A yacht or aircraft is generally one of a client’s most valuable assets. Did you know that Sovereign has marine and aviation divisions dedicated to managing the ownership, operation and administration of yachts and aircraft?

Our experts can assist with the acquisition, registration, ownership, financing and insurance of nautical and aeronautical assets – and far more besides. When combined with the multi-jurisdictional corporate services capability of the Sovereign Group, we offer a comprehensive and bespoke worldwide service.

Over the next two months, both divisions will be showcasing their expertise through a series of articles, blogs and events. Today we are launching the first episode of a case study that will be developed over the next eight weeks.

Feel free to get in touch with the teams directly: for marine, contact Gabriel González ggonzalez@SovereignGroup.com and for aviation, Brian T. Richards brichards@SovereignGroup.com.

Sovereign Case Study:

Business and pleasure – Aloft and Afloat

Yacht and private jet purchase
As a Hong Kong-based businessman with expanding interests in the Middle East and longstanding commercial and personal links in Europe, Mr Smith spends a lot of time in the air. He generally flies business class but has recently also begun to charter corporate aircraft in the Middle East when flying to places that are not well served by the airlines. He is fast becoming convinced that purchasing a plane might be the best solution to his need for convenience, flexibility and privacy in the region.

A keen sailor when he was growing up in the UK, Mr Smith would also now like to get back on the water to enjoy some leisure time at a slower pace. Having previously chartered yachts for both commercial entertaining and family holidays, he has been thinking long and hard about taking the plunge and purchasing his own yacht. Mr Smith’s business and personal interests often overlap and he reckons that acquiring a yacht would provide him with a good platform for furthering both. And after all, he feels he’s earned it!

Ideally then, he’d like to base his light business jet somewhere in the Middle East. As for his yacht, he loves the Mediterranean but also wants good access to the Atlantic and Caribbean. One of his sailing friends had been extolling the benefits of Gibraltar as a base. It’s great for sailing in the Med and visiting the Balearics and the French and Italian rivieras – the key areas for commercial entertaining – and is also an ideal launch pad for the North African coast and all points west.

By chance Mr Smith happened to be in London and, speaking to his professional trustee, heard that the Gibraltar government would shortly be holding a conference focusing on its commercial marine and pleasure yacht sectors, as part of Gibraltar Maritime Week 2015. As this would give him an opportunity to find out more about Gibraltar, as well as having a look around the Rock and its marinas, he arranged to fly over and attend as a delegate.

As a client of the Sovereign Group in Hong Kong, Mr Smith was introduced to the directors of its Gibraltar-based marine and aviation divisions – Gabriel González of RegisterAYacht.com (RAY) and Brian T. Richards of RegisterAnAircraft.com (RANA) – during the conference. They were able to give him expert and independent advice about the possibilities and practicalities of his plans.

RAY would liaise with agents and brokers to find a suitable vessel and then arrange for all the necessary documentation to transfer the title and successfully complete the purchase or sale. RAY would also advise him on selecting the most suitable port of registry to ensure that it reflects his needs, taking Mr Smith’s nationality and domicile into account, in terms of cost, vessel eligibility, financing options and the intended use and operating area.

Mr Smith also discussed his options for an aircraft with RANA – what he wanted to use the aircraft for, where it should be based and so on. He knew that he would probably need a jet with a seating capacity for up to eight passengers because he often wanted to fly with colleagues on flights. Mr Smith also thought he needed a range of up to 3,500km, which would allow to fly from the Middle East to Gibraltar if he wanted to spend time on his yacht, as well as to put down in Cyprus or Malta where he had business interests.

Both Gabriel and Brian agreed to prepare detailed reports summarising their analysis of the suitable yacht and aircraft models for Mr Smith to consider and the services they could provide based on his situation and requirements. In both cases, they suggested that registration of the asset in the name of a company would provide enhanced confidentiality, as well as a means to pass assets free of liability to estate duties or inheritance tax. It might also assist with a number of financing options.

Mr Smith had never previously considered many of these issues but he left Gibraltar feeling confident that his plans were now progressing and that he would end up with reliable recommendations on which to make a properly informed decision. He awaits the next stage with interest.