The plan, if it becomes policy, is one of a series of responses by the federal government to placate voters angry that U.S. banks had a hand in triggering a two-year recession, yet came away largely unscathed.
FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said there was "a broad consensus of academic studies," that concluded "poorly designed compensation structures can misalign incentives and induce risk taking."
Bair said called a study of "compensation structure, rather than levels of compensation," a fair approach.
Some large banks have changed pay policies recently, attempting to get ahead of the furor building over massive compensation plans while the U.S. unemployment rate sits at 10 percent.
Goldman Sachs recently said its top 30 executives would be given bonuses exclusively in restricted stock that is not redeemable for five years.