Big Four profit-per-partner £700,000, says report

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Nick Huber
Freelance journalist
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Over 1,300 lawyers and accountants were paid more than £1m in the UK last year, a report by the High Pay Centre has estimated.

The report analysed profits-per-partner at the "magic circle" of five elite law firms and the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms.

Government figures show that 11,000 people in the UK pay tax on incomes of more than £1m, the nine firms in the report account for about 13% of million-pound pay packages in the UK.

Deborah Hargreaves, director at the High Pay Centre, said: "The Big Four and the Magic Circle have very steady incomes so it’s unlikely these vast pay packages are necessary...

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04th Aug 2014 11:52

Its profit, not pay!

So, the conclusion is that the 'vast pay packages' of the Big 4 are not 'necessary'.

Do the authors not understand that the equity partners own the firms and so remuneration=profits?  As such it is quite proper in a free market for business owners to grow their firms and make as much profit as possible.

What do they suppose the firms do?  Look at their results and refund any 'unnecesary' profits to their clients?

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05th Aug 2014 14:08

What is the function of the High Pay Centre?

It says it is "an independent non-party think tank established to monitor pay at the top of the income distribution and set out a road map towards better business and economic success".

I assume "think tank" means "does nothing that contributes anything material", "monitor pay" means tries to "justify the spend on gathering goverment statistics" at "the top of the income distribution" difficult that surely if it were distributed it would not just be at the top and "set out a road map" funny how road maps are used these days for everything except roads where satnav is the norm.  "Towards better business and economic success", how can looking at one single aspect of a macroeconomic system give these muppets the insight to business success?

Having seen the make up of the board few of them would know one end of a business from another.  It seems to be a mix of hacks, former hacks, academics, touchy feelies wiht a few political appointees.

If it cannot understand equity partners are not paid, it have little hope of any credence whatsoever.

To give it its due however, it did allow me to have a growl.

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17th Mar 2015 17:17


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06th Aug 2014 21:22

Inconsistent definitions
Meaningless report unless they actually clarify what profits are. Is it actually fees per partner? In which case the profit share could be as 'little' as £230k (assuming the 1/3 approach). If it's truly profit, then fair play to them, they must have generated a couple of million of fees so deserve to be remunerated on what is normally a fair and open basis.

Other countries probably congratulate their high earners, in Britain we appear to pay think tanks to try and sway the public into thinking that these gifted individuals paying 50% tax are evil.

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08th Aug 2014 11:52

"There is also little

"There is also little evidence of individuals moving between firms, so they are not necessary to attract or retain key employees"

So because a partner, and an equity partner at that, doesn't want to move it means they shouldn't be rewarded for their hard work?

Key employees still need to be motivated and by providing incentives, financial or otherwise, is one way of doing so. Could this be seen as an attempt to impose a maximum or "recommended" salary in a private and unregulated industry?

Either way I believe the statement is inaccurate and grossly unfair to the industry and those affected.


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