Wall Street Bonuses Rose 2% in 2014 To $172,860: 427% Increase In 20 Years

Finally some good news for brokers of ultra-luxury Manhattan real estate. Following the recent freeze in the most expensive housing segment in NYC in which "deals slowed to a trickle" as a result of the soaring US Dollar, and the crack down on offshore illegal wealth, it appeared that the final housing bubble left in the US that has yet to pop, that which focuses on properties $5 million and higher, was on the edge. Its day or reckoning may be delayed, however, following news that the most traditional buyer of high-end Manhattan real estate, Wall Street bankers themselves, may be finally coming back following a 2% increase in Wall Street bonuses in 2014, which pushed the average bonus to $172,860.

Bonuses were higher despite a 4.5% decline in total Wall Street profits in 2014 from $16.7 billion to $16.0 billion, mostly as a result of the criminal Wall Street cartel being exposed for all the world to see, and forced to pay a quarterly racket fee to its protector, the US government, in the form of recurring "non-recurring, one-time" legal fees, charges and settlements (amounting to $178 billion in the past 6 years!).

Total bonus comp in 2014 hit $28.5 billion, up from $27.6 billion the year before. By comparison, the entire bonus pool two decades ago, in 1994, were "only" 4.9 billion: a cumulative increase of 482%. Comparably, the average bonus of $172,860 in 2014 was up 437% in two decade.

More details from the DiNapoli report:

  • The bonus pool for securities industry employees who work in New York City grew by 3 percent during the traditional December-March bonus season to reach $28.5 billion for 2014. The Comptroller’s estimates includes cash bonuses for the current year and bonuses deferred from prior years that have been cashed in. The current budgets for New York State and New York City both assume a small increase in bonuses, consistent with DiNapoli’s forecast;
  • The average bonus rose by 2 percent to $172,860 in 2014, the highest level since the financial crisis. The growth in the average bonus was much stronger in the two previous years when bonuses increased by a total of 52 percent. The increase in the average bonus in 2014 was a bit smaller than the increase in the bonus pool (3 percent) because the pool was shared among a larger number of employees than in the prior year;
  • Non-compensation expenses, which include the cost of legal settlements, increased from an annual average of about $40 billion during the eight years prior to the financial crisis to $61 billion in 2013 and remained at an elevated level in 2014 ($62.8 billion). The securities industry does not disaggregate settlements costs from other non-compensation expenses, which also includes items such as rent, communications and commissions;
  • The securities industry in New York City lost 28,000 jobs during the financial crisis. Although the industry added jobs during the early part of the recovery, it resumed downsizing after August 2011. The number of securities industry jobs in New York City averaged 167,800 in 2014, 11 percent fewer than before the financial crisis (2007). New York City’s share of the nation’s securities industry jobs also declined during this period from 20.9 percent in 2007 to 19 percent in 2014;
  • Although the securities industry is smaller, it is still one of New York City’s most powerful economic engines. The industry, for example, accounted for almost 21 percent of all private sector wages paid in New York City in 2013 even though it accounted for less than 5 percent of the city’s private sector jobs. An estimated 1 in 9 jobs in the city are either directly or indirectly associated with the securities industry;
  • Unlike in prior economic recoveries, the securities industry has not been a driving force in the current jobs recovery in New York City. So far, the securities industry has accounted for less than 2 percent of the private sector jobs added, compared with 10 percent during the two prior recoveries;
  • The securities industry in New York City added 2,300 jobs in 2014, after years of downsizing. Although the job gains continued into January 2015, it remains to be seen whether this trend will be sustained throughout 2015.

And here is why - visually - while wages across the rest of the US continue to be flat and decline in real terms, the party on Wall Street continues.