Macquarie bonuses a well-kept secret

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It's probably the best-kept secret in Australian banking circles right now. Just how big will Macquarie Bank's profit be when it reports its annual results on 20th May, and will employee bonuses rise, fall or remain the same as last year?

The bonus question has just about everyone stumped, with recruiters having little if anything to go by, except Macquarie's own recent forecast that its full-year earnings will be up about 23% to AU$1.8bn.

The bank's bonuses are set to be announced at the time of the next result, and paid out in June. "Bonuses from the other investment banks were down about 5%, but I don't know whether or not Macquarie will be affected as much.... I haven't heard much talk about it in the market, either," says Renee Thompson, principal consultant investment banking for Derwent Executive.

While Macquarie's overall result is likely to be up, results across its different divisions will definitely be patchy. Its treasury and commodities group is expected to be broadly in line with last year, its equity markets and capital units are expected to be ahead, while its real estate and securitization groups are set to be down fairly sharply, according to a statement from the bank. Financial services and funds management are tipped to be higher. How bonuses are shared around will be based on group, divisional and individual performances.

Simon Tobin, associate director banking and financial services division for Michael Page, says there's no solid word out there on Macquarie's bonus pool. "Anyone's guess is as good as anyone else's at the moment."

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