Mergers behind Hammond Suddards' drop

Hammond Suddards has slipped from second to fifth place as adviser to plcs based in the Midlands and North of England following the Pinsent Curtis, Dibb Lupton Alsop and Addleshaw Booth mergers.

A league table published last week by regional investment management company BWD Securities reveals that Eversheds has retained its position as the leading plc advisor for the Midlands and North of England, a position it has enjoyed since the table was last published five years ago. Hammond Suddards, however, has fallen from number two to number five.

BWD director John Dyson said when he last published the table Hammond Suddards had been ahead of Dibb Lupton Broomhead and Alsop Wilkinson, two firms which merged at the end of last year. Similarly, Hammond Suddards had led Pinsent & Co and Simpson Curtis, two practices which merged to form Pinsent Curtis in May 1995, and Addleshaw Latham and Booth & Co, which merged at the beginning of this month.

But Dyson stressed: “The quality of Hammond Suddards whole business is good, as is suggested by the fact it advises five large companies.”

He added: “It's a slowly changing world in the regions. These mergers have caused some things to change more quickly than is usually the case.

“I suspect some of the mergers have been driven by defensive rather than aggressive motives. They are trying to protect things and save costs, and are not too worried if one or two partners leave as a result.”

The top five “national” firms have been engaged in fierce rivalry in the past few years as each poaches the other's partners and attempts to compete with London firms for the business of UK plcs.