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Barclays to pay nearly $4 billion in bonuses: Sky

Logos are seen outside a branch of Barclays bank in London July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Logos are seen outside a branch of Barclays bank in London July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - British bank Barclays will pay up to 2.4 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) in bonuses to staff for 2013, Sky News said, a year when it asked shareholders for nearly 6 billion pounds to bolster capital, and an 11 percent rise from 2012.

Barclays will release pay details alongside annual results on Tuesday, and Sky said it will pay between 2.3 billion pounds and 2.4 billion pounds in incentive awards.

Barclays declined to comment.

A rise in bonuses at the bank could provoke a backlash from politicians and a public angered that banks are not reining in compensation. Excessive pay has been blamed for encouraging risk-taking and contributing to the 2008/2009 financial crisis.

Sky said Barclays is expected to defend the increase in bonuses by pointing to a robust performance by its investment bank in the United States and the threat it will lose its top staff there to its Wall Street rivals.

Barclays paid 1.85 billion pounds in bonuses across the bank in 2012, with 1.3 billion of that going to its investment bank staff. The total figure for incentive awards was topped up by commissions and other payments.

The 2012 bonus pool was 14 percent smaller than 2011 as Barclays said it was cutting pay to get the right balance between incentivizing staff and the needs of other stakeholders.

Compensation in 2012 represented 38 percent of revenue across the bank, and 39 percent in the investment bank. That ratio is expected to rise as 2013 investment bank revenues are expected to be down on 2012 levels.

With the bonus season in full swing, payouts across the major banks have mostly been flat to slightly lower, although some firms are raising pay. Swiss bank UBS increased its 2013 bonus pool by 28 percent after a cut in 2012.

Bonuses paid by EU banks for 2014 will be capped at 100 percent of salary, or twice that with shareholder approval. Banks are expected to raise fixed pay and reduce bonuses to meet the rule.

($1 = 0.6133 British pounds)

(Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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