Macquarie makes second round of global staff reductions

The reductions follow the 1,000 jobs that the Australian investment bank eliminated between September and January, when it last made large-scale global staff reductions. They also coincide with a number of senior hires the firm has made for its North American investment banking business.

Macquarie Group, the largest private manager of infrastructure assets worldwide, has initiated a second round of global staff reductions and made a number of senior-level hires for its North American investment banking business.

Over the past two weeks, staff reductions were made in the firm’s Sydney, London and New York offices, according to sources within Macquarie.

Sources said that Macquarie Capital Advisors, Macquarie’s advisory arm, experienced the largest staff reductions, while Macquarie Capital Funds, the funds management division of Macquarie Capital, was less affected. The reductions in Macquarie Capital Advisors were widespread across different teams and different seniority levels, the sources added.

Macquarie Capital, formerly the investment banking division of Macquarie, manages 36 listed and unlisted specialist funds and pursues investment banking activities worldwide.

Additionally, there were staff reductions in the Macquarie Funds Group – a division that was created last year to house Macquarie’s funds and funds-based structured product businesses all under one roof. That division, which is separate from Macquarie Capital Funds, was created in June 2008 and is headed by Shemara Wikramanayake, formerly the head of Macquarie Capital Funds in North America.

Sources said that the staff reductions within the Macquarie Funds Group were made mostly in support staff and sales teams, while investment professionals were less affected.

The firm, which does not have a history of large global staff reductions, most recently made staff reductions in November after it announced a 43 percent decline in its 2008 half year profit. About 1,000 jobs were eliminated in that cut.

It is unclear how large the staff reductions will be this time. Macquarie will next give updated staff numbers when it reports its results for the year ended 31 March 2009.

The reductions also coincide with a number of senior hires the firm has made in recent weeks in North America, where it is actively seeking to build out its investment banking platform despite the overall slowdown in deal activity.

On Thursday, Macquarie said that Stanley Hartt, formerly the head of Citigroup Global Markets Canada, will join the firm as chairman of Macquarie Capital Markets Canada. Based in Toronto, he will head the expansion of Macquarie’s advisory and capital markets activities in that country.

In the US, the firm added two more senior investment bankers from rival institutions in the last week. Los Angeles-based Mark Davis, formerly a cleantech investment banker at Citi, will serve as a managing director in Macquarie’s financial sponsors and middle market businesses. Stephen Conner, a former Morgan Stanley mergers and acquisitions banker, will serve as a managing director in Macquarie’s New York office, focusing on deals in the energy sector.

Macquarie also recently added three former Lehman Brothers investment bankers for roles in transaction fundraising and financial sponsors investment banking.