Solid financial results for legal firm against challenging market conditions

Niall Gilhooley

Ascent, a specialist provider of arrears management and legal services which is part of the Irwin Mitchell Group, today announced another year of solid financial results for 2018/19, with revenue rising to £9.7m.

The first quarter of 2019/20 has also been particularly strong for the business, which has a base in Sheffield, with revenues 12% ahead of target thanks to increased volumes of work from key clients.

As a result of this business growth, Ascent has increased its headcount from 128 at the end of April 2019 to more than 150.

Profits after tax of £383,339 compared with £661,909 the previous year.

Ascent, which also has offices in Manchester and Glasgow, provides office and field-based arrears management and legal solutions to a broad range of clients across the UK, including most of the country’s leading financial institutions.

The company has more than 100,000 customers and had in excess of £6bn of assets under management in the last financial year.

Ascent was the first company in its markets to ask the customers it engages with on behalf of its clients to publicly rate its services on Trustpilot, the independent online review platform.

It currently has a trust rating of 8.4 out of a possible 10, which Trustpilot calls ‘Great’.

Niall Gilhooley, Ascent chief executive, said: “As a specialist provider of arrears management and recovery services, the continuation of low interest rates has led to challenging market conditions in our core markets over the past year.

“However, thanks to our strong client relationships and the ethical, compliant and effective services we provide, our volume of work has increased across several of our service provisions.

“Also, with a very strong start to 2019/20, we expect our market share to continue to grow and are on course to deliver well in excess of £10m of revenue this financial year.

“We also plan to invest further in our digital capabilities, improving accessibility for customers and ensuring we stay at the forefront of the market.”

He added: “It is becoming increasingly important to financial institutions that their suppliers’ culture and values fit with their own.

“If we are doing our jobs right, we can actually help reduce stress and worry for people dealing with debt by putting them back in control of their finances.

“I believe that our culture of doing the right thing for the customer, along with exceeding client expectations, is what is behind our continued success – a clear demonstration of the fantastic team of people we have in our business.”