Wall Street Salaries Hit Record $404,800
POSTED on October 9, 2015
Wall Street enjoyed strong profits in the first half of 2015 and average salaries for Wall Street employees averaged a record $404,800 in 2014 according to a new report issued by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
"After a very strong first half of the year, the securities industry faces volatile financial markets and an unsteady global economy," DiNapoli said. "After years of downsizing, the industry has been adding jobs in New York City, but it may curtail hiring to bolster profits. We're hopeful that Wall Street's robust first half will result in a good year. The securities industry continues to be a major contributor to the city's economy and a large contributor to the state and city budgets."
Despite new regulations and the high cost of legal settlements related to the 2008 financial crisis, securities industry profits were strong in 2013 and 2014, averaging $16.3 billion annually. Profits were even stronger during the first half of 2015, rising 29 percent compared to the same period in the prior year as the cost of legal settlements declined. Industry performance is traditionally measured by the results of the broker/dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms.
Weakness in the global economy, particularly China, and concerns over the timing of the Federal Reserve's plan to raise short-term interest rates have shaken the financial markets since the beginning of August, which could reduce profitability in the second half of 2015. Nonetheless, the industry may still have a good year given the strong first half.
As of August 2015, the securities industry in New York City had 174,000 jobs as seasonally adjusted by the state Comptroller's office. The industry added 2,300 jobs in 2014, the first gains since 2011, and was on pace to add another 4,500 jobs in 2015 before the recent market downturn. Despite these gains, the securities industry is still 9 percent smaller than before the financial crisis. While the recent growth in securities industry employment was a positive development for the city's economy, the industry may resort to staffing reductions over the coming months to bolster profits.
The average salary, including bonuses, in the securities industry in New York City grew by 14 percent in 2014 to $404,800, setting a new record. After accounting for inflation, 2014 was the third highest year on record. Average salaries in the securities industry were nearly six times higher in 2014 than in the rest of the city s private sector ($72,300). Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the employees earned more than $250,000 in 2013, compared with less than 3 percent in the rest of the city s work force.
Major findings of the comptroller's report include:
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