EU bankers get leaner paychecks as bonuses fall

By BLOOMBERG

LONDON • The number of bankers in the European Union (EU) earning €1 million (RM4.65 million) or more fell in 2016 as the bloc’s cap on bonuses drove a shift toward fixed pay, according to the European Banking Authority (EBA).

The million-plus club fell to 4,597, down by 10.6% from 2015, the London-based regulator said in a report yesterday.

The EBA reports salary data in euros, and the fall was largely the result of the pound’s depreciation against the common currency in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

The vast majority of high-earning EU bankers worked in the UK that year — 3,529 of the EU total — and most were paid in pounds.

The number of million-plus earners in the UK fell by 14.6% in 2016. Stripping out the exchange-rate effect, the decline was just 2.5%, the EBA said.

The average ratio of variable to fixed pay for high earners continued to decrease to 104% in 2016 from 118% in 2015 and 127% in 2014.

Of the high-earners in 2016, 77% were in the UK, compared to 253 high earners in Germany and 205 in France.

Over the longer term, the EBA said the number of high earners increased significantly, from 3,427 in 2010 to 4,597 in 2016, with both years having nearly the same exchange rate between the euro and pound.

Of the high earners, 3,330 were paid between €1 million and €2 million, while one person received at least €33 million.