Smaller rivals are waiting in the wings

THERE&rsquo;s no one quite like Cazenove, an industry insider remarked last night. The discreet stockbroker, whose clients were once greeted by gentlemen dressed as butlers, still looks after a third of the firms in the FTSE 100.<br /><br />But its assimilation into US giant JPMorgan will open the field to a raft of younger competitors. Independent brokers like Oriel, Evolution and Numis have gained ground in recent years, while boutique dealmakers such as Greenhill and Evercore are increasingly turned to for corporate activity. <br /><br />Numis alone claims to have quadrupled its number of FTSE 350 clients in the past three years. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s competitive out there, but it&rsquo;s not a matter of alchemy,&rdquo; says Numis boss Oliver Hemsley. &ldquo;Clients want good advice and good research.&rdquo;<br /><br />For now, Cazenove remains the broker of choice for big firms. As its culture fades, that may change.