Frydenberg was approached by a private equity firm, a professional services firm and other investment banks. Additionally, he has been offered non-executive director roles on corporate boards.
In choosing to join Goldman Sachs as a senior adviser, Frydenberg was following in the footsteps of other politicians who moved to the bank, including Paul Keating who joined Lazard and Warwick Smith who joined Macquarie.
Rothery says Frydenberg’s terms of employment include certain exclusions covering government, regulators and institutions regulated by them.
“It’s not a role of government – it has nothing to do with government,” he says.
“In fact, speaking to anyone in government is prohibited for 18 months. He will also have no coverage of the institutions where he has made nominations such as the RBA, ASIC, ACCC and the Takeovers Panel – all of that is ruled out.
“Josh was adamant about that, as we would be about how seriously we take conflict.”
The conflict of interest exclusions and investment banking operating model in Australia lead Chanticleer to conclude that Goldman Sachs will make the most of it by rolling out Frydenberg in Asia.
The Asia-Pacific role excludes Japan, meaning the focus will be on China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries.
Asia-Pacific businessmen and politicians tend to have a much higher level of respect for former senior politicians from other countries and that should work in Frydenberg’s favor.
Rothery says Frydenberg has “very strong connections” in Asia, which will suit his global role with the bank.
“This is our first senior regional consultative meeting in Asia-Pacific, and we see this as an Asia-Pacific platform,” he said.
In Australia, Frydenberg will not be a practical M&A dealmaker, just as he was not when he worked for Deutsche Bank before entering politics. Frydenberg joined Deutsche after being hired by then-investment banking director Hamish Douglass.
A seasoned president of a public company says the most useful role for politicians in investment banking is to tap into their connections. They are not the “rainmakers” of M&A.
“In investment banking, the reality is that five or six people can do a really good job for you, and you’re trying to decide who can do the exceptional job,” the chairman says.
“That’s the call you make, and the sad reality is that you only find out at the end, right?
“Basically, everyone can do a good job because there are so many good teams with so many good advisers. So when you’re trying to appeal to the board about who will do the exceptional job, it’s really on the fringe.
“And so anything you can get on the sidelines helps you be fantastic, so Frydenberg will help them on the sidelines.”
Goldman Sachs is number 1 M&A banker in Australia based on the latest Dealogic ranking table, which has been updated to include Goldman Sachs as adviser to Ramsay Health Care on KKR’s conditional, non-binding, indicative proposal for Ramsay.
The updated data puts Goldman Sachs ahead of Barclays (Barrenjoey) and UBS.
Goldman Sachs has a history of appointing former politicians and senior officials as advisers. Examples include Sir Alex Younger, former head of MI6, Lord Brian Griffiths, Margaret Thatcher’s chief political adviser, Tito Mboweni, former South African finance minister, Bob Zoellick – former World Bank president and US trade negotiator, Mario Monte, former Italian Prime Minister. , Peter Sutherland, former Attorney General of Ireland and former Chairman of BP.
Goldman Sachs’ main business adviser in Australia is Charles Curran and former Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Ian Macfarlane was an adviser to Goldman Sachs for a decade.