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A Fifth of Bankers in Europe Received Allowances, Emolument Says

Almost a fifth of bankers surveyed in Europe received an additional payment ahead of plans by regulators to limit bonuses in the region, according to compensation data provider Emolument.

Out of 190 directors and managing directors questioned, 36 got such an award during the 2014 bonus season, Emolument said. More than half of those that received payments were based in London, with the rest in Zurich, Paris and Frankfurt. The allowances were a small proportion of base pay, Emolument said.

European regulators are preparing to outlaw bonuses that are more than twice fixed pay to prevent a repeat of the risk-taking that helped spark the 2008 global financial crisis. Banks are looking for ways to sidestep the stricter European Union bonus rules on compensation, which will apply to awards given in 2015, based on this year’s performance.

“London banks are changing the way they reward their staff and have taken the first steps ahead of their European peers to change the profile of pay,” said Robert Benson, chief executive officer of London-based Emolument. “This is particularly the case for so called ‘code’ staff, that is those with significant responsibilities.”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is planning to increase fixed pay for some senior employees and traders in Europe, a person with knowledge of the plan said last month. The bank plans to make role-based payments to some senior bankers and traders in addition to their annual salaries and bonuses, the person said.

Britain was home to 2,188 investment bankers earning more than 1 million euros in 2012, the most in the EU, while Spain had 37, according to the London-based European Banking Authority. France and Germany had 117 and 100 respectively.

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