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Noted: Wall Street bonuses down amid profit slide

Average bonus as industry profits declined: $146,200


 
In this July 6, 2015, file photo, American flags fly at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

In this July 6, 2015, file photo, American flags fly at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. — Average Wall Street bonuses were down 9 per cent last year to $146,200 as industry profits declined, New York’s comptroller reported Monday.

Industry-wide profits decreased by 10.5 per cent, according to the annual estimate from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The comptroller said revenues were weak, especially from trading and underwriting. Profits were at their lowest reported level since 2011.

“This was the third consecutive year of lower profit,” DiNapoli told reporters Monday. “You do have a very volatile market.”

Pre-tax profits for the broker/dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms declined by about $1.7 billion to $14.3 billion last year. While the first half of the year was strong, the industry reported a loss of $177 million in the fourth quarter. It was the first quarterly loss since 2011, according to the comptroller.

One bright spot: employment in the securities industry in New York City grew by 2.7 per cent in 2015, averaging 172,400 jobs for the year. DiNapoli said that marks the first time since the financial crisis that the industry in New York City has added jobs for two years in a row. The industry remains 8 per cent smaller than before the financial crisis.

“In terms of employment, the trends at the end of the year were up,” DiNapoli, a Democrat, said. “Whether that trend will continue it’s too early to tell.”

The state comptroller releases an annual estimate of bonuses paid to securities industry employees in New York City. The state and city budgets rely on the securities industry and lower profits can affect tax revenue. The industry accounted for 22 per cent of all private-sector wages paid in New York City in 2014, even though it represented less than 5 per cent of the city’s private-sector jobs.

The average salary, including bonuses, for securities industry employees in New York City increased by 14 per cent in 2014 to a record $404,800. There was no 2015 data for average salaries.


 
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