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The WA Report: The Irdi Group

The WA Report: The Irdi Group

Irdi Group was established by Gus Irdi and one assistant in 1986. The firm now has 43 employees across its three divisions; Irdi Legal, Irdi Securities and Irdi Settlements, with an impressive…

Irdi Group was established by Gus Irdi and one assistant in 1986. The firm now has 43 employees across its three divisions; Irdi Legal, Irdi Securities and Irdi Settlements, with an impressive ratio of one support staff member to each fee earner.

That's not the only thing the firm has done differently. Setting up shop in Leederville, five minutes drive from the CBD, the firm has capitalised on the location with parking on site and a short stroll to local cafes and restaurants. The three Irdi offices were consolidated into the main site in September 2008, conveniently allowing the firm to reap the benefits of a prescient property investment strategy.

The firm's fringe location may seem like commonsense given today's skyrocketing commercial rents, but at the time, Irdi recalls, the decision to head to the city fringe was "not the done thing".

"I've always been contrary to public perception and popularity in that sense," he says, "I leased some Leederville premises in 1986, eventually this site came up for purchase and I bought it and I built our own headquarters here.

"It's quite ironic now that most of my peers are screaming about the fact that their rents in the city are so high."

Specialising in securities and early settlements, the firm felt the tremors of the looming WA downturn earlier than most, and acted accordingly.

"Those two divisions are barometer tests of the economy as large," Irdi explains, "so when there's a downturn those two divisions feel it instantly - it's like someone turned a light switch off, and you know it immediately, so as soon as you see that happening you know you've got three to six months in which to get your act together."

This acute level of market awareness has helped the firm ride out the fluctuations of the mining market.

"We were really assisted by the mining boom at the time, some of the staff were approached by the mining industry and we actually encouraged them to pursue those positions which allowed us to contract back," says general manager Lisa McCarthy.

While Irdi doesn't mention specific numbers, there have obviously been some significant staff cuts following the market turnaround.

"We've done our culling, we've done our restructuring," he says, "we are well positioned now and we are very happy with where we are at, we've got about 43 staff."

As a result of this forward planning, the firm is now in a position to benefit from the economic downturn. Talent is flooding the market, and Irdi plans to hire with the intention of expanding its client service offerings. The firm is also researching acquisition opportunities in the conveyancing space.

"We are now looking to grow - but in a strategic way with the right staff," says Irdi.

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