Vitruvian Capital founder Neil Richmond knew he was following an opera singer on to the stage when he made a speech at the London Yacht, Jet and Prestige Car Show – what he didn’t realise is that he’d end up being broadcast worldwide by the BBC.
Neil was speaking at an exclusive private event for family offices organised by the magazine Yacht Investor at the inaugural show in London’s Old Billingsgate and St Katherine’s docks right next to the City of London.
He began by complimenting the opera singer who launched the event. “Wasn’t that just beautiful?” he said. “What a great voice. I’m always thrilled to meet people who are at the top of their game. We can learn so much from those who have rehearsed for long enough to become the best in the world.”
Neil’s keynote speech went on to call for superyachts to be run like transparent, disciplined and successful business – but, he asked, don’t we all know of cases in which superyachts are run a bit like Fawlty Towers? What is needed, he said, is forward planning and independent advice.
“There are only a handful of independent advisers in the superyacht sector,” he said. “There should be more.”
In the end, he said, it was all a matter of education. “What we need is a kind of Superyacht University – a single institution that can foster the education needed to help clients avoid disappointment and get the relaxation and fun they’re supposed to have from what is, after all, a massive investment.”
BBC World Service journalist Ed Butler heard what Neil said and collared him afterwards for a interview, which was later broadcast on the programme Business Daily.
In the interview, Neil answered questions about family offices and the value of 100 metre superyachts, which can cost anything from £80 million to £300 million and have 40-60 crew serving as few as a dozen guests.
Challenged on the way in which family offices can gain access to better pricing or banking, Neil said that family offices see clients spend huge amounts of money on everything from yachts to food … and it all goes back into the economy because it is bought from local companies employing local people.
Afterwards, Neil praised the show and its organisers: “It’s the first show of its kind in London. I think it’s great that we have an event like this on our doorstep and hope to see it grow. We are a centre of excellence here for many of the professional services related to superyachts. Many of the leading law firms with unrivalled maritime expertise and other experts are here, and London is developing more and more into a hub of luxury lifestyle. It makes sense for the show to happen here.”