Banking after Brexit: Which European city could knock London off the map?

New research shows that for bankers, European cities all trail behind London when it comes to pay, but Frankfurt, Paris and Milan may be more attractive post-Brexit.

London has been a global financial hub for centuries, but will economic uncertainty and currency fluctuations post-Brexit challenge the city’s position? New research shows that for bankers, European cities all trail behind London when it comes to pay, but Frankfurt may offer an attractive work environment.

Emolument analysed 4,475 salaries and bonuses from front-office bankers working in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Milan to find out how post-Brexit re-location could impact compensation. It also surveyed 1,065 bankers working in these cities to know how they feel about their workplace.

Brexit means lower pay 

London surpasses other cities for front office remuneration, but if London banks were to move their workforce to other European cities, average compensation packages would decrease. From Analyst to MD, London offers the highest salaries and bonuses in the market.

Different countries have different remuneration structures, which could skew these figures. In Paris, bonuses can account for as much as 49 per cent of a banker’s total compensation. For example, MDs earn bonuses of £153,000 out of £312,000 total compensation. Frankfurt however pays lower bonuses; twice as low as Paris for VPs at £31,000; but higher base salaries (£108,000 in Frankfurt versus £90,000 in Paris for VPs.

For Analysts and Associates, Frankfurt provides the highest compensation levels (£67,000 for Analysts and £89,000 for Associates), except for London. When it comes to senior bankers though, Paris is more attractive (at VP, Director and MD level).

Job title London Paris Frankfurt Milan
Salary Bonus Salary Bonus Salary Bonus Salary Bonus
Analyst £57,000 £9,600 £48,000 £7,400 £56,000 £9,000 £30,000 £5,400
Associate £79,000 £30,000 £57,000 £24,000 £70,000 £19,000 £41,000 £11,000
VP £117,000 £57,000 £90,000 £64,000 £108,000 £31,000 £85,000 £38,000
Director £170,000 £110,000 £109,000 £81,000 £135,000 £40,000 £112,000 £48,000
MD £250,000 £228,000 £159,000 £153,000 £190,000 £108,000 £180,000 £153,000

It’s not all about the paycheque

According to the survey, bankers across the board voted Frankfurt as the city with the best work-life balance, and Paris as the worst. However, the same respondents voted Frankfurt companies as the being the least open minded, while London has the most open minded companies.

In terms of a close correlation between pay and performance, Frankfurt was voted best, while Milan was voted worst. In the Italian city’s defence, Milan was voted for having the most engaged employees, while Paris lagged behind all of the surveyed cities in this regard.

“All pervasive in banking is the belief that pay is not linked to performance. Opacity when it comes to bonus payments has created intense mistrust of reward processes, which is why Emolument believes in pay transparency: employees should not only know where they stand in terms of compensation, but also have better feedback to explain the correlation between their pay and performance,” says Alice Leguay, co-Founder and CMO at Emolument. “As regards moving away from London to other EU capitals, while pay may be lower, pain points such as schooling and generally higher quality of life should compensate bankers transferring to the continent.”

Question London Paris Frankfurt Milan
Do you have a good work-life balance? 61% 59% 70% 67%
Do you think your company’s culture is open-minded? 49% 33% 31% 33%
Does your performance impact your pay significantly? 26% 29% 31% 0%
Would you give your 110% for your company? 49% 47% 57% 75%


Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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