The spoils of a bumper trading year for Clifford Chance are laid bare in statutory group accounts filed at Companies House over the Christmas break.
The magic circle giant recorded pre-tax profits before members' remuneration and profit shares of £491m for the year ended 30 April 2016, a rise of 23% on the previous 12 months. Turnover edged up 2.7% to £1.386bn.
The 23% rise in statutory profit compares with the lower 10% rise in total partnership profits which the firm disclosed last July when it first reported on its 2015/16 trading performance.
The disparity is explained in a note to the accounts, which relates that the LLP's partnership agreement sets out the basis for determining the profits available for sharing between equity partners. Such profits differ from the statutory profits because 'different accounting policies are applied' and because the members of Clifford Chance LLP exclude certain equity partners and include some partners who are not equity partners.
Responding to provisional results last year, managing partner Matthew Layton said the figures reflected the firm’s progress against its 18-month strategy. It had confirmed that profit per equity partner rose 10% to an all-time high of £1.23m.
Revenue grew in all regions apart from continental Europe. Income increased by 12% from the Americas to £175m, by 9% from Asia-Pacific to £224m, and by 7% from the Middle East to £46m.
Income from the UK rose 2.5% to £489m, but in the rest of Europe it fell 3.6% to £452m.
Headcount at the firm worldwide fell from 6,217 to 6,173. This is largely attributable to a cut in the number of associates and other fee-earners, whose headcount fell from 2,377 to 2,315.
The total remuneration of the 12 members of the firm's executive leadership group was £15m, up by £1m on the previous year.
The LLP had £102m net cash by the end of April 2016, up from £56m at the same point in 2015.