Legal Business Blogs

‘Uncertainty is now having an impact’: revenue and profit growth slow at Simmons

Simmons & Simmons saw growth slow last year following a ‘much tougher’ second half in the UK, as uncertainty begins to weigh following a strong few years for the firm.

Revenue for the 2018/19 financial year rose 6% to £374m, while profit per equity partner (PEP) increased 4% to £710,000. Net profit growth also slowed, up 9% over the last financial year to £119m, compared to a 19% increase last year.

Though steady, the figures are less impressive than last year when the firm had double-digit revenue growth, up 12% to £354m as PEP rose 8% to £686,000.

‘There’s a good mood, we’ve had good levels of income and profit growth,’ Simmons managing partner Jeremy Hoyland (pictured) told Legal Business. ‘But there’s also caution, the second half of the year was much tougher than the first half, particularly in the UK.’

Despite the relative slowdown, on a three-year basis Simmons has performed strongly, growing revenues by 27% and profit 34%, with the finance and disputes practices the two largest contributors respectively. The firm also minted 15 lawyers to partnership this year, its largest promotion round since 2008, as well as making 16 lateral partner hires, including five in the City. Last week the firm also announced a new office in Shenzhen, China.

Looking ahead, Hoyland warned against complacency, with the firm looking to safeguard against Brexit through expansion on the continent. He commented: ‘Europe had a very good year for us, we’ve been Brexit-proofing on the continent. I’m one of those people that’s always worried about something. I think the uncertainty is now having an impact, particularly on transactional practices, and we’ve had three years on Brexit of not knowing where we stand.’

In other recent financial results, Clifford Chance was the first of the Magic Circle to report, posting a muted 1% rise in PEP and a 4% growth in turnover.