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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wall Street Bonuses to Hit Record $21.5 Billion in 2005 - New York Times

January 11, 2006
Wall Street Bonuses to Hit Record $21.5 Billion in 2005
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street bonuses are expected to have hit a record $21.5 billion in 2005 from $18.6 billion in 2004 as investment banks reaped record earnings, New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi said Wednesday.
Last year's bonuses beat the record of $19.5 billion set in 2000 at the peak of the equities boom, Hevesi said during a conference call with reporters.
Booming merger and underwriting activity, as well as a stock market rebound, helped revenues rise by almost 50 percent in the first three quarters of last year.
"2000 was the peak of the greatest boom in our modern history. It was a remarkable time, so this is very good news," Hevesi said.
Wall Street is the prime engine of growth for both New York City and New York State, so the profitability of the financial sector is key for the area's economy.
New York's financial sector employs about 174,000 people, according to Hevesi's estimates.
Hevesi said the average bonus in 2005 was $125,500 -- or $25,000 more than in 2000.
Bonuses make up the bulk of Wall Street compensation and can be more than 10 times the base salary for top producers.


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