Brexit exodus helps drive record number in EU banks paid €1m-plus

Data shows UK banks losing well-paid staff, as Italy, France and Spain make up 70% of rise in EU top earners

A record 1,957 bankers across Europe earned more than €1m (£878,000) last year, according to data that shows the scale at which some of the best-paid jobs in Britain have moved from London to the EU since Brexit.

The European Banking Authority disclosed on Thursday that the number of bankers earning €1m or more a year had increased by more than 40%, from 1,383 in 2020 to 1,957 in 2021. Excluding UK figures, it is the highest number of €1m-plus European bankers since the EBA began collecting the data in 2010.

The figures no longer include the UK, which left the EU after Brexit in 2020. Before it was excluded from the data, the UK had consistently led the bankers’ pay rankings. In 2017, 3,567 UK-based bankers collected more than €1m.

The EBA said the increase in the number of €1m-plus European bankers had been caused by booming investment banking profits as well as “further relocations from staff after Brexit from the UK to the EU and also as overall salary levels increased”.

The regulator said 70% of the increase in high earners was in banks operating in Italy, France and Spain.

The single highest paid banker earned €14m-15m in Spain. The EBA did not identity the person, but said that “a significant amount of variable remuneration corresponds to one severance payment”. Their pay works out at least 466 times the average salary in Spain.

Three more bankers – one each from Germany, Spain and France – were paid €13m-14m.

Most of the €1m-plus bankers lived in Germany, which has a big financial hub in Frankfurt, making up 589 (30%) of the high earners in the report. France took second place with 371 (19%), followed by Italy with 351 (18%).

The average value of the bankers’ bonuses worked out at just over 100% of their fixed pay, an increase from 86.4% the previous year.

The regulator said the jump in bonuses had been boosted by “the good financial performance of the institutions” as well as “the relief of relevant Covid-19 restrictions and in the continuation of relocation of staff to the EU activities in the context of Brexit”.

The EBA’s data was collected in August 2022, as most bonuses were awarded between April and June.

Luke Hildyard, the director of the High Pay Centre, a thinktank that campaigns for fairer pay for workers, said: “In an era of widespread hardship and falling living standards, these figures demonstrate that the supersized incomes of the ultra rich do very little to benefit the rest of us. The creation of more millionaire bankers is a sign of economic failure – it shows the global economy is badly structured, with far too much of the wealth that is created by everyone captured by a tiny number of corporations and ultra-rich individuals.”

More than 7,000 finance jobs have moved from London to the EU as a result of Brexit, according to a report by consultants at EY last year. They said Paris scored highest in terms of attracting jobs from London, totalling 2,800, followed by Frankfurt at about 1,800 and Dublin with 1,200.

EY said new local hires linked to Brexit totalled 2,900 across Europe, and 2,500 in Britain, where just over 1 million people work in the financial services sector.

The transfer of assets from London to EU hubs is about £1.3tn, EY said. It added that Brexit staff moves were part of a broader view of strategic business drivers and operating models.


Rupert Neate Wealth correspondent

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Over 800 UK bankers paid €1m or more by US banks in 2014
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan disclose payments to comply with EU rules

Jill Treanor

31, Dec, 2015 @5:48 PM

Article image
Brexit leaves London-based banks facing 'nightmarish' choices
Loss of London’s euro-clearing rights would mean business being transferred to Frankfurt or Paris, says Japanese ambassador

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

11, Nov, 2016 @7:32 AM

Article image
Banks and companies plan expansion in Frankfurt after Brexit
US investment bank Morgan Stanley is latest to choose city as it vies to become EU’s principle financial centre and win back jobs lost in banking crisis

Jennifer Rankin in Brussels

21, Jul, 2017 @5:53 PM

Article image
France steps up effort to woo London banks planning Brexit move
Government aims to make Paris more attractive with lower taxes, lighter regulation and new international schools

Rob Davies

07, Jul, 2017 @2:05 PM

Article image
EasyJet looks to over-45s in cabin crew recruitment drive
Airline launches campaign targeting ‘empty nesters’ or people looking for challenge later in life

Joe Middleton

24, Nov, 2022 @12:01 AM

Article image
City banks could move at least 9,000 jobs from UK due to Brexit
Reuters research finds Frankfurt and Dublin are biggest likely winners as financial firms plan for Britain’s exit from EU

Jill Treanor

08, May, 2017 @4:41 PM

Article image
NatWest accused of ‘unjust’ profiteering after CEO paid £5.2m
Alison Rose becomes group’s second-highest-paid boss as bank reports largest profits since 2007

Kalyeena Makortoff Banking correspondent

17, Feb, 2023 @3:37 PM

Article image
UK plans to relax ringfencing rules on banks to spark Brexit ‘big bang’
Largest banks would still be ringfenced, while smaller lenders might not need to follow rules

Joanna Partridge and Kalyeena Makortoff

30, Nov, 2022 @9:40 AM

Article image
UK banks asked to draw up plans to show they are prepared for Brexit
Bank of England says City institutions need to reassure regulators that they are ready for a range of possible outcomes

Julia Kollewe

27, Mar, 2017 @11:57 AM

Article image
Ireland says dozen City firms and banks to set up in Dublin over Brexit
Authorities say institutions including ‘an American bank’ have agreed to move some operations from London to Irish capital

Lisa O'Carroll Brexit correspondent

29, Jun, 2017 @5:09 PM