Julia Irvine 21 Jul 2017 11:10am

S&W sees annual profits rise by 12.8%

Top 10 accountancy firm Smith & Williamson has announced operating income up 9.9% to £244.6m and operating profits up 12.8% to £40.6m in the year to 30 April 2017

The comparative figures for 2016 were £222.5m and £36m respectively.

The rate of growth is slightly down on the half yearly rises announced in January, which revealed revenues rising by 10% and profits up by 22%.

Nevertheless against a background of increasing uncertainty over Brexit and weakening economic conditions in the UK, these are strong results. Growth came from across the business and, the firm says, reflect the benefits of its ongoing investment in people, client services and infrastructure.

On the tax and business services side, adjusted operating profit rose by 19.3% to £10.5m (2016: £8.8m) on the back of improvements across all business lines, according to S&W’s co-chief executive Kevin Stopps.

Top performers included private client tax, restructuring and recovery, forensics and fund administration. Funds under administration rose 39.4% to £9.2bn in the current year (30 April 2016: £6.6bn), £8.2bn of which comprised third party funds.

“We are delighted by the momentum in the business, which has been building over the past few years as our significant and ongoing investment programme starts to bear fruit,” said Stopps, who is also managing partner of tax and business services.

“By continually improving our infrastructure and making key strategic hires to support the broadening of our services, we are well placed to further consolidate our position as a leading independent financial and professional advisor to private clients and their business interests.”

The investment and banking arm saw adjusted operating profit growth of 21.2% to £32m (2016: £26.4m) over the year, thanks in part to rising stock markets.

Funds under management and advice grew by 17.5%, well above the 15.2% increase in the MSCI WMA Stock Market Balanced Index and the 15.4% increase in the FTSE 100 Index over the same time.

Fellow S&W co-chief executive and managing partner of investment management and banking David Cobb, warned that the outlook for the coming year would be marked by a heightened sense of political and economic uncertainty.

“While this may impact stock market levels, we believe we are very well positioned to help clients navigate these uncertainties and take advantage of any opportunities that may arise.” 

Earlier this month, the firm announced a number of promotions to partnership, including five in investment management, three in private client tax, three in accounting and business services and one each in business tax, financial services and recovery and restructuring.