BLP holds fire on annual bonus payouts for top equity partners

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has delayed its annual bonus payments to senior equity partners because of unsettled market conditions. 

Senior equity partners, who see 25% of their pay linked to performance, receive around three bonus instalments between November and June each year. But with less than two months to go until year-end, none of these payments have yet been made. 

Quarterly profit distributions and monthly drawings have been paid as normal, and the City firm expects all of the bonus payments to have been repaid in full by June this year. 

Managing partner Neville Eisenberg said: “We have paid our quarterly profit distributions and monthly partner drawings have been made as normal. But there is a performance-based element for senior equity partners, in which around three bonus payments are usually made in the second half of the financial year, the exact timings of which vary slightly each year.

“This year, none of these instalments have been paid yet, which is a bit later than usual, but we expect to pay these fully, as in past years, by June. It obviously makes sense to adopt a prudent distribution policy in the current market, which is what we are doing.”

At the close of the last financial year, BLP had 211 partners, 99 of which were equity. Profits per equity partner fell by around 7% last year to £660,000 against a 7.4% rise in revenue to £246m. 

News of the delay comes after Legal Week reported that SJ Berwin had held back its February partner profit distribution, while Ashurst restarted distributions this quarter after deferring its November quarterly payment.

For more, see SJB postpones partners’ quarterly profit payments to boost cash flow.