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Cost of living helps outweigh big bonuses

A survey by Mercer HR Consulting says Moscow is now the most expensive city in the world - bad news for bankers planning a secondment to the city this year.

Expat life in Moscow is now 24% more costly than ex-pat life in New York according to Mercer. Life in Hong Kong is 16% more expensive and London is 10% more expensive.

The cheapest financial centres of the world are the likes of Dubai, Paris, Singapore, Frankfurt and Milan, which are all less expensive than New York City.

Variations in the cost of living go some way to evening out pay discrepancies between cities. A recent salary survey by search firm Napier Scott found senior debt capital markets bankers in London are paid around 12% more than their U.S counterparts.

In other cases, higher pay more than outweighs higher costs. Another survey by recruitment firm Robert Walters found senior M&A bankers in London receive salaries that are around 60% higher than their counterparts in Paris. This is despite London being only 19% more expensive to live in.

Moscow bankers, who are already doing fairly well for themselves, may want to do a little better. Napier Scott's salary survey suggested a managing director working in M&A in Moscow can make 585,000. Living in London, the same banker would have to earn 515,000 to be as well off.

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