Bankers' bonuses should be capped at twice their basic pay and "golden hellos" handed back if performance disappoints, European Union lawmakers said.
The bloc's parliament and member states are approving a draft law to implement Basel III, global rules to toughen up bank capital and liquidity requirements from 2013 to plug regulatory gaps highlighted by the financial crisis.
EU lawmakers want to include extra elements that are not part of Basel III, such as tougher curbs on bankers' pay and capital surcharges agreed at the global level for very big banks.
"My approach is that variable pay should not be more than double the fixed," said Othmar Karas, an Austrian centre-right lawmaker who is steering the measure through parliament.
"We should not do more than necessary and not become populist. A fixed upper limit on remuneration would prevent people from doing a good and responsible job," Karas told a webcast meeting in Brussels.
EU financial services chief Michel Barnier, who authored the draft law, has already signalled his backing for a ratio between fixed salary and bonus, but others wanted to go further.
Belgian Green Party member Philippe Lamberts said there was no evidence that salary structures seen at banks like Deutsche Bank or Societe Generale "correspond to any real value creation".