previously I worked at Jersey Harbours and Maritime House, moving later into the oil and gas exploration sector where I provided recruitment services to a portfolio of European clients sourcing technical staff. It was a fairly smooth transition into a slightly more glamorous role dealing with superyachts at Equiom. 

What is your approach to client service?

It is important to have a professional and efficient approach when liaising with clients, but also to build a strong relationship with them. Taking an individual approach to client requirements is also essential as we often deal with a variety of different clients from captains and their representatives to yacht managers or owners all on the same day.  


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