PAY at the world’s biggest banks rose last year, with 35 of them spending a combined €10 billion (about £8.8bn) more on staff than they did in 2011, a survey out yesterday showed.
The study by Reuters analysed the 2012 results reported by the benchmark EuroStoxx 600 index and their American counterparts, and found staff costs rose to €275bn across the group.
Two-thirds of the banks increased remuneration per person, though several of them attributed this in part to redundancy issues.
The “compensation ratio” – which measures staff expenses against revenue – was up for 18 of the 35 banks in the survey.
In a further three cases, per capita compensation went up, even though the banks actually recorded losses.
Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian MEP who has been outspoken on bankers’ pay and supported a cap on bank bonuses recently agreed by members of the European Parliament, said that the latest figures proved banks do not cut pay and bonuses when left to their own devices.
“To me, it confirms that what we are doing on the remuneration front is necessary,” said Lamberts, referring to efforts to restrict remuneration through rules on bonuses and other provisions in a European Union package of bank regulations.
However, some banks disputed the significance of the survey findings. US retail banking giant Wells Fargo said it was comfortable that average remuneration per person rose about 2 per cent last year and stands at the equivalent of €83,000, placing the bank at the middle of the compensation table.
“We support our team members as a competitive advantage and are committed to compensating them based on performance,” a Wells Fargo spokeswoman said.