Day three of The Superyacht Owner’s Summit, in association with the London Yacht, Jet & Prestige Car Show, saw industry professionals deconstruct the fundamentals of superyacht investment, after having explored the myriad opportunities presented by, and lessons to be learnt from the aviation and marina markets.
The initial sentiments expressed by the panel, made up of Tony Allen from Hill Dickinson, Bob Atkinson of B Capital Partners, Jamie Edmiston of Edmiston & Co. and Vassilis Fotilas of Fraser Yachts, echoed what those in the industry have known, or at least suspected, for some time.
The new build market, whilst stable for the pedigree custom builders and production yacht behemoths, is a minefield of uncertainty for those struggling to establish any sort of consistency. That being said, the industry can be positive about a charter market that is experiencing a period of sustained growth, and consumer trends suggest this is only likely to continue.
Much is made of the need for the superyacht market’s inability to attract new ownership, and both Edmiston and Fotilas readily admitted that the vast majority of new build projects have been commissioned by repeat owners, seeking their second, third or fourth vessel. Whereas fresh interest in the market appears to be coming from a new generation of experiential consumers, it is in expanding the size of the client pool that the industry faces its greatest challenge.
Chartering a yacht, widely regarded as the most effective springboard to ownership, is now being viewed as an end in itself. Why after all, take on the responsibility of ownership when you can enjoy the perks without the long term financial commitment?
The structure of ownership, taxation and finance, according to family offices in attendance, is by no means a limiting factor for potential owners. Complexity, when you have personal structures in place that limit your direct involvement, is not an issue either. However, the near impossible task faced by the brokerage industry is, how it articulates the benefits of an experience that is near impossible to describe. What is the intangible value of the new build experience and subsequent on board joy when measured against what is, in essence, a costly and depreciative asset?
It remains the task of brokers to simplify the purchasing process, properly articulate the experience, make transparent, or at least more accessible, information that is readily available and ensure that those owners who are already present in the market continue to build again while strengthening the linear route from first-time charter to superyacht ownership are strengthened.