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Brexit lifts number of million-euro-a-year bankers in EU, watchdog says

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - More Brexit-related relocations from London and rise in trading increased the number of bankers earning more than a million euros a year in the European Union by more than 40% in 2021, the bloc's banking watchdog said on Thursday.

The European Banking Authority (EBA) said the number of bankers earning over a million euros ($1.08 million) rose to 1,957 in 2021 from 1,383 in 2020, up 41.5% to reach the highest level since the watchdog began collecting such data in 2010.

Over 70% of the increase is attributed to bankers in Italy, France and Spain, with the impact of inflation lifting earnings also playing a role, EBA said.

Ahead of Britain's departure from the EU, many banks that had used London as a base for serving the bloc had to open new units in EU states, such as Germany, France and Ireland, or expand existing ones to avoid disruption to customer services.

"This increase is linked to the overall good performance of institutions, in particular in the area of investment banking and trading and sales, continuing relocations of staff from the UK to the EU and a general increase in salaries," EBA said in a statement.

The European Central Bank has been putting pressure on these units to be sufficiently staffed.

Germany still has most top earning bankers, with 589, followed by France with 371 and Italy 351.

Most high earners - 1,516 - received remuneration within the payment bracket from 1 million to 2 million euros, with the highest payment bracket ranging from 14 million to 15 million euros, EBA said.

($1 = 0.9245 euros)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)