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