28 bankers in Ireland paid over €1m a year

General view of One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, London, which houses the offices of the European Banking Authority.

Some 28 bankers in Ireland earn over €1m, according to regulator European Banking Authority.

The regulator found that almost 5,000 bankers across the EU earned over €1m in 2017, including bonuses.

The numbers of top earners in the EU are up from almost 4,600 bankers in 2016 and have climbed from 3,177 at the depth of the financial crisis, in 2011.

A few member states accounted for the rise in top earners but the numbers fell in Ireland, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg, as well as Latvia, Romania, and Sweden, according to the EBA.

Germany had 390 in 2017, Italy 201, France 233, and Spain 161.

Almost three-quarters of all the top earners live in Britain because of the types of high-earning bonuses that come with investment and corporate banking in the City of London.

The EBA has surveyed bankers’ pay after an EU directive capped the amount lenders could pay out in bonuses following the bailout of European banks during the financial crisis.

The regulator said 87% of top earners have jobs which expose the bank and are signalled out as “identified staff”.

It said:

For staff earning €1m or more, such exclusions can be approved only in exceptional circumstances, with the condition that institutions have demonstrated that such staff members have, in fact, no material impact on the risk profile of the institution.

“The EBA will ensure that there is a consistent application of such exclusions, which need to be justified based on the individual case.”

The EBA said the average ratio between variable and fixed pay for the high earners continues to fall, down from 104% in 2016 to around 101% in 2017 as the cap bites. It was 123% in 2014 and 118% in 2015.

Many big London-based banks have since opened new hubs elsewhere in the EU in preparation for business after Brexit.

Britain had opposed the introduction of the bonus cap, saying it would prompt banks to blunt its impact by raising basic pay, making it harder for lenders to cut costs in a market downturn.

The Irish top earners include bankers based here working for international lenders. The issue of pay for bankers sparked into life when Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe last year voted down plans by AIB for an incentive shares scheme.

EU financial rules have been embedded into UK law as part of Britain’s preparations for Brexit on March 29.

Additional reporting from Reuters.

Join the conversation - comment here

House Rules for comments - FAQ - Important message for commenters


Most Read in Business