Britain hosts three times as many high-earning financiers as the rest of the European Union combined, figures have revealed.
The City has 3,529 bankers, asset managers and other financial services executives who pocket more than €1million euros a year, or £870,000 – accounting for 77 per cent of the total in the bloc.
It puts Britain far ahead of closest financial services rival Germany, which has just 253 high earners in the industry.
The figures, from the European Banking Authority (EBA), also show that the continent’s top earner was an unnamed UK asset manager who pocketed £28.9million.
A London-based finance executive was in second place with £22million.
The figures are likely to trigger a fresh debate on corporate excess – but they also undermine claims that Britain could be replaced by Paris or Frankfurt as Europe’s financial hub.
Experts said they highlight London’s global importance and suggest that Continental rivals are being left far behind.
Pro-Brexit economist Gerard Lyons added that the City’s ability to attract top talent relies on a competitive tax system.
He argued a Brussels-backed cap on banking bonuses, coupled with the eurozone’s more hostile attitude to free markets, is likely to prevent a mass exodus from the UK.
Lyons said: ‘These figures are consistent with other indicators that confirm London leads the way in terms of highly skilled, high-paying jobs across Western Europe.
‘This reinforces the need for the UK, and London in particular, to remain competitive.’ The EBA figures cover 2016, the year of Brexit, and shows there were 604 fewer staff earning €1million or more in the UK than there had been in 2015.
This is not because workers moved abroad but because the figure is measured in euros, and the pound’s fall after the Brexit vote meant that many workers dropped out of the income range measured because their salaries in sterling were worth less when converted.
The average pay-out for UK workers in the category was £1.8million, ahead of Germany and France where they typically took home £1.4million.
It is the latest sign of London’s dominance as foreign rivals’ hopes of stealing the City’s crown fade. During the Brexit campaign, Remainers warned that as many as 75,000 jobs could shift overseas if we quit the EU.
But major players including Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are planning to move to new City headquarters.
The EBA statistics also revealed a total of 145 high earners across the EU were handed severance deals worth an average £1.2million.
■ Former Deutsche Bank boss John Cryan is in line for a £7.7million pay-off – including a £1.7million pension pot and two years’ salary worth £6million – after being forced out of the bank.