The row over bankers' pay has been reignited by data showing that more than 2,400 bankers in the City were paid in excess of €1m (£870,000) in 2011.
More bankers in the UK were paid over €1m than in any other nation in the European Union, where a total of 3,175 met the regulatory description of "high earners". According to the European Banking Authority, the pan-EU regulator, 2,436 of these were in the UK.
The next largest total was in Germany where 170 received €1m or more for 2011 and in France it was 162. In eight countries in the EU, no bankers received more than €1m.
The information about these so-called high earners is now available to regulators following the introduction of remuneration codes in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The now defunct City regulator, the Financial Services Authority, first began to shed light on pay scales in the City in 2010 when it published data showing that 2,800 bankers received more than £1m in 2009, the first year after the banking crisis.
The data published by the EBA is not directly comparable to that initial report as the pan-European regulator compiles data in terms of euros. Even so, it highlights the pay deals on offer in banking and after its inaugural publication on Monday will now become an annual event as regulators attempt to analyse the way pay deals are structured.
It is being published as the EBA prepares to implement a proposal by Brussels to limit the bonuses of individuals earning more than €500,000 to one times their salary, or twice with the approval of shareholders. The new data shows that over three times more was paid out in bonuses than in fixed salaries in the City, which would appear to breach the bonus cap which is being introduced from next year.
The numbers of high earners is lower than it was in 2010 when 3,435 across the EU received at least €1m – 2,525 of those in the UK.
The UK total is inflated because it includes those employed by the UK-arms of EU banks which have a presence in the City because of its role as a major international financial centre, as well as those employed by domestic banks.
Almost three-quarters of the 2,436 who received more than €1m in 2011 are classified as working in investment banking – some 1,809 – while 85 work in retail banking, 182 in asset management and 360 in other business areas.
The average pay for those earning more than €1m in the UK in 2011 is calculated by the EBA as €1.4m, while the highest average is in Spain where the 125 being paid more than €1m received an average of €2.4m.
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