Silver circle tarnished as financials slide

Equity partners at firms in the ­silver circle will be taking home a significantly lower share of profits ­following the 2008-09 financial year, with profit per equity partner (PEP) falling by an average of 34 per cent.

Charles Martin

Charles Martin

Travers Smith, which has not yet finalised its figures for the past financial year, is expected to be the worst hit, with PEP expected to be 38 per cent down at around £470,000.

Ashurst and Macfarlanes both fell out of the million-pound PEP club, with the former reporting a 35 per cent drop, from £1.04m
in 2007-08 to £673,000.

At Macfarlanes a 31 per cent drop saw PEP fall from £1.1m last year to £846,000.

After a fall of 33 per cent, Berwin Leighton Painser’s (BLP) PEP stood at £414,000, down from £620,000.

At Macfarlanes, which saw revenue fall by 11 per cent, from £110m to £99m, senior partner Charles Martin said the numbers were indicative of a drop-
off in activity in the firm’s core practice areas.

“They reflect a downturn in important practice areas, such as private equity and real estate, and an increase in equity partner numbers,” he added.

It is expected that Travers will put in the worst turnover performance of the group given its dependence on the private equity ­market. It is understood that the firm will post a turnover drop of 20 per cent, down to £64.5m.

Ashurst’s turnover fell by 7 per cent to £301m, while BLP’s fell by 3 per cent to £180m.