Wall Street's bonus pool rose 15% to $26.7 billion in 2013, fueled by compensation deferred from prior years, according to estimates by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
Employees took home an average bonus of $164,530 last year, the most since the 2008 financial crisis and the third highest on record, Mr. DiNapoli said in a statement Wednesday. The bonuses rose even as profits from broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms fell 30% to $16.7 billion.
Shares of Goldman Sachs Group, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley each rose more than 95% over the past two years, making equity awards worth more than when they were granted in previous years. During the same period, the bonus pool has grown by 44%, driven by deferred compensation, Mr. DiNapoli said.
“The industry still had a good year in 2013 despite costly legal settlements and higher interest rates,” Mr. DiNapoli said. “Wall Street continues to demonstrate resilience as it evolves in a changing regulatory environment.”
Trading and investment banking revenue at the nine biggest global firms fell 4% to $160 billion in 2013, as a drop in fixed-income revenue outweighed gains in equity trading and fees from advising and underwriting.
The largest Wall Street investment banks each set aside a smaller portion of revenue for employee pay to cut costs and improve returns. Shares of the three firms each jumped last year as an improving U.S. economy sent the Standard & Poor's 500 index to a record high.