A&O first magic circle firm to lay out LLP accounts

Allen & Overy (A&O) is the first of the magic circle firms to release its limited-liability partnership (LLP) accounts, revealing that the firm’s highest-paid partner took home £1.57m at the 2012/13 year-end.

The figure, stated in accounts filed today (11 October) at Companies House, compares to 2011/12’s highest earner taking home £1.6m – a slight drop as full partner headcount rose from 427 to 442 during the year. The firm’s lockstep ladder runs from 20 to 50 points, with those at the bottom of equity taking home £627,000 in 2012/13 compared to £640,000 the year before.  

Staff costs during the year, which includes salaries and a bonus pool, dropped from £345m in 2011/12 to £340m in 2012/13. Meanwhile staff development, recruitment, medical expenses and temporary staff cost the firm £50.5m. The decrease in staff costs came despite an increase in the number of lawyers and staff employed by A&O, which rose from 4,565 people in 2011/12 to 4.628 last year.

Revenues over the year rose by 0.8 per cent, from £1.18bn to £1.19bn, while average profit per equity partner stood at £1.1m. These figures show no difference on the unaudited figures released by the firm earlier this year (4 July 2013), exposing a prudently run business.  

When interviewed in July managing partner Wim Dejonghe admitted that the first nine months of the 2012/13 financial year were slow, a pattern that, he said, had reversed in recent months.

He said: “From February onwards, overall activity levels picked up a bit and closed the gap. The first nine to 10 months [of the financial year] were slow but the last two months have been very busy – there’s been a strong recovery of capital markets in the last three of four months.”

In the last year the firm has opened three new bases. The firm relocated London banking partner Charles Lindsay to Istanbul for an office launch with a focus on English law (5 December 2011). It followed this with the launch of two bases in Vietnam, opening in Hanoi in the third quarter following the hire of JSM’s Vietnam managing partner Dao Nguyen, to lead the offices (24 May 2012).

The firm said it had seen particularly strong growth in Central and Eastern Europe, the ASEAN markets and in Morocco. There had also been good performances in the traditional offices such as London and the Middle East, it added.

There has been reductions at the firm, however. In June last year A&O reduced its Hong Kong partnership by four, letting the long-serving partners go after seeing a drop in demand in the market (11 June 2012).