Macquarie Group

The Macquarie Group is a leading Australian investment bank. It used to trade under the name the Macquarie Bank. The Macquarie Group is well known as a leader in infrastructure finance where investors used the steady income streams that came from large infrastructure projects such as ports, pipelines and roads in order to create innovative financial products, using a large amount of debt to create higher than expected profits. Due to the nature of these investments Macquarie puts a strong emphasis on relationships with government as well as long term risk management.

A large part of the Macquarie Group’s income comes from operating investment funds particularly dealing with utilities, transport projects and other areas that need a large amount of debt funding. These funds can be either unlisted or listed and publicly traded on various stock exchanges around the world.

The Macquarie group has 12,700 staff in 70 offices. It still has its head offices in Sydney in Australia but is present in 28 countries with a particularly strong focus on Asia. It is regulated by the Australian banking regulator, APRA. Macquarie aims to create an entrepreneurial attitude from its entire staff throughout the world.

There are five operating groups. The Investment Banking operation is known as Macquarie Capital. There is a Banking and Financial Services group that deals with high end retail banking, mostly in Australia aimed at wealthy clients, this includes a wide range of investment loans as well as more traditional full service stock broking and wealth management. There is also a Treasury group, a fund group (that also deals with private equity and hedge funds) and a securities trading group. There are also two other groups outside this structure, dealing with Corporate and Asset Finance and Real Estate banking. Macquarie also owns a UK bank, Macquarie Bank International Limited.

In 2009 the Macquarie Group bought a number of financial groups taking advantage of the high Australian dollar and a comparatively strong balance sheet. These acquisitions included the Canadian wealth management company, Blackmont Capital; the US based asset management firm Delaware Investments; the energy advisory firm Tristone Capital Global; and the derivatives department of Sal Oppenheim, a German bank. This was against a backdrop of poor stock market performance where Macquarie was seen as particularly vulnerable to the new low risk environment that had come about as a result of the credit crunch. The Macquarie Group has also been seen as one of the more aggressive players in corporate finance, becoming involved in a large number of multi billon infrastructure deals in a wider range of countries. It has become particularly active recently in the energy sector.

The Macquarie Group started in 1969 as the Australian branch of the London based stock brokers Hill Samuel. In 1991 Hill Samuel Australia applied to become a bank under the financial deregulation being pushed by the government. They floated on the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney in 1996. Their trading sign is MSQ:ASX.

The name for the Macquarie Group was taken from Lachlan Macquarie one of the first governors of the Australian province of New South Wales. Their logo is a stylized empty coin, the “Holey Dollar”, taken from the governor’s action of taking imperial coins and cutting out the middle thus creating two coins and meaning that money did not leave the colony. It is seen as an original and effective solution to a challenging problem, representing the way that the Macquarie group would like to have others see it. Although a number of non-Australians associate the bank with Macquarie University, there is in fact no formal or informal link between the two.

The Macquarie Group has a strong commitment to charity. It has set up the Macquarie Group Foundation which supports local community organizations in different parts of the world. Unlike many other similar banks it has done this continuously and for a long period, formerly starting the foundation in 1984, quite soon after the bank became an independent entity.

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