LLP accounts reveal cost of employee pensions

As we revealed when we published our UK 200 back in October, the last financial year was a record-breaker for the UK’s legal market, with revenue, profit and headcount numbers for the top 200 UK-headquartered firms all at record levels.

With LLP reporting season well under way, though, it is clear that dealing with some historical staff expenses remains a keep priority for a number of firms.

Nabarro, Simmons & Simmons and Stephenson Harwood, which all had reasonable years turnover-wise in 2013/14, are among those paying large sums into final-salary schemes that pay pensions to former employees.

Nabarro is currently paying £750,000 a year into its final-salary scheme while Simmons must pay £200,000 a month and Stephenson Harwood’s bill hit £1.2m in 2013/14.

While an increase in headcount will automatically lead to an increase in wage bills, no firm is going to complain if those extra people are helping drive turnover growth too.

But when the bill relates to employees who have long since left the firm – and in some cases their spouses too – is it surprising that most firms closed their final-salary schemes to new entrants years ago?

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