Macquarie Bank bans investment team from taking clients to Mimi’s in Coogee amid cost cutting

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‘Millionaire Factory’ bankers are banned from dining at beachside hotspot – as the $180 per person luncheon limit bites: ‘Things are going to be different this year’

  • Bankers at Macquarie Finance Group banned by higher-ups from Sydney venue  
  • Macquarie and worldwide banks trying to cut costs going into an uncertain 2023
  • The Coogee-based Merivale restaurant, Mimi’s, is a favourite to attract clients  
  • Dishes from the beachside Mimi’s restaurant can cost as much as $249  

Some of Australia’s highest earning bankers have reportedly been banned by their company from wining and dining potential investment clients at a fancy Sydney restaurant as the cost of living and rising interest rates bite. 

Macquarie Finance Group recently issued a directive to its investment bankers to avoid taking clients to Mimi’s, in the eastern Sydney suburb of Coogee, due to how expensive the meals are and its distance from the city. 

Mimi’s, which sits on Coogee Beach within Justin Hemmes’ Coogee Pavilion, is one of the more expensive and distinguished venues in the pub baron’s ‘ Merivale Group with a menu that features plenty of dishes priced in the triple figures.

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Macquarie is reportedly looking at limiting its entertainment bill, according to the Australian Financial Review, and bringing its bankers’ spending habits in line with other financial institutions. 

The bank has repeatedly been dubbed the ‘millionaire factory’ because of its high-end clients and the salaries it pays its workers. 

Macquarie is one of many banks worldwide who are curbing discretionary costs going into the new year, with uncertainty in the global economy growing with a number of financial institutions considering a $180 cap on lunches.

Macquarie Bank bans investment team from taking clients to Mimi’s in Coogee amid cost cutting

The Macquarie Finance Group (pictured) has allegedly banned certain divisions of investment bankers from entertaining clients at one of Sydney’s premier beach-side restaurants

Mimi’s was recently awarded its second hat by GoodFood, a title only 38 Australian restaurants have, joining fellow Merivale venues Fred’s and Mr. Wong’s on the coveted list. 

Its menu boasts numerous fine-dining dishes such as a $50 ‘bump’ of caviar that is served with a shot of vodka, a grilled Murray Cod for $120 and their signature heritage wagyu ribeye with lemon and olive oil that costs $298.  

The fine-dining experience with views of Coogee beach and Wedding Cake island have made the venue an attractive destination for investment bankers trying to impress clients into doing business with them, or celebrating a deal being closed. 

Many Australian bankers celebrated jumps in salary from the thousands to tens of thousands at the end of 2021 while they celebrated record amounts of deals.

This locked banks into higher salary expenses going into a year that is expected to have a significant downturn in deals, now having to manage the books more stringently.

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‘It is usually just cut headcount, but now you’ve got even bigger teams on bigger base salaries, and that is not something that can be easily cut,’ a banker at a rival firm told the AFR.

The investment bankers were banned from entertaining clients at Merivale's Coogee restaurant, Mimi's (pictured), as banks look to cut spending across the board going into 2023

 The investment bankers were banned from entertaining clients at Merivale’s Coogee restaurant, Mimi’s (pictured), as banks look to cut spending across the board going into 2023

An executive at Macquarie said ‘there’s a sense that things are slowing down revenue wise and this is just the start of tighter of rules on spending’.

‘You only need to look at how far profits have fallen in some [local arms of investment banks] to know that things are going to look very different next year,’ they added.

Another anonymous banker at Macquarie said, ‘we are all being pragmatic on compensation this year, so this was not a huge surprise’.

Mimi's became a favourite among investment bankers for client lunches because of the fine-dining experience with views of Coogee beach and Wedding Cake island (pictured, Mimi's $50 'bump ' of caviar with oysters $7.50)

Mimi’s became a favourite among investment bankers for client lunches because of the fine-dining experience with views of Coogee beach and Wedding Cake island (pictured, Mimi’s $50 ‘bump ‘ of caviar with oysters $7.50)

Executives from other investment banks have reported that a strict cap of $180 per-head for client luncheons will be enforced through greater oversight by management.

Some bankers have warned that today’s cost-cutting methods could advance from less-fancy luncheons to lower bonus pools and potentially lay-offs. 

Just over a decade ago, Sydney bankers from the Swiss investment bank UBS were banned from dining at Neil Perry’s Rockpool after an audit into the companies expenses revealed they were spending $7000 a week in the years following the GFC.

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Macquarie’s decision on Mimi’s has not been made company policy.

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