The European Banking Authority has produced figures that show Britain has 12 times as many bankers earning over €1m (£856,000) than any other country in Europe.
More than 3,500 bankers in Europe earned €1m or more last year, up 11 per cent from 2011. Britain accounted for 2,714 of the figure with the next highest, Germany trailing with 212. 2,188 of Britain's highest paid bankers worked in investment banking, 62 in retail banking, 198 in asset management and 266 in other areas.
The findings show that many in Britain's financial services industry would be in breach of the European Union's proposed cap on banker bonuses, with bonuses accounting for close to four times fixed pay. As many as 10,000 bankers in London may be affected by the cap.
The growth of banking salaries in the UK has led to a bolstering of treasury coffers with the top one per cent of earners in the UK paying close to 30 per cent of all income tax, despite earning only 10 per cent of national income.
Public outrage over high pay and inequality has been simmering ever since the financial crash of 2008, with lawmakers and pundits attributing some of the cause of the crisis to reckless risk taking in the pursuit of bonuses.
The cap has been strongly opposed by both the banking industry and the government, with some banks taking preemptive action to mitigate the effects of the regulation.
Barclays bank recently told staff that it would be topping up salaries to replace the losses incurred by the bonus cap. In an email to staff seen by City A.M., Eric Bommensath told employees “The introduction of Role Based Pay allows Barclays both to comply with the legislation and offer market competitive compensation to employees.”