The reputation of brokers and the brokerage world was a key topic. When the question arose on whether or not brokers deserve the 'bad name' or to be tarred with the same brush, unsurprisingly there was unanimous agreement around the table that it was a certain type of broker marring the name for many. For Nelson, Goldsworthy and Holter, the problem is the new wave of "pop up" brokerage houses. Due to the ease of the internet, anyone with a good connection can set up online and call themselves a 'broker'. For many brokers, it is these one-man bands that have contributed to giving brokers a bad name. The one man operations that pop in and out of the market, looking to make a quick score with a close UHNWI client or friend are the ones to look out for. "There's the world inhabited by professional companies with professional brokers, regularly engaged in the business of selling superyachts," says Goldsworthy. "Then there's the world of part-time 'chancers' with the ear of a wealthy individual working from their front room and calling themselves a yacht broker, so that they can go for the 'big score'."
It is herein where the issue lies for many. As a relatively small market that has finally shed its 'cottage industry' status, those who have been in the game a while are eager to continue moving forward with the progress already made. "We've seen a professionalism in the industry over the years, and certainly associations like MYBA help to create a unified voice for brokers and to protect clients," comments Nelson. As with so many other industries, there are those that play by the rules and those that are looking for an easy way out. So perhaps the issue isn't why brokers have been given a bad name, but why there isn't a better vetting system for brokers new on the scene. Should it be a license? A test? A fee? Options have been thrown around in recent years but the independent brokers will continue to emerge and find business with those that let them.
In which case it becomes knowing how to separate the wheat from the chaff.
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A further in-depth report on the outcomes of this meeting will be featured in issue 163 of The Superyacht Report.
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