Securities Industry Pays Record Bonuses in 2005

January 12, 2006 ( - Wall Street bonuses will set a new record of $21.5 billion in 2005, surpassing the previous record of $19.5 billion set in 2000 during the peak of the last bull market, according to a forecast released today by New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

news release  on the comptroller’s office Web site said that profits for member firms of the New York Stock Exchange improved during the third quarter and industry reports suggest an even stronger fourth quarter.   While 2005 profits could be less than last year’s level, many bonuses are tied to industry revenues, which have been exceptionally strong in 2005.

Revenues at Wall Street firms grew by 44.5% through the first three quarters of 2005 – reaching the highest level since the stock market peaked in 2000, according to the release.   Merger and acquisition activity account for most of the revenue increase, which is expected to be up 28% over last year’s level and to exceed $1 trillion for the first time since 2000.   Due to the merger and acquisition activity, investment bankers received the largest increases and bonuses.

According to Hevesi’s estimates, New York State will collect $1.5 billion in tax revenue and New York City will collect almost $500 million as a result of Wall Street profits and bonuses.

A chart of historical Wall Street bonus data is  here .