Smith Hancock: Celebrating 30 Years


The Early Days

Over 30 years ago, a young Director at the Sydney based accounting practice Ferrier Hodgson saw an opportunity for a nimble specialist insolvency practice to service the business needs of western Sydney, and particularly the growing number of professional advisers located outside of the Sydney CBD.

Deciding it was time to act on the opportunity he had identified, Michael John Morris Smith joined forces with Geoffrey Trent Hancock and on the 1st July 1994 they opened the doors of Smith Hancock! 

The practice commenced operations from a small office on the corner of Smith and George St, Parramatta, with well-known Parramatta realtor John Surian as the landlord and a young office manager by the name of Maria Gregory joining them as their first employee.  Maria had previously worked with Mike at Jirsch Sutherland Smith but we are certain that when she joined the new practice she could not have imagined being here 30 years later!

It was only a matter of time before the firm expanded and larger premises were required.   So, on 1 April 1995, Smith Hancock moved to level 4, 88 Phillip St, Parramatta, the home of the infamous Smith Hancock Balcony overlooking the Parramatta Riviera, that played host to a number of celebratory gatherings.


Our Current Partnership

Peter Hillig joined Smith Hancock as a Senior Manager in September 1995, working with the firm for approximately 18 months before leaving to pursue other opportunities, including forming Hillig and Associates, as a sole practitioner specialising in business recovery and insolvency.

When Geoffrey Hancock eventually left the partnership in September 1999, Peter returned forming a new partnership with Mike and merging his small practice into Smith Hancock.

Over the next few years, the practice grew from strength to strength. 

In 2006, we began working in the Aboriginal Land Council space which became a large part of the practice’s business over the following three years.  We also worked on a number of notable external administrations including Krispy Kreme, the Cookie Man, Brian Rochford Swimwear and Lawrence Dry Cleaners

Rommel Alfonso started at Smith Hancock as a mature-aged graduate on 19 April 2010.  After working with us for 10 years and becoming an integral member of the management team, he became a salaried partner on 1 July 2020, and eventually acquired Mike’s equity in the firm on 1 July 2021.


A Bright Future

Smith Hancock has successfully navigated the ups and downs of various economic cycles over the years, including the Asian financial crisis, the Global Financial Crisis, and most recently the impact of COVID.

The post-COVID economy has since seen a steady increase in insolvency related matters, and the firm is now expanding its team to ensure we can assist businesses in need during these uncertain times.

In November 2022, after 27 years at 88 Phillip St, Smith Hancock moved its Parramatta presence to Level 47, 8 Parramatta Square.  Suffice to say, we are enjoying the high-end location and of course the modern fit out that a new building provides, which mirrors the firm’s own period of ‘renewal’ that has occurred in recent years.

Over the years we have assisted in the orderly winding down of thousands of companies, recycled millions of dollars in capital, and engaged hundreds of lawyers and accountants to assist us in our reconstruction and wind-up activities.

After 30 years we are still going strong and delighted to be transitioning to the next generation of Business Reconstruction and Insolvency Specialists!


Community Spirit

Smith Hancock is proud of its Western Sydney heritage and the professional relationships we have forged along the way.  We endeavour to provide clients and other professionals with opportunities for business and personal growth wherever possible. 

To that end, many restaurants around Parramatta have survived largely due to the custom of the Smith Hancock partners over the years and - while some have faired better than others - Inside Out was a popular “canteen” choice for many years, then the Port Bar, and more recently, Ruse in Parramatta Square.

Similarly, the annual Smith Hancock Partners Conference to New Zealand, which co-incidentally occurred at the time of the Bledisloe Cup, was also a feature of the Western Sydney corporate calendar from 1999 to 2019 - seeing Smith and Hillig joined (ably supported) by a rabble of bankers, accountants and lawyers over the years.  Fun times!

On a more serious note, we have supported many local community initiatives. In 2013 we became one of the founding members of the Organising Committee for the Coleman Greig Challenge (Western Sydney’s largest corporate charity race), where Peter’s time and effort spent organising the cycling event every year were highly valued.  We also supported the Riverside Theatre project, numerous charity events, and became a corporate sponsor of the GWS Giants.   

While the move to Parramatta Square has meant that the chapter is closed on the infamous “Balcony Bash”, traditionally held on the 2nd Thursday after Melbourne Cup Day as a night to kick off the Festive Season in the Parramatta CBD, we are looking forward to making new traditions and supporting more community events from our new premises.  


Our Legacy

We are most proud of the fact that we have helped so many businesses over the years, providing the very best accounting, reconstruction and insolvency advice possible.

We could not have done that without the exceptional professionals and administrative staff members that have worked with us along the way.  The Smith Hancock alumni is extensive - with over 100 professional staff learning the ropes with us – and many firms across the Sydney region have benefitted from the high standards of professional inhouse training we are renowned for.

In short, the past 30 years have been an amazing journey.  We are looking forward to working with you over the next 30!


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