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NY Official: Wall Street Bonuses Down Amid Profit Slide

Thomas Ferrigno

Average Wall Street bonuses were down 9 percent last year to $146,200 as industry profits declined, New York's comptroller reported Monday.

Industry-wide profits decreased by 10.5 percent, the third straight yearly decline, 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.

"While the cost of legal settlements appears to be easing, ongoing weaknesses in the global economy and market volatility may dampen profits in 2016," DiNapoli said in a prepared release.

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 percent 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 percent smaller than before the financial crisis.

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 percent of all private-sector wages paid in New York City in 2014, even though it represented less than 5 percent of the city's private-sector jobs.

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

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