International firm Simmons & Simmons has reported annual profits edging close to £100m – but bosses remain wary of challenges ahead.

In its annual financial report for the 2015/16 year ending 30 April, the firm said that profits before tax increased by 13% to £98m. Turnover increased around 2% to almost £293m.

In his introduction to the accounts, managing partner Jeremy Hoyland said members regard the results and future prospects to be ‘satisfactory’ but that admitted market conditions in the UK had declined over the course of the financial year, in particular after the announcement of the EU referendum.

He added: ‘The full impact of the recent EU referendum will take some time to become clear but the firm is planning on the basis that there might be a short-term reduction in transactional activity in the UK. However there will also be opportunities as a result of Brexit and the firm is focused on developing its profile to support its clients and their business through these uncertain times.’

Hoyland said that the pressure on fee rates has continued and is likely to remain the case for ‘some significant period of time’.

He said Simmons & Simmons will continue to embrace different ways of working to improve efficiency and provide greater value to clients.

The firm’s Bristol office will be a key part of the firm’s response to these challenges and continues to expand as it has ‘re-geared its London premises commitment’.

Hoyland said the firm had continued to invest in Asia and expanded in both Hong Kong and Singapore, but the Abu Dhabi office has closed, with Hoyland citing the depressed oil price and geopolitical instability as factors in making Middle East market so challenging.

The accounts show the profit for the financial year available for division amongst members rose from £76m to almost £89m. The average number of members during the year was 179.

The average monthly number of employees rose from 1,267 to 1,320 in 2016, with the number of lawyers increasing from 742 to 775. The estimated entitlement of the highest-paid member was £1.2m – down £200,000 on the figure in 2015.