Average Wall Street bonus up to $172,860 in 2014

The average banker on Wall Street took in an annual bonus of $172,860 US last year, the comptroller for the state of New York said Wednesday.

Industry paid out bigger bonuses even as it saw its profits decrease last year

Workers arrive at Merrill Lynch headquarters, one of the big Wall Street investment houses, where average salaries topped $172,000 a year last year. (Jeremy Bales/Bloomberg)

The average banker on Wall Street took in an annual bonus of $172,860 US last year, the comptroller for the state of New York said Wednesday.

The figure is up by about two per cent from 2013's level, and it's also the biggest the city has seen since before the financial crisis that started in 2008, state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.

The increase in bonuses came even as the industry was less profitable last year, with pretax profits down almost five per cent to $16 billion US.

And compensation went up even as the number of jobs did the same. The 200-odd firms that are members of the New York Stock Exchange added 2,300 jobs in 2014, the first year that's increased since 2011. There are now 167,800 people in New York City who earn their living at one of Wall Street's big investment banks, known as "broker-dealer" firms. But that figure is still 11 per cent lower than where it was before the financial crisis.

Nor is the $172,860 bonus figure the highest ever. The top came in 2006 when the average Wall Street bonus was $191,360 US.

All in all, Wall Street workers took in $28.5 billion in bonuses last year. But bank workers aren't the only one who benefit from Wall Street's sudden surge of cash. The securities industry made up 6.7 per cent of the city's tax revenue in past year and 19 per cent of the state's in each of the last two years, DiNapoli said.


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