Barclays Plc said it had started the year well after beating expectations with 2009 profits of over 11.6 billion pounds ($18.18 billion), on the back of a strong performance at its investment banking unit.

The British bank said its investment bankers would receive average pay of 191,000 pounds for 2009, including an average bonus of 95,000 pounds, amid intense scrutiny on payouts and pressure to rein in awards.

It said it would pay 1.5 billion pounds in discretionary cash payments for 2009 and a further 1.2 billion pounds of long-term awards that vest over three years and can be clawed back.

The British bank reported a 2009 pretax profit of 11.6 billion pounds, swelled by a 6.3 billion pound gain on the sale of its Barclays Global Investors asset management arm.

Earnings were up 92 percent from 6.1 billion pounds in 2008 and beat the average forecast of 11.2 billion from a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 20 analysts.

Barclays said its underlying profit, stripping out the BGI gain, was 5.6 billion pounds, up from 1.6 billion in 2008.

Earnings for Barclays Capital, the investment bank arm, rose 89 percent on the year to 2.5 billion pounds, thanks to its purchase of the U.S. operations of Lehman Brothers, expansion in Europe and Asia, and a revival in capital markets.

Barclays said it had started 2010 well, with pretax profit well ahead of the run rates for the first half of 2009 and the full year.

($1=.6381 Pound)

(Reporting by Steve Slater and Clara Ferreira-Marques; editing by Simon Jessop)