Sydney, 24 September 2011
Once again your columnist, Ian Verrender, is making gloomy predictions about Macquarie Group (SMH, 15 September). This is not surprising. Since January 2008, he has written around 35 opinion pieces, most of which are along these lines. While Mr Verrender is entitled to write opinion, we are entitled to correct the record when he gets basic facts wrong. Like all its global competitors, Macquarie is not immune from the challenges in global capital markets. This, however, is hardly news.
Macquarie’s growth in the US and Europe is not a “sudden strategic shift”. The Group has had offices in Europe and the US since 1989 and 1994 respectively.
Since 2008 Macquarie has expanded its business in Australia and internationally. Our largest international acquisition by equity valuation was the US fund manager Delaware Investments in 2010. This has been an obvious success representing about half of Macquarie Funds Group’s assets under management and a substantial portion of its profit. This group is now Macquarie’s largest and is Australia’s largest asset manager.
Our largest acquisition by enterprise value was the US ILFC aircraft portfolio in 2010. This again has been an obvious success increasing the scale and profitability of our second largest group, Corporate and Asset Finance. Given these acquisitions - and other smaller acquisitions and initiatives - are detailed in publicly available information, it is disappointing Mr Verrender chose to ignore them.
Also on the public record is the fact that Macquarie's operating income from the Americas has increased fivefold in the past two years. Operating income from Europe, the Middle East and Africa grew over the same period by 10 per cent, facts which also belie the central premise of Mr Verrender's column.
We again refer your reporter to the strength of our balance sheet today and its strength throughout the financial crisis.