Macquarie boss cops pay cut amid profit crunch, but growing home loan division delivers some respite

Simone Grogan
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Macquarie Bank Managing CEO Shemara Wikramanayake will cop a $7.6m pay cut.
Macquarie Bank Managing CEO Shemara Wikramanayake will cop a $7.6m pay cut. Credit: BIANCA DE MARCHI/AAPIMAGE

The bottom line of Australian bank Macquarie fell back down to earth for 2024 to $3.5 billion, resulting in a big pay cut for the ‘millionaires factory’s’ chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake.

Macquarie revealed profits were down 32 per cent, compared to an especially strong performance in FY23 in full-year financial results released to the market on Friday.

The weaker result comes during what the group’s CEO said had been “subdued market conditions in many parts of the world”. Results for the year ended March 31 were further offset by higher outlays spent on its growing global workforce, which now stands at about 20,600.

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“Macquarie’s client franchises remained resilient over the last year, with continued client growth, fundraising and new business origination across the group as we delivered our 55th consecutive year of profitability since inception,” Ms Wikramanayake said.

Ms Wikramanayake will take home a $25.3m remuneration package for FY23 compared with $32.8m from the year before. Her base salary was lifted from $821,081 to $1.5m during the year, but her retained profit share fell sharply in line with the bank’s weaker performance.

Profit from Macquarie’s commodities and global markets division, its biggest money-maker, plummeted 47 per cent on the prior year to $3.2b. The bank attributed the plunge to “exceptional levels of volatility in commodity markets”.

Veteran banker Nick O’Kane stepped down as leader of the division in February, clearing the way for Macquarie lifer Simon Wright to take over at the start of April.

Asset management profits were also lower, down 48 per cent to $1.2b, driven by what the bank said was lower realisation in green investments.

Macquarie’s standout performer for the period was its banking and financial services operations.

The division lifted its bottom line 3 per cent to $1.2b, a new record for the bank, and chief Greg Ward received an $11.1m pay packet for the period as a result, up from $10.7m last year.

It reflects a concerted push from Macquarie to take up more of the market which is largely controlled by Australia’s Big Four banks and chiefly by Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Macquarie is now the fifth biggest household deposit holder in Australia and grew its home loan book by 10 per cent. Business banking was also up, by 22 per cent. The result was partially offset by tighter margins and staff expenses.

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