With nine 70–142m yachts currently under construction and a sales roster comprising four of the market's 12 70m+ second-hand listings, when it comes to buying and selling the largest yachts in the world, there are very few brokers, if any, who are more accomplished and exert as much authority in this field as Rob Moran, president of Moran Yacht & Ship.
On the last day of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2016, SuperyachtNews caught up with Moran, a former captain, who alluded to something that irks him more than anything; other brokerage firms “messing up the industry”.
“Now I love and thrive off competition”, says Moran confidently. “But so many brokerage firms now are just making fools of themselves. We have to make a living and we earn our money. Marketing yachts and flying around the world to meet clients costs a fortune, but I’m fine with that. I don’t ask clients to pay for marketing at shows; I pay for it myself. See all these boats in the show? I’m paying for them. It might cost me $350,000 but I’m not asking the owners to pay that. But when we’re successful and we sell the boat, I expect to be paid for my hard work."
“Too many brokerage firms now are weak”, he continues. “They sign listings for nothing – literally nothing! It’s ludicrous, it’s crazy. The owners might think that’s wonderful, but how can these brokerage firms survive? They can’t. If you buy a house, you pay the broker 5–6 per cent. You don’t say ‘no, you’re having 0.5–1 per cent’. Unfortunately, that happens in yacht brokerage and people are just accepting it.”
The brokerage sector is constantly fighting an industry-wide perception that they earn too much, but with so few sales every year and a through-the-roof marketing budget required to market these yachts proficiently, how can a brokerage firm shrink its commissions and still get by?
“Brokers cannot put the effort in and justify the cost of travelling and the time it takes to market a yacht if there’s no reward at the end,” he says. “It’s a big problem and it’s why so many yacht brokerage firms are in financial trouble today – and believe me, a lot of them are in financial trouble. They are signing listings with elevated prices and depressed commissions – and that, let me tell you, is the death of our industry.”
Read the full interview in The Superyacht Report, issue 176 – due for publication in February.