Average Wall Street Bonus Last Year Was Nearly $140,000

According to new data from the New York State Comptroller’s Office, the average Wall Street banker bonus registered just shy of $138,000 in 2016.

To ascertain this number, the agency observed that major banks set aside $23.9 billion for bonuses last year. This averages out, then, to roughly $138,210 per person. More importantly, perhaps, this number is actually up 2 percent from the year before. While this might sound like a lot, though, you to put it into perspective: the average bonus was more than $191,000 ten years ago (2006).

The Comptroller’s office also comments that the banking industry has added 3,800 positions at banks and other firms, last year, to push total employment to its highest level since 2008: 177,000 workers. In addition, the agency also credits lower costs and lower expenses unrelated to compensation to cover these growth numbers.

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli notes, “Wall Street profits bounced back strongly in 2016. Lower costs more than made up for the continued decline in revenues.”
Industry-wide, New York State profits reached $17.3 billion. This is the highest annual profit for the industry, in the state of New York, since 2012. This is quite important, of course, as New York State relies heavily on tax revenue generated out of Wall Street profits.
DiNapoli’s office estimates these annual bonuses based on income tax trends, including both cash bonuses from the current year as well as deferred bonuses from previous years that have been cashed in; but the estimate does not include stock options.

In related news, profitability for the securities industry skyrocketed 21 percent on the year, taking into account lower costs compensating for consistent revenue decline. As such, revenues were actually up by 8 percent through the second half of the year; though that is not quite enough to offset the 9 percent decline through the first half of the year.

It should also be noted that the the total average salary for New York City securities professionals—including bonuses—was about $388,000 in 2015. Yes, this year’s bonuses account for half of securities professional’s annual income.