City of London bankers paid an average of £1.3m, data shows

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City bankers were paid an average of £1.3m last year, taking home pay packages worth almost 50 times the average wage in the UK.

High-fliers at Goldman Sachs topped the pay league with 121 of its London-based bankers earning £3m on average, almost double the next highest-paying bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The statistics compiled by Reuters shed light on City pay practices as trade unions warn that workers will have to wait until 2024 to make up the loss in their wages since the 2008 crisis.

Frances O’Grady, head of the TUC, said: “Risk-taking banks caused the global crash, yet while pay for the many has fallen every year since 2008 top bankers are still raking it in. It’s time their pay came out of the stratosphere and back to planet Earth. Let us make 2015 the year in which employees get a voice on remuneration committees.”

Information on City pay has become available since the bailout of the banking sector which prompted the European Union to demand information about bonuses and salaries of “code staff” – those deemed to be taking and managing risks. The most recent data compiled from 13 employers is for 2013 and does not include the period since these code staff have been subjected to the EU cap on bonuses, which restricts payouts to one times salary or twice if shareholders approve.

The calculations by Reuters show the discrepancies in pay among the 13 banks included in its survey. The £3m average of Goldman Sachs’ top staff compares with £600,000 at Royal Bank of Scotland – 79%-owned by taxpayers – and £1.4m at Barclays.

The first year that information about pay was required was 2010, when Goldman Sachs’ average was £4m before it dipped to £1.8m and then started to rise again.

The EU bonus cap, introduced at the start of 2014, have resulted in banks devising controversial allowances which are handed out alongside pay and bonuses to prevent their top bankers losing out. In 2014, the UK’s four high street banks handed out £30m in shares to a dozen or so of their top bankers – but it is not yet clear how Wall Street players have altered the pay of their London-based staff. Ross McEwan, the boss of RBS,was the one UK bank boss not to take an allowance last year although he will take an allowance of £1m in shares for 2015.

There may be further changes to pay deals for bankers in 2015 as the European Banking Authority – the pan-EU banking regulator – has concluded that allowances breach the bonus cap. The Bank of England is opposed to the cap on bonuses and has so far agreed to the payouts of allowances, although governor Mark Carney has raised the idea that salaries could be docked as a punishment for misconduct.

Powered by article was written by Jill Treanor, for The Guardian on Wednesday 31st December 2014 12.34 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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