BBC tracks down Morpho at London Yacht, Jet and Prestige Car Show


Image courtesy of The London Yacht, Jet and Prestige Car Show

Morpho 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.”

You can hear Neil’s radio interview here:

The Global Capital of Yachting​

Morpho Luxury Asset Management - Monaco Yacht Show
Every year, the Principality of Monaco plays host to around 33,000 people at the four-day Monaco Yacht Show.

This year was no exception and thousands came to see a record 115 superyachts and 510 exhibiting companies.

Monaco is, of course, home to the most exclusive yacht club in the world (founded by Prince Rainier III in 1953), which now has a startling new club house designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster and opened by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II this summer.

“It looks like a liner,” said Neil Richmond, founder of Morpho Luxury Asset Management, “and it really is a stunning building. I don’t think there is any question that such a landmark building pretty much seals Monaco’s position as the Global Capital of Yachting.”

Mr Richmond was in Monaco, with his fiancée, for the show and several of the peripheral events – including Marine Money’s hugely informative 7th Annual Superyacht Finance Forum. Presentations included Wealth-X’s Mykolas Rambus who spoke on The UHNW Customer for the Luxury Yacht Market, and Chip Fichtner on Yacht Ownership: The Priceless Experience – An Owner’s Perspective. There were updates on tax and VAT and a round table on superyacht finance.

“The superyacht community is booming,” Mr Richmond said afterwards. “There are now 4,500 superyachts on the water and yachts over 100 metres – mega yachts – routinely sell for more than £100 million. The British superyacht industry increased revenues by seven per cent in the year to 2013/2014 – and is now generating almost half a billion pounds a year. And it’s still a tiddler: the German shipyard Lürssen alone employs 1,800 people.”

In a business moving so fast, Mr Richmond and his team have to work hard to keep up to speed with all of the changes. “That’s just another reason why the MYS is so very important,” he said.

See –

Morpho’s definitive guide to buying, running, chartering and selling superyachts produced for FOG (Family Office Global) magazine: click here.

Morpho’s thoughts on superyachts and succession planning in Yacht Investor magazine: click here.

Morpho Luxury Asset Management at Monaco Yacht Show

German shipyard Lürssen’s 85-metre superyacht ‘Solandge’ won the MYS Award for the best exterior design. © Monaco Yacht Show

Morpho takes off

Morpho Luxury Asset Management - Powerboat

Photo: Simon Kidner

Take a look at the picture. Notice anything? Well, the first – and probably the most important – thing is that the boat Silverline is not actually in the water at all, it’s above it.

And, no, it’s not hovering – that’s just freeze frame photography – it’s bouncing, which is what powerboats driven by father and son team Drew and Alister Langdon tend to do. It’s a function of driving on water at speeds of up to 120mph.

The second thing you might notice is the Morpho logo on the bow.

Morpho sponsored the Langdon’s Bullet Offshore Racing team in the world’s oldest powerboat race at the end of August – the Cowes Classic 2014, the annual Cowes Torquay Cowes Offshore race, founded by venerated newspaper man Sir Max Aitken way back in 1961.

The Bullets did pretty well. They were placed first in the class A category; 3rd overall on the Cowes to Torquay leg; and 7th overall in the race (technical problems, but let’s not get into that). And Ali won the Penthouse Trophy for being the youngest driver from Cowes to Torquay and back.

Morpho’s founder and chief executive, Neil Richmond, was there to cheer them on, of course. But not actually … er … on course.

From somewhere on the Isle of Wight, he reports excellent ice cream from “happy Jersey cows” and what he describes as “a hopsy and aromatic” Ale of Wight libation, which he discovered by accident. Oh, and the deep thrill of the race, which just blew him away.

Mr Richmond is a huge fan of the British Powerboat Racing Club, which organises this annual event, and of the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron – where lunch was served and where the current Lord Beaverbrook (Commodore of the BPRC) gave a speech about the race.

The Royal Yacht Squadron – patron HM Queen Elizabeth II, Admiral Prince Philip – is based at Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight and has beautiful gardens with exceptional views of the Solent. The Castle was built in 1539 by King Henry VIII to deter the French; the squadron was founded in 1815.

Morpho also sponsored the team’s powerboat Silverline Fountain in the high profile Ibiza Mediterranean Grand Prix a week later.

Morpho Luxury Asset Management - Powerboat team

Photo: Tim Tapping

Morpho Luxury Asset Management - powerboat Silverline

Bullet Offshore Racing team’s powerboat Silverline preparing for the race in front of the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron

Super rich and UHNWI boost London economy

Morpho Luxury Asset Management - Real EstateOwners of London’s prime and super-prime properties contribute at least £2.3 billion to the city’s economy, according to the independent report ‘The Prime Residential Market in Westminster’ by the economic consultancy Ramidus Consulting Ltd. The research, commissioned by officers at Westminster City Council, revealed that owners of properties worth more than £15 million spend around £4.5 million each in London annually, and those owners in the £5 million to £15 million range spend around £2.75 million.

Researchers consulted estate agents, developers and land owners to define spend. They also interviewed Neil Richmond, founder of Morpho Luxury Asset Management, at length.

Richmond said: “I was genuinely pleased to be able to help Ramidus with its research. There has been so much nonsense about ‘fortress investments’ and ‘lights out London’, and I was happy to be able to help counteract some of the wilder claims.”

Councillor Robert Davis, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council and Cabinet Member for the Built Environment, said: “This independent report strongly counters the perception that overseas investors are buying high value properties in London as an investment and then leaving them empty. In fact, it shows that the prime residential market is an engine room within the UK economy, generating jobs and growth for London, and billions for the UK.”

See the full report on

Morpho meets “the million dollar nose”

Robert Parker and Morpho Founder Neil Richmond at Hedonism in Mayfair

Robert Parker and Morpho Founder Neil Richmond at Hedonism in Mayfair

It’s a quarter of a century since international wine guru Robert Parker was in the UK and while news of his visit slipped by many in the national press, Britain’s wine buffs coughed up a small fortune to meet the great man.

The venue was Hedonism Wines – London’s most upmarket wine store, more or less opposite one of London’s most upmarket private members’ clubs, Alfred’s in Mayfair. Hedonism was set up by Russian oligarch Evgeny Chichvarkin and is just around the corner from Morpho’s Brook Street office.

No surprise, then, that Morpho founder Neil Anthony Richmond found himself on the VIP list to meet the man known to wine lovers as “The Million Dollar Nose” and “Le Pape du Vin”. Or simply “God”.

An American, Robert Parker invented the widely-used and easily-understood Parker points system for grading fine wines. The maximum points any wine can earn under the system is 100. And Neil managed to work his way through no fewer than 9 different 100 point wines and a couple of very special glasses of champagne, all in the name of research and education of course.

We won’t turn this blog into a book by introducing tasting notes, but those in the know will recognise the quality of the wines on this list:

1) Welcome Drink: Champagne Dom Perignon Vintage 2004 – an elusive wine that sold out within 24 hours of release.
2) Champagne Dom Perignon Second Plénitude (P2) Vintage 1998.
3) M. Chapoutier De L’Oree Ermitage Blanc 2010 (100 Parker points)
4) Chateau Pontet-Canet 2010 (100 Parker points)
5) Verite La Joie 2007 (100 Parker points)
6) Lokoya Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (100 Parker points)
7) Peter Michael Ma Danseuse 2010 (100 Parker points)
8) Dominus 2010 (100 Parker points)
9) Remirez de Ganuza Gran Reserva 2004 (100 Parker points)
10) Penfolds Grange 2008 (100 Parker points)
11) Alvear Pedro Jimenez 2011 (100 Parker points) – dessert wine.

Neil got to hang out with Evgeny and Robert and has since developed a deep affection for Hedonism, which probably suits his clients down to the ground. Its two floors house 4,500 of the world’s most desirable, rarest and finest wine. It’s a cru classé act, according to the Financial Times.


Evgeny Chichvarkin, Owner of Hedonism in Mayfair, and Morpho Founder Neil Richmond

Charity dinner at Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey): (L-R) Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Family Office Review’s Steffi Claiden with Morpho Founder Neil Anthony Richmond

Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey): (L-R) Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Family Office Review’s Steffi Claiden with Morpho Founder Neil Anthony Richmond

What do we know of butlers and valets? There was Mr Hudson in the 1970s TV programme Upstairs, Downstairs; Jeeves in the tales of Jeeves and Wooster; and, of course, Mr Carson – so admirably played by Jim Carter in Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey.

These are all fictional characters and we’re not likely to meet them in real life. Or are we?

Morpho founder Neil Richmond recently attended a charity function, hosted by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, at Highclere Castle in Berkshire. Fans of Downton Abbey will no doubt be aware that Highclere is the setting for the TV series.

Because it was a charity event – in aid of the National Osteoporosis Society and JDRF the type 1 diabetes charity – there was an auction, and the auctioneer was no less a character than Mr Carson, played live by Jim Carter in the actual setting for the TV series.

So far, so strange. Guest storyteller for the evening was the author Julian Fellowes – now Lord Fellowes of West Stafford – who shared his inspiration for the TV series, and took questions from the audience of 140 who had gathered in the library for a Downton Abbey themed three-course dinner.

It is often risky to mix fact and fiction in this way (get it wrong and it can become quite ‘theme park’) but this turned out to be a perfect evening full of style and grace – and it raised a small fortune for the two charities too.

“It was great fun,” said Neil Richmond afterwards, “but one has to remember that Downton Abbey is set in the 1920s, when the world was quite a different place. Modern butlers – or lifestyle managers, as they are often known these days – have about as much in common with Messrs Hudson, Jeeves and Carson as a modern Metropolitan Police detective has with Sherlock Holmes.”

For a detailed account of what a modern luxury lifestyle manager offers, click here.

Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey): Julian Fellowes, Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham) with Morpho Founder Neil Anthony Richmond

Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey):
Julian Fellowes, Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham) with Morpho Founder Neil Anthony Richmond