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Sunday 11 December 2016

40 bankers in Ireland rake in €1m a year each

We need Euro area recovery for real growth; European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo: Bloomberg
We need Euro area recovery for real growth; European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo: Bloomberg

Two bankers working in Ireland were paid between €2m and €3m each in 2013, the European banking watchdog said yesterday.

Forty bankers working here earned €1m or more in the same period. The data shows that despite a notional banking cap,  Ireland has more high-earning bankers than countries such as the Netherlands (32) and Denmark (32) and significantly more big earners than Finland (2) and Portugal (7).

A €500,000-a-year pay cap is in force for most staff at Irish banks including AIB and Bank of Ireland that were bailed out by taxpayers. However, it does not apply at lenders such as Ulster Bank and Investec or at financial houses based in the IFSC or at the Irish arms of global banks.

Decline

Across the European Union,  the number of bankers earning €1m a year or more in pay and bonuses is in decline, and was down even before the impact of a wider limit on bonus payments that came into force last year, according to data from the European Banking Authority (EBA).

But the picture shifts dramatically from country to country.

The UK is home to two-thirds of the EU’s best-paid bankers, accounting for 2,086 of the 3,178 bankers in the EU on at least a million euro a year.

That compares to about 400 salaries of a million a year in Germany.

The EBA said its next set of figures for 2014, due to be published at the end of this year, will show a drop in the average ratio of bonuses to fixed pay, highlighting the “full impact” of the bloc’s new bonus cap.

Banks have faced curbs on how they pay executives since the 2008 crash, when dozens of EU lenders had to be rescued by taxpayers, sparking public anger.

The EU-wide salary cap, which will affect bonuses awarded from last year, limits a bonus to no more than basic pay or twice that amount with shareholder approval.

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