Ashurst targets corporate elite

Ashurst has taken a leaf out of Linklaters‘ book by introducing a strategy to focus on complex transactional work for a core group of premium institutional clients.

Managing partner Simon Bromwich said the silver circle firm has highlighted a select group of corporate and financial institutional clients, similar to Linklaters’ ‘platinum’ group of clients, to focus on in a bid to increase revenue.

As part of the strategy, Bromwich said the firm hoped to turn at least one other existing institutional client “into another RBS [Royal Bank of Scotland]”. RBS is the firm’s top-billing client.

Ashurst is one of 10 firms on the banking giant’s top-tier transactional panel, which handles deals of £100m and above. However, RBS is currently reviewing all five of its specialist panels of external advisers.

Bromwich declined to name clients on the firm’s key hit list, but Ashurst already regularly advises Barclays Private Equity, Goldman Sachs, Lloyds TSB and Centrica.

As part of Ashurst’s strategy to increase turnover and profitability, Bromwich said the firm was also targeting a 50-lawyer headcount increase this financial year across the firm.

Ashurst posted a strong profit for the last financial year, with average profit per equity partner up by 23 per cent to £701,000. But the firm’s revenue of £214m was only 7 per cent up on the previous year’s figure of £201m.