CASH bonus payments on Wall Street were cut by an average of nine per cent last year but overall pay rose, according to figures published yesterday by New York’s state comptroller.
Total compensation including stock awards rose six per cent, however, making up for a fall in the average bonus to $128,530 (£79,259) in 2010, or $20.8bn in total.
The average bonus fell faster than the total bonus pool, comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said, because the sum was shared out between more employees this year.
“Cash bonuses are down, but that’s not an indicator of a weakness on Wall Street,” said DiNapoli, adding: “Past practices rewarded short-term gains at the expense of long-term profitability. The industry’s greater emphasis on deferred compensation will hold down tax collections this year, but the State and the City will benefit in future years when taxes are paid on this deferred compensation.”
Banks contributed around 13 per cent of New York State’s tax revenues in 2010, down from 20 per cent before the start of the financial crisis.
DiNapoli said that 2010 was Wall Street’s second most-profitable year on record after 2009, which was buoyed by federal bailouts, low interest rates and proprietary trading.