U.S. firms’ pay packets for lateral partner hires in London have reached new highs in recent months buoyed by a strong cash balance at the end of a bumper 2020, market participants say, placing an even greater strain on U.K. firms hoping to retain their top names.

According to several partners and recruiters in the London market, pay expectations for top partners looking at moving firms have been averaging at between $6 million and $7 million since last autumn, up from previous highs of around $4 million or $5 million.