ABS Gateley adds finance director to equity partnership

Gateley has made its first non-lawyer an equity partner after converting to an ABS structure in December.

Finance director Neil Smith became an LLP member and full equity partner on 1 January 2014, senior partner Michael Ward said the firm was “delivering on a promises we made quite some time ago”.

Ward said the firm had been consulting with Smith over a three-year period about bringing him in to the equity of the firm.

He said: “His role in the business is important and he was motivated by the thought of becoming a member in the LLP.”

Smith moved to Gateley’s Birmingham office in 2011 as a finance director after spending three years at HBJ Gateley in Scotland.

Before that he was an audit manager at accounting firm Grant Thornton, which he joined in 1994.

Gateley said it had no current plans to make up any other non-lawyer partners or seek outside investment in the same vein as several other firms converting to ABS (20 December 2013). In December Ward said he would not rule out bringing more non-lawyers into the partnership from key business areas like IT and human resources.

Smith has joined the top of the firm’s partnership, which is home to salaried, fixed-share and full equity partners. The firm runs a modified lockstep model from one to ten points, partners are expected to move up the lockstep by one point a year. 

It has undergone several changes over the past years, having spent the past few years integrating the Manchester office of defunct firm Halliwells in 2010 (5 July 2010) and converting to an ABS last year.

Profit at the firm shot up after the full integration of Gateley (Manchester), which was held as a separate entity for two years post acquisition.

The firm’s accounts filed last week with Companies House revealed an £8m jump in profit, doubling to £17.1m in 2012/13 from £9.1m in 2011/12 (10 February 2014).