UK bankers earn more than Swiss counterparts

Senior bankers still typically earn twice as much after tax in London than in rival financial centres Geneva and Zurich, according to research by financial recruitment specialist Selby Jennings.

This is despite the new 50% tax rate for workers earning more than £150,000 per annum which came into force this April.

For mid-level investment banking roles, such as quantitative analysts and junior traders, bankers will still earn between 15-25% more in London than in Geneva or Zurich after tax.

The findings suggest fewer London-based bankers may be likely to decamp to Geneva or Zurich due to UK tax rises than had been feared.

Adam Buck, managing director at Selby Jennings, said: “Geneva and Zurich are relatively small financial centres compared to London. In reality, there are relatively few senior banking roles in Switzerland paying over £150,000. London and New York are the only markets large enough to offer those roles in any significant quantity.

“Bankers earning enough to be caught by the 50p tax rate will find far fewer job opportunities in Switzerland compared to London. It is a very competitive jobs market with employers having a large number of good candidates to choose from. If anything an influx of candidates will hold back pay growth in Geneva and allow London to pull further ahead.”

In addition, calculations by accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy showed some of the highest-paid British bankers will pay 48.7% of their entire income in tax and national insurance this year. 

In comparison, the highest-paid bankers in Geneva will pay marginally less of their income in tax (41%), according to calculations by Swiss accountancy firm, Revitrag Treuhand.

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