The extraordinary level of activity witnessed throughout the yachting industry in 2013 is now well documented: over 350 superyachts over 24 metres sold around the world, by far the best performance since even before the Global Economic Crisis began in 2008; one of the most stable performances in the charter industry in the last 5 years despite a raft of VAT changes across Europe; and one of the most significant years for yacht management ever with the introduction of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 and the Large Yacht Code III (LY3).
It was also the year 158-year old shipbroking group, Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS) increased its investment in YPI to 100% and appointed one if its long-standing directors, Philippe Hetland Brault, as the yachting group’s new CEO.
One year on, we ask Philippe how he views the worlds of both shipping and yachting and what he believes YPI and BRS together can offer clients.
With your feet now firmly in the marine worlds of both shipping and yachting, how has your experience of the last year shaped your views?
The worlds of shipping and yachting became more closely aligned last year than ever before with the introduction and implementation of the MLC 2006. Last year we made an essential decision to have one of ours at BRS take over the reins to properly capitalise on the bridges and connections built between BRS and YPI over the last five years with our values in shipping fully shared with our yachting branch.
“The industry of yachting is the businessthat makes the sailing fun.”
Of course both worlds are invariably very different – shipping is a market based on asset play and industry commodities transportation; yachting is about buying a lifestyle, a way to profit from your fortune - an escape from business, if you will. But they are also very alike: we are all dealing with people and vessels and investments at sea. Yacht owners and charterers frequently only get to enjoy the benefit of their purchases and their tim
e on board as a result of the often intensive work conducted
behind the scenes by their brokers and their yacht managers to help sort the legal and tax issues, the crew salary issues, employment contracts, yacht maintenance, flag registrations and such like. The industry of yachting is the business that makes the sailing fun. Our goal has been to ensure that the clients of both our Groups can properly benefit from our combined resources, competences and networks as well as our philosophy of how to do business.
Outside of yachting, there are those who broadly see the yachting mentality as the ‘fix and forget’ type – over promising, fighting for a deal on any terms then leaving once it’s done in a desperate search for the next commission. In the business of shipping that approach would never work. Shipping is built on relationships, confidences and delivering results in the long term. The success for ship brokers is in establishing business relationships that last for years, decades. One of the reasons we decided to purchase YPI in 2008 was that the business of YPI was built on exactly that premise. It’s an approach in which we not only continue to believe, but further, we consider it more relevant and more important today than ever.
Was 2013 as impressive a year in shipping as it was for yachting?
The shipping world went through a very severe crisis which effectively hit in three stages: it started with the financial crisis which then developed into the Global Economic Crisis further aggravated by the over tonnage in the market. Business has been coming back over the last few years, and again, it is thanks to those relationships and solid foundations created by BRS over a very long time that we have been lucky enough to enjoy some marked results in both 2012 and 2013. Our New-build division concluded no less than 120 new-build merchant ship contracts around the world last year - a very strong performance, the majority of orders which were for bulk carriers with some very innovative fuel saving designs. Across all our divisions, each year improves on the previous and 2013 was a very good one.
How do you see YPI and BRS working together for the benefit of clients?
We have 14 offices in key strategic locations around the world. Just as YPI with YPI Asia was one of the first full-service yacht brokerage houses to properly move into China, BRS opened its first office there in 1998. As of last year, we have contracted 300 new-builds in Chinese yards alone. The team at YPI now have real access to those locations, the staff and resources within them. Ideal for clients needing that extra local know-how and connections.
“It is also helpful in life to be able to step back sometimes from what you do, look at it from a new perspective, then ask how you may be able to do it better.”
During the last year, I have realised just how many of our long-standing clients and contacts in shipping, be they ship owners, traders or charterers, who either own or charter luxury yachts. As a Group, our objective is to ensure we offer yachting services with the same rigour and discipline those clients have come to expect in their shipping business.
I find it is often helpful in life to be able to step back sometimes from what you do, look at it from a new perspective then ask how you may be able to do it better. Encouraging brokers in both our Groups to act as ambassadors for both BRS and YPI is a vital way of bringing out the best practices and experience and knowledge from both our worlds. That is something we want to concentrate on doing this year, sharing the values of both worlds with our clients.
What does the year ahead hold for YPI and BRS?
Thanks to some excellent work from our brokers, management teams and support staff, and some important recruitments in both our Management and Charter divisions last year, YPI was able to close some very pleasing deals for clients, three of them in the Top 10 largest yachts sold in the year. So far this year we have started well with three sales and a strong pipeline. Our advance charter bookings for the summer are encouraging and I am pleased to say that at a time when owners probably need help with the management of their yachts and crew more than ever, both our Yacht Management and Crew divisions are performing very solidly indeed.
“We are also on the look-out for some new brokers to join our existing team…”
This year we will continue to work together on shared BRS and YPI events such as during the Monaco Grand Prix and the Monaco Yacht Show and we will equally be working hard to show clients of both Groups that, uniquely in the marine business today, BRS and YPI can offer over 190 years of proven marine expertise, counsel and support.
We are also on the look-out for some new brokers to join our existing team to help reach out more to clients in the USA, the Middle East and in Asia as a whole, beyond China and Hong Kong.
Ultimately, the goal is to build on the work and results we have achieved not just last year, but over our many years in business whilst always remaining humble enough to know there is always so much more to be done.
To find out more about Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS) ask for your copy of the BRS Annual Review 2014 or go to: www.brs-paris.com