Irish banker earned more than €16m in 2019

EU banking report shows 34 people in State were paid more than €1m

Irish lenders AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB cannot pay executives more than €500,000 a year. Photograph: iStock

Irish lenders AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB cannot pay executives more than €500,000 a year. Photograph: iStock

 

An unnamed Irish banker earned more than €16 million in 2019, according to figures published on Wednesday.

A European Banking Authority (EBA) report shows that 34 people working in banks in the State earned more than €1 million in 2019, an increase of seven on the previous year.

According to the figures, the highest paid Irish banker in 2019 was a manager who earned €16.2 million, comprising €9 million fixed pay with €7.2 million “variable”, that is, bonuses and other benefits.

Neither the manager nor the bank is named in the report, which is an overview of EU financial institutions’ highest-paid staff.

Almost €6.4 million of the cash earned by the individual was deferred, meaning that it was not paid in 2019, but would be at a later date.

This is a common feature of schemes that award share options to senior figures in stock market-listed companies.

The employee “earns” the share options during the year in question, but they vest, or are handed over at an agreed point in the future, often several years later, on condition that the individual continues working for the business.

EU law requires banks to collect and hand over information on all individuals working for them who earned €1 million or more every year to each member state’s regulator.

The EBA subsequently publishes the information, but names neither the staff nor their employers.

UK earnings

Three people working for Irish banks earned €4 million-€5 million in 2019, taking home a total of €13.1 million in salary and bonuses, an average of almost €4.38 million each.

One person, another manager, earned €3.65 million, while three in the €2 million-€3 million bracket received an average of €2.6 million each.

Irish lenders AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB cannot pay executives more than €500,000 a year, while bonuses are taxed at 89 per cent, as the State rescued them with taxypayers’ cash in 2010 following a financial crash.

These rules do not apply to overseas-owned banks and finance institutions operating in the Republic.

The report shows that most of the EU’s highest-earning bankers worked in the UK in 2019. More than 3,500 of them earned an average of €2 million each.

One British banker earned €64.6 million in pay and bonuses in 2019, with half this figure deferred.

The UK accounted for almost three-quarters of all high-paid bankers in the EU in 2019. However, as the report points out, it has since left the EU.

It notes that the “impact of the relocation of staff from the UK to EU 27 as part of Brexit preparations” helped boost the number of high earners in most member states.