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Wall Street Bonuses Plummeted in 2015

Wall Street bonuses for 2015 slumped to a three-year low as volatility in financial markets eroded profits, the New York state comptroller said in a report that also warned of weaker profits and job cuts for the industry this year.

The average Wall Street bonus fell 9% to $146,200 in 2015 as volatile financial markets hurt profits at New York’s broker-dealer firms, according to a report released by a top New York state financial watchdog on Monday.

The overall bonus pool fell 6% to $25 billion at broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms, the report said. Industrywide profits declined by 10.5% to $14.3 billion during the year.

“Wall Street bonuses and profits fell in 2015, reflecting a challenging year in the financial markets,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement.

Despite the declines the industry added 4,500 jobs last year and now employs 172,400. This was the first time the industry added jobs in two consecutive years since the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

Even with the job gains, however, the industry is 8% smaller than before the crisis.

The comptroller’s report, based on tax withholding data, provides an early estimate of the bonus pool for securities industry employees in New York City during the traditional December to March bonus season.

The estimate is not exact because it does not include stock options or other forms of deferred compensation, or bonuses paid to employees outside the city.