Bircham Dyson Bell restructures equity as turnover and profits rise

Bircham Dyson Bell has brought all of its partners into the equity in a bid to improve partner engagement and make the firm more attractive for lateral hires.

The change took effect from 1 June this year. All 43 partners, including those who were in the old equity partnership as well as those moving into the equity, were asked to put new capital into the business as the restructure took hold.

Under the previous equity structure just over half the partnership, were full equity – 25 of a total 45.

Meanwhile the firm has also announced its financial results for 2012/13. Turnover rose by a modest 1.3 per cent, from £30.85m in 2011/12 to £31.25m last year. Average profit per equity partner rose by 6.3 per cent, from £255,000 to £271,000.

Managing partner Jesper Christensen said there were several drivers behind the move to an all-equity partnership, including the desire for potential lateral hires to join the equity.

“A bit of a ceiling has grown up in a number of firms where you’re getting partners with ambitions who want to break through,” Christensen told The Lawyer. 

He added that Bircham Dyson Bell’s restructure had resulted in a remuneration system based wholly on merit. Remuneration will be reviewed on an annual basis, instead of every three years as previously.

Chief operating officer Mark Jones said there was a “direct correlation” between the amount of capital a partner was asked to put in and the profits he or she would take home, with each point allocated a certain amount of capital. The increase in cash would be invested in the business, he added.

“It’s about giving us a strong financial footing that will enable us to continue to invest and grow the business,” Jones said.

Christensen said Bircham Dyson Bell was principally looking for lateral hire opportunities across all the firm’s practice areas. The firm had had a solid year across the board, according to Christensen, who pointed particularly to the private wealth team as a source of strong performance.

This year’s restructure follows the firm’s decision to ask three partners to leave during the previous financial year, helping profits grow by 13 per cent between 2010/11 and 2011/12 (6 August 2012).