Feb 25 Royal Bank of Scotland has
received approval from Treasury agency UK Financial Investments
to pay about 550 million pounds ($920 million) in staff bonuses
for 2013, Sky News reported late on Tuesday.
The news service said the bank is expected to disclose the
proposed bonuses when it announces its annual earnings,
estimated at a loss of about 8 billion pounds.
The bank's Chief Executive Officer, Ross McEwan, is also
expected on Thursday to unveil a strategic review of its
investment banking and international operations in which the
group could shed up to a quarter of its 120,000-member
workforce, according to sources who spoke to Reuters.
The partially nationalised bank is expected to have reduced
the 2013 bonus pool by at least 25 million pounds under a
commitment it gave 12 months ago to reduce bonuses in subsequent
years, Sky said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron last month promised
that the government would use its veto power as an 81-percent
shareholder in RBS to block any rise in overall pay at RBS's
Bankers' pay leapt into British political focus ahead of the
annual financial sector bonus season, when the opposition Labour
party called on the government to block any attempt by RBS to
pay its top staff bonuses worth twice their salary.
Under new European Union rules - which are being challenged
by Britain in EU's top court - banker bonuses can be no higher
than an individual's fixed salary, rising to double that level
if shareholder approval is obtained.
Bonus payments remain 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 percent to 2.4 billion pounds, even as it
announced plans to axe 12,000 jobs.
RBS and UKFI could not be reached for comment outside of
normal business hours.