PARTNERS at Travers Smith Braithwaite have made a strategic decision not to merge, following several approaches by other practices.

The decision for the firm to remain independent was made at a strategy conference at a partners' retreat two weeks ago.

Managing partner Alasdair Douglas, who has just been re-elected to the post of managing partner for another three-year term, confirmed that 'merger is not on our agenda'.

He said: 'Any managing partner doing his job properly considers the firm's long-term strategy very carefully. This includes merger approaches.

'Like many commercial practices, we are approached fairly regularly. As you might guess, we discussed whether merger should form any part of our business plan.'

Douglas added that the partners believed the firm could maintain its leading marketing position in its 'chosen fields' by remaining independent and focusing 'on our areas of strength'.

With the firm's involvement in the Co-operative Wholesale Society takeover debacle last year followed by the departure of the partner involved, Nigel Campion-Smith, there had been speculation in the City that Travers Smith is ripe for a merger.