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Articles Meet the Team: Edouard Vignal

From our Monaco office, Sales and Purchase Consultant Edouard Vignal speaks on his brokerage career so far and his take on the current luxury yacht sales market.

By definition, there is no role more central to a yacht brokerage than that of a yacht broker. Despite being the most publicly facing individuals at Ocean Independence, their jobs are often a bit of a mystery. How is it, for instance, that one becomes a yacht sales consultant in the first place? What kind of challenges do they have to face? How do they handle the effects of wider political and economic challenges?

In this interview, Edouard Vignal, Sales and Purchase Consultant based in our Monaco office, talks us through his career so far, the challenges he has faced and provides some insights on current industry trends.

 

OI: How has your international upbringing influenced your approach to your work?

Edouard’s upbringing fostered a global perspective, living in diverse locations like Paris, Tunisia, Brazil, and Venezuela. His educational journey also took him across the world, with college experiences in California, Mexico, and China. After graduating with a degree in international business from The American Business School of Paris, Edouard worked as an asset management consultant in the South of France and Paris. This extensive international exposure has significantly influenced his professional approach as Edouard explains:

“Growing up in an international environment and having to regularly adapt to new cultures and languages gave me a sense of curiosity, an open mind and persistence which are important qualities that I’m trying to use every day in my professional life.”

Edouard Vignal, Sales & Purchase Consultant

OI: What is your history with yachting? / What inspired you to become a yacht sales consultant?

I was born in the south of France and have spent most of my childhood living by the sea in various countries. I’ve always been attracted to the ocean since I can remember. After my studies in Paris, I decided to come back to the south of France, where I soon realised that I could apply my sense of service to the yachting industry. I was fascinated and intrigued by this industry, so I applied for a yacht broker position at the French Ferretti dealer where I embraced a new career. I haven’t looked back since.

OI: Can you share a little about your brokerage career so far? Any achievements or challenges?

I started my brokerage career in 2010, these were hard times for the yachting industry following the 2008 crisis. Yet I could see the potential and after a few months I sold my first yacht which gave me the confidence and trust that every successful broker needs to achieve good results.

Concerning the biggest challenges I have faced, they often result from external pressures, be it political, economic, or even a pandemic, these global issues throw up unexpected hurdles and, rightly, cause clients to become more cautious. It is our job to adapt to these issues and present a resolution.

For example, I had a yacht under offer subject that she would pass class certification. We had already been working on this deal for five months and then a few days before closing, the Covid lockdown was declared.  We had to postpone the whole closing by almost three months, but we eventually managed to close the deal once the Covid restrictions began to ease.

OI: What trends do you currently see emerging in yacht sales?

There is a younger generation of owners emerging who are looking for sustainable solutions such as hybrid or fuel cell propulsions or use of eco-friendly materials, with high-speed cruising becoming less of a priority. Of course, with some exceptions.

Yacht owners are also looking more to the unique lifestyle a yacht can facilitate. They want to be more connected to the sea without compromising on the design and with more liveable space, hence a challenging balance for some shipyards. Evidence of this is the increase in yachts equipped with onboard wellness facilities such as spas or gyms which wasn’t so common a few years ago.

Edouard Vignal

OI: What are the key factors you consider when matching clients with their ideal yacht?

Everyone has their own opinion about shipyards or yacht design therefore it is important to have experience and knowledge of the market. Most yacht owners are very smart people and the relationship between a broker and their Client is mostly based on trust. If I can present a yacht to a Client that they had no idea they could acquire, it is more likely they will work with me, and from then on, the communication will be easier, and the chances of the Client purchasing will be higher.

OI: What is one thing that has surprised you about working in the yachting industry?

The moment between the first contact with a Client and the closing can sometimes feel like an emotional roller coaster, especially with so many parties involved: Buyer, Seller, Captain, surveyor, designer, lawyer to name a few. That is why it is so important to work with a trusted and organised entity such as Ocean Independence.

The broker is in the middle of the deal. So, to find an agreement for all the parties involved can seem very challenging, but it’s a great feeling once achieved successfully. In the early stages of my yacht brokerage career, I thought after a few years I would know most of what is needed to know, and the job would become easier. I had no idea how wrong I was. I still feel like I’m regularly learning something new which in fact is great and makes my job more interesting on a day-to-day basis.

OI: What skills from your time in investment banking and capital markets have you applied to the yachting industry?

Investment banking taught me the intellectual discipline and thoroughness one should have when managing large sums of capital or important assets which is unquestionably helpful when dealing with yachts.

OI: What hobbies do you have outside of the office?

I’m a husband and father of two young children so most of our free time is dedicated to raising them the best way possible. We teach them how to appreciate and enjoy spending time outdoors, whether it’s on a paddle board in Villefranche-sur-Mer in summer or skiing in Auron in winter. I do still play basketball occasionally but my dream of being an NBA player is gone. Riding my sporty motorcycle is also good fun.

Get in touch

Now with almost 15 years of experience in the yachting industry Edouard continues to provide valuable contributions to Ocean Independence's yacht sales and purchase services. His ability to navigate the ever-changing yachting landscape ensures clients receive expert guidance throughout their buying or selling journey.

To contact Edouard please click enquire below, or discover more about our bespoke yacht sales and purchase services.

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