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What sort of clients do you advise?
I advise a variety of banks, financial institutions, funds, owners and businesses on secured loans and other types of financings. On the superyacht side, I most commonly act for banks lending to owners with the yacht itself the principal piece of security, although on higher value deals, the security packages often also include other assets of the owner, such as corporate jets, land, shares and other securities.
How did you end up in superyacht law?
I am a banking and finance lawyer by trade, however a significant proportion of my time is spent on shipping and offshore deals involving all types of commercial trading vessels and other equipment. My work in superyacht finance has been a natural progression as my client banks have themselves moved into this sector. It also helps working in a team containing some of the world’s leading superyacht lawyers!
What makes a good superyacht lawyer?
On the financing side, the deals are always fast paced, so you have to be very responsive to ensure the owner’s deadlines are met. A thorough grounding in shipping and finance law is also important of course as many of the issues and risks associated with financing a large cargo ship can be just as relevant when financing a superyacht, for example environmental, insurance and sanctions issues.
What do you most like about your job?
As counsel to the bank on financing transactions, my role is not only to draft and agree all of the documentation and put in place the security, but also to project manage the transaction, and it is this element, and the excitement of bringing a deal to a successful completion in a short time frame that is often the most rewarding aspect. Superyacht finance is undoubtedly a glamorous industry, so you therefore also get to meet and work with some very interesting people.
What one piece of advice would you give to potential yacht buyers?
To ensure ownership and operation of a yacht is as stress free as possible, it is crucial to put in place a robust holding structure. This means not only choosing appropriate ownership and flag jurisdictions for the yacht based on sound legal and tax advice, but also employing top tier, responsive service providers in the relevant jurisdictions to take care of these aspects in the background, leaving the owner to simply enjoy their purchase!
Ian is a banking and finance lawyer with specialist experience in the commercial shipping, offshore, superyacht, aviation, and energy sectors. Ian advises banks and other financial institutions, funds, Islamic investors, insurance companies and owners on a variety of matters including new financings, sale and purchase, leasing, restructurings, work outs and enforcements.