Lloyd’s broker Cooper Gay is looking to acquire smaller Lloyd’s brokers as part of a “growth play”.

The company is focusing on brokers that wished to retain their independence, chief executive Toby Esser said this week.

Although he was unable to disclose potential targets, he said the strategy would involve strengthening existing classes of Cooper Gay’s business.

He said: “The acquisition of teams is difficult, and organic growth is not easy. Our growth play will therefore involve niche acquisitions.

“We are interested in approaches from smaller brokers which want to remain independent.”

Non-Lloyd’s and regional brokers were not part of the acquisition plan, he added.

Esser also clarified reports that Cooper Gay had poached 10 staff from CRS, pointing out that Cooper Gay completed the purchase of two CRS teams on 1 September.

He said: “We completed an asset purchase of CRS’s main reinsurance book and reinsurance and terrorism teams a number of weeks ago. There was no defection because these people have already been absorbed into our business.”

SC Insurance and Risk Services, a subsidiary of Port-uguese corporation Sonae, took a 14% stake in Cooper Gay in May. It is believed that the capital released will fund the broker’s expansion plans.