The Choice
Between a rock and a hard place? Cazenove is corporate broker (a legal requirement for quoted companies in the UK) to over 40 of the FTSE100 companies, and also to many other smaller caps. Despite its other banking activities this work is what its overall prestige and value sits on; and clients it brokers to are paying for its independence and ability to read financial markets.

Unfortunately, even for Cazenove, brokering is not especially profitable in investment banking's scheme of things. Hence the search for capitalisation via a floatation, sale or partnership to get in amongst the bigger margins the global investment banks enjoy.

A buyer or partner, on the other hand, looks at the Cazenove client list and sees a prime marketing channel for its large-margin product portfolio.

A sale or joint venture raises a bit of a problem. How independent can Cazenove remain in its clients' eyes once Other People's Money is financing the firm's expansion plans? The very move may mark the moment of disintegration of its core appeal to all those clients it brokers to.

No doubt David Mayhew has taken client polls the results of which may be of some actual comfort. John Kerry's been there too, but his future is looking less than assured right now.

This part is best left to MD, a Cazenove shareholder. But perhaps that float idea wasn't so bad; and it would be a shame to make a dog's dinner of this decision. After all, Cazenove is very, very good at brokering - anecdotal proof is on offer at this unlikely source, the Alba Game Fishing website.

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