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Macquarie continues journey from IB to asset manager with US acquisition

Macquarie’s Waddell & Reed deal wouldn’t make sense for most of the world, but it does for Australia’s Shemara Wikramanayake.

Macquarie Group chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake

Macquarie-watchers have long known that the Australia-based institution is now more of a global infrastructure manager and less of an investment/private bank, a journey that has gathered pace over the last 10 years.

One could hardly ask for a clearer illustration of this than buying an asset and wealth manager for $1.7 billion and immediately selling the wealth management part.

Macquarie’s purchase of Waddell & Reed Financial, the New York-listed US-based manager, is primarily about its asset management business. It has $68 billion in assets under management (AUM), mainly through the Ivy Investments brand. That will bring Macquarie Asset Management’s AUM to around $465 billion.

Already a global leader in infrastructure asset management, the deal will make Macquarie a top-25 player in actively-managed US mutual funds.

Macquarie Asset Management, which Macquarie Group chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake ran and built before stepping up to the top job upon Nicholas Moore’s retirement, already accounted for 47% of Macquarie’s total net profit in the six months to September 30.

Heart and engine

What Macquarie more broadly calls annuity-style income – as opposed to market-facing income – accounted for 70% of profit.

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