Bonus time at Babcock

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Babcock & Brown (B&B) is not just the fastest-growing investment bank in the country - it's also emerging as one of the best paying.

Sydney-based B&B has confirmed its status as the new 'millionaires factory' by revealing that its 1,019 employees shared wages and bonuses totalling $662m in calendar 2006.

That equates to around AU$650k per employee - and that includes secretaries and junior staffers. If you take into account that nearly one third of these employees were hired during the year and the average staff count over 2006 was around 850, the average pay check for full-time employees was around AU$780k for the year.

Babcock CEO Phil Green says staff numbers shot up 59% in the last year, but the good news for anyone aspiring to work there is that he still anticipates numbers will rise sharply again in 2007. "I expect staff numbers will grow at least 30%," he says, which would mean another 300 employees by year's end.

Many of these positions will come in the UK, US and Europe, where staff numbers grew 72%, 70% and 50% respectively in 2006 as new offices were opened and the firm's total funds under management doubled to more than AU$44bn.

But be warned. Babcock & Brown demands high performance from its employees. This is reflected in the bonus structure, which in 2006 accounted for more than two thirds - or A$444m - of total salaries. The base pay is much more prosaic, averaging out at AU$220k per employee.

Still, the investment bank is rewarded with unfailing loyalty. Staff turnover at most other investment banks averages between 8% and 15%. Asked about staff turnover at Babcock & Brown, Green says: "It's negligible. I think we lost maybe 10 people at most last year."

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