US Bankers' Pay Is World's Highest—by Far

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2009 4:33 PM CDT
US Bankers' Pay Is World's Highest—by Far
The 10 highest-paid CEOs for 2008 at Standard & Poor's 500 companies based on calculations by The Associated Press are shown in this photo combo.   (AP Photo)

US bank CEOs are paid drastically more than their counterparts around the world. The CEO of Commercial Bank of China, the largest bank in the world, brings home just $234,700 a year—or roughly 2% of JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon’s $19.6 million haul. The US has only four of the world’s 20 biggest banks, but all four are among the top six in CEO compensation, says a Reuters analysis.

Outside of China, all of the CEOs made more than $1 million, but still well below US levels. The highest paid non-American was Banco Santander SA’s Alfredo Saenz at $13.66 million, and pay fell swiftly from there. “US executive pay levels have always dwarfed pay for companies elsewhere,” says one Wall Street critic. Yet “somehow they manage to find people who can run major global firms while making a fraction of what” the Americans make. (More executive compensation stories.)

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