Wall Street workers are on track to receive fatter bonuses in 2017 than last year.
Traders can thank the continued bull market in stocks — the Dow is up more than 18% this year — for what looks to be a coming bump in pay.
Security industry profits on Wall Street jumped by one-third to $12.3 billion in the first half of 2017 versus $9.3 billion a year ago. As a result, Wall Street pros are seen taking home bigger bonuses after hauling in an average of $138,210 last year, according to New York’s chief fiscal officer.
In its mid-year update on the financial health of New York’s financial district, Thomas DiNapoli, the New York State Comptroller, said the industry — as measured by the broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms — was on pace for its second straight year of higher profits, topping last year’s total profits of $17.3 billion.
The amount set aside by employers for compensation in the first six months of 2017 was almost 4% higher than a year ago, which DiNapoli says “suggests bonuses could be higher than last year.”
The average bonus earned by traders and other securities industry employees last year is more than double the $59,039 income in 2016 for the median U.S. household, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent income statistics.
“After a very successful first six months, Wall Street profits are on track to exceed last year’s level, barring a major fourth-quarter setback,” DiNapoli said in a statement.
Jobs in the securities industry inched higher to 178,000 through the end of September, up slightly from 176,000 at the end of 2016.
But DiNapoli issued a warning to regulators and lawmakers who are moving to undo many of the financial protections put in place following the 2008-09 financial crisis.
“Attempts to boost profits by rolling back financial regulations and consumer protections could promote excessive risk-taking and volatility and put everyday Americans and the broader economy in harm’s way,” DiNapoli said.
This year’s profits on Wall Street are being driven by higher revenue from trading and underwriting, which rose 29% versus the same period a year ago, DiNapoli said. Revenue from wealth management businesses are up 20% so far this year.
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