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Wall Street's average cash bonus last year: $121,900

February 26, 2013|By Andrew Tangel
  • Traders with MND Partners work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Traders with MND Partners work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Henny Ray Abrams / Associated…)

NEW YORK -- Wall Street has been slashing jobs, kicking out traders and bankers as the finance industry shrinks.

But those with high-paying jobs are still taking in fat bonuses. The average cash bonus on Wall Street last year rose an estimated 9% to nearly $121,900, according to a report released Tuesday by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Overall, the New York securities industry is expected to dole out $20 billion in 2012 cash bonuses, up 8% from the previous year. Bonuses for one year are typically paid out in the early months of the following year.

Employment in New York's securities industry -- an important economic engine for the world's financial capital -- declined by 1,000 jobs to 169,700 in December, compared with a year earlier, DiNapoli said.

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New York City has lost 10% of its Wall Street jobs since the financial crisis of 2008, DiNapoli said. New regulations aimed at reducing risk have required firms to hold on to more capital, and limited banks' ability to trade with their own funds. Since the crisis, firms have also been awarding deferred bonuses tied to their long-term performance.

Though the financial industry may be shrinking, profits are not. The brokerage operations of the New York Stock Exchange's member firms raked in a collective $23.9 billion in 2012 -- three times the $7.7 billion they reaped in 2011 and among the most profitable on record.

“Wall Street is still in transition, but it is slowly adjusting to changes in its economic and regulatory environment,” DiNapoli said in a statement. "Profits and bonuses rebounded in 2012, but the industry is still restructuring."

DiNapoli's bonus report, which is based on income tax data, did not include figures for average salary in the securities industry last year. In 2011, the average salary, including bonus, was $362,900 -- more than five times as much as the average New Yorker's salary of $67,900.

News of financial industry cuts continued Tuesday. JPMorgan Chase & Co., the country's largest bank by assets, said it would eliminate 4,000 jobs this year as it cuts $1 billion in expenses. The cuts account for 1.5% of the New York company's 258,965 employees around the globe at the end of last year.

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