Accounts have just been released for Merrill Lynch International - the London-based arm of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. They suggest that it pays very well indeed.
In the year ending December 31st 2015, Merrill Lynch International paid its 1,789 London staff a total of $1,176m, or an average of $675k (£473k) per person. - Considerably more than the average $399k per head on offer at Goldman Sachs International in London over the same period.
Moreover, while Goldman Sachs International cut pay per head in London last year, compensation per head at Merrill Lynch International was held stable. The bank paid $676k in 2014, and $675k one year later.
The highest paid director at Merrill Lynch International did, however, take a pay cut in 2015. In 2014, the highest paid person at the bank in London got $8.9m, last year, the highest paid person got $7.5m. This came despite a 108% increase in profit before tax at the bank over the same period. After tax, profit rose by 200% last year. Given the fervent atmosphere surrounding taxation in the UK, it's worth noting that Merrill Lynch International paid $139m in taxes in 2015.
Why does BAML pay its London staff so much more than Goldman Sachs? - It might have something to do with the composition of London headcount. Last year, 577 of the bank's 1,789 London staff were in support roles. At Goldman Sachs International, 2,755 of the bank's 6,149 London employees are in support roles. Support staff therefore constitute 45% of the total and Goldman and 32% of the total at Merrill Lynch International. - And support staff are paid less.