More than 3,500 UK bankers paid € 1m a year, says EU report

More than 3,500 bankers in the UK are paid more than €1m (£850,000) a year, according to pay and bonus details published by the European Banking Authority.

The EBA’s latest report on high earners shows 3,567 UK-based bankers collected more than €1m in 2017. Their average pay, skewed by huge payouts at the top, was €2m, and together they took home nearly €10bn.

Thirty bankers were paid more than €10m each. One asset manager collected €40.9m, of which their bonus alone was €38.3m.

That works out as 1,220 times the median average salary of a full-time worker in the UK, or more than 2,000 times the amount paid to a newly qualified nurse. No individuals are named in the report.

Among the highest-paid bankers over recent years has been Richard Woolnough, a fund manager who heads M&G Prudential’s Optimal Income fund, in which millions of people’s pension savings are invested.

Woolnough earned £17.5m in 2013 and £15.3m in 2014. In 2016 and 2017 the highest-paid Prudential employee was not named, but they earned £9.3m and £11.8m respectively – millions more than the company’s chief executive.

Prudential is due to publish its annual report later this month, which will reveal Woolnough’s 2018 pay.

The UK was home to 73% of all millionaire bankers across Europe, according to the pay data, which the European parliament forced banks to make public after the financial crisis.

Across Europe, 4,859 bankers were paid more than €1m in 2017, an 42% increase on 2010.

The highest-paid bank chief executive in the UK was António Horta-Osório, the chief executive of Lloyds, who was awarded an 11% increase to £6.42m. John Flint, the chief executive of HSBC, was paid £4.6m.

The number of €1m-plus bankers in the UK increased by 38 from 3,529 a year earlier, despite warnings from politicians and global bank bosses that Brexit would lead to many highly paid roles moving to Europe.

There are nine times more millionaire bankers in the UK than in Germany, and 15 times more than in France. Frankfurt and Paris are vying to replace London as Europe’s financial capital after Brexit. The highest-paid bankers in Germany and France took home €8.7m and €11.5m respectively.

Luke Hildyard, the director of the High Pay Centre, called for reform of the banking industry. “Much of the revenue used to pay these rather vulgar sums of money comes from leaching wealth off the real economy rather than creating it,” he said. “There is a great deal of reform needed to create a socially useful banking industry, and better governance of pay-setting processes should be part of it.”

David Solomon, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, has said a hard or messy Brexit would “have an impact on where we invest and where we put people”.

The US investment bank employs about 6,000 people in the UK and has said as many as 700 could be relocated in the event of a no-deal departure. It is understood about 150 have moved to other offices in the EU so far, most of them EU nationals.

Accountants at EY have estimated 7,000 jobs could be lost by London to the EU “in the near future”.

The financial services sector employed 1.1 million people in the UK in 2017, and contributed £119bn to the UK economy, or 6.5% of total economic output, according to government figures.