Resting on the industry's biggest egos is the drive to consolidate the market.

A 'clash of the titans' duel between one of the London market's biggest players and his regional market equivalent is what spurs the market forward, Backchat learned this week.

Rumour has it 'Mr Lloyd's' invited 'Mr Regions' to marvel at his 20-acre mansion.

"Take a good look," he gloated.

Clutching his morning Times, the guest walked the halls, absorbing all the splendour. But a spat was sparked when Mr Lloyd's taunted: "You will never have a house of this size on your salary."

Determined to beat the rival and prove his worth, Mr Regions has been buying brokers ever since.

Backchat can't help wondering whether both gentlemen are getting too macho with their mansions.