Running 8,000 structures and with £40 billion worth of assets under management, Equiom Group offers everything from the structure and administration of companies down to its extensive tax and VAT division. The Group has invested heavily in not only the establishment of new strategic offices, but in personnel to provide specific expertise to industries such as yachting.
“We’ve grown really organically and through acquisition over the years,” explains Chris Stokes, “Monaco being one of those offices we acquired. What we’ve tried to do, and in fact are doing globally, is adding to that office in terms of expertise like yachting and client services. We are really building on that expertise within the office so we can service clients locally, both here, in Hong Kong, Isle of Man, America, wherever.”
Particularly focusing on yachting, Ian Petts sees Monaco as having developed into the epicentre of the industry, providing an important base for Equiom’s European operations. “Monaco has really become the yachting hub worldwide,” says Petts, “here in Europe Monaco is the yachting cluster and a lot of companies have invested here, our clients are here and our partners are here so it is convenient. Monaco is becoming the very centre of yachting and it is very important for us to be with our clients.”
Owning and operating a superyacht brings with it an array of regulatory challenges which Equiom manage for their clients, taking away the administrative pain and allowing owners to simply enjoy their yacht. “These are mobile hotels in a way,” says Ian Petts, “and they are operating in multiple jurisdictions and they are exposed to several levels of taxes. For example, a structure might be in an Isle of Man holding company for the yacht, and then because it is operating here in Europe with Italy and France, you would need to have VAT registration in those two countries, and then it might also have a lease on it so it would need a lease structure on the yacht. So you’re dealing with several jurisdictions and Equiom is here to provide a seamless joined-up approach.”
A constantly evolving industry adds further complications to managing the regulations of a superyacht, as Chris Stokes explained. “It is ever changing, the rules and regulations, how they are interpreted, how they are implemented. The demographic of our buyers is changing and how they use the yacht most importantly is changing. So when they look at their itineraries it is not just from Monaco to St Tropez and Italy, they are looking at Scandinavia, Alaska as well as obviously all the other destinations around the world. It is really making sure that all the complication and hassle is taken on board by us and we provide effective advice and a seamless path going forward.”