Profits at top-25 firm DWF fell by 7% in 2014/15 as the firm sought to plan for its long-term future.
Managing partner Andrew Leaitherland (pictured) said the firm is ‘ahead of the game’, despite pre-tax profits available for division among members dropping to £46.7m, down from £50.4m in 2013/14.
Financial statements for the year to 30 April published today showed DWF shed almost 200 full-time staff during the year to end with a headcount of around 2,160. The firm attributed this to a ‘careful balance of natural attrition and modest restructurings’.
The firm had already reported earlier this year that turnover climbed by 1% on 2014, from £189m to £191m. It had also disclosed that profit per equity partner was down 16% to £325,000.
The report noted that ‘fundamental changes’ in the insurance market have led the firm to make ‘strategic and wise economic withdrawals’ from certain books of insurance business.
Leaitherland said the reduced profits were due to spending commitments as part of the firm’s new strategy, which included investments in technology, 22 lateral partner hires and bringing all London staff into the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building.
‘We know it takes more than one year to see these investments pay back and we are already seeing these returns this year,’ he added.
‘So our plans for growth and investments are not denuded despite operating within markets such as insurance where our clients are experiencing profit challenges, and where we can we have responded with cost-saving changes.’
While current assets of the firm stayed relatively unchanged at £102.3m, amounts owed to creditors due within one year rose from £50.7m to £74m.
Bank loans and overdrafts increased from £13m to £32m, caused by a banking facility being refinanced to a revolving credit facility due to end in July 2018.
The highest-paid member saw their remuneration fall from £1.14m in 2014 to £925,416 in 2015.