Wall Street bonuses jump 10% in 2020, says NY state comptroller

American flags hang from the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building after the start of Thursday's trading session in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 28, 2021.
REUTERS/Mike Segar

The average bonus paid to employees in New York City’s securities industry in 2020 rose by 10% to $184,000, a top New York state financial regulator said in a statement on Friday.

“Wall Street’s near-record year shattered all expectations,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.

“The early forecast of a disastrous year for financial markets was sharply reversed by a boom in underwriting activity, historically low interest rates, and surges in trading spurred by volatile markets,” he added.

The 2020 bonus pool increased by 6.8% to $31.7 billion, during the traditional December-March bonus season, from $29.7 billion in 2019, according to the report, which called the growth figure “unique after a recessionary event”.

Bonuses fell by 33% in 2001 after 9/11 attack and by 47% percent in 2008, the report said.

Compensation firm Johnson Associates Inc in November said it expected year-end bonuses for most Wall Street workers to decline in 2020 compared with 2019 due to the impact of the COVID-19 impact on the U.S. economy.

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