Announcement: Performance Leader forms Partner Compensation Advisory Group

(left to right: Ray D’Cruz, Michael Roch, Ian Dardis)

Performance Leader is pleased to announce the formation of its Partner Compensation Advisory Group.  This new advisory practice is a natural complement our highly successful partner contribution management and reward technology solutions.

Why an advisory practice on partner compensation?

At the Partner Advisory Group, we firmly believe that there is no such thing and an “out of the box” partner compensation system or indeed no such thing as a perfect partner compensation system. In fact, designing a compensation system that aligns closely with what the firm is trying to do and acts to empower and motivate rather than frustrate is one of the most challenging aspects of the dynamic leadership environment of today’s professional services firm. Misaligned and more alarmingly mistrusted partner compensation systems can destroy partner engagement and thereby erode performance and ultimately partnership value.

Most of our clients do not have a trusted partner when addressing one of the most sensitive questions in any professional services firm, for example:  How do we reward partners and directors in a way that provides a competitive advantage externally, while providing a solid foundation of collaboration internally?  How does the system balance growth with existing client retention, revenue versus profit and well as rewarding the desired non-financial behaviours What system is right for our firm and how should the process be governed?  How is performance management interrelated to the compensation system ?  How do we decide on profit sharing?  How do we reward partners with full-time management roles?  Are we spending too much time and energy vexing over compensation issues?  How can technology support us in this huge annual effort?

Now leaders of professional services firms can have the conversation that they cannot have with anyone else.  Our Partner Compensation Advisory Group works globally to answer questions, help resolve specific issues or effect longer-term changes.

Who is part of PerformanceLeaders’ Partner Compensation Advisory Group?

Our Group is led by Michael Roch, Ian Dardis and Ray D’Cruz.

Michael Roch, based in London and Zurich, is a global partner compensation expert.  A long-time collaborator on PerformanceLeader research on the subject, Michael has advised Managing Partners, Boards and Remuneration Committees on partner contribution, compensation and governance for more than 15 years.  He’s worked with partnerships in law, accounting, consulting, public relations, technology, wealth management and fund management across all levels of maturity, from established global firms to founder-led start-ups and from “true” partnerships to externally funded alternative business structures.  Michael’s clients appreciate his deep understanding of how country culture and organizational culture shape what “partnership” means; they include more than a dozen market leaders in the US, UK and Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East.  He is editor and co-author of Partner Remuneration in Law Firms, published by Globe Law and Business and is a former Chair of the IBA Law Firm Management’s Structure & Governance Committee.  Michael started his career as a qualified accountant and lawyer with KPMG, Price Waterhouse and Norton Rose in the US, Eastern Europe, UK and Germany before serving as managing partner of the premier professional services consultancy KermaPartners for eight years.

Ian Dardis, based in Sydney, was formerly CEO of Dentons Australia, Global VP of EDS and a 15-year Equity Partner with Deloitte Consulting, serving as Managing Partner for consulting groups in Australia and Central Europe. Ian has extensive hands-on experience designing and implementing partner performance and  compensation models. He has chaired and executed  RemCom processes over many years.. Ian’s sector experience covers law, accounting, consulting and technology with both domestic and international firms. He is a chartered  accountant.

Ray D’Cruz, based in Melbourne, is the co-founder of Performance Leader. Ray advises firms internationally on partner contribution, including balanced scorecard frameworks, process design and technology implementation. Ray is the co-author (with Michael Roch) of the report Partner Contribution & Compensation, published in collaboration with Managing Partners Forum. Ray is a qualified lawyer.

What does the Group do? 

The Partner Compensation Advisory Group will focus on consulting and advisory work, group facilitation, research, webinars and publications. (Ray D’Cruz and Michael Roch discuss how the cone of silence is giving way to transparency in our latest podcast on partner compensation.)

Our specific capabilities include:

  • Defining partner contribution (equity and non-equity) and the path to partnership
  • Developing KPIs appropriate to the strategy, structure and culture of the firm
  • Advising on partnership compensation model review, selection governance and design
  • Assisting partnership transitions (founder-led partnership transition, pre and post-merger transition etc)
  • Financial modelling of partner compensation system recommendations
  • Acting as a sounding board for boards, management teams and managing partners
  • Facilitating workshops and partner conferences on partner compensation
  • Troubleshooting discreet compensation issues (including potential key partner loss)
  • Process design for partner contribution reviews and compensation decisions
  • Technology implementation for partner contribution reviews, objective management and partner collaboration

How do we work?

Members of our Group can be engaged for:

  • Retainer arrangements such as a coach and thinking partner for the Managing Partner, the entire leadership team, Remuneration Committee or the head of Human Resources, or as a non-executive RemCom member
  • Short, focussed interventions, such as to address specific partner compensation questions or post-compensation cycle process reviews, such as those outlined above
  • Longer-term projects to support a partner compensation change project of several months’ (or even longer) duration with a specific pre-agreed mandate, scope, budget and set of deliverables
  • Leadership conferences, webinars, and offsites as thought leaders and luminaries.

For further information, please contact

Ray D’Cruz +61 407 915 551 (AU), ray.dcruz@performanceleader.com

Michael Roch, +44 20 8133 6849 (UK), +41 76 573 9004 (CH), michael.roch@performanceleader.com

Ian Dardis +61 414 923579 (AU), ian.dardis@performanceleader.com