Partner attacks Rowe & Maw's retirement policy

Top Rowe & Maw IT partner Michael Webster has attacked the firm's retirement policy as he prepares to join Nicholson Graham & Jones.

Webster, 58, says he is joining Nicholsons' IP and IT group because Rowe & Maw would not let him continue as an equity partner after April.

“Our retirement age is officially 60 but most people don't stay much past 55.

“In the US, they keep their senior people until well into their 60s if they are making a contribution.

“I certainly have, but that view is not shared by most of the partners here and I had to find pastures new.

“Fortunately, Nicholsons doesn't think age is a determinant of contribution.”

Webster says he has been negotiating his retirement with the firm for three years and that he would have had to become a consultant after April, which he says would be perceived as “a sop”.

He says others forced to retire early might not find it so easy to join a new firm.

“IT is the fastest-growing business in the world and those skills are in short supply. That's why I have had no trouble finding an alternative partnership.”

Chris Pullen, Rowe & Maw's director of marketing, says there is no plan to change the firm's retirement age.

“It varies according to particular partners and their practice area, but the policy is that as they approach 60 we take a view as to whether they become a consultant or retire. If they have things to contribute to the practice we offer one or two-year consultancies.

“Our partnership is quite a young one and there are a number of people knocking on the door.

“It's about time they moved up to become salaried partners or into equity itself.

“We hope to be able to announce several new partners in April.”