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Equities: Macquarie’s European offensive

Bolt-on acquisitions and hires a good start; Test will be when markets heat up

Over the past year, Australia’s Macquarie Bank has built a pan-European equities business that is starting to look like an important force. Three acquisitions and some targeted hiring of research and sales people let go from the bulge-bracket firms during the crisis have created a team with the size to compete with the bigger players. The bank now has on-the-ground research and distribution in London, Geneva, Frankfurt, Paris, Munich and Zurich, covering 415 European stocks that make up 75% of Europe’s market capitalization (and more than two-thirds of the all-important Eurostoxx 600 index).

The platform and the story behind it are starting to look similar to what the bank has done in Asia. Six years ago, the bank bought ING Barings’ Asian cash equities business for a reputed $54 million. That deal is potentially one of the best ever done in Asia. Macquarie’s regional equities business is now booming: it is the top Chinese IPO underwriter for the past year (according to Bloomberg), it is the top rated pan-Asia research house (according to Starmine) and has the best distribution and sales team in the region (according to Greenwich Associates). Could Macquarie repeat in Europe the stunning success it has had in Asia?

"We create value through growing businesses," says David Rickards, global head of research at Macquarie in London.

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