HSBC to announce bonuses totalling $5.1 billion: Report

LONDON (REUTERS) - HSBC will announce staff bonuses totalling just under 2.4 billion pounds (S$5.1 billion) globally for 2013 and is expected to report a significant rise in pretax profit, Sky News reported on its website on Saturday without citing its sources.

Europe's biggest bank is expected on Monday to announce the size of its bonus pool, a sensitive issue as many Britons still blame banks for the 2008 financial crisis after which the state was forced to bail out RBS and Lloyds.

Earlier this month Barclays prompted an angry reaction from politicians and labour unions after it increased its bonuses by 13 per cent to 2.4 billion pounds even as it announced plans to axe 12,000 jobs.

Sky quoted an unnamed source saying the rise in variable pay at HSBC would be smaller than its likely increase in earnings.

A spokesman at HSBC declined comment when contacted.

If made, the bonus payments would be marginally higher than the bank's 2012 bonus pool of 2.2 billion pounds and would come only a year before a new EU bonus cap which Britain is resisting through the courts.

The new rules would mean from 2015 bonuses cannot be more than fixed salary, or double this amount if a bank obtains shareholder approval.

Banks including HSBC, Barclays and Goldman Sachs are among the banks expected to raise the non-bonus part of remuneration with, for example, monthly or quarterly "allowances".

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