Watson Farley and Holman Fenwick boost partner profits as Kennedys PEP dips 9%

Watson Farley & Williams and Holman Fenwick Willian have posted rising profit per equity partner (PEP) figures for 2016-17, while insurance rival Kennedys has seen PEP dip after a sustained period of international expansion.

Watson Farley has posted a 27% PEP increase to £608,000, up from £480,000 last year. The top of the firm’s lockstep now stands at £1.5m, with the bottom of the lockstep at £255,000.

The firm’s revenue grew by more than 20% during the last financial year, with fee income reaching £159.8m – a 22% hike on the previous year’s figure of £131.2m.

Watson Farley co-managing partner Chris Lowe said: “This is a strong result for the firm, due in no small part to the significant investments we have made, not only into high-profile practices complementary to our specialist sectors, but also in technology, infrastructure and business services.”

Meanwhile, Holman Fenwick Willan has also posted its 2016-17 financial results, with revenue increasing 15.8% from £143.1m to £165.7m, and PEP rising 2.5% from £519,000 to £532,000.

The firm, which last year ranked 28th in the UK top 50, has a lockstep that ranges from £632,000 at the top to £316,000 at the bottom.

In contrast, Kennedys has seen PEP fall 8.7% from £458,000 to £418,000. The firm’s lockstep ranges from £660,000 at the top, down to £192,500.

This June, Kennedys announced an 8% increase in revenue to £149.9m, from £138.8m the preceding year. Headcount grew by 10% during the course of the year, boosted in part by nine lateral partner hires and a merger with London shipping boutique Waltons & Morse.

In January, the firm launched an office in Mexico, marking its fifth new base in Latin America in six months.

In June this year, Kennedys merged with US insurance firm Carroll McNulty & Kull, bringing about 100 lawyers and 43 partners to the firm as well as five US offices. The same month, the firm also announced it is to merge with eight-partner Manchester boutique Berg on 1 September.