Members of Equiom’s yachting team from Monaco and Jersey joined together to attend the 2021 Monaco Yacht Show in the yachting capital of the world. Here Ian Petts, Equiom’s Head of Yachting and Aviation, shares a summary of his time at the show.
With more than 100 superyachts (worth an astonishing €4bn collectively and including 37 new builds) and the top shipyards and designers present, the Monaco Yacht Show is the industry’s flagship event in the calendar. With 14 yachts over 70 metres berthed (headed by Benetti’s IJE) and many more at anchor ensured the show matched pre-COVID numbers of mega yachts attending - despite some travel restrictions still being in place.
Alive and kicking
Many had predicted that the time for shows was drawing to a close thanks to a rise in virtual selling, influencers and TikTok stars taking a role in selling and one-to-one visits increasing in importance. However, this year’s show very much disputed this view. Yacht shows are still very much valued by the industry as an essential platform to showcase the products on offer and generate interest in ‘on the water’ experiences. Yacht shows are back!
Only in the beautiful setting of Port Hercules in the Mediterranean can you really see superyachts at their best, complimented by expert commentary from captains and brokers. Experiencing it first-hand just can’t be replicated.
This year’s show proved a real success with all stakeholders - owners, charterers and the yacht brokers who finance the show. Indeed, similarly to the jet market, stock of excellent boats on the market has fallen to a record low, resulting in price stabilisation and encouraging further investment into the supply chain.
Serious buyers only please
The new format of the show with higher ticket prices and one day dedicated to brokers and their clients seemed to achieve the result the show organisers had hoped for. Many brokers commented to me that this acted as a real filter to ensure only serious buyers and those with a real interest in the yachts attended. Industry suppliers organised a host of events and meetings during the first day leaving the brokers to focus on finding the right yacht for their clients.
The Monaco Yacht Show is more than just a yacht show. Jet brokers along with jet and helicopter manufacturers were also out in force. Other luxury industries such as supercars were very much present too with the launch of the Aston Martin Valhalla (as featured in the new James Bond film) in the famous Riva Tunnel.
The show also had some of the top art collectors in attendance. For those looking for a new time piece or interior refit, the specialists were on hand. The ancillary wealth management industry suppliers of banks and wealth managers were also there supporting clients, and it was great to see renewed interest from bankers, increased competition and an appetite to provide finance for these luxury assets.
The future of yachting
The centerpiece of the show, the Nobiskrug 80m Artefact, (a hybrid yacht) prompted numerous discussions on yacht power systems and how to mitigate environmental impact - both through energy consumption and emissions but also the impact on, for example, protecting Posidonia grass. The Nobiskrug yacht uses a unique Azipod propulsion system enabling it to hold position on the ocean without dropping anchor thus protecting the sensitive sea floor. It also has an innovative wastewater recycling system for reuse of technical water.
The freedom of yachting post COVID was at the heart of discussions with many calls across the industry to bring the fun back to yachting. The Maori Yachts team certainly achieved this all the way through the show with their 24m custom yacht, which is effectively a floating night club platform, albeit with accommodation for some guests. The Maori yacht is a perfect fast party boat, with elegant hull design for Ibiza or Greece and a built-in DJ booth (of course!) The Maori team demonstrated that enjoying a superyacht is as much about achieving the most memorable experiences on the water as it is about the yacht’s chic design.
There were several yachts listed at the show offered in exchange for Bitcoin and this attracted a new generation of yacht owners interested in bidding on the yacht. The custody of Bitcoin and exchange of it for yachts is a hot subject and one that Equiom has seen a lot of interest in over the last 12 months.
Tax and crewing
The Equiom customs warehouse and methods to import yachts into Europe were a hot point of discussion. Among tax advisors, the upcoming free trade zones in the UK were topical with still very few details emerging on the practical efficiencies. Across the ocean, American brokers are also interested in the tax developments that the Biden administration are set to bring in with capital gains being cited as a potential brake on some of the booming consumption seen this year. However, the desire to get out on the water has indeed been strongest from the American owners. With the year seeing significant American buyer power but also American investment into the yacht industry, it was very encouraging to see several American brokers announce their intention to move into Europe and use Monaco as the hub to expand into Europe.
Crew employment issues post-Brexit, providing pensions for yacht crew and the government mandated schemes (in France for example) were all key discussion topics with my Crewing colleague Scott Le Cornu from our Jersey office. Equiom’s ICC incorporated cell model offers robust and protective qualities and the separation of funds that owners require.
A family affair
Much of our time at the yacht show was spent meeting families to discuss their yachts and other luxury assets (e.g., villas) in relation to succession issues and wealth planning. A yacht really offers families private quality time together and several grandparents asked me how to provide a structure and resources so that the family can continue to enjoy the yacht together after their passing.
Our Monaco multi-family office service, assisting with Monaco residence was also in high demand at the show both from family offices looking to move to Monaco, but also brokerage houses for jets and yachts considering a move into Monaco.
Many bankers, family offices and portfolio managers at the show reported recent impressive stock market returns leaving family offices with surplus cash to invest in yachts. Although a superyacht will not match the investment returns of the family’s financial investments, the emotional investment in creating memorable experiences surpasses all others. The yacht is indeed one tangible asset that can be moved worldwide on command of the owner.
Here at Equiom, we have seen a lot of entrepreneurs approach us to help with their expansion into the yacht market or globally within the industry using our international office presence. For further information on this, or any other aspect of wealth protection please do get in touch.