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Financials 2017: Taylor Wessing UK PEP down while global profit approaches £100m

Taylor Wessing has released further details of its financial performance in 2016/17, showing the modest 1.8% increase in its UK revenue to £128.9m resulted in a drop in its UK profit per equity partner (PEP) to £481,000, down 6% from last year’s £512,000.

The firm, which changed to an all-equity partner structure in 2015, stressed that the PEP figure did not represent its top 10 bands, so could not be used for a like-to-like comparison with competitors with a different structure. The last time a top 10-band figure was released, in 2015/16, it was £770,000.

Taylor Wessing recorded a stronger global performance, with revenues at £269.8m, up 6% from £254.4m in 2015/16, and PEP at £405,000.

The UK profit for 2016/17 was £49.2m, while global net income stopped just short of the nine-digit figure, at £99.8m.

‘The opening of the year created a lot of political and economic uncertainty,’ UK managing partner Tim Eyles (pictured) told Legal Business, referring to the UK EU referendum vote on 23 June 2016.

The year was split in two halves, he added: ‘In the first half some clients in some sectors were cautious, in the second half there was much more activity, which more than compensated the pause due to Brexit.’

‘Given the circumstances, we are particularly happy with our performance.’

Corporate and disputes accounted for more than half of the firm’s revenue in 2016/17.

Eyles mentioned private wealth and technology as the firm’s most successful sectors within the corporate practice, which brought in 29% of the firm’s revenue.

Talking of the private wealth sector, which cuts across private client and corporate, he said that the firm acted for more than 50 families with assets worth more than $1bn and more than 300 individuals and families worth over $50m.

For the technology sector, in 2016 Taylor Wessing advised Outfit7, developer of the Talking Tom digital games, on the $1bn sale of the business to a consortium of Asian investors, United Luck.

‘A combination of sector expertise and geographic coverage was what distinguished this deal, which involved a number of different jurisdictions,’ said Eyles.

He added that the firm had invested considerably in tech during the year. This included developing IT and AI products to improve efficiency in the analysis of client exposure, due diligence and document automation as part of the TW:EXCEL programme, as well as tools for clients such as the TW:Cyber Response app, the interactive Global Data Protection Guide and Patent Litigation Map.

‘These products will make us more attractive and we hope they will transfer in greater revenue over time,’ Eyles concluded.