Friends in high places

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What do you do once you've scaled the public service, been governor of the Reserve Bank, a government minister, a state premier?

Growing daffodils doesn't do it for alpha males. But going into an investment bank as a director or consultant does very nicely.

On 5 March, Goldman Sachs JBWere appointed Ian Macfarlane, former governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, as a senior international advisor. Two months earlier, it appointed Arthur Sinodinos, Prime Minister John Howard's chief of staff, as a senior director. Macfarlane's retainer is thought to be six figures.

Goldman's not the only one wooing the great and the good. Macquarie Bank has been doing it for years, employing former Victorian treasurer Alan Stockdale, former ministers Warwick Smith and Ross Cameron, former New South Wales premier Bob Carr and Max Moore-Wilton, former head of the Prime Minister's Department.

What's the chemistry here?

Michael Fraccaro, head of HR at HSBC, says politicians and bureaucrats have extensive networks built up over years of public service: "Their experience in office and in department sectors makes them invaluable in helping corporates navigate their way

around departments and bureaucracies." And Michael Markieowicz at recruiter Carmichael Fisher agrees: he calls it "a potent mix of knowledge and networks, compliance and prestige".

Lifetime banker and senior advisor at UBS, Ken Allen, should know. He spent four years as Australian consul-general in New York. "Everything you do is influenced by government: you need someone who can help you through the process. With private-public partnerships booming, anyone with governmental experience and a knowledge of sovereign corporate governance has a lot to offer."

Politics, he says, should not be a career-ending move. The new banking high-fliers may well agree.

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