By Ian Neubauer
Macquarie Bank has disputed an expose by The Sunday Telegraph that claimed the investment bank splurged as much as $750,000 on its staff Christmas party despite looming redundancies and the near decimation of its share price.
“It was massively inaccurate,” a Macquarie Bank spokesperson said. Another spokesperson refused to elaborate and indicated the bank would not take action against the newspaper or even demand a retraction.
Published on Sunday (November 30), the two-page story featured unauthorised shots and information. It included in-depth details on types food, liquor and other beverages served to guests, as well as entertainment, props and cross-marketing activities employed for the gothic-themed event.
The photo spread included images of bankers smiling coyly, attractive women dressed to the nines, cartons of stacked liquor and a luxury ferry used to passenger 1000-odd guests to the Cockatoo Island venue.
The report also cited estimates by unidentified “professional part planners”, who claimed transportation, set up fees, catering, security, interstate flights and accommodation for the event would have cost at least $500,000 but as much as $750,000.
Combined, they gave the impression the bank and its star employees were partying at the expense of “mum-and-dad” shareholders who have faced the brunt of the bank’s exposure to the economic downturn, with share prices hitting six-year lows.
“While other companies cancel or downgrade their end-of-year bashes as 2008 ends in financial disarray, the so-called millionaire factory spared no expense,” the newspaper said.
It did not say that events of this nature are typically planned up to a year in advance, or present arguments on the motivational and organisational benefits of corporate Christmas parties.
The Sunday Telegraph was contacted today (December 2) but refused to comment on the veracity and balance of its expose.
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