Are Aussie brokers becoming corporate drones?

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Working for a niche brokerage firm in Australia? Your days of independence look numbered as the chimes of consolidation ring round the brokerage industry.

Southern Cross Equities' recent sell-out to Bell Financial, which follows CMC Markets' takeover of Andrew West, is another nail in the coffin for standalone brokerages in Australia (Sydney Morning Herald).

Other small-fry firms have been gobbled up by the big banks: ANZ acquired E*Trade Australia last year, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns IWL.

And if you're still battling away at a small brokerage, then the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is about to deliver the knock-out punch: it plans to raise its minimum clearing house capital requirements from AU$100k to a massive AU$10m by the end of 2009 - a move which is expected to force out under-capitalised brokers.

Will all this (and a slumping stockmarket) be a lethal mix for small brokerage jobs? Consolidate your career below.