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Wall Street bonuses down 9%, Thomas DiNapoli says

Wall Street where broker-dealers make their money on

Wall Street where broker-dealers make their money on Jan. 15, 2016 in Manhattan's financial district. Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

Average Wall Street bonuses were down 9 percent last year to $146,200 as industry profits declined, New York’s comptroller reported Monday.

Industrywide profits decreased by 10.5 percent, the third straight yearly decline, according to the annual estimate from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Profits were at the lowest reported level since 2011.

“This was the third consecutive year of lower profit,” DiNapoli said. “You do have a very volatile market.”

A DiNapoli spokesman said the report did not break out the number of Long Islanders working on Wall Street.

But Richard Vogel, dean of the Farmingdale State College School of Business, said that the decline in bonuses for high-income Wall Streeters could have “some impact on the [Long Island] real estate market and potentially in some other areas like luxury goods and the travel sector.”

Pretax profits for the broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms declined by about $1.7 billion to $14.3 billion last year. While the first half of the year was strong, the industry reported a loss of $177 million in the fourth quarter. It was the first quarterly loss since 2011, according to the comptroller.

One bright spot: Employment in the securities industry in New York City grew by 2.7 percent in 2015, averaging 172,400 jobs for the year. DiNapoli said that marks the first time since the financial crisis that the industry in New York City has added jobs for two years in a row. The industry remains 8 percent smaller than before the financial crisis.

The state and city budgets rely on the securities industry, and lower profits can affect tax revenue. The industry accounted for 22 percent of all private-sector wages paid in New York City in 2014, even though it represented less than 5 percent of the city’s private-sector jobs.

The average salary, including bonuses, for securities industry employees in New York City increased by 14 percent in 2014 to a record $404,800. There was no 2015 data for average salaries.

— with Ken Schachter

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