Ince & Co’s global revenues fell to £86.7m in the 2013/14 financial year from £93.2m in the 2012/13 LB100. Against the firm’s latest audited figures, this works out to be a drop of 5% from £91.7m.
The firm said the drop in revenues was due to a series of large dispute cases, including settlements and mediation, reaching a close after lasting between three to four years.
Aside from this year, the firm has had an impressive record of maintaining strong growth with revenues growing 45% from 2008 to 2013. The firm consists of 307 lawyers and 96 equity partners with £282,000 in revenue per lawyer. The firm declined to provide its profits.
Nevertheless, the firm aims for a more positive year ahead. The firm’s senior partner James Wilson told Legal Business, that while the big-ticket dispute cases are no longer prevailing, there is still a decent amount of high value work available in London and overseas, especially in Singapore, Hong Kong and China. ‘The Asia economies started to blossom five to ten years ago. With this comes the rise in average wealth the increasing awareness and need in emerging markets for sophisticated insurance,’ said Wilson.
He added, ‘It is counter-cyclical. A big part of our practice is disputes. And the shipping, trade and aviation markets collapsed in 2008/09. Many transactional firms were hit immediately as a result while we got an upsurge in work, especially in disputes. A lot of these cases came to an end in 2013/14, so the last year was not expected.’
Earlier this year, Ince & Co made ten shipping and insurance fee-earners and six secretarial staff redundant in London, citing ‘prevailing economic conditions in our core sectors’. In total, the firm slashed 33 roles globally affecting fee-earners and support staff.
Ince managing partner and insurance head for Europe Jan Heuvels told Legal Business that the harder trading was in part due to large insurance clients squeezing panel terms, particularly in the firm’s financial lines team.
‘This area of the market is very price-driven, and we are generally known for our marine and re-insurance work, so we are working very hard in financial lines to compete on price and service,’ Heuvels says. ‘This is challenging as insurance companies’ in-house functions are phenomenal. It is no longer just about the general corporate counsel role. In-house teams now have highly trained insurance specialists taken from leading firms.’