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Brexit blamed: Burness Paull posts 7% drop in PEP and modest turnover growth

Scottish stalwart Burness Paull has blamed Brexit for mixed financial results, announcing a 7% drop in profits per equity partner (PEP) from £480,000 to £449,000, while turnover is up a moderate 4% to £53.3m from £51.3m. Net profit was £22.6m, down 3% from £23.4m.

According to Philip Rodney, chairman of Burness Paull, a year of consolidation and investment also contributed to this year’s financial performance. The firm’s reporting year runs until 31 July.

Speaking to Legal Business Rodney (pictured) added: ‘We always thought that this year would be a year of consolidation that we wouldn’t see quite the growth that we had seen in previous years. The results are not what we would have anticipated but for Brexit and over the last couple of months of the year we saw a definite downturn – at first there was the anticipation and then the shock of the result.

‘Our figures aren’t really comparing like for like with anybody else. Everybody else is 30 April or earlier so nobody has reported on their figures for the two pre-Brexit months.’

Despite Brexit woes, property, corporate finance, banking and funds were all sectors that performed well for the firm over the last financial year.

Standout mandates include advising Brown-Forman Beverages on its acquisition of Benriach Distillery Company and Savannah Petroleum’s $40m capital markets fundraising.

‘It was a great year for funds, banking – positive again. Growth in fee income, an increase in borrower work, I suppose a trend moving towards alternative lenders, we saw that,’ said Rodney.

This financial year has generally been good to the Scottish independents, with Brodies continuing its strong form, announcing revenue growth of 12% from £57.9m to £65.1m, while profits per equity partner (PEP) is up 13% from £532,000 to £602,000.

Likewise, Shepherd and Wedderburn enjoyed a third year of consecutive growth with revenues up 10% to £53m and profits increasing 20% to £21.5m, however rival independent Maclay Murray & Spens had another disappointing year financially with a 12% drop in PEP from £283,000 to £248,000, while turnover is up 3% to £44.8m.