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In what will probably have sales staff popping champagne corks at Maserati and Mercedes dealerships, Wall Street's average cash bonus swelled last year to its highest since the financial crisis and the third largest on record.
New York State's budget watchdog said on Wednesday that the cash bonus pool jumped 15 percent to $26.7 billion in 2013, pushing the average cash bonus to $164,530, according to the New York state comptroller's annual estimate based on personal income tax trends.
The increased bonuses came as Wall Street posted a fifth consecutive year of profits after record losses during the 2008 financial crisis. Profits for broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms, however, fell 30 percent to $16.7 billion in 2013, the report said.
"Wall Street navigated through some rough patches last year and had a profitable year in 2013. Securities industry employees took home significantly higher bonuses on average," Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement.
"Although profits were lower than the prior year, the industry still had a good year in 2013 despite costly legal settlements and higher interest rates," he added.
The Comptroller's estimate reflects cash bonuses and deferred pay from which taxes have been withheld. The estimate does not include stock options or other forms of deferred compensation. Bonuses paid to employees outside New York City are not included in the estimate.