High earners in Europe’s finance industry leap by a third

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A UK-based asset manager earned a €34m bonus compared with a base salary of €199,000, new official statistics show.

The anonymous data show that the number of high earners across the European Union’s financial institutions leapt in 2015 compared with a year earlier, increasing by 33 per cent.

The European Banking Authority, which collated the data published on Thursday, attributed the rise to the weak euro against the pound at the time. The vast majority of those earning more than €1m were based in the UK, which accounted for 4,133 of the 5,142 high earners across the EU.

Since the UK’s Brexit referendum last June sterling’s strength against the euro has been battered.

An EU law limiting capping bonuses at 100 per cent of salary — or 200 per cent with special shareholder approval — took effect in 2014. This is the first data set to be released since the bonus cap has been in place.

The average ratio of bonuses to fixed income rose, despite the ban, from 127 per cent to 147 per cent, according to the EBA.

However, it was largely the asset-management sector that skewed the statistics: its ratio of bonus to fixed pay was as high as 468 per cent, the EBA said. The UK was among member states that declined to extend the bonus cap to asset managers and other smaller institutions beyond banking.

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