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February 23, 2010
Wall Street Bonuses Rise 17%, Compensation Even More

Financial firms in New York City gave employees $20.3 billion in bonuses in 2009, up 17 percent from 2008, according to a report by state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

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DiNapoli said that total compensation at the largest securities firms grew even faster. Average compensation rose by 27 percent to more than $340,000. Compensation at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase Investment Bank increased by 31 percent in 2009.

The average taxable bonus rose to $123,850. Average compensation rose even faster because firms reportedly paid a larger share of bonuses in the form of deferred compensation than in the past.

In general, compensation on Wall Street averaged about 40 percent of net revenue in 2009, down from about 50 percent prior to the recent period of market turmoil.

He notes that some Americans resent the large compensation packages so soon after taxpayers had to bail out Wall Street.

“Wall Street is vital to New York 's economy, and the dollars generated by the industry help the state's bottom line,” DiNapoli said. “But for most Americans, these huge bonuses are a bitter pill and hard to comprehend. There's a lot of resentment against the industry over its role in the global economic meltdown. Taxpayers bailed them out, and now they're back making money while many New York families are still struggling to make ends meet.”

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