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Charles Russell Speechlys unveils first financials post-merger as Withers sees 9% rise in revenue

On the back of speedy internationalisation plans in recent months, private client firm Withers has posted an 8.7% increase in revenues to £134m from £123m for the 2014/15 financial year while Charles Russell Speechlys has recorded combined revenues of £135m in its first financials post-merger.

Withers, having expanded extensively this past year, saw net profit rise marginally up 2% to £23m, while with expanded partnership ranks the firm’s profit per equity partner (PEP) dropped from £376,000 to £367,000.

Most recently, the firm launched a Tokyo tax practice – Withers Japan, Zeirishi Houjin (Withers Japan) – in June, and hired Morrison & Foerster’s Singapore-based Eric Roose to head up its regional corporate tax practice. That same month, the firm launched three new offices in the US with the hire of a nine-partner team – the majority of which come from McKenna Long & Aldridge.

The firm also boosted its corporate, litigation and IP law capabilities in the US with the hire of an 11-strong team in April. This came after the firm launched a presence in Australia, creating Withers SBL through an alliance, in December 2014.

Managing director Margaret Robertson (pictured) said: ‘We have enjoyed strong revenue growth in 2014-15, driven by our focus on the global needs of successful people. Whilst our gross profit has also shown a healthy increase of 10%, our lower PEP reflects the increase in our partnership, which grew by more than one third in the last seven weeks of our financial year and, although they have already made a strong contribution, this distorts the annualised numbers.’

Having merged in November 2014 and creating a private wealth powerhouse, revenues at Charles Russell Speechlys for the year ending 30 April 2015 stood at £135m, while net profit came in at £26m. The firm said this was despite the impact of merger related costs and a significant investment programme in its IT systems following the union.

Average PEP, before merger-related adjustments, was £320,000 – in line with the legacy PEP of Speechly Bircham which stood at £319,000 in its final year before merging while Charles Russell partners took home £336,000. From a financial perspective, the merger was far more one of equals than Speechly’s failed talks with Withers in 2013, where Withers’ PEP was £363,000 to Speechlys then £297,000.

The firm’s managing partner James Carter said: ‘In a year of very significant change for the firm, we have performed strongly. We set ourselves a number of goals, financial and strategic, for the three financial years following the merger and I am pleased that we are on, and in some cases ahead of, target. Nine months in, the merger is unlocking opportunities and benefits for our clients and our people.’