Staff at listed law firm sign up to discounted share options

Beech: People all running in the same direction

Some 192 staff at listed law firm Knights have subscribed for options over the firm’s shares at a discounted price.

The options have an exercise price of 161.52p, which represents a 20% discount to the closing middle market price of 201.9p on 23 November 2018, which was the trading day before the invitation to participate was made.

The options have a contract start date of 1 February 2019 and are exercisable from 36 months thereafter.

Knights went public on 29 June at a share price of 145p. It peaked at 215p on 19 November, and has since eased back, closing yesterday on 180p.

The grant of options forms part of the firm’s savings-related share option scheme for 2018, which was open to all permanent employees.

Some 192 employees out of around 450 elected to participate, and options over a total of 900,785 shares were granted today.

Speaking at last month’s Legal Futures Innovation Conference, chief executive David Beech said the success of Knights was based on creating one culture among the workforce, where every piece of work is run by teams – which “share work across different experience levels and different cost levels, between partners, associates and paralegals”.

He said most of the hard work of creating a single culture was done at the start. He continued: “Every job has a team structure behind it.

“We’ve gone away from what you see a lot in professional services firms: people competing with each other – to very much one with people all running in the same direction.”

Meanwhile, in a short trading update earlier this week, Redde plc – the accident management company that owns NewLaw Solicitors and fellow alternative business structure Principia Law – told investors that the group’s “positive start to the year… has carried through into December”.

It continued: “Sales again show an increase over the corresponding period last year reflecting continued growth in trading volumes and as a consequence, trading profits are ahead of the corresponding period last year.”

Anexo Group plc – the credit hire and legal services business that also listed in June and owns Liverpool law firm Bond Turner – has posted its own positive trading statement, predicting that profit before tax for the 2018 financial year “will be ahead of current market expectations”.

It has also opened a new office in Bolton, housing a 25-strong team. The office will also accommodate a new team of specialist credit hire litigators.

Executive chairman Alan Sellers said: “The expansion of Bond Turner and the new regional office will allow us to not only process our existing cases at a faster rate but also to take on more cases, which we believe will have a positive financial impact for the group going forward.”

The shares listed at 100p and closed yesterday on 117.5p, having been as high as 137p in October.

Finally, NAHL Group – the listed parent of National Accident Helpline – has named Caroline Brown as its next non-executive chairman. Steve Halbert, who has chaired the group for nine years, is stepping down at the end of January.

Ms Brown – a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants – has served as senior independent director for several AIM businesses and currently holds directorships at Georgia Capital plc, Luceco plc, Earthport plc and Hydrodec Group plc.

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