24th Mar 2023

UK has 75 percent of EU's millionaire bankers

  • City of London: More than 75 percent of Europe's millionaire bankers are in the UK (Photo: harshilshah100)

More than 75 percent of Europe's banking millionaires are based in the UK, according to a report by the EU's bank watchdog.

More than 2,700 UK-based bankers were paid more than €1 million in 2012, compared to a further 794 across the rest of the EU. Germany was a distant second with 212, followed by France with 177. Ten EU countries had no banking millionaires.

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The data, contained in the London-based European Banking Authority annual 'High Earners' report, reveal the extent of the UK's dominance of the banking rich-list.

The report indicates that 2,188 high earners worked in investment banking, with a mere 62 working in retail banking. A further 198 financiers worked in asset management and 266 in other business areas. The average top banker raked in a total of €1.95 million.

The figures include payments to staff working for subsidiaries or branches of any EU-parent institution based in another EU country, as well as staff in branches of third country institutions.

The report also revealed striking differences across countries in the proportion of pay made up of bonus payments. While most countries saw an average bonus payment of between one and two times salary, the average executive in France and the UK received a bonus four times larger than salary.

Since the 2008-9 financial crisis, lawmakers have made repeated steps to rein in bank pay, particularly by limiting bonus payments to financiers, on the grounds that a rampant bonus culture encouraged excessive risk-taking.

Earlier this year, MEPs and ministers agreed to cap bankers' bonuses to the equivalent of their salary. Payments worth up to two times salary will also be permitted but only on the basis of a vote by shareholders.

The rules are set to be introduced next year and will apply to over 8,000 banks across the EU.

However, they are currently subject to a legal challenge launched by the UK government in September.

The UK, which was alone in opposing the rules, has argued that limits on pay would do nothing to make the financial sector safer and would encourage banks to increase basic salaries.

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