The bank that still takes its people on extravagant offsites

Posted by PSR_AXP 2 mths ago

There are not many firms who would be prepared to pay for hotels, flights and restaurants for 750 bankers to have a get-together, even in the best of market conditions. In the current environment, Macquarie Capital’s biennial conference in Tokyo looks quite surreally lavish. The invitations have gone out to more or less the entire firm, so as well as the travel and accommodation bills, the Australian investment bank is prepared to give up almost an entire week’s revenue generation. (The only people who haven’t been invited are those working on the public-facing equities business, and they will presumably be telling themselves that this is because that’s one business line where you really can’t leave the desk for days at a time).

It's not at all because Macquarie are indifferent to costs; six months ago they made the headlines by banning their bankers from eating at some expensive restaurants. But they have decided that cutting the conference would be a false economy. It’s a kind of “investment” in building and maintaining the culture of the firm, something that a lot of banks only talk about as a half-hearted justification for their back-to-office policies. Spending an extended period of time in each other’s company, with all ranks and geographies mixed together, builds relationships and esprit de corps. These are important anywhere, but according to the book “The Millionaires’ Factory” they are particularly vital at Macquarie, which has a business model heavily dependent on employees taking initiative and trusting each other.
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