Listed law firm bosses continue to cash in

Share sales: The team from Keystone Law on the day trading started

The boss of Keystone Law this week cashed in another £1.6m worth of shares, on top of the £10m he made earlier in the year, with colleagues selling shares worth some £5.3m as well.

James Knight still holds 8.8m shares – representing 28% of the firm’s issued share capital – which are valued at £73m at their closing price yesterday of 830p. The shares were sold at 820p.

Earlier this year, he sold 1.5m shares at 630p, making £9.5m, and last December sold £630,000 worth of shares in response to “market demand”. The price then was 492p.

Keystone’s share price has surged this year. Pre-pandemic the shares had reached a high of 640p before slumping to 365p in the immediate aftermath of lockdown, in line with the whole market.

They started 2021 at 505p and reached an all-time high of 860p last week following strong half-year results but dipped the following day after operations and compliance director William Robins sold 600,000 shares at 820p, raising £4.9m, and finance director Ashley Miller sold 45,000 shares, worth £369,000.

Mr Robins, who at one stage had a 5% stake in the company, now has 2.1% (654,000 shares) and Mr Miller 0.65% (203,000 shares). Earlier this year, Mr Robins sold 130,000 shares, raising £819,000.

David Beech, chief executive of fellow listed firm Knights, has been the biggest single beneficiary of law firm listings to date.

In January, he sold 15.7m shares at 390p, netting him £61m. He is still the firm’s largest shareholder, with 16.8m shares, or 20% of the issued share capital. At the current price of 435p, they are worth £73m.

Barrister Alan Sellers, executive chairman of the Anexo Group – which owns personal injury law firm Bond Turner – and solicitor and Bond Turner managing director Samantha Moss made £46m by selling some of their shares but retain substantial holdings of 17% and 18% respectively.

At yesterday’s closing price of 142p, this makes Mr Sellers’ shares worth £28m and Ms Moss’s £29m.

The largest shareholder in RBG Holdings, which owns City law firm Rosenblatt, is founder Ian Rosenblatt, with a near 18% stake in a business valued at £129m – making it worth £23m.

Chief executive Nicola Foulston has 12%, worth £16m. Both have sold some of their shares in the past.

Chief executive Adrian Biles is the largest single shareholder at the Ince Group, with 16%. The firm is currently valued at £40m. That makes his holding worth £6.4m.

Former chief executive Michael Ward and current chief operating officer Peter Davies are the largest individual shareholders of Gateley, with their 1.88% stakes worth £5.7m each.

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