Magic circle firm Freshfields has revealed that the remuneration of its highest-paid member jumped 68% to £3.2m last year, as profits remained largely flat.
Freshfields’ accounts for the year ending 30 April 2015 showed that profits before tax increased just 0.1%, from £514.8m in 2014 to £515.4m. But while profits were more or less unchanged, pay for the highest remunerated member shot up to £3.2m in 2015, from £1.9m the year before.
The firm’s managing partner is David Aitman. He has held the position since January 2014.
Meanwhile the total salary paid to staff fell to £460.6m from £466.1m the year before, despite the average number of people employed during the year rising to 4,759 from 4,621. Overall staff costs increased from £547.7m to £562.7m.
Profits available for discretionary division amongst members fell 13% to £481.3m, equating to £1.4m when divided by the firm’s 334 members. This compares with £552.1m, averaging out at £1.7m across the 334 members in 2014.
The firm sounded a cautious note about current economic conditions, which it said may hit demand for its services in the short term. It also warned that liquidity pressure on its clients and suppliers could have an adverse impact.