Updated! Salaries of Central Bank Governors

Date March 26, 2009

The job of turning around the global economy lies of the shoulders of just a few people and in this group includes central bank governors. With such a tall task at hand, it leads me to wonder what are the people with such power and responsibility making. Is it enough to compensate for the sleepless nights, grey hairs and anxiety?

Here’s the latest data that I could find on central bank salaries. Some of these are exact numbers from annual reports, some are estimates based upon ranges and publicly available estimates.

**I added SNB President Roth who made a whopping $725,468 last year

Ben Bernanke (U.S.): $191,300 (in 2008)

Jean-Claude Trichet (EUR): $446,806 (EUR 351,816 in 2008)

Mervyn King (U.K.): $435,000 (GBP 290,000 in 2008)

Masaaki Shirakwa (JPY): $370,000 (in 2007)

Jean-Pierre Roth (CHF): $725,498 (CHF 817,700 in 2008)

Mark Carney (CAD): $350,000 max (in 2008)

Glenn Stevens (AUD): $160,000 (AUD 200,000 in 2008)

Alan Bollard (NZD): $378,000 (NZD 540,000 in 2007)

Who is the highest paid central banker in the world?

Joseph Yam (HK) $1.32 million (HK$10.33M in 2007)

Do you think these central bankers should be paid more or less? Chime in!

18 Responses to “Updated! Salaries of Central Bank Governors”

  1. John said:

    I’d be willing to bet that the US has the fewest regulations on what financial activities the central bank governor can partake in, and that explains the lowest salary. I bet Bernanke’s annual net income is among the highest of the group.

  2. SFung said:

    Hong Kong dollar is pegged with US dollar, so we are supposed to following US’s monetary policy completely. Central bank is not necessary in Hong Kong. Is Joseph Yam smart? Yes, because he made everyone believe that he is needed and got such over-paid. Need he create those credit easing policy here? No. Need he deal with those trouble greedy giants like AIG? No. Need he face harsh critism by Congress? No. Need he think how to get sufficient fund to start stimulating package? No, because we have enough. Do we still need him? Yes, for maintain stability and co-operation with China’s central bank, but I just think his salary is over-paid too much, especially when comparing with poor Bernanke and Geithner. I do think these two should be paid more.

  3. B-Copter said:

    Ben is defintely underpaid. I disagree with most of his actions, but he does have one of the most stress inducing jobs on the planet.

  4. D Wright said:

    First, I think Joseph Yam is overpaid simply by comparison to the others.

    Now, not by comparison and in a broader view, these people are making billion dollar decisions that may significantly affect a country or countries and thus should be paid well. Most of the salaries posted are suitable except Bernanke’s and Stevens’.

    Billion-dollar decisions = one of the toughest jobs in the world = big salaries.

    Except for Joseph Yam the salaries are will deserved.

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  6. Kathy Lien said:

    I just updated SNB Roth’s salary

  7. Frasier said:

    How about they ask for what they want, then take what someone is willing to pay? Who’s to say who is “overpaid” or “underpaid”? They took the job, they work, they get paid.

  8. Kathy Lien said:

    Considering that the mayor of NYC (Bloomberg) only makes a salary of $1 a year, clearly some of these people are not motivated by money. But then again with this mess to clean up, they may be having second thoughts.

  9. jack said:

    The “big boys” or “ruling elite” “own” this position and the Secretary of Treasurer position. They grant the central banker slot to a career bureaucrat and take over the Treasury spot at critical junctures. Don Regan took a break from Merrill Lynch to push through IRA and 401-K accounts (which pit the little guy against the professionals while the little guys pay lots of hidden fees to the professionals). Hank Paulson took a break from Goldman to orchestrate a tough recession during which trillions of dollars of assets left weak hands and jumped into the hands of the “big boys”. Goldman earned something like $200 million at Goldman and $200,000 at treasury. The FOMC never used its power to lower capital ratios and the silly mark to market rules held both the bankers and wayward congressional reps by the throat while the ruling elite accumulated trillions of assets at the lowest real prices in years.

  10. Yohay said:

    I think that Ben Bernanke is somewhat underpaid. His huge responsibility requires a higher salary.
    By the way, you got Trichet’s picture next to Mark Carney’s name.

  11. D. Sara said:

    How do we know they do not received from somewhere else?

  12. Joshua Wong said:

    What about MAS’ chairman’s salary? (monetary authority of singapore) Perhaps that should give you a better idea

  13. Donal Tsang said:

    I’m from Hong Kong and I don’t think Joseph Yam deserved to be paid so much!

  14. Phil David said:

    I think that Ben Bernanke is somewhat underpaid. His huge responsibility requires a higher salary.

    I rather think the americans got what they paid for. It’s a shame all the other ones are following his lead.

  15. Michael Lin said:

    If you consider that most of these people could have jobs at commercial banks where they could easily be making 10 times what they do, they are probably all underpaid, except for Lam. But Bernanke in particular. The poor guy.

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  18. Peter Hancock, PhD said:

    The comparison of the salaries of these central bank governors is illuminating. It also looks as if Ben Benanke’s salary could be increased, to be more in line with the ‘going rate’, for other central bank governors, and in relation to their onerous financial responsibilities.

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