EU: More UK bankers paid above 1m euros

City workers cross London Bridge 2,346 bankers in the UK earned more than 1mn euros in 2011

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More British bankers earned more than one million euros (£860,000) each in 2011 than the rest of the European Union (EU) put together, according to the European Banking Authority (EBA).

Figures from the EU's banking regulator showed 2,346 bankers earned more than 1m euros in the UK, compared with 739 in the rest of the EU.

In Germany, Europe's second-largest economy, there were just 170.

The figures illustrate why Britain opposed EU plans for a bonus cap.

It was outvoted by countries that believe it will prevent bankers taking the kind of risks that led to the financial crisis. Under the plans, a senior banker's bonus will be limited to 100% of salary, or 200% with shareholder approval.

"The data show what has been feared for some time," said Nicholas Stretch, of law firm CMS Cameron McKenna.

"Because London has a very large number of people with variable high pay, the forthcoming bonus capping rules... will have a particular impact on our financial services industry and lead to extensive changes in how remuneration is provided."

But the BBC's business editor Robert Peston points out that many of the bankers in the UK - probably more than half - are not actually British.

Our correspondent also points out that pay in 2011 was down from the previous year. The average pay was £1.3 million pounds in 2011 compared to £2.5 million in 2010.

"There's one other point that may make people angry," Mr Peston says, "the EBA gathered this data because it wanted to justify its limit on bonuses...but bankers tell me this limit is encouraging banks to push up the fixed salaries that bankers are receiving."

Interestingly, Spain, where the banking industry had to be bailed out by the EU in 2012, had the highest average pay of any EU country in 2011. Senior bankers there earned 2.44 million euros - but that figure represents the pay of just 124 individuals.

In Greece, just two bankers earned more than one million euros as the country was negotiating its bailout.

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