Macquarie Ramps Up U.S. Presence

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A long-running U.S. hiring binge by Australia's Macquarie Group has intensified this month with the addition of senior bankers from Bank of America, Credit Suisse and Barclays Capital.

The U.S. contributed just 8 percent of Macquarie's operating income for the year ended March 31. But that figure is poised to climb due to recent acquisitions and opportunistic hiring in business segments from which the biggest global banks have retreated.

"At the moment, the U.S. is the smallest element of our world and we would hope for it to grow and fully expect it will," Nicholas Moore, the chief executive, told The Australian newspaper. "In the U.S. we have seen people in the energy business stepping back, which gives us opportunity. We see people in the securities and advisory business saying this is a good time to step out, which provides us the opportunity."

Comparison With UBS

A Reuters story likens Macquarie's strategy for ramping up a North American investment bank on par with its presence in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region to UBS's large-scale move into investment banking earlier this decade. UBS hired more than 1,500 bankers and traders from U.S. firms in the space of a few years, but pulled back since 2007 under pressure of mortgage-related losses.

Last month Macquarie agreed to buy Philadelphia-based asset manager Delaware Investments from Lincoln Financial Group for $428 million. It acquired Constellation Energy's Houston-based downstream natural gas trading operations in March, and earlier this month completed the purchase of Canadian energy banking boutique Tristone Capital.

Naming Names

Macquarie's latest high-profile U.S. hires are:

- Peter Kind, a top power industry investment banker from Bank of America, as a senior managing director responsible for power companies, utilities and renewable energy producers.

- Kevin Smith as head of high-yield. He had led U.S. mezzanine capital markets for Credit Suisse.

- Barclays and Lehman banker Steve Mehos as head of leveraged finance business, a new business for Macquarie.

Reuters' story goes on to name 10 other senior bankers and traders who joined Macquarie in the U.S. and Canada over the course of 2009. Hired away from such employers as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Fortress Investment Group, they include heads of credit trading, credit research, and banking groups covering oil and gas, telecom, transportation and logistics, and restructuring practice. Another high-level addition this year was Stanley Hartt, chairman of Macquarie Canada, a former Canadian deputy finance minister who joined from Citigroup in March.

The bank had seven openings posted on eFinancialCareers as of Thursday.

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