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Goldman tops UK banker pay with US$4.7m awarded for 2013

[LONDON] Goldman Sachs paid its top 121 London bankers about 3 million pounds (US$4.7 million) on average last year, far exceeding payouts at other leading banks, data released on Tuesday showed.

The US investment bank's data showed that it paid staff in senior or risk-taking positions US$193.6 million in 2013 and gave them 2.1 million restricted stock units (RSUs), worth US$377 million based on the bank's share price at the end of that year.

The RSUs are due to be paid out over three years, but they may not be paid in full and can be clawed back at a later date.

The remuneration figures mean that Goldman was easily the highest paying of 13 leading U.S., British, Swiss and Japanese banks in 2013.

Data compiled by Reuters from the 13 banks showed 2,600 employees at British banks or working in London were paid more than 3.4 billion pounds in 2013, or an average of 1.3 million pounds each. That is almost 50 times average annual pay in Britain.

The details are the most comprehensive released on bankers'pay in Britain, which remains a hot topic after large bonuses were blamed for encouraging risk-taking and contributing to the financial crisis. Many shareholders have also voiced criticism, saying that pay needs to come down to improve profitability.

The 2013 pay disclosures cover British banks globally and overseas banks' British-based staff. EU banks outside Britain do not need to disclose the details.

Most banks released the details earlier this year, but Goldman, Citigroup and Credit Suisse all reported in the past week, just before the year-end deadline.

The data showed that Goldman and Bank of America face the most work to restructure pay to meet new EU rules that came into effect at the start of 2014 and cap bonuses at 200 per cent of fixed pay.

Both banks paid senior staff more than five times more in variable pay than fixed pay in 2013.