Fieldfisher ups turnover to £370m as PEP falls by 11%
PEP dips to £930k as City firm becomes latest to record revenue rise but falling profits
Fieldfisher’s profit per equity partner (PEP) fell 11% during the 2022/23 financial year to £930k against 11% growth in revenue to £370m.
The results contrast with the previous year, when “exceptional growth” in Europe helped to fuel revenue growth of 15% and a 22% rise in PEP, but are in line with a number of other UK firms to report top-line growth but flat or reduced PEP in FY23 amid challenging market conditions, among them Simmons & Simmons and Ashurst.
Fieldfisher’s managing partner, Robert Shooter, was upbeat about the latest results, saying it “had been a remarkable year in many respects.”
“Once again, we have achieved double-digit revenue growth,” he said. “We have launched the firm’s new strategy and continued to implement our European growth agenda, opening an office in Vienna, a strong European commercial centre in a region strategically important to us and our clients.”
He added that the firm had also “invested significantly in areas that were previously under-invested”, stretching across its systems, processes and resources.
“These are designed to make our firm more competitive, so that we can take better advantage of emerging business opportunities and be more robust in response to challenging market conditions,” he said. “Going forward we are focused on more growth, albeit in a challenging market, more innovation and greater collaboration in support of our clients’ growing needs in Europe and internationally.”
The firm said all its departments saw turnover increase, with dispute resolution, its largest department, growing its top line by 17%. Employment, personal injury and medical negligence, IP, real estate and tax also saw double-digit increases, the firm said.
Meantime, the firm’s corporate team upped fee income by 9%, down from the 20% growth in FY22. The firm pointed out that its international venture capital and growth equity team had advised on transactions with an aggregate value of more than $1.3bn over the course of the year, while the equity capital markets team acted on more than 50 transactions across the London and Paris capital markets with a combined value of more than £1.1bn. A highlight for the M&A team included advising US spirits giant Sazerac on the acquisition of Lough Gill Distillery in Ireland.
In terms of the UK’s regions, there were strong revenue increases in Manchester (13%), Birmingham (12%) and London (9%). Fieldfisher said the figures “confirm that seizing opportunities in the local market, while collaborating with European counterparts on wider matters, produces exceptional results.”
The firm also grew revenue in all the countries in its international network and pointed to Germany as a standout performer, with revenue up by 22% after the previous year’s 16% increase. The Belgium team increased revenue by 20%, Ireland was up by 9% and France by 8%. The firm did not give a figure for its Silicon Valley office, its US hub for tech-focused work, but said the office “continues its steady revenue growth year on year”.
Over the course of the year the firm added 10 new partners through lateral hires, most of whom joined in London, including arbitration specialist Ania Farren, who joined from disputes boutique Omnia Strategy. The firm also promoted eight to partner in a round that was evenly split between men and women.
Fieldfisher flagged its new law credentials, noting that revenue at its legal solutions platform, Condor, grew 29% following last year’s 200% increase. Meantime the firm said that Fieldfisher X, the Berlin-based office specialising in defending mass litigation claims it launched last year, had landed several significant instructions by global clients.
The firm said it had already achieved a number of the objectives in its 2025 strategy, which it unveiled last July. It centres on European expansion, collaboration and ESG. The firm’s ambition to grow in Europe was bolstered by its launch in Vienna, which saw 18 colleagues arrive from local firms. It said it planned to grow further in Europe through expanding existing offices and opening new ones.
The firm also launched a collaboration review to “implement new reward levers designed to incentivise desired behaviours and strengthen our collaborative culture” and as part of its ESG programme launched a 12-month firm-wide fundraising challenge to support 15 of its charity partners.