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Base Pay for 9 of 10 U.K. Investment Bankers Frozen, Study Says

Fixed pay for nine out of ten investment-banking jobs in the U.K. has been frozen over the past year as financial job opportunities continue to shrink, according to recruitment firm Astbury Marsden.

Approximately 92 percent of investment banking jobs didn’t see an increase in their base salaries for the year to March 31, the recruiter said in a statement today. Demand for staff in compliance and risk will improve as banks deal with increased regulatory pressures, London-based Astbury Marsden said.

“Institutions have not been implementing formal pay freezes as part of their human-resources strategy, but that has been the effect,” Mark Cameron, chief operating officer at Astbury Marsden, said in the statement. “Even after a good round of results from the banks, profitability is still seen as too low to justify big headcount expansions at any of the biggest investment banks.”

Financial firms have been under pressure from regulators and governments to cut pay due to public anger about taxpayer assistance to banks, including the U.K.’s Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc. (LLOY) RBS (RBS) Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester this year waived his 963,000-pound ($1.52 million) bonus after the U.K.’s opposition Labour Party said it would ask Parliament to vote on the award.

The Centre for Economics & Business Research said this month that jobs in the capital’s financial districts, the City and Canary Wharf, may fall to a revised estimate of 255,000 in 2012 compared with 288,000 predicted six months ago. That would be the lowest number since the first quarter of 1996, the CEBR said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ambereen Choudhury in London at achoudhury@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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