Wall Street bonuses are expected to reach a record $21.5 billion in 2005, topping the previous record of $19.5 billion in 2000 and $18.6 billion in 2004, according to Alan Hevesi, New York State comptroller and sole trustee of the $132 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany.
The average bonus in 2005 was a record $125,500, up $11,000 from 2004 and $25,000 higher than in 2000. The bonus level estimates were based on year-end tax returns from financial services companies in New York, Mr. Hevesi said at a news conference.
"This is very, very good news," he told reporters. "The reason for this is financial services revenues are up dramatically." Through the first three quarters of last year, revenues at Wall Street firms were up 44.5% from a year earlier, with mergers and acquisitions activity driving most of that increase, he said.
M&A activity is expected to have climbed 28% in 2005, topping $1 trillion for the first time since 2000.