Uncork the Cristal, break out the beluga. It's bonus time on Wall Street. Bonuses for employees of the city's financial-services firms are expected to total $15. 9 billion ...
NEW YORK — Uncork the Cristal, break out the beluga. It’s bonus time on Wall Street.
Bonuses for employees of the city’s financial-services firms are expected to total $15.9 billion — a kingly sum that works out to an average windfall of $100,400 for the industry’s 158,000 employees, according to a survey released yesterday by New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi.
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And even those who don’t work on Wall Street will benefit, since some of that money will find its way into the city’s tax coffers and the cash registers at New York restaurants and stores.
The bonuses — the second-highest on record — come even as Wall Street’s profits face a forecasted decline of 22 percent to $13 billion.
The fact that bonuses outgun total profits is not quite as outrageous as it sounds, said Greg Taxin, chief executive of independent financial research firm Glass, Lewis.
Taxin said the bonuses also reflect the outlook for next year — and the outlook is good.
“The Street is turning a corner from some leaner years,” Taxin said, “and they need to keep their most talented bankers in their seats.”
Indeed, revenue in such lucrative divisions as mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance surged in the latter part of this year.
Profits this year, while down significantly from 2003, still rank as the fourth highest on record.
The bonuses — the biggest portion of annual pay for top Wall Street executives, investment bankers and traders — swirl through the local economy in the form of bloated restaurant checks, sales of high-priced bottles of wine, extravagant New Year’s celebrations and richer gifts left under the Christmas tree.
Bankers cashed in at a higher rate only in 2000, when the high-tech bubble helped Streeters take home average bonuses of $101,000.
Don’t worry if you’re feeling left out, though: A portion of that $15.9 billion will trickle down to others in the form of police salaries, road repair and other government services.
In a news conference this fall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that by some estimates, a third of the city’s tax revenues directly or indirectly come from Wall Street.
From this year’s bonuses, New York City will collect about $265 million in taxes, and the state will take another $1.2 billion.