Howard Kennedy set to drop FSI in rebrand and office move

Just over 18 months after the merger between Howard Kennedy and Finers Stephens Innocent, HowardKennedyFSI (HKFSI) is set to return to Howard Kennedy in a major rebrand next month.

Co-managing partner Paul Millet confirmed that there have been discussions regarding the branding, but declined to comment on the firm’s new name. However sources indicate that it is likely to lose the connection to legacy Finers Stephens Innocent. 

The news comes with confirmation of a sluggish financial year for the firm. Revenues on a like-for-like basis rose by 1 per cent, from £40.6m in 2012/13 to £41m. For the 2012/13 financial year HKFSI produced annualised figures for the merged firm, but the results were down on the combined £45.4m which the two legacy firms produced in 2011/12. 

Meanwhile net profit has almost halved, from £9m in 2012/13 to £5.1m last year – a margin of 12.4 per cent.

HKFSI is shortly to consolidate its three offices into a new single location in London (23 May 2014). The firm will occupy a 54,552 sq ft location in London Bridge with a 15-year lease.

The news of a potential rebrand follows the January 2013 merger between the two firms (31 January 2013). The tie-up saw management roles go to both legacy Howard Kennedy and FSI partners.

At the time, the firm appointed Craig Emden to head dispute resolution, Ashley Reeback to head corporate, Julian Hindmarsh and Paul Springhall to joint heads of real estate, Carolyn Brown and Taj Rehal to share the head of employment role and Liz Palmer to head the private client department.

Last year the firm lost CEO Mark Dembovsky, the person who spearheaded the merger, who has been partially replaced by Emden and COO Ian Harvey (14 November 2013). 

At the start of the current financial year HKFSI announced a further merger with boutique CKFT (1 May 2014), bringing total partner numbers to 85.