Barclays will begin to hand out bonuses on Friday to its 140,000 staff around the world from a bonus pool expected to be bigger than last year's.
In a move that could inflame relationships with shareholders after the bank's £5.8bn cash call last year, the bank is thought to be planning to hand out larger bonuses to some employees than a year ago to prevent top staff quitting for higher-paying rivals.
This time a year ago the bank handed out a total of almost £2.2bn in bonuses – £1.8bn for the 2012 financial year and another £300m in deferred payments.
Just a few days before its annual results, the bank is ready to tell staff how much they will be getting and outline new payments to top staff who will be affected by the EU's bonus cap. The limits on bonuses of 100% of salary – or 200% if shareholders approve – will take effect this time next year, but from next month Barclays is expected to begin handing the hundreds of staff affected a third payment that it hopes will not be classed as either a bonus or a salary.
The European Banking Authority and the EU are now scrutinising these new payments to see whether they contravene the new bonus clampdown.
Next week the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority is expected to provide a private update on the adoption of the cap to the pan European regulator. A number of banks are thought to be looking similar third payments.
A spokesperson for the European Commission said: "The issue seems to be what counts as fixed and what counts as variable pay and thus how the ratio works. There is no third form of payments: either it is fixed or it is variable remuneration. One would expect banks to interpret this in a common sense and straightforward way without trying to circumvent it."
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