The UK has Europe's highest proportion of bankers who take home a pay packet of €1m (£730,000) or more, according to new figures from the European Banking Authority (EBA).
The number of bankers earning this sum as a combination of salary and bonuses in the UK was 2,086 in 2013. The next highest was Germany, where 397 individuals earned this much – a fraction of the UK's figure.
It was not just in 2013 that this was the case, either – the UK consistently came way in the lead for generous salaries in 2011 and 2012, too. In all cases, this meant the proportion of “high earners” relative to lower-earning employees far exceeded any other country.
That said, the overall number of bankers taking home €1m or more across Europe is declining, with the total EU figure falling from 3,530 in 2012 to 3,178 to 2013.
According to the EBA, the fall reflected “a number of factors, including movements in the exchange rate between the euro and the pound sterling”.
It also blamed profitability: “Overall in 2013 profitability was significantly reduced in many institutions compared with 2012. Consequently the average net profit per staff member was reduced in 2013.”
The EBA's figures come from before tough new regulatory rules were imposed on bankers at the start of this year. Designed to crack down on bad banker behaviour, they cap an individual's annual bonus at twice the value of their salary.