Listed legal businesses with property and PI focus hit by stock market turmoil

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27 June 2016


Share prices: post-referendum volatility

Share prices: post-referendum volatility

The stock market falls on the back of the EU Referendum has hit an ABS-owning property company the most, as well AIM-listed legal businesses with a personal injury (PI) element, a Legal Futures analysis has shown.

The PI hit looks surprising given that the current state of political uncertainty is likely to be good news for the claimant market, as planned reforms that will hit their businesses may not be seen as a priority at the moment.

Shares in Countrywide plc – owner of alternative business structure Countrywide Property Lawyers – has tumbled since Friday in line with other property companies. The estate agency and property services group closed on Thursday at 350p but was trading at 248p at the time of writing.

Government consultations on personal injury – to raise the small claims limit to £5,000 and removing general damages for ‘low value’ whiplash cases – and to introduce fixed fees in clinical negligence work were both expected once the referendum was over but the surprise result has thrown everything up in the air.

NAHL Group – the company that owns National Accident Helpline – has fallen nearly 20&, from 241p on Thursday to 200p today.

Redde – the owner of NewLaw Solicitors and the most successful listed legal stock in 2015 – has gone down from 155p on Thursday to 137p today, while Fairpoint, the owner of Simpson Millar, fell from 109.5p to 99p.

In Australia, Slater & Gordon was seen as one of the companies whose significant investment in the UK left it exposed by the vote, and its share price fell from 41c to 37.5c today.

However, the likes of national commercial law firm Gateley and litigation funders Burford and Juridica have not seen similar instability – Burford did initially drop around 5% but it has since returned to its pre-referendum level.



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Legal Futures Blog

Joint (ad)ventures in the legal sector

Nigel Wallis lo res

We all know that nothing in life is certain. As the actor, director and philosopher Clint Eastwood once said: “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” He also said he’d tried being reasonable and didn’t like it. They should teach this kind of philosophy in law school. One thing in life is reasonably certain though. If you’re a law firm worth your salt, at some point you will be approached by another entity (most probably a work introducer) with a whizzy idea to ‘partner’ with you to ‘help you accelerate your growth’. In commercial speak this means, ‘we’d like to keep feeding you work but we’d also like to share in your profits’. The arrangement may be pitched to you as a joint venture – a win-win no less.

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