Vote of confidence as Gateley partners extend share-sale limit

Stock exchange: Partners won’t sell, sell, sell

Almost all of the share-owning partners at listed law firm Gateley have locked themselves in for a further five years under an agreement that restricts how much of their holding they can sell.

Chief executive Michael Ward said the agreement showed the partnership’s “long-term commitment” to the business.

The five-year ‘orderly market agreement’ will become effective on 8 June 2020 following the expiry of the current lock-in arrangements, which were put in place at the time of Gateley’s admission to AIM in June 2015.

Under it, each locked-in shareholder and his/her associates will be restricted to selling an annual maximum of 10% of the shares they held on admission. Associates include spouses and children under the age of 18 to whom shares have been transferred.

Of the 81 partners who were subject to the current lock-in agreement at Admission, 75 remain with the group. Of these, 70 have entered into the agreement. Together, they hold 49.4% of Gateley’s shares.

Mr Ward said: “I am delighted with the overwhelming support partners have shown in the group in signing the new agreement, which continues to demonstrate their long-term commitment.

“I believe that the new agreement secures the continuation of a stable platform from which internal and external shareholders can invest with confidence.”

Its shares were trading around the 163p mark yesterday, having started the year on 128p. The all-time high price was 195.5p in June 2017.

Meanwhile, fellow listed law firm DWF has launched a new division of its Connected Services division, DWF Regulatory Consulting.

It is headed by partner Andrew Jacobs, who joins DWF from BDO and formerly Moore Stephens, where he built the regulatory advice function. Darren Fisher, moving from Grant Thornton, has been named lead director.

Regulatory lawyers Robbie Constance and Richard Burger, who joined DWF last year, will provide the legal expertise.

Jason Ford, partner and head of Connected Services, said: “Our Connected Services division contains a range of businesses that work alongside our legal teams and clients to support and deliver products and services.

“The addition of DWF Regulatory Consulting not only compliments what we have to offer, but also bolsters the services we can provide to help clients manage risk, reputational matters, cost and resources.”

DWF went public in April at 122p and the share price has barely moved since.

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