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Wall Street profit boost will benefit LI economy, DiNapoli says

A sign for Wall Street carved into the

A sign for Wall Street carved into the side of a building, as seen on July 6, 2015. Credit: AP / Mark Lennihan

Wall Street firms are on track to post higher profits this year compared with 2016, which will boost the local and state economies, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Monday.

About 10,700 Long Islanders work in the securities industry in New York City, representing 6 percent of the total workforce of 178,000, DiNapoli said in a report and teleconference with reporters.

Industry employees in the city last year earned an average of $375,300, including bonuses.

“Commuters from the Island are a significant workforce in the securities industry based in the city,” DiNapoli said.

The economies of Long Island, New York City and New York State will likely benefit from higher tax collections and spending by people who work on Wall Street, he said.

The combined profit of 130 firms studied by the comptroller’s office was $12.3 billion in the first six months of this year, up 32 percent from the first half of 2016.

DiNapoli predicted the firms’ profits would end the year higher for the second consecutive time. Profits had declined year-over-year in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

This year’s boost stems from firms making more money on stock trades, underwriting and wealth management as opposed to last year, when firms came out ahead by cutting costs and paying less in settlements tied to the 2007-08 financial crisis, according to the comptroller’s report.

Overall, the industry’s head count is still below its 2007 pre-recession level.

DiNapoli predicted employee bonuses on Wall Street “could be higher than last year” because firms have set aside 4 percent more for them than in 2016. The average bonus last year was $138,210.

Bonuses are closely watched by state government because they translate into higher income tax collections, which help to fund the state and city budgets. They also spur spending on luxury items such as second homes in the Hamptons.

Speaking of Long Island, DiNapoli, who lives in Great Neck Plaza, said Monday that the securities industry has expanded beyond its traditional home in lower Manhattan.

Nassau and Suffolk counties have “benefited because there are more jobs in this industry on Long Island and at pretty significant levels of compensation,” he said.

About 6,500 people work in the securities industry in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

They earned an average of $354,400 last year, including bonuses, up 18 percent from 2007.

NYC securities industry by the numbers

178,000: Total employees

10,700: Employees who commute from Long Island

$375,300: Average pay, including bonuses.

$12.3 billion: Profits in first six months of 2017, up 32% from the first half of 2016

Report by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

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