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Gallagher boosts Melbourne presence with Sound acquisition

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Gallagher today announced the acquisition of Melbourne-based Sound Insurance Services for an undisclosed sum, as it looks to grow in the Victorian capital.

Sound, founded in 2011 by Simon Feldman and Morris Alessi, is a retail brokerage serving small and mid-market corporate clients, and prior to today’s acquisition was part of Insurance Advisernet.

Mr Feldman and Mr Alessi, along with Daniel Winkel, Mark O’Sullivan and the 12-strong team, will continue to operate from the main Caulfield office under the direction of Gallagher Australia CEO Sarah Lyons. The Sound Insurance name will cease with the business operating under the Gallagher brand.

“Sound Insurance is a well-regarded broker with a strong growth record that will enhance our capabilities in Melbourne,” Gallagher Chairman, President and CEO J. Patrick Gallagher Jr said.

Mr Feldman told joining Gallagher would benefit Sound clients and that the process had been “very smooth”, while Ms Lyons says she’s on the hunt for more acquisitions, particularly in Melbourne.

“[The past 10 years] has been a great journey and we have cherished our time with Insurance Advisernet,” Mr Feldman said.

“Morris and I were considering some sort of exit strategy in a 5-10 year range when I received a phone call from an old colleague of mine who now works at Gallagher.

“We met Sarah Lyons for a coffee and we walked away from that meeting feeling very comfortable with Gallagher and Sarah in particular.

“We were impressed with the Gallagher story, and although they are a large corporate they had the autonomy to make local decisions. The message was about the Gallagher family and the culture of working together to deliver outcomes.

“From there, things moved pretty quickly as we felt like it was a really good fit.”

Mr Feldman says the collaborative and professional approach of Gallagher’s M&A team meant the sale and integration process went smoothly.

“We obviously had some negotiations, but they were very fair and very reasonable to reach the outcome that both parties were trying to achieve.”

And he says being part of Gallagher will help clients through the hard market.

“Given the current market conditions we will be able to leverage the placement team, industry specialisation and niche products.

“We’re also very much looking forward to tapping into Gallagher expertise when it comes to claims.

“We feel like we’ve got a lot to add back to Gallagher as well.”

Ms Lyons told that Gallagher has admired Sound “for a long time”.

“I was looking for businesses in Melbourne that could help us become more dominant in that location,” she said.

“One of the reasons Gallagher is a highly acquisitive organisation is we like to be an entrepreneurial business.

“And when you are buying businesses like Sound, it keeps that entrepreneurial spirit alive because you’ve got like-minded people around you and you can always learn from other organisations as to what they do, and how they work.

“If I can introduce that to the rest of Gallagher Australia, we just become a better organisation. It’s not about buying businesses to have a massive growth spurt. It’s about buying businesses to constantly look at how we operate as a business and see how we do things better for clients.”

Ms Lyons says further acquisitions are on the agenda.

“Globally Gallagher is very much an acquirer of businesses and it’s the same in Australia.

“Now that borders are opening up we’ll be meeting other broking firms. It’s an area that I am passionate about so I will always look to be involved.”