Wall Street salaries at highest since Great Recession: Report

The average salary on Wall Street rose in 2017 to its highest level since the 2008 financial crisis, according to a report Monday from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Securities industry employees raked in an average of $422,500, marking a 13 percent increase compared to the previous year, the report said. Aside from its return to pre-Great Recession levels, the average salary was the third-highest on record when adjusted for inflation.

"Wall Street has profited every year since the end of the recession in 2009, and compensation last year reached its highest point since the financial crisis,” DiNapoli said. “The momentum from last year's dramatic rise in profits has carried into 2018 and the industry is on track for another good year absent a setback later in the year.”

Wall Street’s pretax profits rose 42 percent to $24.5 billion in 2017, doubling the state securities industry’s growth rate for the previous year. Profits are on pace to top last year’s totals in 2018, rising 11 percent to $13.7 billion in the first half of the year.

Last March, DiNapoli estimated the industry’s average bonus payment rose 17 percent to $184,220 in 2017. Bonuses are on pace to increase this year, though the comptroller’s office has yet to release statistics.

Overall, Wall Street employment remains 6 percent lower than pre-2008 crisis levels.

“Ten years after Lehman Brothers' collapse it is clear that Wall Street does not need to return to the days of excessive risk-taking to enjoy rising profits,” DiNapoli said.