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HSBC mulls share awards for staff to counter bonus cap

LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - HSBC is planning to hand new share awards to about 1,000 of its top staff as part of a plan to cope with new European rules that cap the level of bonuses that banks can pay, an industry source said on Tuesday.

The plan, which has not been finalised, would have the characteristics of variable pay but qualify as fixed pay, helping Europe's biggest bank meet the new rules.

Sky News, which first reported the plan, said the payments would be in quarterly instalments and staff would need to keep them for five years.

HSBC declined to comment.

Many banks are restructuring pay after EU rules came into force this month that will cap variable pay at twice an employee's fixed salary. Barclays is planning to pay staff in specific risk-taking roles an additional monthly payment, and other banks are expected to follow with similar models.