Embattled brokerage firm Jefferies (JEF) is instituting a new compensation plan that will require employees to pay back discretionary compensation – i.e. bonuses -- should they leave the company voluntarily in 2012, according to a memo obtained by the FOX Business Network.

“The reason we are moving to this form of cash award is straightforward,” the firm said in the memo. “We are paying out a full compensation rate as a percentage of revenues (albeit revenues below our collective expectations), and the portion of our compensation that will be paid in cash is among the highest percentages of cash among all our major competitors.”

Memo Obtained by FOX Business Network:

Charles Gasparino joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in February 2010 as Senior Correspondent.