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Capping bankers' bonuses will cause major problems for European banks, warns PwC

European Union officials have agreed a provisional deal to cap bankers' bonuses, despite the UK Government's efforts to protect the country's financial services sector.

The deal means that no banker will be allowed to receive a bonus larger than their annual salary.

But professional services firm PwC has said the bonus cap will create a "huge wave of unintended consequences" and claims salaries will rise "substantially".

The proposed rules could be implemented as early as next year.

If a majority of a bank's shareholders vote in favour then bonus ceiling can be raised to double their annual salary.

The agreement was reached during eight hours of intense talks in Brussels between members of the European parliament, the European Commission and representatives of the bloc's 27 governments.

Othmar Karas, the European Parliament's chief negotiator, said: "For the first time in the history of EU financial market regulation, we will cap bankers' bonuses.

"From 2014, European banks will have to set aside more money to be more stable and concentrate on their core business, namely financing the real economy, that of small and medium-sized enterprises and jobs."

Jon Terry, remuneration partner at PwC, said: "Capping bonuses to the extent proposed is a major problem for European banks.

"Bonus caps will reduce both boards flexibility in managing one of the most important elements of the cost base and shareholders ability to influence pay outcomes.

"What we need really need is greater alignment between performance and pay. Capping bonuses will weaken the link between performance and pay."

Final approval by parliament and government leaders of the package is expected to be a formality.

Britain had tried to rally other EU governments behind its position but failed to garner enough support.