New Bank of England Head to Earn £850,000 a Year

Mark Carney

The new governor of the Bank of England will be the highest paid central banker in the world, by a significant margin.

Mark Carney is quitting his job as governor of the Bank of Canada to relocate to London, on a salary of £480,000 and pension contributions worth £144,000. On top of that, he will receive a £250,000 housing allowance, taking his total package to £874,000, far beyond the pay of the president of the US Federal Reserve, the governor of the European Central Bank and Germany's central bank chief. He will also receive free health and dental insurance and the use of a chauffeur-driven car.

Carney initially rebuffed the advances of chancellor George Osborne, only to agree when the terms were sweetened and he was allowed to take the job for five years rather than the standard eight. One commentator said: "I suspect he realised he had Osborne over a barrel."

His nearest rival in pay is the governor of the European Central Bank, who receives less than half Carney's package, although he does enjoy the use of an official residence. Mario Draghi is paid an annual salary of €371,148, plus an estimated €107,000 of allowances and contributions to medical and accident insurance schemes, bringing his pay to a total of £389,000.

Jens Weidmann, the softly spoken but fearsome president of Germany's Bundesbank, is close behind on a total of £320,450. Meanwhile, Ben Bernanke, as head of the US Federal Reserve arguably the most powerful central banker in the world, receives a relatively modest salary of $199,700 (£122,806). In terms of benefits, he is entitled to the same health and insurance benefits, pension and thrift savings plan as any other Fed employee. His salary is even lower than that of the central bank governor in crisis-hit Spain, Luis Maria Linde, who – according to 2010 figures – received the equivalent of £134,160.

Remarkably, some countries do not publish pay details for their most senior banker. France, for one, finds itself in a catch-22 position. The annual salary of the governor of the Banque de France must, according to a decree, be equal to the salary of the vice-president of France's highest administrative court, the Conseil d'Etat. But the salary of the vice president of the Conseil d'Etat is kept private, meaning Christian Noyer's pay is also a secret.

Admittedly, Carney is already on a healthy pay packet, although the Bank of Canada coyly publishes a salary range rather than an exact figure for his pay and benefits. As such, all we know is that Carney currently receives between CAN$425,300 and CAN$500,300 – a maximum of £311,000 in annual pay.

Reaction to Carney's pay packet has been muted, as commentators hold fire on the man drafted in to save the UK economy. Former Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Matthew Oakeshott said: "If he really could stop our economy sliding deeper into stagflation, he'd be worth every penny."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Josephine Moulds, for The Guardian on Thursday 20th December 2012 19.10 Europe/London

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