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DiNapoli says Wall Street profits may be solid despite rocky times

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is seen

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is seen on Sept. 19, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Mike Groll

ALBANY - State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Tuesday that despite the recent tumult in the stock markets, Wall Street may still have a strong year of profits because of a good start to the year.

The fortunes of Wall Street are important to state and New York City governments and their residents because tax revenue from profits and employee bonuses tied to those profits are significant elements of the state and city budgets. Much of the state pension system for public employees controlled by DiNapoli is also invested in the stock market.

During the recent recession, huge losses on Wall Street prompted higher taxes, fees and reduced services in the state budget. Wall Street losses also forced local and state governments and school districts to pay higher contributions to pension plans to make up for investment losses, which was an added cost to taxpayers.

DiNapoli said profits in the first half of 2015 were strong at $11.3 billion, which he said was the strongest first half of a year since 2011.

"After a very strong first half of the year, the securities industry faces volatile financial markets and an unsteady global economy," DiNapoli said. "After years of downsizing, the industry has been adding jobs in New York City, but it may curtail hiring to bolster profits."

He said Wall Street profits in 2013 and 2014 averaged $16.3 billion and rose 28 percent in the first half of this year.

DiNapoli issued a report on the state of the securities industry Tuesday. It said that the New York City securities industry employed 174,000 people as of August 2015 after adding 2,300 in 2014 and was on track to add 4,500 more before the markets dropped recently.

The average salary in the industry including annual bonuses grew to $404,800 or by 14 percent in 2014. Nearly a quarter of the employees were paid more than $250,000.

By comparison, the average salary in New York City outside the securities industry was $72,300 last year.

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