Aussies earning big in London

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Forget the piles of money in Sydney and Melbourne, there are plenty of Australian bankers earning mountains in London.

The huge amounts on offer in the Old Dart were illustrated by the recent case of an Aussie banker living in the UK, who claimed his employer (Dresdner Kleinwort) sacked him because he was "not German enough".

Teutonic or not, the executive is no doubt hopping mad because his annual salary of 2.2m (AU$5.1m) has gone up in smoke.

Research suggests he's not alone in earning postal-code payouts. Last year, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said bonuses totalling 8.8bn were paid out to bankers in London, and leading traders were rumoured to collect 10m.

Sounds good? If you want to make the move, it may not be necessary to wait for your existing employer to extend an invitation. Recruiter Dudley Levell, director of Finrecruit, says it's easier to move to London "off your own bat" than it is to emigrate to Wall Street or Hong Kong (where you might need to go with the firm you already work for).

Whether now's the best time to tout your services on the other side of the world is another question, however. The CEBR's most recent pronouncements on the subject of London bonuses entailed a 10% to 25% drop on the levels of 2006. And as the derivatives capital of the world, the City of London is also liable to suffer more acutely than, say Sydney, from the repercussions of the sub-prime crisis on structured credit products.