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Your guide to the world of Money Movers Powerful Money Movers can do a lot of things. They can slow and boost the economy, carry out enormous public spending measures, implement taxes, jack up interest rates, use their financial and political clout to change or quash government regulations and get rewarded with astromical paycheques in the process. You need to read about them. And we've just made it a whole lot easier to do so.


Page 1: Money Movers


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World of Money Movers

It was Tony Montana who used to evangelise, amongst many other unprintable things, that money equals power. While the fictional Cuban drug lord was on the mark most of the time, on this topic he

was only half right.Because it’s not just money that equals power, it’s power over other

people’s money that gives an individual real influence. And if you take a look at our list of Top 10 Money Movers, you’ll find some of the most powerful people in the country.

You may not have heard of some of them. You may feel all-too-famil-iar with the rest. But whether they’re controlling interest rates or creat-ing new corporate giants, they all have a big say over what gets done with other people’s money.

And they decide who gets richer and who gets poorer.

WHAT CAN MONEY MOVERS DO?• Slow down or boost the economy by changing the price of credit.• Carry out enormous public spending measures.• Implement new taxes to swell government coffers (or simply go into

debt and pay for things later).• Jack up interest rates to improve the balance sheet.• Swallow smaller financial rivals in hard times (and become more

powerful in the process).• Operate in cartel-like behaviour to maintain the banking system sta-

tus quo.• Use financial and political clout to change, champion or quash gov-

ernment regulations.• Wheel and deal to create new corporate giants or sell off old ones.• Become more profitable (and powerful) by introducing new fees. Or

entice new customers by slashing old fees (then put them back up again).

• Have a say over the direction of Australia’s $1.3 trillion superannua-tion pool.

• Get rewarded with astronomical paycheques.

WHAT GIVES THEM THEIR POWER?• Mortgages. Australia has around 2.5 million mortgage holders: if you

can control how much they pay, you’ve got enormous influence.• Financial clout. Whether you’re a big four CEO, investment bank

supremo or federal government treasurer, the bigger your pile, the more power you have.

• Runs on the board. You need to have proven yourself within the industry, in some way or another, to get anywhere near the big chair.

• Public perception. Bankers are some of the most disliked people in society -- if you can show you’re different to the rest, you can become more powerful.

• Contacts. Networks are the way power amplifies itself. If your phone calls are getting returned by CEOs and directors, you know you’ve got influence.

• League tables. In the world of investment banking, power is often found in the size of the fee won from advising on a deal.

• Intelligence. While they don’t all take the traditional MBA route to the top, our big bankers are often the smartest person in the room.

• Gender. Finance is a blokey world and you don’t see too many women smashing the glass ceiling. There are exceptions of course, but not often.

THE POWER OF POSITION?Unlike some of our other lists, power in money is not necessarily found in the people themselves but ratherin their executive roles at enormous financial institutions.

This can mean swift changes in those who are powerful and those who are not. If the CEO of a large bank gets knifed tomorrow, he or she will very quickly find their way out of the Top 10.

BOW DOWN TO THE FOUR PILLARS?With a combined home loan book of more than $500 billion and a mar-ket capitalisation of $261 billion, the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB and ANZ make up the so-called “Big Four” of Australia’s banks.

And they’re only getting more powerful; the two most recent banks to be described as the “fifth pillar” were bought out by one of the Big Four. If you happen to be running one of the big banks, you’re amongst the most powerful people in the country.

THE EFFECT OF THE GFC?The US subprime mess crippled many financial institutions and saw a string of international banks go under -- but it may have made our big banks more powerful. While the majors did not escape the crisis com-pletely unscathed, they came our a lot better off than their European and US counterparts.

The Reserve Bank and federal government also came out with their reputations in tact for steering the economy through the crisis. Mean-while, those who kept operating in the investment banking sphere also won many friends.

SHAREHOLDER RETURN?Most of the Top 10 Money Movers – those who are in charge of or near the top of some of the market’s biggest listed companies – are beholden to their company’s share price. Underperform in the market and your board will quickly make you aware of it; you might even be shown the door.

The financial sector has dived 48% since its pre-GFC heights. Find growth in the current environment and your grip on power can become unshakeable.

DOMESTIC MARKET OR ASIA?All CEOs have a strategy: it’s what defines them and their legacy. So which of these are the most apparent in money at the moment?

At the ANZ, Mike Smith is making waves with his push to make his bank a “super regional” institution by providing services to Asia. He wants 30% of ANZ’s earnings to come from Asia by 2017.

Meanwhile, NAB CEO Cameron Clyne is fighting to win more mar-ket share domestically, by embarking on an ambitious discounting and advertising strategy aimed at retail customers.

THE POWER OF A DEAL?The investment banking rainmakers who made the Top 10 are some

of the most well-connected people in the country. They are also some of the most powerful, with the ability to pave the way for corporate merg-ers or the selling off of an Australian corporate icon.

They are the ones who have the ear of CEOs and of boards; if you want something bought or sold you go to them.


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Power Job: CEO, Goldman Sachs investment bankingBorn in: Johnston grew up in Deniliquin, NSW and went to university in MelbourneFriends: John Knox, James Sutherland, Robin Bishop, Ben Gray, Trevor O’HoyFormer Life: Johnston rose to head of IB at Goldman Sachs after serving as head of the consumer and retail group


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Christian Johnston

You might not know his name, but trust us: Christian Johnston is one well-connected individual.

When a CEO, board or government wants to wheel and deal, they go to “CJ”. The Goldman Sachs head of investment banking is one of the top corporate deal makers going around.

Not that you’d really know about his influence: the seemingly-invisible Johnston rarely leaves any fin-gerprints outside the business world. But inside the marble walls of high finance, it’s often the baby-faced Johnston tugging at the strings of power.

“CJ’s power comes from his relationships with blue-chip corporates,” says one observer. “He has access to the most influential directors and CEOs, and influence over some of the biggest decisions they will have to make.”

It’s that influence which has seen Johnston and New York-based Goldman Sachs involved in a slew of giant deals over the years. Along with Matthew Grounds at UBS, the local incarnation of Goldman Sachs has become, under Johnston, one of the go-to investment banks for mergers and acquisitions.

The bank is leading the all-important investment banking league tables this year with $56.3 billion worth of announced deals, according to Dealogic. And that includes deals from inside government.

Johnston’s team was the primary adviser to the NBN Co during its negotiations with Telstra, who recently sealed the $11 billion deal seen as one of the key steps in the fed-eral government’s $35.9 billion broadband project.

The NSW state government has also found itself bow-ing down at the altar of “CJ”. It recently appointed Goldies as adviser to try and find a buyer for the privatisation of its $2.1 billion Sydney desalination plant.

NSW Treasury also brought Goldman Sachs in last year to handle the $1 billion sale of its 40-year lotto licence to Tatts Group. Johnston doesn’t just have his fingers in a lot of different pies, he’s got the entire bakery.

And he works hard. Johnston gave a rare insight into his life as an investment banker in 2008, saying he works constantly on deals — even on the day his first child, Emma, was born.

“If a client wants to get me, no matter what time of night, then I have to be available,” he told the AFR’s Boss magazine in 2008.

That determination to get a deal done is why Johnston is constantly in demand. And why he’s bringing in giant fees from some of the country’s biggest corporates. John-ston has been the key adviser to Foster’s for years (which currently sees him hard at work on the brewer’s $10 bil-lion hostile bid from SABMiller) and he’s been a long-time adviser to private hospital operator Healthscope, playing a big part in its $2 billion sale to private equity in 2010.

Johnston’s power also rests in his ability to help create corporate giants. In the media sector, Goldies is the cur-rent adviser to Austar in its $2 billion merger with Foxtel, which will create a new pay-TV giant if it gets by the ACCC.

He was also knee-deep in Woolworths’ $1.3 billion takeover of liquor giant ALH in 2004, which has given it a significant foothold in the lucrative pub and pokies mar-ket. And he was a lead adviser on BHP Billiton’s mam-moth (and ultimately unsuccessful) $165 billion hostile bid to swallow fellow mining giant Rio Tinto in 2008.

But despite sounding like a typical Type A personality, Johnston is not your typical arrogant corporate high-flyer. He’s regarded as one of the most popular deal makers in the game, managing to do business in the rough-and-tum-ble world of investment banking without making enemies. Those who know him praise his style, saying he is respect-ful and patient with clients and always puts his team first.

“You’re not struck by an ego, which is an unusual in an investment banker,” says one long-time Johnston associate. “He doesn’t feel the need to talk a lot, but when he does, it makes sense,” agrees another. “And he can make a point without being a prick about it.”

Johnston grew up in the New South Wales country town of Deniliquin — a town most well-known for its annual ute muster, not producing investment bank-ers — before heading to Melbourne to board at the exclusive Scotch College.

He then went on to Melbourne University to study finance, where he fell in at Ormond College with a friend-ship group that would include fellow future banking big wigs TPG CEO Ben Gray, Macquarie Capital’s Robin Bish-op and Credit Suisse heavy John Knox. Knox was John-ston’s best man at his Scotch College wedding in 2006.

The clique now forms what has become an invest-ment banking brat pack, working either with or against each other on some of the country’s biggest deals. Amongst others, Johnston worked with Gray on the TPG-led buyout of Myer in 2007.

At 38, Johnston is also one of only a handful of locally-based global partners at Goldman Sachs. It’s a position that earned him a nice little $12 million pay day this year when Goldman bought out former local joint ven-ture partner JB Were, giving the firm access to the Wall Street bank’s $1 trillion balance sheet.

The father of three is also a keen cricketer, having played with his friend, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, at Melbourne University. Johnson also does work with the Ricky Ponting Foundation, which is chaired by his friend, former Foster’s chief Trevor O’Hoy.

Aside from that, there’s not much else in the public domain about Johnston. He doesn’t like talking too much, especially about himself. He declined The Power Index’s requests for an interview.

As for what’s next, one colleague says Johnston is set-tled doing what he does best — making things happen in the corporate world.

“I’d say next is a fair while off for him, I think he rec-ognises that the role he’s got and they want him to stick around. They really value him at Goldman.”

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Nicholas Moore

If you run Australia’s biggest home-grown invest-ment bank, as Macquarie Group’s Nick Moore has

been doing since June 2008, you are a powerful man in so many ways.

You can make yourself rich: Moore took home close to $10 million last year and $30 million at the height of the boom.

You can make others poor: Macquarie shares have fallen from $100 at the height of the boom in 2007 to about $25 now.

You can make Australia a different place: by financ-ing infrastructure that might not otherwise be built, such as Sydney’s M2 motorway.

And you can make parking charges at Sydney Air-port the highest in the world: at $52 for three hours and one minute.

You can also tell the head of the Austral-ian Competition and Consumer Commis-sion to take a running jump. In 2010, ABC’s Four Corners revealed that Macquarie had taken hundreds of small businesses to court to enforce contracts that the ACCC regarded as oppressive and unfair. Graeme Samuel (him-self a former Macquarie banker) rang Moore to ask the bank to behave more reasonably, but met a brick wall. “This is a source of great disappointment to us,” Samuel lamented on ABC radio.

But best of all, when you run Australia’s biggest home-grown investment bank, you can persuade the government to help in times of need.

Soon after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in October 2008, Moore hosted a dinner for Australia’s financial services minister, Nick Sherry, at Macquar-ie Group’s swish Sydney offices. As he and his fellow executives sipped on their chardonnay, European share markets were falling through the floor, panic was gripping the world banking system, and Mac-quarie’s survival was hanging in the balance.

Five days later, Treasurer Wayne Swan announced an emergency funding guarantee for Australian banks, which ensured Macquarie stayed afloat and allowed the Millionaires’ Factory to pocket several hundred million dollars in easy profit, by borrowing $17 billion of cheap AAA money and relending it at far higher rates.

Three weeks before that, Macquarie had flexed its lobbying muscle and nudged the Australian Securities and Investments Commission into ban-ning short-selling on the Australian Stock Exchange, where Big Mac shares were under heavy bombard-ment.

Moore supplies the barest personal details to Who’s Who and has avoided Wikipedia. He also steers clear of Twitter and Facebook. But we can tell you he’s a typical investment banker in the Manhat-tan mould.

He swims, he runs, he competes at everything, especially in the matter of who makes most money. And he takes no prisoners.

A well-known Sydney financial journalist vividly recalls Moore putting a finger in his face at a Mac-quarie Bank lunch and telling him to “shut up”.

“I found him really arrogant and superior,” lawyer and writer Greg Barns told Good Week-end’s Jane Cadzow in 2006. Another ex-col-league told The Power Index, “If you’re doing something wrong or you’re an idiot, he cer-tainly lets you know”.

But friend and foe agree he is “ridiculously smart” and has “a steel-trap mind”. They also agree he was anointed to

run the bank as far back as the 1990s. By the time he took over from Allan Moss in 2008, Moore’s invest-ment banking division was making 50% of Macquar-ie’s profits.

Nevertheless, some believe he’s the wrong man for the job: a brilliant deal maker, not a manager, and yesterday’s hero, from an era that will never return.

It was Moore who perfected the so-called “Mac-quarie model,” which a well-known ex-Macquarie banker described to The Power Index as “all about creating deals that produce fees, fees and more fees”.

Moore’s specialty was infrastructure deals, in which Macquarie would finance and/or purchase roads, railways, ports and power stations and sell them on to Mac-run satellite funds. Using this mod-el, Macquarie collected multimillion-dollar fees for buying the assets, multimillion dollar fees for selling them to the satellites (at a profit), and multimillion-dollar fees for managing them over the next 25 years


Power Job: Managing director and CEO, Macquarie GroupBorn in: MelbourneFormer Life: Head of Macquarie’s investment banking division





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Nicholas Moore

(on contracts that couldn’t be broken). There were also performance fees if values went up, plus fees for advice.

In banking, they call this “clipping the ticket”. But Macquarie’s genius was to build the train to take punters for the ride.

Moore took full carriage of this business in 2001 and pushed the bank into bigger and bigger risks, ramping up gearing and grabbing super-cheap, short-term finance, which needed to be rolled over. For five years, the share price soared and Moore’s team got rich. But then the wheels fell off: interest rates rose, returns fell; deals dried up; performance fees dropped off. And in some cases Macquarie had to pump money into the funds to keep them afloat.

Then the GFC arrived.It was about here, just

as disaster loomed, that Moore took over the top job from Moss. Accord-ing to Macquarie, he was the “ideal successor ... a world-class leader with an outstanding track record” and a man of “remarkable vision, energy and acumen”.

But he didn’t see the coming train wreck, and he’s been struggling to contain the damage ever since.

“I think he’d be under considerable self-imposed pressure,” says a former colleague.

“He’s a very competitive guy and he’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder about the way Allan Moss has a halo over his head and he has been left to deal with all the sh-t. I think he’s pretty angry about that.”

But it is to Moore’s credit that Macquarie hasn’t gone bust, like its cheap imitators, Babcock & Brown, Allco, and Rubicon, which disappeared into a $20 bil-lion black hole in early 2009.

“Nick’s protected the bank through the GFC and done a lot of smart things to prevent it going down the gurgler,” says Steve Johnson of Intelligent Inves-tor, who once worked for Moore at Macquarie and is an admirer.

“Nick’s not a dummy,” says a less-sympathetic banker who knows him well. “He’s kept it together in a really tough market.”

According to Johnson, Moore did see the com-

ing crash sooner than B&B and Allco. “Macquarie stopped doing the really risky, high-leverage deals and got its funding in place soon after he took over,” he says.

It also survived because it had better risk-manage-ment procedures, a wider spread of businesses, and the government guarantee, which delivered a truck-load of easy money.

Last year and next, the group will make almost $1 billion profit, yet no one maintains Moore is doing a fantastic job. Macquarie’s return on capital is a pal-try 8.7%, and it has slipped down the list of leading investment banks this year, trailing way behind UBS, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Barclays in mergers and acquisitions. In several of the key rankings, it

hasn’t even made the top 10.

Moore has also used the GFC to go for growth, and so far, the bet hasn’t come off. In the past two years it has bought two German private banks, a couple of US asset man-agers, a US energy trading business, and an energy advisory firm, but it has also punted heavily on aircraft leasing, deriva-tives trading and securi-ties broking. As a result, staff numbers have risen massively, from 10,000 in 2007 — before the GFC — to 15,600 today.

“They’ve bought the wrong businesses, at the wrong time, in the wrong part of the world,” says one Macquarie watcher, who believes the US economy is a basket case. “There are rumours of jobs cuts on the way, and lots of Macquarie CVs floating round the city,” he adds.

“Nicholas always had to make it bigger and better, so it’s not surprising he’s tried to roll out the Mac model to the rest of the world,” says the Australian Shareholders Association’s CEO, Vas Kolesnikoff, who once worked for the group. “But it’s not really worked. You only have to look at the share price to see that: it’s now back to what it was 10 years ago.”

Johnson still has faith and believes Macquarie got some bargains. But he agrees the good old days of minting money are gone for good.

Moore’s big challenge is to get Macquarie growing again and find a new role for the bank. No one, inves-tors included, is sure that he can.

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Power Job: CEO, ANZBorn in: United KingdomFoes: Joe Hockey Former life: Smith used to work for HSBC Argentina, where he was shot in the leg during the country’s economic crisis.


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Mike Smith

When Mike Smith lines you up, he doesn’t miss. The plain-speaking ANZ CEO has a propensity

to run his mouth off when things don’t agree with him.He has regularly attacked the country’s much-

vaunted four-pillar banking system for resembling “two pillars and two stumps” and once slammed shadow treasurer Joe Hockey for “taking economic lessons from Hugo Chavez”. Earlier this year he sav-aged prime minister Julia Gillard and Labor for being a part of the “weak government club”.

With his ruddy complexion and inch-perfect com-bover, the 54-year-old Briton is the perfect candidate for a banking cartoon caricature. Except, that is, for a bullet wound to the thigh. But more on that later.

As a Big Four banking CEO, Mike Smith is a mem-ber of the exclusive coterie of institutions control-ling the majority of financial transactions in this country, so his word carries plenty of weight. And with thirty years in the game and plenty of experi-ence in difficult markets (he’s done time in Hong Kong, the UK, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and the Middle East), he’s hoping to expand his clout by tak-ing ANZ headfirst into Asia’s economic boom.

Despite possessing all the tropes of a British busi-nessman — charm, wit, a love of Aston Martins — Smith’s style means he has a nasty habit of making enemies, even ones that carry guns. During a six-year stint as chief of HSBC operations in Argentina, Smith implemented some personnel changes the locals didn’t like. The result was a bullet to the thigh.

“In a South American way, they thought if they removed me, they removed the problem, and they’d all go back to the way it was,” he told an Australian School of Business Meet The CEO event last year. “They had a good attempt, shot up my car, and I got a bullet though the leg. But I got away from them.”

Aside from collecting the bullet, Smith says he learnt a lot from his time working as a banker in Argentina in those tough conditions. He was in charge of HSBC dur-ing the country’s financial meltdown in 2001 — “the banking equivalent of having survived Stalingrad” — and says making it through to the other side with the compa-ny’s 8000 staff was one of his proudest moments.

“Getting through that crisis, it took a lot out of me. I’ve got to say,” he said last year. “But the effect of them retaining their jobs, being able to continue to live, was extraordinarily important. It needed a lot of bravery.”

And perhaps a little bit of help from his friends.In the riots that subsequently engulfed Buenos

Aires during the economic crisis, Smith’s head of security at the bank, Jorge Varando, was alleged to have shot and killed 23-year-old Gustavo Benedetto. According to the Guardian, Varando, a retired elite military officer, also faced claims of being active dur-ing the “Dirty War” of the 1970s, when thousands of opposition Argentines were “disappeared”.

There was some speculation that the riots (during which protesters tried to burn down the HSBC build-ing while Smith and 1000 staff were inside) had been motivated by allegations government officials tried to solicit bribes from foreign banks. In his testimony, Smith denied HSBC had paid any bribes, but said gov-ernment kickbacks were commonplace in Argentina.

While Smith may sound like an action hero (“real James Bond stuff,” is how he once described the attempted car-jacking to Time magazine), he doesn’t exactly resemble one. Middle-aged and a touch on the corpulent side, the father of three looks exactly how a banker should look.

He’s also got banker’s tastes; the 54-year-old lives with his wife and family in a $10 million Toorak man-sion and loves wine, tennis and golf.

But Smith’s power as a Money Mover is clear. He’s loud, he’s smart and, most importantly, he’s control-ling a Big Four bank. And domestically, he’s made a few waves. Last year, when the Commonwealth Bank controversially jacked up interest rates higher than the RBA increase, ANZ followed suit. It was also the first of the majors to sniff the political winds of change and abolish mortgage exit fees.

However, much will hinge on whether Smith’s bold expansion into Asia can lift the bank’s hopes.

It was originally hoped that by next year some 20% of earnings would be delivered by ANZ’s new “super-regional strategy”, which involves an aggressive push for market share in Asia. Even before it was achieved, that goal was upped, to a target of 25-30% by 2017.

Smith and his team have spent the past few years identifying acquisition opportunities throughout the region. As a result, they now have a presence in 14 countries and seem set to cash in on Asia’s boom.

But despite Smith’s high expectations, analysts are unsure as to how the strategy is progressing. Last year, just 14% of ANZ’s earnings came from the Asian region. Some have argued that ANZ is too focused on Asia, ignoring local opportunities. And its share price has fallen 5% in the past 12 months (although that com-pares favourably with the sector’s collapse of 8.1%).

It’s undeniable that the last few years have been a tough time to be a banking chief. Since Smith took the reins from former CEO John McFarlane just before the GFC in 2007, the company’s share price has fallen about 30%. When asked about ANZ’s per-formance last year, in difficult conditions, Smith says it’s all about the long-term:

“Earnings per share growth doesn’t interest me. What we should look at is what valued is being added to the business,” he said last year.

With economic fault lines rippling throughout Europe and the US, Smith is betting big on Asia. It could either make or break him. Let’s just hope there are no bullets this time.

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Cameron Clyne

One of the first things Cameron Clyne did when arriving at NAB was pull down the partitions

separating workers. And there’s no glassed in corner office with city views for the youngest ever head of the big four bank -- Clyne likes to tell people he works at a desk, just like everyone else.

It’s this kind of approach that sets him apart. Sure, Clyne might look more like a nightclub bouncer than a big-time banker -- at 198 centimetres, with shoul-ders as broad as a barn door -- but the former rugby union lock-forward’s style is all soft touch.

He says he relishes people telling him where he has gone wrong, just as long as it is constructive: “If you have to get past five secretaries and three secu-rity doors to find me, staff are very unlikely to bring me a problem,” he once told The Sunday Times.

He must be on to something because this c o n s u l t a n t - t u r n e d -banker is enjoying one of the most stratospheric career paths in the coun-try; just take a look at his CV.

At just 26, he was anointed youngest ever partner at Pricewater-houseCoopers. And, at 40, he was made NAB’s youngest ever head. Now, two-and-a-half years later, he’s making an audacious bid to pinch as many mortgages from his rivals as he can.

Clyne has been the driving force behind NAB’s aggressive “break up” strategy, the advertising cam-paign it launched on Valentine’s Day this year to try to woo customers from the other banks. Recently more of a business lender, Clyne’s push to bulk up NAB’s retail banking — based on a promise that NAB is “different” from the other majors -- has so far been a success.

Some 225,000 customers shifted their allegiance to NAB in the five months after the break up, a big win for the bank. As a result, Clyne was able to book a 22% increase in first-half profit this year, helped along by a 1% rise in its share of home loans.

But there is a risky side to Clyne’s big play. NAB is still smarting from having to write down more than $1 billion worth of investments during the US sub-prime mess. It also faced investor anger after reveal-ing bad debts arising out of Britain.

Meanwhile, housing prices have been stagnant in Australia for a while now, while economics figures haven’t been much better. And don’t even mention

the state of the market. If the economy starts to tank and NAB’s bold move comes back to bite it, Clyne could be in the gun.

“The residual question mark is whether Clyne can sustain what is ultimately a discounting strategy and come up with other strategies for differentiating NAB’s brand,” says Steve Bartholomeusz from Busi-ness Spectator.

But regardless of what happens, you can be sure the affable 43-year-old will keep on fighting.

A keen sportsman, Clyne grew up in Penrith as the oldest (but smallest) of three brothers. He expe-rienced a “fairly traditional” upbringing and was encouraged to work while attending Catholic all-boys school St Dominic’s College. One of his first

jobs was loading the Sun-day paper delivery trucks at News Limited.

After finishing high school, Clyne went on to study a bachelor of arts (he is a great believer in generalist education) at University of Sydney, as well as working part-time at accounting and advisory firm Arthur Andersen.

Not long after, Clyne moved south to Pricewa-terhouseCoopers in Mel-bourne, where he played two international rugby matches for Victoria —

one against the All Blacks and the other against the Springboks. He may have since hung up his rugby boots, but Clyne still brings some of what he learnt on the field to the world of banking.

And it’s that competitive nature that has contin-ued to fuel his career from management consultant to big-time bank. In 1996, he packed his bags to work at PwC in New York, where he was named the firm’s youngest-ever partner.

He then spent time in the boardrooms of the Asia-Pacific with PwC, before moving to NAB in 2004 where he was soon sent to manage the Bank of New Zealand brand. In 2009 he became NAB’s youngest-ever chief executive.

But it hasn’t been all clear sailing since then.Clyne copped a bloody nose last year, when his bank’s

$13.3 billion bid to purchase AXA was blocked twice by the ACCC. And then again in November and December, when NAB experienced a series of technological prob-lems in its computer systems, causing millions of cus-tomers to be frozen out of their bank accounts.


Power Job: CEO, NABBorn In: Penrith, NSWFriends: Wayne SwanFormer Life: Clyne has spent most of his career as a management consultant








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Cameron Clyne

Nevertheless, Clyne has won plaudits for his work in improving NAB’s customer service ratings, while those close to him say he is intelligent and down-to-earth. He’s also laconic and softly-spoken, and says he never raises his voice. It’s clear Clyne is an overachiever. And a powerful individual. As well as controlling the local operations, Clyne is in charge of NAB’s group interests -- which include Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank in the UK, who between them have 2.7 million customers and 300 branches.

But it’s hard to say where he might end up when he leaves NAB. It might even be politics.

Clyne’s name has been tossed around as a perfect fit for the ALP, especially after NAB publicly backed Julia Gillard’s carbon tax plan earlier this year (a decision Clyne says was based on economics, not politics). He’s also a friend of Wayne Swan and once gave a job to former Kevin Rudd spin doctor George

Wright (before Wright went on to become ALP national secretary).

And Clyne has the bloodlines to go into govern-ment. Cameron’s father, Tony, was head of the NSW finance department and worked for the federal pub-lic service, while his great-grandfather, union official Daniel Clyne, was an ALP and Lang Labor MP in the NSW Legislative Assembly for 29 years.

But those close to him reject the suggestion of this Clyne moving into public life: “I would be very sur-prised if Cameron went into politics,” said one sen-ior source. Another says Clyne would be “mad” to think about becoming an MP.

“You don’t often see businessmen making the successful transaction towards politics,” says one mahogany row insider.

As for the man himself, it’s hard to say whether he fancies himself in the mad world of politics. Clyne declined The Power Index’s request for an interview.

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He didn’t make the Top 10, but Robin

Bishop’s one to watch

As current global head of Macquarie Group’s

investment banking arm, Robin Bishop is

another up-and-comer making the biggest

deals happen.

He’s young (just 40 years old) and is quickly

building up a reputation for being at the centre

of some of the country’s biggest corporate


Born and raised on the Victorian/NSW

border, Bishop attended Melbourne University

and Ormond College alongside Ben Gray and

Christian Johnston during the auspicious early

1990s. And just like those two, Bishop is mak-

ing his mark in the corporate world.

Bishop was the man at the centre of Wes-

farmers mammoth $20 billion takeover of

Coles. He was also involved in AXA’s $14.6

billion merger with AMP. As Macquarie groans

under the weight of its underperformance dur-

ing the GFC, Bishop is becoming increasingly

important as the rain-maker at the Millionaires’


We’re tipping him to keep moving up and

possibly become a contender for next year’s


Tom Cowie


Page 9: Money Movers




Power Job: Chairman, Industry Funds ManagementBorn in: Weaven grew up in Northcote, in Melbourne’s inner-northFriends: Lindsay Tanner, Steve BracksFormer Life: Weaven is a former assistant secretary of the ACTU.


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Garry Weaven

Garry Weaven is not your typical financial high-flyer. For a start, he’s an ex-trade unionist. He’s

also a former radical left-winger, having been a mem-ber of the Socialist Club during his time at La Trobe University in the early 1970s.

Back then the campus was such a hotbed of Viet-nam War protest and activist ideas, even the term “Labor Club” was considered right wing:

“They didn’t have a Labor Club back in those days,” Weaven tells The Power Index. “They were too idealistic for a Labor Club at La Trobe.”

He’s also an economics graduate who moved through the ranks of the union movement to become one of the most influential figures in Australia’s $1.4 trillion superannuation investment pool.

Weaven’s got a major say over the retirement savings of millions of people. As chairman of a multibillion-dollar super empire, he’s a big player in the ever-growing super funds network. And that makes him an increasingly powerful individual.

After all, he’s got plen-ty of credibility. Weaven was one of the architects of superannuation, hav-ing served time as assis-tant secretary at the ACTU not long after it signed the accord with the ALP (which kicked off super in the 1980s). Back then he teamed up with sec-retary Bill Kelty to help build industry super funds for workers. In 1984, only 34% of Australians had super. Today that figure is closer to 80%.

Former Labor Finance Minister Lindsay Tan-ner says Weaven is an example of how people can “achieve major change” without having to be elected to parliament.

“There are very few former union officials who have contributed as much to the labour movement and the wellbeing of working people over the past three decades as Garry Weaven,” Tanner tells The Power Index.

Born and bred in working class Northcote, in Melbourne’s inner-north, Weaven followed in his truck-driving father’s footsteps and joined the old Municipal Officers Association straight out of uni-versity as a researcher, eventually becoming assis-tant secretary at the ACTU in 1986.

He credits his rapid rise through the unions as being a major factor in where he is today.

“You can develop quite a lot of influence in and

authority pretty quickly coming up in the union movement,” says Weaven.

“There were very few graduates in the ranks of the executive staff of the unions in those days, so you could acquire responsibility fairly rapidly.”

But that was only the start of it. Weaven’s career took a left turn when he left the ACTU to join West-pac as a financial consultant in 1990, before re-join-ing the union fray to set up Industry Funds Services in 1994.

While he’s retired from his day-to-day duties these days, Weaven still maintains an active role in the business as chairman. A keen Essendon supporter and part-time poet (he’s never been published), the sixty-two year-old Weaven lives in Melbourne’s CBD

and walks to work.And he says he takes

his role as a guardian of people’s retirement very seriously, especially in tough periods for inves-tors such as the past few years.

One of the areas where Weaven sees opportunity for growth is renewable energy. He’s been a long-time advocate of super-annuation funds using their financial might to invest in businesses that take into account the sci-ence of climate change.

This belief led Weaven and IFM to invest in Pacific Hydro, a clean energy company which garnered sig-nificant attention when the business purchased it outright for $788 million in 2005.

Weaven is still a director in the company and has been frustrated by the lack of political action on cli-mate change, as well as the reticence of super funds to accept climate science and invest accordingly.

In a speech given earlier this year, Weaven said he believed there was a “lethal core of entrenched vest-ed interests” in Australia and around the world who “choose to frustrate action” instead of choosing to act.

To try and help convince people he’s serious, IFM is planning to run a $2 million advertising blitz later this year promoting its investments – including clean energy.

It was reported in the Fairfax press earlier this year that the ads had led to some disquiet in the union-aligned industry funds movement, especially with the current controversy swirling around the Gillard government’s carbon tax legislation.






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Page 10: Money Movers



10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Garry Weaven Weaven says the press was “ill-informed” and that

the centrepiece of the ad campaign is to a spruik for all of IFM’s infrastructure investments, not just clean energy. It’s not the first time Weaven has sought pub-lic support for his business. Back in 2005, when faced with an onslaught from the retail super funds, IFM ran a series of ads pushing the cost benefits of industry funds over their rivals (you might remember them: “her fees are higher, her fees are lower”).

Those ads caused a stir at the time, but they worked. Research showed IFM had swung public perception toward the industry funds, at the expense to retail funds.

And even though Weaven has made a few enemies along the way, particularly amongst his rivals in the super sector, he’s still got plenty of friends amongst the true believers. He’s maintained his ties with the ALP as well, having served for a three-year period as president of the party’s Progressive Business fund-raising arm.

Former Victorian Labor premier and current Cbus chairman Steve Bracks is a fan, telling the Australian Financial Review last year that Weaven still has influ-ence with ministers and government departments when it comes to super:

“He has quite a bit of influence, quite a bit and he’s trotted out from time to time if the government needs him on some of those issues as well.”

As for Weaven, he’s not ready to improve his golf game just yet (“I struggle badly around a golf course,” he says). He still has the zeal to keep growing indus-try fund infrastructure investments.

And why not, with a rise in the super guarantee on the table and the overall investment pool expected to hit $4 trillion by 2030, it’s an area of finance that is only getting bigger.

“It’s a huge amount of money,” says Weaven. “And it needs to be channeled in ways that maximise returns but also maximise the nation’s net benefit.”

Like many other high finance bigwigs,

Melbourne-based TPG Australia chief Ben

Gray is wary of the media spotlight. He rarely

gives interviews and when he does, they’re not

often personal. But that doesn’t mean he’s not

influential. Far from it.

For a start he’s the son of former Tasmanian

Liberal premier Robin Gray. And another of the

Melbourne University mid-90s power bank-

ing set. He’s also a Harvard graduate, having

completed his MBA at the Ivy League school

in 1999.

But Gray isn’t powerful because of his family

connections or his educational background.

Even if he probably did learn a few things from

his father.

“Ben is probably the most Machiavellian of a

lot of these guys,” says an investment banking


insider, who notes Gray’s thoughtful approach

to the sometimes-controverisal business of

private equity.

Gray makes the contenders list as our pick of

the locally-based private equity buyout boys;

those barbarians at the gate looking to buy up

corporate giants on credit and sell them off

again at a profit.

“Ben is very very cautious and thoughtful

with his words. But he is probably seen as the

most hard-arsed of the private equity guys,”

says an observer.

TPG is probably most well-known for its

debt-fuelled $1.4 billion takeover over of Myer

in 2006, of which it sold its 81% stake in 2009.

The ATO claim they are owed $739 million

funds that flowed out of the country after the


TPG were also part of the consortium

involved in the failed multi-billion dollar Qantas

takeover in 2007.

And while private equity has struggled to

continue during the financial crisis, players

like Gray will be the Money Movers to cash-in

should debt become trendy again.

Tom Cowie

Page 11: Money Movers



10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Gail Kelly

From teacher to bank teller to Big Four CEO. Not a typical CV, but then there’s not much that’s

standard about Gail Kelly. With nearly 13 million cus-tomers and 40,000 Westpac staff to her name, Kelly is the female lone ranger of the Money Movers top ten.

Westpac is huge; as Australia’s second biggest bank it boasts a $300 billion home-loan book and commands a market share of 20% in home lend-ing and deposits. Last year, the company posted an annual profit of $6 billion, with assets of $618 billion.

Kelly can be as tough as nails. Smart, fierce and ener-getic, she has sacrificed plenty to get where she is today. She left her home country of South Africa in 1997, in the shadow of apartheid, to bring her family to Australia.

But Kelly’s power may be slipping. Some say she has underperformed during her time as Westpac CEO, that her halo may not be shining quite as brightly as when she took over. Some finance watchers particu-larly point to her handling of the takeover of St George as an example of where things might be going wrong.

Westpac’s merger with St George at the end of 2008 could have been a boon for Kelly. The $15 billion takeover transformed Westpac into a lending behe-moth, far and away the country’s second-biggest bank. Kelly had also been CEO of St George for sever-al years (where it’s rumoured she rode in to the staff Christmas party as Cleopatra), so it was thought she would know the ins and outs of the business well.

But St George has not been performing well for West-pac. The bank revealed recently that it suffered a sub-stantial drop in residential lending last year, something Kelly hopes can be rectified by a bout of cost-cutting and a restructure. A new regional rebuilding approach — including rebranding St George branches in Victoria as Bank of Melbourne — is also being employed to bring the bank out of the doldrums.

“Gail’s particular dilemma is that Westpac, with hindsight, over-paid for St George heading into the crisis,” Business Spectator’s Steve Bartholomeusz tells The Power Index.

Despite such hiccups, Kelly still has influence in spades. Australian banks are enormously powerful institutions. And anyone who is in charge of one of the Big Four — no matter how they are performing — still commands great power.

It’s been a long journey for Kelly to Big Four CEO. She initially started her banking career in her native South Africa at Nedcor Bank in 1980, eventually mak-ing her way to Sydney with husband Allan to take up a role with the Commonwealth Bank in 1997.

Then, in 2002, she became the first female CEO of a major bank, taking the reins at St George. It was there she brought her retail expertise and customer-centric focus to the bank (some say she was answer-ing customer complaint emails personally) before

being headhunted for those skills by Westpac.With her brightly-coloured suits, silver pixie

haircut and white picket fence-sized teeth, the 54-year-old Kelly has an unmistakable presence in the corporate world. And inevitably, “first female Big Four CEO” gets included in every profile written about her, along with all the implied responsibility that entails as one of the few women in her game to smash through the glass ceiling.

She hasn’t shied away from it -- Kelly’s long been vocal on the topic, most recently appearing on Q&A to discuss the corporate gender divide. She regularly gives speeches on female leadership in industry. Westpac has also led the charge on the introduction of paid parental leave by providing superannuation on its scheme.

But some have criticised Kelly for not being militant enough when it comes to the issue of equal representa-tion on boards. She is not in favour of quotas, preferring to let the ASX guidelines of gender transparency sway big companies into putting more women on boards. But despite saying the big companies are making pro-gress, Kelly has no women on her executive team.

Some say that might come down to Kelly enjoying the limelight as Australia’s most powerful business-woman. As one observer notes, there is perception Kelly is intent on being the “only star in the room”. But that seems a harsh assessment, considering her constant work providing advice to women trying to enter the corporate world.

“It is critical for us to address flexibility at work,” Kel-ly told a group of businesswomen recently. “We want women to have long lasting careers. To be able to pro-gress through the organisation. To be in senior positions and not to be drifting out, as it were, along the way.”

Kelly has endured her share of knocks, including one of the biggest PR fiascos of her career, when she angered Westpac customers and politicians by raising interest rates in 2009 by 45 basis points — nearly double the Reserve Bank increase. To justify the rate rise, West-pac produced a naff cartoon video likening the rise in the price of credit to the impacts of a banana smoothie seller hit by a storm. It did not go over at all well.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd said the bank needed to take a “long hard look at itself ” over the big rate rise, while Treasurer Wayne Swan branded West-pac “cynical”. It probably didn’t help that Kelly took home a pay packet of $9.58 million in the same year.

As to where Kelly will feature in The Power Index next year or the year after that, it’s hard to say.

It was reported earlier this year that specialist headhunter firm Egon Zehnder had been drafted in to find a replacement. Chairman-in-waiting Lindsay Maxsted has scoffed at the speculation, and Kelly has constantly said she’s up for the challenge of the job, but the rumours remain. We watch with interest.


Power Job: CEO, WestpacBorn in: Pretoria, South Africa, she migrated to Australia in 1997Former Life: Kelly started her professional life as school teacher before becoming a bank teller in 1980.


Page 12: Money Movers




Power Job: CEO, UBS Australia and global head, UBS investment bankingBorn in: Grounds grew up and went to school in southern SydneyFriends: James Packer, Kerry StokesFormer Life: Grounds completed a combined Bachelor of Commerce and Economics, and Bachelor of Law at UNSW.


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Matthew Grounds

If you want something bought or sold, you go to Matthew Grounds. After all, Kerry Stokes did. So

did James Packer. And Ralph Norris. His fingerprints are on deals stitched up for AMP, Shell and the Future Fund for starters.

In fact, the UBS CEO features in the foreground of almost every big deal you can think of from the past five years. Grounds has the most impressive Rolodex of the Money Movers Top 10. And he doesn’t play favourites. He’s happy advising everyone and any-one at the top end of town -- as long as his bank gets a slice of the action.

But if you’re not a player? Forget about it, he doesn’t want to know you.

“Matthew has pretty much got access all areas,” says one investment banking insider. “Which doesn’t mean that he hasn’t broken a few bones to get there. UBS is a real take-no-prisoners bank. They play the game hard. And they don’t like losing.”

Take Kerry Stokes, for example. Grounds was a key adviser to the West Australian entrepreneur when he was trying to push through his $2 bil-lion bid to merge Seven Network with WesTrac. Grounds was brought in as the banker who could get the deal over the line, a reputation that precedes him.

This reputation for toughness has won “Groundsy” plenty of friends in the hard-nosed world of investment banking. One of those friends being James Douglas Packer.

Grounds has been a long-time adviser to Packer HQ, continuing the groundwork laid by ex-UBS chief and Packer confidant Chris McKay. And UBS is involved in pretty much everything Packer does. It handled PBL’s sale of Channel Nine, as well as Pack-er’s 10-day $912 million asset sell-off in 2009 and last year’s $270 million share raid on Channel Ten.

Those who have worked with Grounds say his rela-tionship with the billionaire is more than just busi-ness, and that most of his friends can be found in the Packer social set. Grounds attended James’ Cote d’Azur wedding in June 2007.

As one informant told The Power Index, Grounds has a “chameleon-like ability to work on two differ-ent sides that were perhaps once at odds with each other”.

And it’s those diplomatic skills that Grounds has

used to his advantage many times in the past -- most recently in his work advising both sides, at one point or another, of the Canadian Pension Plan’s $900 mil-lion sale of its stake in Transurban.

He also has a habit of getting in on deals at the last minute. When the Commonwealth Bank jettisoned Merrill Lynch from its $2 billion equity raising effort in 2009, Grounds was first to pick up the pieces.

Legend has it, Grounds phoned CBA CEO Ralph Norris at 8am the morning after it all went pear-shaped to win the mandate and a $30 million fee for his bank.

“He has an innate ability to exert himself into deals,” says an insider, who has worked with him. “If UBS hasn’t got a role, Matthew is able to find himself

a role.”And that includes com-

ing into deals late: “Mat-thew might not be on the ground floor but if you’re going up the lift, sudden-ly you open the door and he’s getting in on the first or second floor,” says the source. “He’s generally in the lift.”

But it’s not just the contacts Grounds has on his phone. Or his knack for switching sides at the right moment. He’s also the global head of the UBS investment banking

unit. And he’s one of the country’s most influential deal makers by sheer weight of numbers.

UBS is regularly cited as the country’s top bank at greasing the wheels of corporate Australia. And it’s got the league table rankings to prove it.

UBS advised on about $59 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) last year, one of the biggest years of M&A recorded by a local investment bank in the past decade. It was also the top-placed firm in equity-raising league tables. This year it is vying with rival Goldman Sachs to take out the top spot again.

As one banking source put it: “Grounds is the real deal as far as long-term M&A icons go.”

And in terms of the size of UBS’s deals, well they don’t come much bigger. The Zurich-based bank was behind AMP’s $14.6 billion takeover of AXA and advised on Singapore Exchange’s $8.4 billion bid to buy ASX Ltd.

Deal watchers will also know Grounds is not afraid to use his balance sheet to make a big play. UBS underwrote Shell’s surprise $3.3 billion sale of Wood-





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Page 13: Money Movers



10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Matthew Grounds

side Petroleum, a deal that bore similarities with the bank’s involvement in the Future Fund’s sale of $2.4 billion worth of Telstra shares in 2009.

And it just keeps going; UBS was also one of the lead managers on the recent float of QR. It has also done deals for the likes of Tabcorp and Brambles.

But they haven’t been all winners. It was UBS that advised Qantas management on its botched private equity buy-out in 2007, the same year they helped organise the $650 million RAMS float just weeks before the company imploded as the credit crunch hit. Nevertheless, the bank had done its job for RAMs and walked away with around $20 million in fees.

And those who know Grounds say he doesn’t have much in the way of internal rivals, especially after the departure of McKay and former co-head Richard Hunt. Grounds took home the East Coles coveted crown for best investment banker in 2010, a title he’s tipped to win again this year.

But while Grounds might be a giant fish in cor-porate Australia’s deal-making pond, not much is known of him outside his work at UBS. According to one professional associate, “he’s charming to those he wants to be charming to and abrupt to anyone else. You’re either a player or you’re not.”

And despite his proximity to fame (his Palm Beach neighbour is Lleyton Hewitt) and fortune (he made the 2009 BRW Rich List with an estimated $40 mil-lion) those who know Grounds insist he is not inter-ested in outside recognition. The 42-year-old doesn’t like to do profile pieces and wasn’t interested in being interviewed for this one.

“Matthew doesn’t pretend to be an A-Lister, in terms of a socialite,” says one Grounds watcher. “And he’s not overly polished, but he’s able to oper-ate in any environment.”

“He’s not a ‘too-smart-by-half ’ typical investment banker,” says another. “He comes across a very blokey, and a guy’s guy, in every sense. But underneath that exterior he is very smart, with a lot of rat cunning.”

> continued from previous page

David Murray could have made the Top 10

Money Movers last year.

As head of the government-backed Future

Fund, Murray has serious clout. Australia’s sov-

ereign wealth fund is one of significant finan-

cial power, thanks to its arms-length power to

invest billions of taxpayer dollars.

But the former Commonwealth Bank chief

is on the way out of the $75.15 billion fund. His

term expires in March next year.

And some say he has been on the outer with

Canberra for longer than that. He has been

highly critical of the federal government in

the past and clashes with them on the issue of


climate change. Murray has some strong opin-

ions, and he’s not afraid to use them.

“[Carbon dioxide] has got nothing to do

with pollution,” he recently told the Australian Financial Review.

“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant..., it is col-

ourless and odourless. It is not a pollutant... It

is a tiny proportion of greenhouse gases. There

is no correlation between warming and carbon


Murray’s rants have sparked some criticism

that the board of Future Fund guardians has

not paid close enough attention to climate

change in its investments.

Just this year, The Age reported that the

fund has not discussed climate change in any

meetings since 2007.

Still, Murray’s performance has been stable

and he will leave the fund in a better place

since when he joined. Since the launch of the

Future Fund five years ago, it has generated a

return of 5.2% a year.

Tom Cowie

Page 14: Money Movers



10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Ralph Norris

Ralph Norris knows what it’s like to be the most hated person in Australia. Just ask any tabloid

newspaper editor; he’s greedy, overpaid, an enemy of the Aussie battler. But he also knows what it’s like to wield serious clout.

The head of the country’s biggest bank is without doubt one of the heavy hitters of finance. When he does something, the entire country knows about it.

Like the time he played national party pooper and spoilt last year’s Melbourne Cup, after the Common-wealth Bank raised interest rates on the first Tuesday in November by almost double the Reserve Bank increase. Much newspaper ink was used attacking Norris for that supposed misstep, shouting him down for daring to inflict rate pain on the race that stops the nation.

And the politicians lined up to have a crack as well: “Instead of giving us the four-pillar policy, the banks have given us the middle-finger approach,” Senator Nick Xenophon told reporters at the time. “Everyone had to tighten their belts during the global financial crisis, but it seems the banks have just taken the money and run.”

But Norris stood firm, saying the rate rise was nec-essary and even demanded a correction when The Daily Telegraph ran a damaging and supposedly mis-leading front-page story which reported him saying he thought it “was better to see a few foreclosures than have an economy hamstrung by a low-profit bank-ing system”. Not satisfied with the correction, Norris took out full-page ads giving his side of the story.

It’s clear the man knows how to protect himself. A skill he put on show again when he was forced to defend his enormous $16.2 million pay packet in 2010, the highest of any CEO in the country.

Norris says the whole rate-rise affair took its per-sonal toll on him. He admitted this year that his house had been vandalised and that angry customers had intimidated his wife. And maybe that has led to his future departure from The Power Index. Because by all rights Sir Ralph should probably not be in our top 10. In fact, in a few months he won’t be.

But until November, when he steps down as CEO, the head of Australia’s biggest bank is still here. And that means he’s still in charge of more than $330 bil-lion worth of mortgages, if only until CEO-in-wait-ing Ian Narev takes over.

Right now, Norris’ bank juggles some $646 bil-lion in assets, controls 26% of the home-loan market and not long ago absorbed BankWest into the fold. Whichever way you look at it, CBA is a juggernaut of finance. And Norris has been at the helm of the black-and-gold behemoth for six years.

Big, balding and slightly buck-toothed, Ralph Nor-ris gives off the vibe of a geeky uncle. A father-of-three, he’s friendly and personable; and takes his nickname from movie star Chuck Norris. He’s also a diagnosed diabetic. But just like his action hero namesake, Ralph

Norris knows how to be ruthless, even if it loses him popularity points. “Walk into a CBA branch and you’ll get a sense of how far the bank and its staff have come during the Norris era,” says Stephen Bartholomeusz from Business Spectator, who praises Norris in improving the bank’s level customer service.

It wasn’t immediately apparent that Norris was destined for big things in banking. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, he was raised by his single mother in a commission house in Mount Roskill. And unlike many of his finance rivals, he didn’t go to university after finishing high school at Lynfield College. But after beginning his working life as a commercial cadet at Mobil Oil New Zealand, he quickly moved into finance at Auckland Savings Bank in 1969. He rose steadily to become CEO in 1991.

It was at ASB where Norris developed his love of computers (he’s a patron of the New Zealand Comput-er Society), a passion he would morph into a successful business strategy based around technology at Air New Zealand — which he joined after leaving ASB in 2001.

But after turning around the national airline, which had felt the financial shocks of the sudden collapse of Ansett, Norris eventually found his way to CBA in 2005. Since then he has led the bank up the customer-service charts, thanks in part to his technology-focused strat-egy. And he’s increased market share; the bank acquired BankWest during the GFC for $2.1 billion. CBA com-fortably sits as the largest home lender, with 53% of its balance sheet in the all-important mortgage market.

But it’s what happens next at the country’s biggest bank that will be of most interest to power spotters. Will the new chief of CBA wield the big stick like Norris?

“The choice of Ian Narev (from a cohort of inter-nal candidates) as his successor is revealing,” says Bartholomeusz, who reckons it signals the board believes the domestic bank is in good shape.

All eyes will be on Narev, CBA’s current head of business banking, who is set to rule the roost from December this year. And already the 44-year-old fel-low New Zealander knows he has a hard act to follow.

“There will be some different style and focus to Ralph — but there will be a strong continuity with the strategy,” Narev told reporters upon being announced the new CEO.

Narev doesn’t have the long history in banking of his mentor (he used to be a management consultant like Cameron Clyne). But the consensus seems to be that CBA will be in safe hands. Narev has impressed the powers-that-be with his work on the takeover of BankWest and in CBA’s business lending department.

As for the longest-serving CEO of the Big Four banks, he just says he’s looking forward to cashing in his super. Oh, and retiring from The Power Index.

“Obviously this day does have a bittersweet fla-vour,” Norris told reporters last month. “But I’m looking forward to a less onerous role as a retiree.”


Power Job: Managing director and CEO, Commonwealth BankBorn in: Auckland, New Zealand, he migrated to Australia in 2005Foes: News LimitedFormer Life: Norris was CEO of Auckland Savings Bank and Air New Zealand before joining CBA


Page 15: Money Movers




Power Job: Governor of the Reserve Bank of AustraliaBorn in: SydneyFormer Life: Stevens is a career central banker, having worked at the RBA for more than thirty years.


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Glenn Stevens

Glenn Stevens calls himself Sydney’s most boring person. And he probably is. Other people call

him conservative and overpaid. And he probably is.Either way, you won’t see the RBA governor eat-

ing out at flashy restaurants or hanging around with other movers and shakers. In fact, the bald-headed Baptist is the very model of a demure central banker.

“You’re this person that nobody knows,” David Koch recently told the Reserve Bank boss during an unprecedented Sunrise interview. “And yet you’re the bloke who controls their lives.”

But preferring the quiet life has not weakened Ste-vens’ power. In a nation of some two-and-a-half mil-lion mortgage holders, you can guarantee the entire nation is watching the news on the first Tuesday of each month to sweat on his latest decision.

“Stevens ostensibly controls the ‘price of money’, so he is extremely powerful,” economist Christo-pher Joye tells The Power Index. “In finance, he is the most powerful person after the Treasurer. Abso-lutely no doubt.”

Stevens first joined the RBA research department in 1980 after graduating with an economics degree from the University of Sydney. He’s been at Martin Place ever since. Now, as the man pulling the levers of eco-nomic policy, Stevens can move markets and cripple prime ministers. In fact he’s probably already done so.

In 2007, when Stevens and his crew decided to raise interest rates to an 11-year high during an elec-tion, it spelled doom for a Howard government which had campaigned on the issue. Despite an impassioned plea from the prime minister, Howard was out of office two weeks later.

In one fell swoop, Stevens had proved the board’s independence. “It was a triumph of clear think-ing. I thought that was absolutely the right position to have,” says economist Nicholas Gruen on the unprecedented rate rise.

Born and bred in the Sutherland Shire, where he attended the same high school as UBS CEO Matthew Grounds, Stevens currently lives in southern Sydney with his wife, Susan. As well as a penchant for fast cars and jazz, the 53-year-old is a certified commercial pilot, who recently purchased a used Piper Seneca II aircraft.

Stevens is also a committed Christian; by all accounts a quite muscular one -- a trait that is rumoured to not be uncommon at the RBA. He met his wife through Scots Presbyterian Church in Sydney, plays guitar in the Heathcote Church band and recently told Wesley Mission he takes comfort from his faith when making difficult decisions.

“The RBA did an excellent job in its response to the global financial crisis and its adjustments to policy settings since then have been sensible,” economist John Quiggin tells The Power Index. Fellow number cruncher Nicholas Gruen agrees: “In hindsight, he

overdid the interest rate rises before the great finan-cial meltdown. But he was pretty much bang on dur-ing the crisis. Certainly they cut aggressively.”

But when it comes to interest rates, Stevens has also come in for his fair share of criticism. ACTU boss Jeff Lawrence recently said the RBA was “out of touch” with regular punters, while retailers have made impassioned pleas for interest rate relief to assist its devastated sector. One major metropolitan newspaper asked on its front page whether he was “the most useless man in Australia”.

But rather than shirk the attention, Stevens has looked to open up the media-shy central bank. Board minutes are now released after every meeting and media releases dispatched after every rate decision. RBA speeches have also increased.

Outspoken former board member Warwick McK-ibbin recently told the AFR Magazine that Stevens has allowed the board to break its traditional cone of silence and speak publicly, a noticeable change from Ian Macfarlane’s period of office.

Gruen believes Stevens’ bid to bring more trans-parency to the RBA has been a positive move: “It’s just part of good hygiene and it doesn’t seem like it was much of problem for him to do, so good on him.”

But Joye says transparency has lessened Stevens’ influence: “Ian Macfarlane was a much more power-ful governor than Stevens. Why? Because of the way he wielded it,” says Joye.

“Under Mac, there was no board debate, no board dissent. He completely controlled the monetary pol-icy outcomes.”

But with extra scrutiny also comes greater rewards. Last year, Stevens received a pay rise to become the country’s first million-dollar public servant. He is now one of the most highly paid central bankers in the world, banking hundreds of thousands more than US Fed counterpart Ben Bernanke.

That pay rise caught the ire of Sydney Morning Her-ald economics columnist Ross Gittins, who likened it to Stevens doing a deal with the Mafia. By taking the money, Stevens had lost his “moral authority” to question any other wage increases that the RBA believed were putting pressure on the economy, said Gittins. Treasurer Wayne Swan must have been listen-ing; he recently announced the Remuneration Tribu-nal would decide on salaries instead of the RBA board.

But whether it’s the money or the power, to say we don’t know much about what drives the mon-etary mandarin is an understatement. Quietly spo-ken, intelligent and elusive, the governor enjoys the spotlight about as much as a prisoner trying to scale the back wall of a jail. Up until last year’s surprise exclusive with Koch, Stevens had not given one on-the-record interview in his 30 years inside the mar-ble walls of the RBA. Unsurprisingly, he declined to be interviewed by The Power Index.

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Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan runs the Treasury, shapes the budget and guides the good ship Australia

through the stormy waters of financial and econom-ic crises. So it’s no surprise that he’s our most power-ful Money Mover.

But he doesn’t really deserve to be.Until this week, when he won Euromoney’s

World’s Greatest Treas-urer Award, we were struggling to find any-one to praise his perfor-mance. We googled the phrase “Wayne Swan is doing a good job as Treasurer” and got no results. We chopped off the words “as Treas-urer” and the count climbed to eight, but five of those were pref-aced by the word “not”, and another came from Gerard Henderson.

Nor did the tally improve when we can-vassed the views of economists, former treasurers and even Swan’s mates.

One former Labor colleague told The Power Index “he’s hopeless”.

Mark Latham, the man who put him in the job, by making him shadow treasurer in 2004, was similarly scathing, branding him “insipid”, “unfamiliar with basic economic terminology”, and beset by “nerves and anxiety”.

Cheryl Kernot, who comes from Queensland and knows Swan well, told The Power Index, “People in Canberra don’t think he’s good, even on the Right. There’s lots of mutterings behind the scenes. And he’s been appallingly weak in supporting Julia Gil-lard on the mining and carbon taxes.”

Finally, a former treasurer lamented, “The Treas-urer’s words are gold, much more important to the markets than those of the Prime Minister. But I don’t think anyone has told Swanny that. He’s gone into treasury as if he’s still on the campaign trail.”

So is he as bad as his critics say, or is he as good as his gong? Answer, he’s competent at best. He has no formal economic training, few skills as a salesman, no reforming zeal and almost zero star quality: he’s a natural understudy to leading actors such as (Paul) Keating and (Peter) Costello.

Indeed, Swan might be better suited to running a suburban bank branch or doing the accounts at a local RSL than running the country. So how on earth did he get the job, given that he lacks the necessary qualifications?

The immediate answer is that he managed Kim Beazley’s unsuccessful tilt at the Labor leadership in 2004. And this — instead of consigning him to life on the backbenches — made him front runner for the shadow treasurer’s job. Latham wanted to appoint Julia Gillard, but was warned against having a left-

winger, and needed to keep the party sweet. So Swan got the job instead. But he still beat Kevin Rudd, Stephen Smith and Lindsay Tanner across the line. So how did he manage that?

Beazley’s support is one possible explanation. Bill Ludwig and the Aus-tralian Workers Union is another. As Gillard pointed out in a fawning speech to the AWU con-ference last February, the Treasurer is “a long-time friend” of the union and

its 77-year-old boss. Swan joined the union almost 30 years ago as a Labor staffer and rode its coat tails to power in Queensland. He ran election campaigns for Premier Wayne Goss in 1989 and 1992, and was appointed ALP state secretary in 1991 (with AWU support). From there, he moved into federal parlia-ment for the Brisbane seat of Lilley in 1993.


Power Job: Treasurer Born in: Nambour, QueenslandFriends: Stephen Smith, Bill Ludwig, Paul HowesFoes: Kevin Rudd


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Wayne Swan

Insiders say the one-time university lecturer has always fancied himself as a mover and shaker. Cher-yl Kernot remembers him being on Beazley’s elite strategy committee about 2000, even when he was a lowly shadow minister. And a former Beazley staffer recalls him and Stephen Smith being “always in the office, talking to Kim, wasting everybody’s time”.

“He was always friendly and likeable,” the staffer recalls, “I just don’t think he added very much.”

Back then, Smith and Swan were known as the Glimmer Twins and almost inseparable. They would meet in the café at Parliament House every morning, then slip down to the basement and back through the front door for a date with the waiting TV cameras, their lines all prepared.

This experience on the boards should have equipped him for the bright lights of the treas-urer’s job, where the most important task is to champion the gov-ernment’s economic policy and convince the markets that everything is under control. But Swan lacks the bravado and showmanship of his predecessors. He’s more John Kerin (remember him?) than Paul Keating.

Heckled and hissed at in question time on his first few outings as Treasurer in early 2008, Swan rarely looks comfortable or confident even now. You would never guess he won the economics prize at school and a scholarship to university, let alone the prize of world’s best finance minister.

“His body language is too cramped. His delivery is too rapid. In some respects, he is trying too hard,” Latham wrote in an early review in the Daily Tel-egraph.

In the words of former Treasury adviser Brendan Brown via an interview with The Age, “He is to eco-nomic policy what Nathan Hauritz is to spin bowling: honest and hard-working but with limited ability.” Luckily for Swan, an equally pedestrian bowler, Joe Hockey, has been spinning for the other side.

Swan’s saving grace, according to one ex-Labor staffer is that, “He’s not stupid enough to think he can run Treasury. He does what he’s told, which means he doesn’t do anything radical, but he doesn’t get too much wrong.”

Certainly, there are enough smart brains in the Treasury to run the place without a politician’s help.

And he’s got Glenn Stevens at the Reserve Bank to handle monetary policy as well. But the world’s best treasurers — as Keating and Costello — see themselves, used their time in the job to reform the economy, and Swan has baulked at that. The govern-ment’s feeble response to Ken Henry’s wide-ranging tax review is just one example of his (and his govern-ment’s) lack of vision. The $6.5 billion support pack-age for the car industry (which is surely pouring good money after bad) is another. The lack of a sovereign wealth fund a third.

The Power Index does give him and Kevin Rudd top marks for their prompt response to the GFC, even if others quibble about the size of the stimulus and waste in the school-building program. But we’re

not clear whether Swan was really the driving force in taking such quick and decisive action.

And as for the min-ing tax, it has been a total shemozzle. Rushed into being, then hur-riedly recast, it could and should have been handled so much better.

The same applies to the carbon tax or ETS in its various forms, only more so.

It’s little wonder then that Swan gets such a

poor report card. But he’s a nice enough man and one of those rare politicians — from a journalist’s stand-point — who listens to your question and actually bothers to answer it.

Perhaps that’s his country upbringing. Born in Nambour, a sugar town not far north of Brisbane, he went to state schools there and spent summers surf-ing on the Sunshine Coast. He and Kevin Rudd went to Nambour High together, two years apart, and Wayne was cool, says Kevin, who was not. Only one surprise there. Rudd captained the debating team, Swan the rugby team, although he’s not a big bloke.

The two men didn’t know each back then and have never been close, despite swimming in the same small pool of Queensland Labor politics (they come from different factions). And they’re even less chum-my now, since Swan backed Gillard in the June 2010 coup. So don’t expect Swan to remain Treasurer if miracles happen and Rudd gets back.

Don’t expect him to do anything bold or dramatic, either, if he stays in the top job for another two years.

As one colleague from the 1980s recalls, “He was a nice enough guy but a lightweight. He was certainly no Einstein.” It could well be his epitaph.

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Coming soon:

THE TOP 10 MOST POWERFUL LAW ENFORCERSThese are the government law enforcers, judges and prosecutors. Between them they exert considerable influence on the decisions that emerge from courts, on the settlements that don’t make it to court, and on who does and does not get charged or prosecuted.

and later

THE TOP 10 MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE IN SYDNEY Sydney’s most powerful shape the identity and future of Australia’s largest city. They wield their influence over its culture, environment and economy; its planning, architecture, development, transport and infrastructure. They play a role in the safety, happiness and wellbeing of Sydney’s residents.


Page 19: Money Movers