U.S. regulators may force big financial firms to award half or more of their executive pay in the form of stock or other deferred compensation instead of cash, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.

The move, which could affect big Wall Street firms such as Bank of America Corp , JPMorgan Chase , Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley , is aimed at curbing excessive risk taking behavior that contributed to the financial crisis, the newspaper said.

The regulators are mulling such a move in light of a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act, which instructs regulators to prohibit any bonus plan that encourages inappropriate risks at financial firms with more than $1 billion in assets, according to the paper.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Lincoln Feast)