The structural behaviour of prestressed stayed columns is investigated through nonlinear finite element modelling. The models were developed using the commercial software Abaqus and validated against a series of recently conducted experiments. The sensitivity of the load-carrying capacity to the geometry of the stayed column, the initially applied prestress level within the stays and the initial global imperfection is investigated through parametric studies. It is found that there is a substantial increase in load-carrying capacity with increasing cross-arm length, provided the critical buckling mode remains symmetric. Once the critical buckling mode becomes antisymmetric, mode interaction becomes significant and the load-carrying capacity reaches a plateau and the component generally becomes more sensitive to imperfections. It is also found that the relative level of initial prestress required to maximize the load-carrying capacity of a given stayed column tends to reduce with increasing cross-arm length.