Cazenove, the last of the City’s blue-blood brokers, has finally decided to give in to market pressure and go public. It seems fitting that the 177-year-old broker is represented by Slaughter and May, itself a great traditionalist. The broker has also been known to call on Ashurst Morris Crisp, as it did on the £97m flotation on AIM of Big Yellow Group when it acted as the sponsor.

Slaughters has been Cazenove’s key adviser for decades. But as well as acting for the broker on internal matters, it has represented Cazenove in a number of deals including its strategic alliance with Wit Capital Europe Group. It is a sign of the times that London’s last independent broker is moving into the public arena after rivals, such as Hoare Govett, were swallowed up by larger entities, such as Dutch investment bank ABN Amro. The question on everyone’s lips is who will underwrite the deal which is expected to go ahead in early 2002? Expect some jockeying for position on the part of law firms to get the slot for the underwriters. It should turn out to be an interesting fight.