EU watchdog to toughen up banking remuneration guidance

LONDON, June 13 Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:00am EDT

LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) - The European Union's banking watchdog will toughen up its guidelines on bankers' pay after a study uncovered wide variations in how lenders apply the rules across the 28-country bloc.

The European Banking Authority said in a review of pay from 2010 to 2012 that bankers are getting more remuneration in the form of basic salaries than bonuses, with many busting the cap on bonuses that will apply to payouts from early 2015.

Top banking staff in 2012 received on average 187,441 euros ($255,200) in bonuses and 172,379 euros in base pay, making a total of 359,820 euros, the review published on Friday said.

This represents a 31 percent rise in base salary and a similarly sized fall in bonuses, resulting in an overall drop in average total pay of 10 percent since 2010, the EBA said.

The EBA said its review showed that pay practices varied too widely among banks in the proportion of a bonus that was deferred and the number of bankers subject to the curbs.

Only 54 percent of high earners, those paid over a million euros a year, are categorised as high earners, meaning many bankers are escaping the pay restrictions.

Britain has more top earners than all the other EU states combined to skew the figures. It has 2,714 earning over a million euros, but just under half are identified as coming under EBA rules, whereas in other EU states nearly all top earners are properly identified. (Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Chris Vellacott)

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