In order to bolster its pan-European business, Macquarie Group has entered into an agreement to acquire the cash equities sales and research business of German private bank Sal. Oppenheim.

Sal. Oppenheim’s cash equities business comprises equities research, sales and trading and execution functions focused on continental Europe. Under the agreement more than 50 staff will join Macquarie on completion of the transaction.

The acquisition comes after the Sydney-based bank agreed to acquire Sal. Oppenheim’s equity derivatives and structured products business in December 2009, taking on more than 90 German and Swiss-based employees.

Reportedly, Macquarie is returning to more traditional investment banking after writedowns on the assets in the funds during the financial crisis dented profit growth. In recent years, Macquarie has pursued a consistent build out of its equities, advisory and capital markets activities across Europe to complement its position in the Asia-Pacific region.

Macquarie launched its European cash equities business in 2008, based in London. This business includes equity research, sales and trading. The agreement to acquire Sal. Oppenheim’s cash equities business, coupled with the recent acquisitions of Tristone, an energy investment bank and Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochrane Coronia Waller have accelerated the development of Macquarie’s pan-European equities platform.

Alan Watson, executive director and head of Macquarie’s cash equities business in Europe, said: “This transaction is a logical step in the evolution of Macquarie’s equities business as it expands our coverage into continental Europe, giving us a particularly strong presence in Germany. The resulting combination will provide research coverage of over 400 companies in Europe, representing about 80% of the EuroStoxx 600 Index. The result is a platform that is well placed across all major European markets.

“Clients will benefit from the expanded global reach of Macquarie’s sales and research capability, its financial strength and stability, and from the ability to access our growing European advisory platform.”