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Buss Murton senior partner Alan Williams readily admits that the traditional private client firm needs an image overhaul. “We need to change perceptions of the firm,” he says.
Williams joined the firm in November from London firm DMH Stallard. He was appointed with a remit to broaden the firm’s practice areas beyond its private client roots in an effort to grow its client base.
“The firm went through difficult times a few years ago and an accountant chief executive was brought in to turn things around,” Williams says. “I came in because I wanted a challenge.”
With more than 70 per cent of the firm currently working on private client business, Williams reckons a change of direction is needed.
“We need to refocus the firm,” he says. “We have a strong reputation in Sussex and Kent for private client work, but I feel there needs to be more emphasis on attracting commercial clients.
“I’m looking to get an even split between commercial and private client work – although it would be nice to get a 60-40 split.”
Similarly, Williams would like to see the firm’s client base split evenly between private client and corporate/commercial work, with each sector referring work to the other.
“We’re acting for wealthier individuals, a lot of whom will be entrepreneurs,” he says. “Firms are beginning to talk about commoditised services, but the fact is that entrepreneurs and SMEs [small to medium-sized enterprises] want bespoke solutions.”
The firm relies on client referrals for the bulk of its work and Williams says Buss Murton’s partners are well connected with other businesses in the region.
“The connections are there to be tapped into,” he says, adding that the firm receives a steady stream of referrals from local accountancy firms.
Buss Murton is now preparing to update its image, starting with a new office in Dartford.
“If one is looking to attract modern business clients, they’ll want to use modern advisers, and this is about changing people’s perceptions,” Williams concludes.
Senior partner:Alan Williams Turnover: £4m Total number of partners:Seven Total number of lawyers: 20 Total number of staff: 70 Number of fee-earners: 47 Main practice areas: Private client, commercial, property Key clients: Clydesdale Bank, NatWest Group, Loewy Group, Oakley Homes Offices: Three Locations: Cranbrook, Dartford,