Wall Street bonuses plunged 17% in 2018

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidTraders work on the floor at the NYSE in New YorkReuters

  • Wall Street bonuses plunged 17% in 2018, according to data from the Office of the New York State Comptroller.
  • The average bonus for New York City securities industry professionals fell from $184,400 in 2017 to $153,700 last year.
  • The total bonus pool of $27.5 billion was down 14% from the previous year, while the number of industry workers grew by 3% to 181,300.

Wall Street booked a record profit of $27.3 billion in 2018, yet the average bonus of New York City securities professionals fell 14%, according to a report released Tuesday by the city's comptroller.

"Despite a sharp decline in the financial markets in the fourth quarter of 2018, the securities industry still had a good year with increased profits and employment," New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. "Profits grew in 2018 and have nearly doubled since 2015. Bonuses declined in 2018, but the average bonus was still double the average annual salary in the rest of the City's workforce."

The drop in the size of the average bonus was driven in part by changes in the federal tax code which encouraged some firms to move up payments to December 2017 rather than pay employees in January 2018. The effect of this could have contributed to the decline in 2018, according to the Office of the Comptroller.

Employment in New York City's securities industry increased by 3%, or 4,700 jobs, in 2018 to 181,300, the highest level in a decade. However, the number of workers is still 4% smaller than before the financial crisis.

The securities industry accounts for less than 5% of the private-sector jobs in the city, but generates more than one-fifth of all private-sector wages, according to the Comptroller's office. DiNapoli estimates that nearly one in 11 jobs in the city are either directly or indirectly associated with the securities industry.

Wall Street BonusesOffice of the New York State Comptroller

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