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CEO of 'superyacht' broker: I'm 'nervous' about the political situation in 2020

One of the world's most distinguished superyacht brokerage houses is aiming for smooth sailing amid global slowdown concerns and U.S.-China trade negotiations, after a record-breaking 2019. 

“America is by far our largest market. It's about 30% to 35% of the yachting market today. China has been coming very steadily. It's been building nicely. But you know, we're nervous that there will be a sort of a slowdown in China over the next 12 months,” Jonathan Beckett, Burgess CEO, told The Ticker. 

Heading into 2020, Beckett explains he’s cautiously optimistic after 2019’s banner year. “It was a record year for us, both in terms of new construction, secondhand yacht sales and charter. I think as we go into 2020, we're all a little bit nervous about the political environment, China. So we're hoping for the best and planning for the worst,” Beckett said.

Burgess specializes in superyachts, which are characterized as luxury boats typically manned by a crew and usually over 100 feet in length. The company has 14 offices around the world, including in Athens, Dubai, and Beverly Hills. 

Burgess is known as one of the world's most distinguished superyacht brokerage houses. (Courtesy: Burgess)

Beckett notes traditional markets for the yachting business include the Middle East, America, and Europe. “The Russians seem to have disappeared for the time being. It's much slower there, but we're seeing China, Asia, and Australia as being quite exciting new markets for us,” he added. 

When it comes to other risks, like recession fears, Beckett believes a lot of his clients learned from the 2008 financial crisis not to leverage themselves to the extreme. “They're keen to have a lot of cash in the bank to take advantage of the recession because they can see that there'll be some business opportunities out there to snap up,” Beckett said.

McKenzie Stratigopoulos is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @mckenziestrat

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