HFW has continued to perform resiliently in the face of the pandemic, today (9 August) posting a 3% rise in revenue to £200m and a striking 30% increase in profit per equity partner to £683,000.
There were healthy increases across the board: net profit shot up more than 26% to £59.7m, profit per lawyer was up by 30% to £123,000 and revenue per lawyer grew 6% to £413,000.
The firm attributed the positive results to a spike in client demand across its specialist sectors, namely: aerospace, commodities, construction, energy and resources, insurance and shipping.
Asked by Legal Business if the firm’s profit hike was a reflection of reduced costs as a result of the pandemic, HFW managing partner Jeremy Shebson said: ‘We certainly saw an overall reduction in costs last year – particularly in relation to international travel, practice development and overheads – which obviously had a positive impact on our profit. But we’ve also seen the benefits of an increased focus on resource management and making sure that we are operating efficiently and effectively as a global firm.’
HFW has established an effective hedge that makes it resistant to global uncertainty – revenue is heavily diversified, with over 60% of the firm’s income generated from outside the UK. There were some eye-catching international performances too – HFW’s Kuwait office grew 40%, Abu Dhabi was up 38%, Geneva was up 24% and Shanghai expanded by 18%. London, meanwhile, saw revenue increase by 7%.
The firm also benefited from its contentious practice bias, with 70% of the business underpinned by disputes matters.
Richard Crump, HFW senior partner (pictured), concluded: ‘Becoming a £200m business is a major milestone in our continued growth as a firm, and to have recorded what is our best ever year under such extraordinarily challenging circumstances is a real testament to the talent and dedication of the people we are fortunate to have at all levels across HFW.’
In other results, at the end of July fellow insurance specialist Clyde & Co unveiled a similarly solid set of financials. Revenue at the firm grew 2% to £639.6m, while both overall profits and PEP grew by roughly 8% each to £153.5m and £715,000 respectively.