Wall Street bonuses sink even as profits hit $27B

Bonuses for Wall Street employees plunged last year, even as the securities industry experienced a major spike in profits, according to a report Tuesday from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The average Wall Street bonus sank nearly 17 percent to $153,700 in 2018, down from $184,220 the previous year, according to the comptroller’s estimates. At the same time, Wall Street’s pretax profits rose 11 percent to $27.3 billion, up from $24.5 billion one year ago.

"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," 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 [New York City’s] workforce."

Profits rose despite pronounced volatility in U.S. markets and ongoing trade disputes between the United States and several foreign nations, including China. DiNapoli warned that ongoing trade conflicts and a slowing overall economy could weigh on Wall Sreet’s profits in 2019.


Wall Street’s $27.3 billion windfall was its largest since 2010, according to the report. Net revenues grew 6 percent to $163 billion.