In its first full financial results following a period of rapid growth through four successive mergers and the acquisition of Cobbetts, DWF has seen its revenue grow by 2% from £188m to £191m.
Net profit was up by 23% from £20.8m in 2012/13 to £25.5m in 2013/14, notwithstanding the firm’s large-scale strategic investments in lateral hires and new IT systems.
However, DWF saw a 4% decrease in its profit per equity partner from £429,000 in 2012/13 to £411,000 in 2013/14, which it blamed on a 12% increase in equity partner numbers.
Over the last 12 months DWF has made 39 lateral partner hires including Stephen Miles, who will join DWF as chief executive officer in its commercial services division from Pinsent Masons, where he was head of financial institutions and human capital and a member of the firm’s leadership team.
Also joining the firm to head its 60-strong employment practice is Andrew Chamberlain, formerly a national head of employment at Addleshaw Goddard and a member of Addleshaw’s executive committee and its governance board.
DWF saw its strongest revenue growth in 2013/14 come in corporate and banking (up 18% to £30m), real estate (up 14% to £29m) and insurance (up 3% to £89m), in line with the firm’s strategic growth plans and reflecting its investment in lateral partner and team hires.
In the last financial year, the firm has invested £12m in technology, undertaking major consolidation of its IT systems to bring all of its 2,500 people across its 12 locations onto the same platforms. This includes consolidating its accounting systems, launching a new e-billing system to facilitate easy invoice processing by clients, and introducing new management information software.
Highlights of the past year include being appointed to the panel for Pension Protection Fund, South Staffordshire and Suffolk Life (Scotland). The firm also recently advised Clipper Logistics on its main market IPO with a market capitalisation of approximately £100m and Transport Scotland on the renewal of the ScotRail franchise, the first passenger rail procurement directly undertaken by the Scottish Government; and Custodian REIT.
DWF’s managing partner & CEO, Andrew Leaitherland, said: ‘This year has been one of major consolidation as we’ve worked hard to fully integrate five separate businesses into DWF, and it’s a real sign of the strength of the business that we’ve been able to increase our net profit and revenue during this time.
‘We’ve invested £12m in technology to drive major operational efficiencies and support the integration of all of our people. We’ve also invested heavily in attracting and retaining the best talent for the benefit of the firm and its clients. We’re driving a significant transformation of our business which has required exceptional large-scale investments over the last year and which are strategically important in achieving our vision.’