This week was the week of the Monaco Yacht Show. It was also the week when Ed Miliband, leader of the British Labour Party, used a yacht analogy to complain about the enrichment of the 1%. "They used to say a rising tide lifts all boats," said Miliband in his conference speech on Tuesday, "Now it just lifts the yachts."
Miliband's soundbite was apt in light of all the evidence for growth in income inequality globally. But if you're looking for big bankers with big yachts you might be disappointed.
We spoke to several yacht brokers and dealers, each of whom was as reticent as the next about providing a breakdown of their clientele. And yet they all said that financial services workers were really not a big part of their client base. Big yachts are not bought by big bankers; they are bought by oligarchs, technology entrepreneurs and maybe hedge fund managers.
Laura Harrison, a PR for Sunseeker London, said Sunseeker only makes 180 boats each year. Sunseeker's clients are "very diverse," said Harrison. They're not especially from financial services, and they tend to have interests and houses all over the world. Vicki LeFleur, operations manager at Watkins Superyachts ('arguably the world's first superyacht retailer'), said none of their clients work in banking, although they possibly have some hedge fund managers and oligarchs on their books. And Andrea Maguire, of Yacht Plus, which offers fractional ownership of impressive yachts, said bankers had been "quiet" for a while, before declining to comment further.
However, if bankers aren't buying big yachts, hedge fund managers are. The UK superyacht industry increased by 4% last year according to the Guardian. Some hedge fund managers, like Peter Mallinson, owner of London-based hedge fund CDK Group and a former Goldman Partner, have reportedly bought into the fractional yacht ownership trend. Others have big boats all of their own. Below are some of hedge fund managers' finest vessels, and one part-owned by a senior banker at Nomura.
1. Sea Owl
What? A 62m mega-yacht.
Whose is it? It belongs to Robert Mercer, the co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies.
Special features: Sea Owl reportedly has a 'jade mist green and oyster white' colour scheme. It also has a crew of 18, an owner's 'stateroom', three guest cabins, two children's cabins and one nanny cabin.
Other things of note: In July, Mercer was lambasted for docking staff wages on the Sea Owl when the failed to top up his shampoo bottles or level his pictures.
Photos? @finansakrobat posted the following picture of Sea Owl in Oslo to his Twitter feet yesterday.
2. April Fool
What? A 61m superyacht built in 2006.
Whose is it? April Fool used to belong to Sandy Weill. Now it belongs to Dan Loeb, founder of hedge fund Third Point. Loeb bought it earlier this year for between $50-$52m, which was considered cheap.
Special features: The inside is made of cherry and oak and features an elevator and a staircase. There are male and female dressing rooms and the male dressing room has a leather floor to emphasize masculinity. There's an entertainment and computer room so that the 'owner's grandchildren' can stay inside playing games while the yacht sails the seas. There's a jacuzzi. There's a 'giant leather couch.'
Photos? Click here.
3. Marie, Star of the Sea
What? a 55m yacht built in 2010.
Whose is it? Marie belongs to the family office of Ed and Marie Borsage. Among other things, Ed Borsage is founder of quantitative hedge fund QuantLab Financial.
Special features: There's a Steinway Baby Grand piano downstairs and a 'California king-sized bed' and steam room upstairs.
Photos: There's a photo below, plus a whole website devoted to Marie (which can be chartered) here.
4. Ocean Emerald
What? a 41m yacht built in 2009.
Whose is it? Available for fractional ownership. Owners have included Ruggero Magnoni, the chairman of European Investment Banking at Nomura.
Special features: Costs €115k-€130k to charter for a week in the summer. Has a cappuccino bar and his and hers private balconies. Further information is available here.