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Ganging up against the big boys

The recent mergers of CSFB with DLJ and JP Morgan with Chase signal a new desperation among those near bulge bracket firms to amass the scale, capital strength and full product capability they consider crucial if they are ever to gain entry to the very top ranks of global investment banking. In recent years, Wall Street firms have busily allied with retail distributors and acquired specialist boutique firms. But such full-blown mergers of large investment banks are something quite new. For these deals to succeed, profound misgivings will have to be overcome among many senior managers at DLJ and JP Morgan: firms that have traditionally stayed aloof from Wall Street alliances and have strong cultures. Although it's not clear these mergers will help firms leap ahead, it's quite certain the merging firms' rivals will take advantage of any discontent. Antony Currie reports

Here is a sobering thought for those involved in the present round of Wall Street mergers, something they should all consider carefully before congratulating themselves on getting ahead of the pack of middle-rank investment banks.

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