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UHY GLOBAL JANUARY 2018 ALL AROUND THE WORLD


SUN-SEEKING SUPERYACHTS


The Sunseeker London Group (Sunseeker Longon) realises dreams – luxury boats that combine fun, excitement and high performance. Think Casino Royale, Never Say Never Again and The Bourne Identity. In 1983, after years working for his father's marine business, David Lewis and his colleague Christopher Heard, jumped ship to launch their own business, selling Sunseeker boats. Thirty-five years later they are both still at the helm – David as managing director and Christopher as group sales director. Today's facts are impressive – Sunseeker London acts as a distributor for Sunseeker International for the UK, and has sales and service operations in a number of other jurisdictions including Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Monaco, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain and Turkey. It is the leading provider of both new and pre-owned luxury Sunseeker motor yachts ranging from 40 to 155 feet long; it is not unusual for people to spend up to USD 39.5 million (GBP 30 million) on a yacht and these days, clients can be as young as 30.CHASING THE SUN "Now, entrepreneurs in the tech and digital industries make big money quickly and then sell their businesses on, and the first thing they often do is buy a yacht," says David. "Increasingly with threats of terrorism occurring all over the world and with ongoing global financial fluctuations, clients do not always want to invest their money in property – one expensive villa – they prefer the flexibility of being able to move their 'vacation home' anywhere they want in the world." Sunseeker London is the only distributor to have the licence to sell Sunseeker boats to countries in the Mediterranean and they sell up to half of all Sunseeker boats worldwide. Unlike their competitors they have offices and service facilities in every country they operate in, so they can offer a streamlined service wherever clients find themselves. ADDING VALUE Creating dreams is 'a gift' acknowledges David, but the realities behind making them happen are complex. "We have to stay one step ahead of our competitors," he says. "It is no longer enough just to sell a boat, however highly specified and customised it is. Clients want to buy into the whole Sunseeker experience." So now, for example, Sunseeker London offers concierge services to help clients plan round-the-world itineraries; and it keeps customers – and potential customers – involved with the brand by inviting them to exclusive Sunseeker events. These often take place in special venues or bespoke settings with top class entertainment."We also aim to keep aligning ourselves with similar luxury brands and cultures," says David, "because these associations help to reinforce our own status as a lifestyle brand, as well as providing our customers with further access to exclusive sporting events and parties. Sunseeker offers experiences that money cannot buy."David's current brand partners list includes names such as Jo Malone, Alexander James Interiors, Red Bull Racing, Chase, Barclays Wealth, UBS, Net Jets, Dolce & Gabbana, Boodles and Marine. Sunseeker London is also growing its sales of 'toys' such as jet skis, slides, jet boats, flyboards and jetlev flyers "This is an important add-on for us," says David. "We have to offer the total experience for our clients when they are at sea." Asked about what his most unusual client request is, David says that a client once asked whether his boat would be safe for two baby tigers – "I had to say honestly that I did not know," he admits. "And I have no idea whether he risked it!" MAGIC BEYOND THE BOAT "Sunseeker is an international brand at the level of Bentley, Ferrari or a top hotel group like the Ritz," says David Lewis, managing director, Sunseeker London. "To reinforce this, we need to give our clients experiences that money cannot buy, so we recognise that what we do around our commercial offer is critical. It goes beyond the boat." As a result, Sunseeker London now runs world class hospitality events for Sunseeker owners, and is widening its luxury brand reach through securing partnerships with other top names. But not only is the strategy working for Sunseeker, it is also adding value to other brands."Red Bull Racing approached us to provide five yachts and three days of hospitality for their wealthiest clientele at the 2017 Monaco Formula One Grand Prix," says David. "It was a win-win for both brands, and a tremendous event. We see more and more, in the world of luxury, that it is not enough just to provide a fabulous product – we have to add even more magic to the customer experience." David Lewis has been a client of UHY Hacker Young, UK, for over 20 years. "Our relationship is very reliable," he says, "and continuity is important in our business. UHY has developed a deep knowledge of the complex accounting challenges in this industry, which are quite different from anywhere else. Our auditors have to understand the whole sales process and what is behind the order. Just as each sale is bespoke, so is the accounting." As Sunseeker London has expanded to cover the Mediterranean region, UHY Hacker Young has called on the services and local knowledge of other UHY member firms in Spain, Portugal, Germany and Croatia. For a full account of this very special relationship, and to learn more about Sunseeker London, you can download a copy of the 2018 UHY Capability Statement at >www.uhy.com/publications.

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