Some investors who took the plunge last year sitting on huge profits
Two of the lesser talked about listed law firms have powered Legal Cheek’s fund of lawyer PLCs into profit after enjoying a storming month — with investors who bought these shares at their low points last spring enjoying staggering returns of as much as 350%.
The Ince Group jumped from 50.50p per share just a few weeks ago to as high as 83p per share last Thursday while Rosenblatt Group Holdings (RGH) ticked up from 80p last month to 96p this morning.
Ince’s share price plunged from 189p per share at the start of 2019 to just 18p last March amid the unfolding Covid crisis. And Rosenblatt’s dropped sharply from 137.50p in 2018 to 50.50p last April. As the markets have settled amid vaccine optimism, investors seem to have come to the conclusion that these professional services business are fundamentally sound and worth backing. Indeed, the returns for those who bought Ince shares in the latter part of 2020 have been Bitcoin-esque.
Still, it must have been an unnerving period for both outfits — whose current value remain some way off previous highs. At least when times are tough for regular unlisted law firms operating under the traditional partnership model you don’t have the distraction of a plummeting share price. It’s hard to imagine the severity of Ince’s 90% fall in value not playing on the minds of some clients at the time.
This reputational factor is one of the main things that puts off many law firms from going public. Being sellers of a product (legal services) typically purchased by companies as a way to minimise risk, it’s not a great look when your own valuation is in a steep decline. Still, the comebacks made by Ince and Rosenblatt show that they have the robustness to maintain confidence during challenging times.
The remaining firms that make up the Legal Cheek fund — DWF, Knights, Keystone and Gateley — are all also in the green this month, giving the fund a total value of £707.34. This marks an 18% return on the original investment of £600, when I put £100 into six law firms at the start of the year.
The Legal Cheek listed law firm fund
DWF Group PLC: £91.56 fund value (84p per share).
Knights Group Holdings PLC: £100.74 fund value (438p per share)
The Ince Group: £145.65 fund value (76p per share)
Keystone Law Group PLC: £107.10 fund value (630p per share).
Gateley Holdings PLC: £107.73 (171p per share).
Rosenblatt Group Holdings PLC: £154.56 fund value (96p per share).
Total fund value: £707.34
Read previous instalments in our share column here. I’ll be back next month with an update on how the legal fund is getting on.
This series is in no way intended to amount to financial and/or investment advice. And remember, shares can go up as well down and professional advice should always be sought before investing.