Macquarie eyes Irish banking licence as it reports record profits

Australian bank already has staff in Dublin and a number of other EU cities

Macquarie’s banking headquarters in Sydney, Australia

Macquarie’s banking headquarters in Sydney, Australia

 

Australian investment bank Macquarie is reported to be seeking a full banking licence in Ireland as it seeks to retain access to passporting rights across the EU following Brexit.

It comes just days after it was revealed that JP Morgan is to shift hundreds of back-office jobs to Dublin from London.

Macquarie, which has staff in 11 European cities, including Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris, on Friday announced record annual net profit due primarily to the impact of acquisitions and a strong performance from businesses such as its commodities and financial markets unit.

Annual net profit hit a record A$2.22 billion (€1.46bn), above Macquarie’s own guidance and analysts’ expectations of A$2.06 billion.

The Irish edition of the London Times reported on Friday that the bank, which is nicknamed the “vampire kangaroo,” is in the process of applying for a full banking licence from the Central Bank.

Barclays is also said to have picked Dublin as its future European base, which may involve the movement of 150 jobs from London to Dublin. Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are also looking at expanding their existing operations in Ireland.

Earnings rise

According to its latest results published on Friday, annuity-style businesses like funds management, which represent more than 70 per cent of Macquarie’s earnings, posted a 4 per cent earnings rise last year.

Income from the commodities and financial markets unit, part of the bank’s market-facing division, rose 12 per cent.

Macquarie said in its investment banking business a strong performance in M&A as well as debt capital markets fees had partially offset reduced fee income from equity capital markets activities, particularly in Australia where the IPO market is subdued. – Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg