Pinsent Masons’ latest accounts, filed at Companies House, reveal a 3.7% profit increase alongside a 5.9% rise in headcount in the financial year to 30 April 2014, while the firm’s net debt nearly tripled.
Turnover at the firm was up by 5.8% from £305.7m in 2012/13 to £323.5m in 2013/14 but increased costs meant that profits available for division among members rose by 3.7% from £85.8m to £89m.
Operating costs were driven by higher staff costs which rose to £145.6m from £135.9m the previous period with the wages bill driving most of that growth, increasing from £116.4m to £124m. The firm made the largest number of additions to its staff among fee earners with a 7.5% increase from 1227 in the 2012/13 financial year to 1319 in 2013/14. Secretarial and business support staff also saw increases of 4% and 3.7% respectively.
However, partner numbers fell towards the end of the year with the firm recording 322 on 30 April 2014, down 3.9% from the 335 present the previous year. The highest paid member increased their remuneration package from £590,200 to £621,700.
The firm also saw a significant increase in its net debt which jumped from £5.9m at the end of 2012/13 up to £15.8m on 30 April 2014. This came as cash in hand and at bank increased by £1.1m to £6.3m from £5.2m but the firm’s overdraft more than doubled to £20.6m from £9.7m. The annual amount paid on interest nearly doubled as well, swelling from £347,000 to £538,000.
The firm is in the middle of a leadership transition with John Cleland set to take over from David Ryan as managing partner in April 2015 while Richard Foley was elected as senior partner in June last year.
For more analysis of Pinsent Masons’ new leadership and strategic direction see: More outward-facing but does new leadership have a message for Pinsents?