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LLP accounts: Holman Fenwick slashes top member pay as Fieldfisher boosts leadership remuneration

The latest release of firm LLP accounts at Companies House has seen Holman Fenwick Willian drastically reduce pay to its top member, as Fieldfisher has increased its top member pay and given more to its leadership team.

Holman Fenwick Willan LLP’s top paid member took home £950,000 for the 2015/16 financial year, a decline from the previous year when the firm’s top paid member earned a robust £3.6m, marking a decrease of 74%. This figure in LLP accounts does not necessarily equate to the highest paid equity partner and can relate to ‘golden handshakes’ to retiring members.

The total number of fee earners also rose to 466 from 2014/15’s 444, while the number of members at the firm remained static at 164. Holman Fenwick increased its staff costs to £52.5m from £49.3m and recorded profits of £49.4m for the last financial year, indicating a 12% increase over 2014/15’s profits of £43.4m.

According to the accounts, Holman Fenwick borrowed £12.4m during the course of the financial year from banks, down on £10.7m from the previous financial year at a percentage decrease of approximately 14%. The statement also indicated that its total bank overdraft facilities amount to £5.5m.

Meanwhile, Fieldfisher recorded a significant upsurge in profit for the financial year 2015/16, and management at the firm benefited, with the members of the firm’s executive committee and supervisory board taking home £9.75m collectively, up from £7.9m the year before.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘The firm’s management team has increased in order to better manage the growth in the size of the business. However, when it comes to remuneration, we have a very fair structure which rewards the firm’s highest performers – whether members of management or not.’

The year’s figure of profit before members’ remuneration is £51.3m, about 20% up on 2014/15’s sum of £43.1m. Increase in profits has coincided with a general growth of the business, as the firm has broadened its number of total staff. The figure for 2015/2016 of 597 fee earners and support staff is a marginal increase over the year before’s 559. As a result, Fieldfisher’s total staff costs have risen by approximately £3m, from £33.3m to £36m.

At the top of the company, the highest paid member pocketed £1.2m over the course of the year, however this was a slight decline on last year’s figure of £1.24m. According to the accounts, the firm also slashed its bank overdraft to £1.1m from £5.8m. Despite the downturn in earnings at the top of the pyramid, Fieldfisher has bolstered the number of partners since 2015. There are now 152 members, in comparison to 2015’s 137.