Economy

Ex-RBA Governor joins Macquarie

Its shares have surged more than 10 per cent since it said last month it expected a solid first-half profit.

Former Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens has jumped from being the nation's chief financial regulator to a seat on Australia's biggest investment bank Macquarie Group. Net operating income rose 3.4 per cent to $5.4 billion as performance fees more than tripled to $537 million. As recently as last month the bank had pointed to a full-year result broadly in line with the prior year's all-time high profit.

"The group remains well positioned, with a strong and diverse global platform and deep expertise across a range of products and asset classes", Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Moore said. Its annuity-style operations now contribute the bulk of the bank's earnings. But the profit contribution from its commodities and global markets arm fell 23 per cent during the period.

A professional economist, Stevens is credited with developing Australia's successful inflation targeting framework for monetary policy, in addition to influencing central banking internationally.

Mr Stevens led the RBA through the GFC and framed the policy that drove official interests rates down to the current record level of 1.5 per cent.

As well, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Upfold will from the start of the year take over as chief risk officer from Stephen Allen, who will retire after 25 years at Macquarie.

The bank said strong performance fees helped lift net profit 19 percent to A$1.25 billion ($957.75 million) in the six months to September 30, well above the average A$1.14 billion forecast of analysts according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Macquarie plans to pay an interim dividend of A$2.05 a share, up on the A$1.90 payout a year earlier.



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