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‘Encouraging results’: Withers’ global expansion breeds revenue growth as PEP leaps 25%

Private wealth specialist Withers has recorded a decade of consecutive growth this year, with a profit per equity partner (PEP) boost of 25% to £381,000.

With 2016/17 revenues up 8% to £174.5m, the pace of growth slowed from last year, when the top line figure was up 21% to £161.5m, but the firm’s international expansion appeared to continue to pay off.

Withers previously grew 54% in the five years to 2016/7 and has expanded by almost £100m in 10 years, up from £78.2m in 2006/07.

CEO Margaret Robertson described the performance as ‘very encouraging’, adding it was ‘the result of hard work by our people around the world and focused management of the firm following our substantial international growth over the past few years’.

In 2016, the firm opened a new tax practice in Dubai with the hire of EY’s Middle East and North Africa private client head Stijn Janssen.

In June 2015,  launched a Tokyo-based tax practice, Withers Japan Zeirishi Houjin, and three new offices in the US with the hire of a nine partner team, most of whom came from McKenna Long & Aldridge ahead of its combination with Dentons.

The firm now has 168 global partners across 19 offices in nine countries. This includes its own offices in Europe, US, the Caribbean, Asia and Australia, an office in Melbourne – Withers SBL Alliance member SBL Shmith, and an affiliated Tokyo office, Zeirishi Houjin.

Withers lost its co-head of European wealth planning Filippo Noseda to Mishcon de Reya in June but made seven lateral hires during the financial year, strengthening its US, Asian and UK operations.

In London, Azlinda Ariffin-Boromand joined the corporate team from Olswang in December and Jeremy Arnold the private client and tax team from Waypoint Capital in January 2017.

In San Diego, the real estate team recruited Marjorie Burchett from Dentons in July 2016 and Jenny Hill Bratt from DLA Piper in January 2017.

David Mallinson joined the Hong Kong hotels and sports practice from Mayer Brown JSM in August, while the Singaporean operations added Lada Shelkovnikova from Al Tamimi to join the hotels team and Farhana Siddiqui from Drew & Napier to the corporate team between October and December.

A 12-strong team including three partners led by Mabel Lui from Winston & Strawn joined the Hong Kong office in July 2017. Lui will now head the Greater China commercial practice.

On 1 July, Withers also appointed eight new partners, six of them in London. Two of the new City partners will join the private client and tax team, the others will be part of the employment, dispute resolutions and corporate teams. The private client and tax teams in New Haven and Hong Kong made up one partner each.

Last year, the firm promoted seven lawyers to the partnership.