Mid-tier – S&W blames economy for fee drop

A slowdown in the UK economy has hit income growth at Smith & Williamson, the firm said this week.

Income growth fell to 12.5% in the last five months, the firm has estimated, after recording an 18% jump last year.

Managing director Gareth Pearce blamed the firm’s banking business, which had suffered from worsening economic conditions in the UK.

Pearce said the slowdown in the banking side of the business was expected, but other parts of the firm’s business had held up well.

Fee income from accountancy services remained strong, he said, and he expected the firm would report sharp rises in audit and corporate tax advisory work over the coming year to compensate.

‘We have a strong audit practice, and we are picking up a lot of wins from the Big Five,’ he said.

Pearce revealed the current state of trading following the release of the firm’s second annual review. He said it would continue its expansion strategy and hoped to offer a ‘full national service by the end of next year – with Manchester a key target for an office’.

‘We have an open mind whether to start up a new office in Manchester or buy one. We are not in a huge hurry,’ he said.

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