News analysis: Consolidation continues apace

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The latest spate of broker buying deals, many funded by cash-rich private equity (PE) firms, has raised the question of whether the sector is seeing its fourth wave of consolidation.

The first was the consolidation of international broking houses in the 1980s and 1990s. The second saw firms such as Towergate, Oval, Giles and others hoover up regional businesses around the country at the start of the new millennium. And the third wave was the relatively recent consolidation of the consolidators.