In our latest edition of The Superyacht Group’s Digital Dialogues, Martin Redmayne is joined by Olivier Blanchet, head of jet and yacht finance at BNP Paribas, to discuss changing UNHWI consumption patterns, the need for new yachting models, the impact of COVID-19 and much more.
Blanchet joined BNP Paribas in 1993 and has performed in various management roles through the International Corporate Banking Network. In 2002, he discovered that “God must have been a shipowner or a yacht owner because he placed raw materials and paradises far from where they were needed and covered 2/3 of the earth with water”. He became a Maritime Banker and developed a sound international business relationship portfolio focus on commercial vessels and ship owners. He launched a dedicated offer for financing Yachts in 2006.
As Head of the Jet & Yacht Finance Services, Olivier works in close cooperation with the Wealth Management Department by providing specialist guidance for his yacht financing team, particularly in marketing, structuring, loan documentation and compliance due diligence.
“Part of the objectives for the global superyacht industry should be to develop the occupancy rate of superyachts as assets,” explains Blanchet. “If you consider the occupancy rate of current superyachts, it is around 10-12 percent a year. The industry needs to develop new business models and new ways to use the assets in order to increase figure and, in so doing, improve the image of the superyacht industry. If the rate was around 50-70 percent, the industry will certainly be considered differently.”
Throughout 2020 and 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has arguably hastened the movement away from pure wealth generation as the primary motivating factor towards a more balanced approach where people increasingly value privacy, experiences and freedom. Blanchet believes that tapping into this UHNW zeitgeist will be essential for the successful implementation of any of the superyacht industry’s growth targets.
“It is well established that it is hard to make money on a superyacht,” continues Blanchet. “But money is not the objective, the return on investment is the happiness that you derive from being on board. Furthermore, buying a yacht today, especially where the younger generations are concerned, is about meaning. What is the meaning of your purchase? This notion is incredibly important today and the yachting market has to take this into account.”
As well as exploring how yachting values have changed, Blanchet reflects on the fact that the market is failing to capitalise on the growth of the global UHNW population.
“Over the last four years, the number of UHNWIs in the US has grown by 20 percent and, in Asia, it has grown by 200 percent,” comments Blanchet. “If you look at the growth of the global fleet over the last five years, it has grown by around four percent. This means that a smaller proportion of UHNWIs are buying superyachts every year and there are a number of factors affecting this.”
Blanchet explains that even amongst the world’s ultra-wealthy population there is a gradual movement away from ownership models and towards on-demand services. Equally, as people increasingly explore leisure activities that reflect their values, the superyacht industry needs to develop more ways to capitalise on these values. The industry must develop new models as well as new activities to encourage a broader spectrum of UHNWIs to engage.
Elsewhere within the interview, Blanchet discusses philanthropy versus returns, project financing, a maturing industry, investment, the lessons to learn from aviation and much more. To view the full interview, click here.
Olivier Blanchet, head of jet and yacht finance at BNP Paribas
The One to One series is a collective campaign for change and industry improvement, and we welcome participants from all sectors. If you would like to take part or contribute your thoughts, please contact Eleanor Shepherd.
You can view the ever-growing archive of Digital Dialogues here.
If you like reading our Editors' premium quality journalism on SuperyachtNews.com, you'll love their amazing and insightful opinions and comments in The Superyacht Report. If you’ve never read it, click here to request a sample copy - it's 'A Report Worth Reading'. If you know how good it is, click here to subscribe - it's 'A Report Worth Paying For'.