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Pannone’s profit was down by almost 13 per cent in 2010-11, from £7.8m to £6.8m, while average profit per equity partner dropped by 9.5 per cent in the same period, from £229,500 to £208,000. Turnover fell from £49.5m to £47.5m.
The firm’s managing partner Emma Holt, who was elected to the role in May 2010, blamed the drop-offs in profit on one-off costs resulting from secretarial and fee-earner redundancies (14 fee-earners were made redundant in the year) made as part of a firmwide restructure.
Other changes brought in by Holt include rewriting the partnership deed to create five divisions to sit above the firm’s practice departments and establishing a management board and a nominations and remuneration committee.
The management board has executive decision-making powers and comprises Holt, senior partner Steven Grant and the four other division heads. According to Holt, this is intended to spread responsibility for the business and allow strategic decisions to be taken more efficiently.
The firm has also overhauled its remuneration structure to a hybrid lockstep model. It is no longer assumed that partners will join the equity on 50 points (plateau is 100).
The firm has also scrapped its bonus pool and discretionary extra 10 points for high-performing plateau partners, replacing it with a system whereby a portion of all equity partners’ pay is based on performance.