Macquarie Bank got more publicity than
usual today because the millionaires’ factory decided to coincide the
release of its annual profit result with its annual report, meaning
that executive pay figures grabbed much of the attention when normally
they wouldn’t be disclosed until several weeks after the profit was
made public.

This report in today’s Sydney Morning Heraldwas
typical in highlighting the huge amounts paid to top executives,
including $18.55 million to CEO Allan Moss and a similar amount to
investment banking boss Nicholas Moore.

The cornucopia of cash
drew the Federal treasurer into a comment this morning. Speaking in an
interview on the Sally Loane’s ABC morning program in Sydney, Cossie
tut-tutted when asked about the salaries and payments.

“Like any
person, you do ask yourself if the payment of $18 million to an
individual was worth it to a company,” Cossie said, sounding a bit like
his brother, Tim the Baptist.

“People don’t have to invest,“ if
they didn’t like what Macquarie paid its executives, he said. He said
it was hard for an outsider to justify these sorts of salaries, but he
rationalised it by pointing out that Macquarie Bank was in the
marketplace and had to pay people. It was also a publicly-listed
company and “shareholders have a vote and can vote down salaries” at
annual meetings.

CRIKEY: Wrong Pete, they can’t. Even under the
new rules, votes from shareholders on the remuneration report are
non-binding. Salaries and payments to executives are not covered by
shareholder meetings, only the issue of shares or options and the total
amount paid to non-executive directors require shareholder approval.


Macquarie Bank executive pay figures we published yesterday were for
2004. Below is what we published, with the correct figures for 2005 in
brackets, so you can see the scale of the increases:

Allan Moss: $12.66m ($18.55m)
Nicholas Moore: $11.36m ($18.22m)
Andrew Downe: $7m ($10.4m)
Ottmar Weiss: $10.13m ($11.5m)
David Clarke: $6.35m ($9.8m)
Bill Moss $5.23m ($15.4m)
Richard Sheppard: $4.23m ($4.8m)

was an easy mistake to make because Macquarie is conforming with new
laws requiring the publication of a detailed remuneration report in its
annual report. Go to the 100-page annual report here and you’ll see all the figures from 2005 are spelled out on page 64, whilst the entire breakdown from 2004 is on page 65.