Macquarie takes its origins from the merchant bank Hill Samuel Australia (HSA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hill Samuel & Co. Limited, London. Established in Australia in 1969, it began operations in Sydney in January 1970 with only three staff members.
In 1981, in response to changes evolving from the deregulation of financial markets, HSA commenced work on a proposal to become a trading bank. Authority for HSA to become Macquarie Bank Limited (MBL) was received from the Federal Treasurer of Australia on February 28, 1985, making it only the second private trading bank to be established in Australia during the 20th century.
Macquarie adopted its name from Governor Lachlan Macquarie, a leading pioneer and the man responsible for transforming the early settlement in Australia from a penal colony into a dynamic economy. Macquarie's logo is a stylized version of the “Holey Dollar” that Lachlan Macquarie introduced in 1813 as the first domestic coinage of the colony.
Macquarie Bank took over all the existing activities of HSA and opened its doors for business on March 1, 1985 with a retail branch in Sydney. A trading bank branch was opened in Melbourne a few months later and in Brisbane in November 1986.
On July 29, 1996, MBL listed its fully paid ordinary shares on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and on October 30,1996 entered the ASX's All Ordinaries Index, with a market capitalization of approximately $A1.3 billion.
On December 10, 1969, Hill Samuel Australia Limited opened its doors in Sydney with a staff of three executives and commenced trading in January 1970. Aspiring to offer a range of financial services and products of the highest quality in terms of service, knowledge and skill, Hill Samuel Australia soon began to win significant mandates.
15 years later, directors at Hill Samuel Australia decided that the time was right to restructure the business as a new Australian trading bank. Following a successful proposal to the Australian Federal Government, Macquarie Bank Limited (MBL) was established in February 1985.
MBL looked to Australia's most successful early governor, Governor Lachlan Macquarie, for inspiration in its name and the creation of its logo. Governor Lachlan Macquarie (1761–1824) was instrumental in establishing Australia's first bank and was also responsible for introducing Australia's first coinage, the “Holey Dollar.”
In 1813 Governor Lachlan Macquarie overcame an acute currency shortage by purchasing Spanish silver dollars (then worth five shillings), punching out the centres and creating two new coins — the “Holey Dollar” (valued at five shillings) and the “Dump” (valued at one shilling and three pence). This single move not only doubled the number of coins in circulation but increased their total worth by 25 percent and prevented the coins from leaving the colony. Governor Macquarie's creation of the Holey Dollar was an inspired solution to a difficult problem and for this reason it was chosen as the symbol of the Macquarie Group.